Friday, April 21, 2006

Say Goodbye to the Internet You Know and Love

I've been waiting for this. When George Bush took office in 2001, he had no idea that the internets and webs would come to embody the true meaning of 'freedom of information'. When George Bush took office in 2001, he thought that all he had to contend with was CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and a few newspapers. He thought that as long as he a had the right people saying the right things, or rather saying little to nothing about the real issues, he could skate through his Presidency and World War III with no one knowing for sure what had happened, no one doubting the administration's integrity or honesty, and everyone believing that wise, experienced heads were running the show.

But thanks to the internets, and a few whistleblowers, we know that every move this administration has ever made has been to further the interests of corporate donors, revive the dormant war machine, and line the pockets of the well-connected; to the detriment of the poor, the middle class, and even those who think they're rich until their taxes come due, then find out that they need to be a LOT richer to catch a break from this government. Thanks to the internets we know that 2,280+ men and women have died in vain, 17,000+ are maimed for life because of revenge, and the Middle East hates us not for our freedoms, but for our policies and hypocrisy.

Thanks to the internets we know that the high and honorable office of President of the United States has been stained and disgraced on a global scale to the point where people who can think farther than their noses and care about a bright future seriously doubt that things will ever be the way they were (during Clinton) ever again.

But soon that's all going to change. Not the lying and looting and finger-pointing and war-mongering; no no - us finding out about it all on the internet is what's going to change. Congress is considering a bill that will allow AT&T and cable providers to "tier" their services, with fast lanes and slow lanes, depending on how much the website/small business/big business can afford. In other words, certain websites will open faster than others, based on how much money they've paid for the privilege. Other websites, that either don't have the money or simply don't believe in blackmail, will open slower (remember dial-up?) or mysteriously not at all.

Already there are reports of tampering:

AOL blocked e-mails from to it's subscribers that mentioned it's partnership with a coalition that opposes AOL's efforts to tax email.

Telus, a Canadian communications giant, was in a labor dispute with it's employees so it blocked access to a website operated by members of the Telecommunications Worker's Union, claiming privacy concerns and accusing them of organizing phone jamming at Telus. The local Civil Liberties Association, accessing the site from a different server, found no such evidence.

But what does this mean to you? Your internet choices are about to be seriously curtailed. Your favorite news site, your favorite blogs, your favorite on-line shopping site, your favorite gaming site, your favorite search engine, may not be able or willing to pay for a fast lane. Those sites will load and process information much slower than sites who have paid who-knows-how-much for good service.

This is just the first step toward censorship on the internet. How will anyone ever find out in the convoluted mess, if sites have been purposely tampered with or how much traffic a slow lane can handle before websites fail to load at all, how much bandwidth is appointed to the "free loaders" and if prices are fair across the board to all sites on a certain tier, and how much money moves under the table.... combine with a little data mining and you've got a delicious recipe for corruption. Republican Corruption Soup - a dirty, complicated recipe with a list of ingredients as long as your arm.

Please sign the petition to Congress supporting network neutrality and make it clear that you want fair and balanced access to any and every website.


Anonymous Horvat said...

Signed and sealed it.

3:44 PM  

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