Thursday, December 07, 2006

The First Amendment of the Internet


We’ve seen how much they value things we used to take for granted—oh, like free speech, the right to privacy, or habeas corpus. Why should we be surprised that they’re trying to steal the internet?

The Nation has an interesting story about Bush’s man who heads up the FCC. It sounds complicated and a lot like inside baseball, but if you read between the lines, you’ll see a fine example of the corporate lackeys doing the bidding of their masters. They want to let big telecommunications companies charge fees so particular websites can buy priority treatment.

The article says, “Network neutrality is the first amendment of the internet. It prevents telecommunications corporations from rigging the web so it is easier to visit sites that pay for preferential treatment. And it is under attack from internet service providers that want to set up a system of two-tier internet access -- with an information superhighway for sites that pay premiums to the providers and the digital equivalent of a dirt road for sites that cannot afford to pay the toll.”

We’ve got two more years with these scalawags in power and we need to continue watching our backs—and our pockets. The FCC did away with the Fairness Doctrine under Reagan, and the media consolidation they’ve encouraged since then has led to homogenized radio stations and right-wing TV news lies coast-to-coast. Bu$hco has given us bankruptcy laws written by the banks, sent our kids off to war for the oil companies, given public forests to lumber companies, and prevented negotiations between Medicare and the drug firms. God help us if we let them sell our internet (remember, the government—taxpayers—built it) to the highest bidders.

Any of you other bloggers who value being able to speak your mind might want to think about this and not allow yourrself to believe the Net Neutrality battle is one you can afford to ignore. It’s not.

~

3 Comments:

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous HOTI said...

Michael, I work with the Hands Off the Internet coalition in opposing net neutrality regulations. At this time they are completely unnecessary and based merely on hypothetical situations and catch phrases like "the first amendment of the internet." In fact, there are no net neutrality regulations as of today and none of the claims of net neutrality supporters are coming true.

In the future, should any action be necessary to address anti-competitive practices, then Congress, FTC, and FCC, Department of Justice antitrust division can address these problems as they occur. You may find this interesting as Dr. Alfred Kahn, an influential deregulator in the Carter Administration notes,

"Why all the hysteria? There is nothing 'liberal' about the government rushing in to regulate these wonderfully promising turbulent developments. Liberals of both 18th and 20th--and I hope 21st--century varieties should and will put their trust in competition, reinforced by the antitrust laws--and direct regulation only when those institutions prove inadequate to protect the public."

http://www.pff.org/issues-pubs/ps/2006/ps2.24voiceofcautiononnetneutrality.html

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger Michael Nolan said...

Hoti,

Yeah, like we should trust Congress, FTC, FCC or DOJ to look out for the interests of the public rather than the interests of the corporations that own them all. You say, "should any action be necessary to address anti-competitive practices” we can expect them to step in and address them. To me, that’s ludicrous: we need net neutrality ensured before the horse has been let out of the barn.

 
At 5:56 AM, Anonymous HOTI said...

I understand that people may not trust these government entities to address any problems, but nobody has to trust them. Consumers won't stand for ISPs, for example, blocking access to a website. With the development of wi-fi, increasing competition between telco and cable cos, and broadband over power lines, consumers have more options than ever. Should an ISP engage in activities that are anti-competitive, the consumers can leverage their power by switching providers. I honestly don't believe that the ISPs would shoot themselves in the foot like that.

Also, the proposed "net neutrality" regulations would prohibit "discrimination" between packets. VOIP and IPTV packets should be prioritized over spam email to ensure that calls aren't dropped and that reception is of the highest quality. That is another reason we don't need to rush into extensively regulating the internet with "net neutrality."

 

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