Meet Michael Beckerman.
He’s the President & CEO of the Internet Association, representing America’s leading Internet companies and their global community of users. He caught up with us today to let us know more about the Internet Association’s First Annual Congressional Internet Freedom Award. This is important if, for example, you’d like House of Cards to continue streaming at a high quality, or if you want to show off your collection of animal gifs in an email to your mom. Read on here.
1. What inspired the creation of the Congressional Internet Freedom Award?
We want to honor Members of Congress who have distinguished themselves as vanguards of the Internet economy. From posting cat memes to battling SOPA/PIPA, Senator Wyden and Representative Issa are this year’s champions of Internet freedom and the innovation economy. These awards are a well-deserved recognition of their unwavering leadership and longtime support of pro-Internet policies.These two dedicated public servants understand the importance and vitality of a free and open Internet. We are grateful for their support of our industry, the fastest growing economic sector in the world.
2. What criteria informed choosing the recipients of the award?
All Members of Congress are eligible and will be evaluated on their support for and leadership on priorities important to the Internet industry and the user community. A lawmaker can show support for pro-Internet policies by:
- Exhibiting outstanding leadership in Congress to protect a free and innovative Internet.
- Advancing a legislative and regulatory agenda that promotes the Internet’s ability to create jobs and economic opportunities.
- Sponsoring and co-sponsoring legislation that is important to the Internet economy.
- Demonstrating leadership on legislative priorities important to the knowledge economy and the Internet user community.
- Utilizing the Internet in new and innovative ways to interact, engage, and empower constituents.
3. Why should everyone sit up and take notice of what’s happening around the internet?
The Internet is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, accounting for nearly 5 percent of our national GDP. It also contributes to the education sector by increasing access to education and enabling universities to have global campus with online undergraduate and graduate courses for anyone in the world to experience. The online community needs to show Congress that the Internet is not just Silicon Valley; it fuels every town, farm, school, hospital, and business in every economic sector — from Main Street to rural America.
For these reasons, The Internet Association will relentlessly represent this critical economic sector, its member companies and the millions of Internet users to ensure that the Internet will always have a voice in Washington and a seat at the table.
4. What is the thought behind presenting the awards during The Internet Association Gala partnered with Girls Who Code? What do you hope to inspire there?
We hope to show Congress the great efforts being made to achieve gender parity in computing fields. With an estimated one million more computer programming job opportunities than graduates within the next six years, this is the perfect time for women to get involved. That’s why it’s vital we get more women into the Internet industry and that young women learn to code to be competitive in today’s world. As an industry we must do our part to ensure that prosperity is broadly shared, and women and girls aren’t left behind.
5. Is there a gif that expresses your feelings about Congressional action on regulation of the internet?
This gif → http://replygif.net/513