Net Neutrality: Why should you care?
Net neutrality is a shortened name for the Internet Freedom Preservation Act. It was introduced and sponsored by Senators Dorgan (D-ND) and Snowe (R-ME) in 2007. The bill was co-sponsored by Democrat Sens. John Kerry (MA), Barbara Boxer (CA), Tom Harkin (IA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Hillary Clinton (NY) and Barack Obama (IL).
The goal of the legislation was to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from giving preferential treatment to content, applications or services over another.
Senator Dorgan touted the bill by saying, “Without a federal mandate for ‘net neutrality, broadband providers could be gatekeepers capable of deciding which content can get through to consumers, and which content providers could get special deals, faster speeds and better access to the consumer.”
Senator Snowe stated that the bill “marks another step toward ensuring the fate of the Internet lies in the hands of its users and not the hands of a few gatekeepers.”
In that same year, 2007, an amended version of the net neutrality bill passed in Maine. The first state in the nation to pass such a bill. Maine’s Office of the Public Advocate monitored activity on the federal and state levels for reporting back to the Legislature’s Utilities Committee by February 1, 2007.
Later in 2007, Congressional Democrats tried to attach the bill to a larger communications reform bill that modified national video franchising rules. The effort failed.
Fast forward to 2009. The bill now shows up as an FCC proposal that would also apply to wireless internet. AT&T, Comcast and others oppose the bill because it would allow the federal government to tell them how to handle data and traffic on their own networks.
This is why you should care
In essence, the government would micromanage internet traffic. They would be able to prioritize the content, applications and services you receive on the internet.
The Congressional Democrats’ want to classify the internet as a utility in order to accommodate the FCC’s desired regulations. However, the internet should not be considered a utility because of the complexity of the delivery of it & the amount of engagement necessary.
For instance, water & electricity are utilities. It does not take much to partake of water except a cup. For electricity, it only requires possibly a light bulb and a lamp. However, to engage in the internet requires software (e.g., operating system) and the creating and posting of content.
If the FCC gets its way, the federal government will determine which internet content you see & don’t see.
Remember the definition of “propoganda”?
References & resources:
Dems push net neutrality
Net neutrality bill wins final OK in Senate
US as traffic cop in web fight
Blackburn: Net neutrality is fairness doctrine for the internet
FCC votes to begin crafting net neutrality rules
FCC loses key ruling on internet neutrality