The award honors the best work published on First Amendment/freedom of expression issues by a member of SSCA during the previous three years. From 2012-15, Grabowski published on the timely topic in many and varied publications, including a book chapter in Lexington Books’ Regulating the Web: Network Neutrality and the Fate of the Open Internet, an article in Stanford Law & Policy Review and an op-ed in USA Today. His research has been cited in academic journals and translated into Korean. In addition, he's been interviewed about the topic by several TV, radio, print and online media outlets.
“There were many submissions this year and [Grabowski’s] … was clearly the strongest,” the awards committee stated in an e-mail announcing the award. “The committee and membership of the division appreciate [his] dedication to free speech and producing high quality scholarship.”
Grabowski’s research discusses how net neutrality would improve Internet service in America and protect Americans’ freedom of speech online. The Federal Communications Commission seemed to agree, voting in February to impose net neutrality regulations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which means they can no longer block or slow traffic to the websites of companies that anger them or refuse to pay an extra fee.
“U.S. Internet users had been facing Chinese-like censorship and not been able to access content that their ISP banned for whatever reason,” explained Grabowski, an assistant professor of communications at Adelphi University who teaches a course on Internet law. “In 2007, for example, one giant ISP blocked a pro-choice organization from sending text messages over its mobile network because they said they were ‘controversial’ and ‘unsavory.’ The same year, another major ISP banned its Internet users from making critical remarks online about the company. And, because many consumers only have one option when it comes to high speed Internet service, they were forced to endure this censorship. They couldn’t simply switch their Internet service to another provider. The new net neutrality rules could help fix some of these problems.”