Nothing But Net


Do No Evil

How many internets are there? Google, by virtue of its Android operating system, is in business with cell phone carriers and manufacturers. So it is no surprise that they recently sided with Verizon, the largest wireless broadband carrier, to argue that Congress should not give the FCC the power to require neutral wireless access to the internet. AT&T quickly followed suit. What this means is that attempts to convey information wirelessly may be “prioritized” by the corporations that control the air waves. That might be relatively benign such as the generic prioritization of packets conveying voice transmissions over those containing torrents to optimize the use of bandwidths. However, this freedom to prioritize without oversight could lead to throttling access to or from political organizations whose messages are at odds with those of the corporations.

See these carriers are also content providers and they could choose to prioritize transmission of their content versus that of an individual’s or a competitor’s. The reason the FCC, the government expression of “The Man”, regulating the internet for net neutrality is a good thing is because it prevents “The Man” of corporations from pursuing their corporate interests at the expense of a free people on a free internet. The Tea Party would have us believe that the internet would only be regulated by giving the FCC authority over it. Think about what the word ‘regulate’ means. Access to the internet is already regulated. The regulation is just done by the service providers in accordance with their corporate interests. We poor little guys better speak up now. Who knows when our posts will be blocked “to conserve bandwidth.” Failure to protect equal access to the internet, whether wireless or wireline, is one step closer to a totalitarian regime in which no cell phones will be able to post from the next Tiananmen Square.

Our free speech and access to free speech is being threatened by corporate self-interest and political naivety. There is one internet and it shouldn’t matter whether you’re an urbanite with wireline access or can only access it through your phone or portable device. Net neutrality for part of the population but not for another is not net neutrality. If you want to watch funny kittens on Vimeo instead of YouTube, Google shouldn’t be in a position to prevent that on your Android handset even if they have sold their soul to wireless carriers.

Can you tell I feel strongly about this?


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