Saturday, January 27, 2007

Beyond Net Neutrality: Internet Freedom

Bush likes to talk about the defining fight of our time.

Well, in my mind, that fight is over Net Neutrality.

The Internet is the Central Nervous System of the Peace Movement of today. Without its democratizing effect, public opinion would not have turned against the war in Iraq so soon.

If, as in past American military misadventures, we had only our own corporate news media to rely on for information and background, we would be ill-informed, indeed.

If the Peace Movement only had protests to express our dissent, no one would have heard it at all, even now. No major protest has been covered by the news media, since before the bombing began, in March 2003.

Even though there have been hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of NYC, L.A, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle and other cities around the country, unless one was there, one might never know it.

The Internet is a huge market place of ideas and creativity in finding solutions to the huge problems facing all of us; climate change and fossil fuel depletion , madmen running nations with nukes, health-care and a big population of boomers reaching retirement age.

Finding ways to transit this dangerous time and, in the process, transform our nation and its institutions to better serve the people, is made possible by the Internet.

It isn't technology, in an of itself, that is bad or good, but how we use it. Some have chosen to employ the Net for evil or less than noble purposes. Others try to employ it for good purposes

Some used fire for evil purposes, while others used it to cook food and heat and light their homes.

And so it has been, throughout history, and so it will always be until the hearts of mankind catch up with the minds of mankind and there is grounded balance, making way for right action.

Fight for our Internet! - Beyond Net Neutrality: Internet Freedom:

Ben Scott is policy director for Free Press, the national, nonpartisan media reform group.

A year ago, the future of the free and open Internet looked pretty grim. The telephone companies were firing up the engines of one of the biggest lobbying campaigns in history. All told in 2006, they would spend more than $100 million on advertising, lobbying, campaign contributions, slanted research from coin-operated think tanks and an array of astro-turf groups—in an attempt to rewrite communications law. At the top of the priority list was the destruction of “network neutrality.”

Net neutrality is the basic principle that keeps the companies connecting your house to the global network from discriminating against content flowing over the Internet based on its source or ownership. As a result, the Internet has grown into the greatest engine of democratic participation, free speech and economic innovation since the printing press.

When the dust cleared in the 2006 fight in Congress over Net neutrality, the telephone lobby—and its hundreds of millions of dollars—fell short. They were thwarted by the grassroots Coalition, which brought together more than 800 organizations and collected 1.5 million petitions supporting Net neutrality.

1 comment:

HOTI said...

I completely agree with you that, "The Internet is a huge market place of ideas and creativity in finding solutions to the huge problems facing all of us." However, I don't see the net neutrality as helping to preserve this.

In fact I am opposed to these regulations and believe they will create many more problems and restrictions than they seek to remedy. I have been following this debate in my work with the Hands Off the Internet coalition and would urge you to consider that net neutrality isn't a black and white issue.

As Carnegie Mellon Prof. and “Godfather of the Internet” David Farber and Michael Katz, Chief Economist at the FCC during the Clinton Administration argue,

“Unfortunately, congressional initiatives aimed at preserving the best of the old Internet threaten to stifle the emergence of the new one.”Network neutrality is supposed to promote continuing Internet innovation by restricting the ability of network owners to give certain traffic priority based on the content or application being carried or on the sender’s willingness to pay. The problem is that these restrictions would prohibit practices that could increase the value of the Internet for customers.”

Even, Robert Kahn, one of the developers of the internet is warning against net neutrality.

"Kahn rejected the term 'Net Neutrality', calling it 'a slogan'. He cautioned against dogmatic views of network architecture, saying the need for experimentation at the edges shouldn't come at the expense of improvements elsewhere in the network."