THE END OF THE INTERNET?
[SOURCE: The Nation, AUTHOR: Jeff Chester] [Commentary] Verizon,
Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing
strategies that would track and store information on our every move in
cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of
which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white
papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and
telecommunications industries, those with the deepest
pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers --
would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have
first priority on our computer and television screens, while information
seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be
relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out. Under the plans they are
considering, all of us--from content providers to individual users --
would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail.
Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further
limit the online experience, establishing "platinum,"
"gold" and "silver" levels of Internet access that would set limits on
the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that
could be sent or received. To make this pay-to-play vision a reality,
phone and cable lobbyists are now engaged in a political campaign to
further weaken the nation's communications policy laws.
They want the federal government to permit them to operate Internet and
other digital communications services as private networks, free of
policy safeguards or governmental oversight.
Indeed, both the Congress and the Federal Communications Commission are
considering proposals that will have far-reaching impact on the
Internet's future. Ten years after passage of the ill-advised
Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone and cable companies are using
the same political snake oil to convince compromised or clueless
lawmakers to subvert the Internet into a turbo-charged digital retail
* Links to White Papers mentioned above:
* Grand Rapids requires Network Neutrality in municipal wireless network
* Just Say No(thing)
* The Real Bandwidth Hog? The Telcos
From Benton's Communications Related Headlines
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