Jan 25, 2014



I NEVER write about anything remotely dealing with politics or social issues on this blog. That's not why you come here, and this isn't at all what I want to write about.

But this...there's just no turning a blind eye toward it. I would feel completely ashamed if I didn't at least try help to spread the word about this, what's potentially about to go down, and what it could mean.

First, the issue, using complicated jargon:
On January 14, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the Federal Communications Commission's open internet rules, commonly known as "Net Neutrality" because ISPs are not classified as "common carriers". This ruling allows ISPs to charge companies for access to its users and charge users for access to certain services. Fewer companies will be able to afford access for innovative ideas and products.

We urge the President to direct the FCC to classify ISPs as "common carriers" so that the words of the FCC chairman may be fulfilled: “I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.”
What this means to you, the avid Internetter, whether for leisure or your job:
CNET: For instance, the ruling opens the door for broadband and backbone Internet providers to develop new lines of business, such as charging Internet content companies, like Netflix, Amazon, or Google, access fees to their networks. Companies like Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and others could offer priority access over their networks to ensure streaming services from a Netflix or Amazon don't buffer when they hit network congestion, providing a better experience for end users.

NPR: Net neutrality advocates fear that if the federal government stops enforcing rules to keep the pipelines free and open, then certain companies will be able to get greater access to Internet users. That, they say, creates a system of haves and have-nots — the richest companies could get access to a wider swath of Internet users, for example, and that could prevent the next Google from getting off the ground. Judge David Tatel, who was part of the three-judge panel, said that striking down net neutrality could have negative effects on consumers.  "The commission has adequately supported and explained its conclusion that absent rules such as those set forth in the Open Internet Order, broadband providers represent a threat to Internet openness and could act in ways that would ultimately inhibit the speed and extent of future broadband deployment," he said, adding that broadband companies have "powerful incentives" to charge for prioritized access or to exclude services that competed with their own offerings.

Wired: Whether we want to admit it or not, we continue to give more control over the internet to the government.  We’ve been so focused on how the FCC “lost” the net neutrality order, that we may not realize the Commission could now have unchecked powers over regulating the internet, argue TechFreedom’s Berin Szoka and International Center for Law & Economics’s Geoffrey Manne. No matter what you think of government regulation — that it’s always somewhat necessary or inevitably inadequate for complex issues – nothing good comes out of giving any agency unchecked power (just look at the NSA, or even the U.N. attempts at internet governance). What’s worse is that we won’t see it coming, because the FCC’s power will creep in incrementally, on a case-by-case basis — a death by a thousand cuts.
Now that you've soaked all of that in, go here.

No comments:

Post a Comment