Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Net Neutrality is Not Some Geeky Concept: It's the First Amendment Itself

Net Neutrality is still an obscure term for a lot of folks. Under Obama, the FCC put Internet providers in the same Common Carrier II class as the phone companies and protected the public. Think of it this way:
Telephone as Common Carrier utility. The phone rings, and you answer it and talk to your mother or whomever you wish about anything you wish. You pay for the service, but the phone company does not charge you more to speak to one person over another, or does not require that you must speak to certain persons or that you must not speak to certain persons or companies.
Telephone as Not Common Carrier. The phone company can dictate to whom you speak, whom you call, who can call you, and can charge you different rates depending on who it is. The service that transmits your call also determines the content of your call -- what you talk about and with whom. Wouldn't you be outraged if in the middle of a conversation with your mother a phone company recording broke in with a commercial, or stated your mother was not a preferred content provider, or required you to pay a premium to speak with her or certain others that the phone company did not "own?"  
Now, apply that to the Internet. That's Net Neutrality.  
Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a former Verizon attorney! WTF? Under Obama, the public got protections from abuses by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) cartel, and the First Amendment and the people were put ahead of these corporations.
Under Trump, the Giant ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, having paid millions to lobbyists and other to buy Congress, are about to have their way and shed any limitations on what they can get away with.
The Internet is the most democratic device we have now in the U.S. -- the electoral process has lost the voters who have been cheated and gerrymandered out of a voice. If taken over more completely by the ISPs, the Internet will become cable TV. Less will be free, and they will push their own programming (think Comcast which owns NBC favoring NBC's years of content) at the expense of others -- think Netflix getting their transmissions interrupted by the likes of Comcast, which has happened. 
The Internet is the last level playing field, where regular people have a chance to speak and compete.Internet Equal Rights, aka Net Neutrality, is supposed to protect democracy, freedom, First Amendment and the public interest -- not narrow corporate interests, which are already stinking rich enough and do not need extra government handouts.