Monday, August 30, 2010

The End Of The Open Internet?

The liberal US magazine The Nation reports that Google wants to transform wireless communications into a digital version of a bad cable TV package. Instead of a free and open Internet that will take all users where they want to go—thanks to the longstanding neutrality principle, which guarantees equal access to all websites and applications—the Google plans would permit Internet service providers to speed up access to some content while leaving the rest behind. Such "pay for priority" would allow big business to buy speed, quality and other advantages—which would not be merely commercial. Now that the American Supreme Court has afforded corporations electioneering rights equal to those of citizens, decisions about how we communicate have a profound political component to them. We will be forgiven for presuming that the fight to maintain equal access to the Internet, or "net neutrality," could not possibly be as consequential as our wrangling over matters economic, social and military. It's hard to get charged up for a fight on behalf of "neutrality." Yet if citizens do not engage—and fast—decisions made now about how we communicate could warp every political debate in the future.

1 comment:

  1. It is remarkable that we have got „net neutrality“ up to now. And perhaps the reason for this is a huge and widely spread awareness of its importance. Whenever I had contact with IT-experts I found something special in their mental attitude and engagement. For these guys “net neutrality” seems to be a part of human dignity. These people don´t fight for their rights on the street but sitting 24 hours a day in front of their screen firing bullets around the world.