If the Obama administration’s FCC (the US Federal Communications Commission) has its way, the web sites of rich companies and large corporations will work fabulously on the web, and the sites of everyone else will work poorly or not at all. What better way to enshrine the status quo than by giving available internet bandwidth to rich corporations and denying it to everyone else. What better way to grace our minds with only the “right” opinions and news, and to censor dissent, inconvenient content, and those pesky “conspiracy theories” that keep turning out to be true.
That’s what the FCC is proposing: the end of what’s called Net Neutrality, under which all web sites have equal access to internet bandwidth. Obama repeatedly stated his support for Net Neutrality while campaigning, but I guess he has forgotten that for some reason, which is odd since here is a quote from January 2014:
In late January 2014, Obama appeared in a Google Hangout session as part of a “virtual whistle-stop tour.” In response to a Net neutrality question, he said: “It’s something that I’ve cared deeply about ever since I ran for office, in part because my own campaign was empowered by a free and open Internet and the ability for citizens all across this country to engage and create and find new ways, new tools to mobilize themselves. A lot of that couldn’t have been done if there were a lot of commercial barriers and roadblocks. So I’ve been a strong supporter of Net neutrality.
The problem is that, in typical revolving door fashion, the Obama administration has stacked the upper echelons of the FCC with people formerly paid by internet service providers and who are known attackers of Net Neutrality, such as:
Daniel Alvarez, an attorney who has long represented Comcast through the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. In 2010, Alvarez wrote a letter to the FCC on behalf of Comcast protesting net neutrality rules, arguing that regulators failed to appreciate “socially beneficial discrimination.”
What the end of Net Neutrality means is that companies can pay internet service providers for priority handling of internet traffic to and from their web sites, thus guaranteeing that their web sites perform better than those who are unable or unwilling to pay for such prioritization of their internet traffic. And you can be sure that it won’t be long before the government steps in directly with prioritization orders. “Socially beneficial discrimination.” They’ll probably even create a bogus court for it like the FISA court that rubber-stamp approves all government requests for spying.
In what I think is a first for Thundering Heard, I recommend that US citizens sign the petition for Net Neutrality at the White House web site. Yes, you have to create an account there to sign a petition, but if the petition garners 100,000 signatures, it forces the White House to publicly respond to the petition. Let’s force the administration to go public regarding a promise that Obama has repeated for years.
Here is a more extensive and excellent article on the topic by Mike Krieger: