If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!
The boys are now about 8 months old (approx 4 months when we got them). They prefer fish to chicken and turkey mix in their canned food but are drawn to all plates if allowed near our dinner.
They spend hours running and jumping on everything, especially each other. Eager to watch out the window, we have taken them into the backyard on leashes. They were tentative but inquisitive as they explored the grass, plants, and enjoyed the light breeze. During one escape, they quickly found the shelter of a nearby bush and nibbled on grass. Good runners but I managed to encourage them to dive back into the house in a few minutes.
Although they enjoy sleeping in our bed, we don’t enjoy their middle of the night wake up to jump and play antics so we shut the door and they eventually go lie down in their own bedroom.
We have allowed our government to spy on us, with nearly unlimited power and secrecy. The FISA Court is the minimal protection we have placed as a check but it operates in secret. We don’t know we are subject to eavesdropping, the collaborating telecommunications companies are not free to tell us our conversation details are being sought. Except for a handful of Congressman there is no one to monitor the extent of the spying. How is this different from the many totalitarian regimes around the world that we accuse of violating privacy and protections of their own people?
If we do not act now to rein in the NSA’s flagrant disregard of the limits to their spying, the US will degenerate into a fearful state of distrust. We will lose the rule of law and be subject to the manipulations of a few powerful men who will rule by using their threats and intimidate with the backing of the government’s police and military forces, ignoring courts and long fought for legal protections.
Net neutrality is the principle that all content on the internet is equal and is transported via the various computers without bias to originator or receiver. No favoritism on the basis of money, corporate or government scrutiny or censorship is permitted. That is until today.
The FCC chairman and board just approved a rule that permits wireless carriers such as AT&T to discriminate; they will be permitted to throttle content based on their own prioritization. This may be the first step towards disrupting the free flow of information that built the internet into the creative, lively, enterprising and critical free speech medium that most of the world now relies on.
Think about this: suppose the ordinary roads and highways were modified not only for the limited access car pool lanes but all lanes were regulated so that large corporations or governments had the right of way. The ordinary citizen driving to work, home, play, casually or hurrying for an emergency, would have to wait until the corporate vehicle traffic went by first. All the time! Without any notice of possible delays to your commuting.
What if the corporations were allowed to control the on ramp to the highway? They could, with permission from the FCC, decide that you could only get on between 10 am and 11:30 am. And they could even decide that only cars newer than 2 years old would be allowed. Or only cars bearing the logo of the corporation are permitted. Remember. These are not just private roads but all roads, built with public funds.
We currently depend on and trust search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing to locate web sites for us. The top results are already infused with advertising to lure us to sites that want our viewing and our money. Suppose that the search results were deliberately skewed to favor certain corporate or government approved sites. How would it affect your life?
Imagine just how badly censorship affects life in any number of countries with repressive regimes. Where do you think it will lead us in the US if government or corporate bias and censorship is accepted as the norm?
With an unhealthy boost from the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited spending by just about anyone (as an enormously twisted view of free speech) we witnessed the first election where corporations were allowed to secretly spend unlimited amounts of money through front-groups to try to buy elections. (see my previous post for examples) Right now Congress is considering passing a bill, the DISCLOSE Act, that would curtail the secrecy and force front-groups to let voters know which corporations and CEOs are funding their political attacks.
I just signed a petition urging Congress pass the DISCLOSE Act before the end of the year. The bill has bipartisan support but it won’t move forward unless voters demand action. Follow this link to sign the petition:
This is just a tiny step towards clearing the fog from people’s eyes about who is shouting at them to vote a particular way. Of course, if people make no attempt to read and listen and ask questions, we will truly become a banana republic.