Today the Federal Communications Commission is expected to hand over the Internet to corporate control, giving AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cisco, Qwest, and other companies carte blanche to discriminate against different forms of content. The two Democratic FCC commissioners, Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, caved to the corporatists on Monday.
Net neutrality is an essentially conservative idea – meaning that it seeks to preserve a core principle of the status quo. Remember just three years ago, when candidate Barack Obama pledged to support the principle of a free and open Internet?
“I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality. Because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose. The Internet is perhaps the most open network in history, and we have to keep it that way.”
From Barack Obama’s address at Google in November 2007
In a Senate floor speech last Saturday, Senator Al Franken explained what the FCC is doing:
“Maybe you like Google Maps. Well, tough. If the FCC passes this weak rule, Verizon will be able to cut off access to the Google Maps app on your phone and force you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it is not as good. And even if they charge money, when Google Maps is free.
…If corporations are allowed to prioritize content on the Internet, or they are allowed to block applications you access on your iPhone, there is nothing to prevent those same corporations from censoring political speech.”
So, we’re losing the freedom of the Internet and a Democratic administration is responsible. Once again, President Obama is making all the people who voted for him feel like they made an embarrassing mistake.
UPDATE: Conservatives Freak Out Over Mild Net Neutrality Laws: ‘It’s Total Government Control Of The Internet’ Note to right-wingers: the Internet was created by the U.S. government and corporations don’t own it.
More info: Democracy Now!