Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Right-wing Seeks to Take Your Internet

From Matt Stoller @ MyDD:

I remember when lots of people used to say that 'information wants to be free.' I used to think this as well. The reality is that information is brought to you by pipes, and the government currently makes sure that no one can regulate what goes through those pipes. That's why the internet works, and if ATT had had its way, the internet would never have been created. You see, as Moveon is constantly finding out, when a large company has the right to choose what gets shown through its pipes, they often choose censorship. The internet's architecture has made this impossible, until now.

You see, the right-wing movement has just turned its attention to the free nature of the internet. No, this is no joke. There's a really nasty bill threading through Congress put out by telco-funded Joe Barton that will basically wreck the ability of ordinary people to use the internet, making the web the province of large and well-capitalized companies. Barton's bill will allow telecom companies to charge people for putting up web sites, blogging, using VOIP services, IMing, or anything else. It will allow them to discrimate against certain types of content, and yes, that's an ominous and very bad step. Congressman Markey is working against it, and for the principle of 'net neutrality'.

This is scary stuff. The right-wing used to be against regulation; as it turns out, they just want to privatize who gets to regulate.

We are going to be seeing stuff like this on a regular basis until and unless the Rethugs lose control of at least one chamber of Congress. And I agree with Matt: this is the whole shooting match for the power of folks like us on the Internet. The Republicans will dress it up as freemarket deregulation, but the truth is that they are beginning to recognize how dangerous we are, and they are not amused.

So as with ANWR, we will fignt and win, and it will come back, and we'll have to fight all over again, until, with a little luck, we run out the Republican clock.


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