by Sheila Dean
It's quizzical to me and many others why the Internet needs any regulation. Open source platforms don't require any interference. Nevertheless, everyone who uses the Internet should be considering what would be gained or lost when it comes to web governance, myself included.
First, I needed to do some research. I started looking for more and any information on the debate outside of expert conventions. This, of course, was just to explore what's out there.
And that is when I found NetCompetition.org - an e-forum promoting competitive Internet choices for consumers. They explain the arguments for and against Net Neutrality and give updates on what is actually happening in the struggle for control of web communication.
As a fallback position, I applied a convenient personal algorithm to any government propulsion league like the FCC: that which governs least, governs best. I've recently become quite spoiled by unregulated free speech, as a blogger and online talk radio host. It is really nice not to worry about hefty fines for dropping an f-bomb.
When I think of a society where the government regulates communication, specifically the internet, I think of China. China doesn't have a super high jail population. So who are the criminals in their jails? Sometimes, it is people like muckraking journalists and other "dissidents" who spoke up against totalitarian governance. China pinches off access to sites in order to control populist communication. Their people cannot view things the government interprets as wrong for the country. So regulation of the internet can be done, because it was done in China.
The Chinese standard of net communication is certainly not appropriate for America. Many tend to believe that an open source Internet is an extension of our 1st Amendment.
The U.S. government flirts with totalitarianism for many reasons, among them unparalleled militarized empire. However, its is still an aberration to hear about U.S. citizens imprisoned conveniently for disagreeing with our government; indefinitely and without representation. We are still pretty far from that being the standard.
A unique problem in America, and unfortunately the world, is when we can't reign in U.S. corporations for being criminal and unethical reckless destroyers of private property, human life, and perpetual occupying aggressors in foreign nations on the public dime. That is why giving the FCC the go ahead in this arena seems to be a different face of the same group of power grabbing corporations. Special interests step in and tell the government what they want to happen.
Balance is required. Important questions asked are: do we regulate businesses so they won't dominate what people get to see? Or ... Do we not regulate the open source wild west we all know and love? Is it really that free anymore and is the party really over?
The illusions come off as more information becomes available about ambitions to control or block control of the internet. The net neutrality game is definitely something that requires our attention. It is more complex than the options to do nothing or let the government decide.
The good news is there is currently is no cost or government rules against thinking about the subject and we certainly encourage you to do just that.