- Net Neutrality is the last frontier of press freedom.
With it, consumers have open access to an array of equipment, content,
applications and service, free from corporate control. Public interest
groups want it preserved. Giant telecom and cable companies want control
- establish toll roads, or premium lanes;
- charge extra for speed and free and easy access;
- control content to stifle dissent and independent thought;
- co-opt this essential public space for profit; and
- subvert digital and political democracy.
- As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to "(s)upport
the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition
on the Internet."
- Obama made lots of promises he broke, notably not delivering
promised change. Instead, he's been the standard bearer for corrupt political/business
as usual, elevating it to more extreme levels at home and abroad.
- He governs more like a crime boss in league with Wall
Street, America's military industrial complex profiteers, and other corporate
- He systematically spurns democratic values, freedoms,
and rule of law principles. Betraying working Americans, he implemented
austerity, not vital aid when most needed in hard times.
- He ignores growing poverty, hunger, homelessless and
- He champions expanded militarism, imperial wars, and
- He praises murdering American citizens abroad in cold
blood. Anwar al-Awlaki broke no laws, but never got due process to explain.
He was killed for opposing US imperial lawlessness globally. That perhaps
also makes millions at home targets.
- He systematically spurns fundamental human and civil
- He supports open-ended banker bailouts, other generous
corporate handouts, and tax cuts for super-rich elites already with too
- Will Internet freedom fare better on his watch? It prevents
providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based
on its source, ownership or destination.
- Losing it will stifle innovation, limit competition and
control. It will also restrict or prevent free access to information.
- If lost, consumers will be sacrificed to benefit powerful
telecom and cable giants. In fact, they lobby furiously to destroy Internet
freedom for greater profits and control of online content.
- Many congressional members support them. On February
6, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R. TX) introduced "SJ Res. 6: A joint
resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications
with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices."
- The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce, Science
and Transportation Committee. No further action so far was taken.
- Forty Republican senators co-sponsored it, including
Lamar Alexander (R. TN, Susan Collins (R. ME), Lindsey Graham (R. SC),
Charles Grassley (R. IA), Orrin Hatch (R. UT), John McCain (R. AZ), Mitch
McConnell (R. KY), Rand Paul (R. KY), Richard Shelby (R. AL), and Olympia
Snowe (R. ME), and 30 others.
- All get generous industry handouts (read bribes) to support
legislation harming their constituents.
- Writing for freepress.net, Tim Karr headlined "High
Noon for Internet Freedom," saying:
- This "arcane 'resolution of disapproval' now wend(s)
its way through the Senate." If passed, it'll void a recent FCC rule,
"seek(ing) to preserve long-held Internet standards that protect users
against blocking and censorship."
- Many in Washington want these and other protections ended,
including AT&T, other telecom and cable giants, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan
Chase, Bank of America, and ExxonMobil, among many others.
- With 81 co-sponsors, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R. TN) introduced
a similar House measure on January 5, 2011:
- "HR 96: Internet Freedom Act: To prohibit the Federal
Communications Commission from further regulating the Internet."
- The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce
Committee and its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. No further
action so far was taken.
- Tea Party favorite Blackburn compares Net Neutrality
to communist tyranny, saying:
- "The FCC is in essence building an Internet Iron
Curtain that will restrict more of our freedom....It is just another example
of a federal agency defying the will of the people."
- It's making a "vampiric leap from its traditional
jurisdiction - the terrestrial radio and land line telephones that have
fallen into disuse - onto the gifts piled neatly under our trees. The iPads
and iPhones, Androids, Wiis, Webbooks and WiFi will all feel the federal
bite in a way they never have before...."
- In fact, new FCC rules benefit providers by discriminating
favorably for them between wired and wireless Internet access. More on
- "(T)he FCC is effectively nationalizing the Web,"
says Blackburn, adding that "the new Congress will prove a swift antidote
to the federal bloodsucker you found at your throat this Christmas."
- With support from enough congressional members like her,
Internet freedom may be going, going, gone.
- In contrast, at least 90% of Americans want Net Neutrality
preserved. Whether or not Congress goes along is very much in doubt.
- If measures like SJ Res. 6 and HR 96 pass, FCC power
to protect Internet freedom will be lost. Cable and telecom giants will
subvert digital democracy as explained above.
- They'll be able to wreck "open architecture that
has made the Internet a great equalizer for all users," according
- They want Congress to let them "manage the abundance
of user-driven innovations online," as well as updated future versions
and new technologies.
- They claim ending open access will best manage Internet
traffic and content efficiently. Corporations want greater profits. They
and congressional hard-liners also fear free flowing information and global
democratic organizing movements online.
- Occupy Wall Street protests are enlisting supporters
nationwide this way. So have others worldwide for denied freedoms and others
- At issue is will everyone reading articles like this
online mobilize to save what perhaps they'll lose otherwise.
- Free expression and other fundamental freedoms are on
the line. It's up to ordinary people to save them.
- A Final Comment
- A September 28 freepress.net press release headlined,
"Free Press Files Suit to Challenge FCC's Open Internet Rules,"
- Free Press "will challenge the arbitrary nature
of rule provisions that provide less protection for mobile wireless Internet
access than they do for wired connections."
- According to Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood:
- Open Internet rules "came with the understanding
that there is only one Internet, no matter how people choose to reach it."
- New FCC rules "fail to protect wireless users from
discrimination, and they let mobile providers block innovative applications
- Arbitrarily discriminating between wired and wireless
Internet access is unjustified, especially as wireless popularity grows.
- Free Press promises to "fight in court" for
stronger rules. They want equal protections for everyone online. Digital
democracy depends on it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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