Sunday, April 23, 2006

More on the Great Internet Debate...

Before I get to the substance of this post, I have promised a couple of my readers some pictures. So, this guy on the right is what I saw when walking into the coffee shop today. I didn't know they had K9 driver's licenses.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I have been throwing the concept of network neutrality around a lot lately, mostly because its such a hot issue, or at least the debate is heating up. The guys over at sure seem to think so. This kind of situation, especially when you consider the kinds of abuses that can take place under such a system. A recent post at GigaOM gives several reasons why net neutrality is necessary for the survival of the internet. Net neutrality will have other effects as well. If the net was essentially independently owned, as it would be under these proposals, then the government could easily regulate the content flowing over the internet and institute hideous programs that would require a rating system for web pages, or require data retention so that the government could easily search where a user has been or what a user has been doing. For the sake of both commercial and libertarian interests, net neutrality must be maintained. If not, technology will be relegated to the kind of high-cost, low-innovation, low-service systems criticized in the 1980's and 1990's because of monopolistic control. Worst case scenario, we end up with a system of private censorship that does not fall within the ambit of First Amendment protection. This would give corporations, and possibly the government, carte blanche to violate civil liberties in a medium that used to be the most open forum on the planet. This needs to end now, to insure equal and fair access to information.

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