Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Net Neutrality and how this will affect you.

How many of us are old enough to remember dial up internet.  The seconds of waiting for the old modem to kick in, the sound of a cat fighting a fax machine, the minutes it sometimes took for that modem to connect to a server, and then the blissful joy of waiting for websites to load.  I remember waiting five minutes or more sometimes for my old dial up modem to connect to my college so I could submit a paper, and then waiting several more minutes for a ten to fifteen page paper to upload.  I remember professors becoming agitated with me because assignments would come in several minutes late.

Grand news, if you don't remember that, you are about to potentially experience that hell for yourself.  It seems that our Supreme Court that has been bought, lot stock and two smoking barrels has ruled against the FCC, which has been trying to prevent this from happening to our slow speed high speed internet.  Yeah our high speed internet sucks compared to most other countries that have it.  But we had a bright spot, our service providers could not throttle down our connections to some websites.  Basically, if I wanted to go to AOL for my email, Justica to look at some recent court cases, visit Bernie Sanders online, and stream porn, those sites had to be given equal opportunity.  Basically, if it is legal, it will load at the same speed as anything else on the web, providing there isn't a server issue.

But now, that is not the case.  Verizon (courtesy of Citizens United) claimed that the FCC saying you have to treat all web traffic the same cried that their Free Speech was impeded, and that it took away their right to run their company as they saw fit.  Basically, they claimed that the FCC under the authority granted to it by the FCC open internet rules, removed control of the content it's networks transmitted. 

So in essence, you can get a flaming barbed wire baseball bat inserted where the sun doesn't shine, and you know what you can do about it.  Call your provider, I am sure they would love to sell you an upgraded package for a few dollars more.  Perhaps a new unlimited plan attached to your bundle for more money.  Now, I am not expert in these matters, but it costs more to tinker with the internet, than it does to treat everything the same, but they won't pay for it, we will.  I think we can all see how I feel about this, internet providers would be free to charge website hosts for better access connections to their content.  They would also be free to slow down or even block access to particular sites, based on any type of policy that company adopts.  Think about this, when I moved to West Virginia, I had always used AOL, a company with servers everywhere in the United States, but there was one server near me, and that was a long distance call, just to get onto the internet.  Well, this is basically the same thing, if you are in a region with Comcast with who you get your email, they can throttle back Verizon or AOL, just to force you into using their sites, which makes them more money from advertising. 

For its part Verizon says they aren't going to change a thing.  Sure, I believe them, I believe them as far as I can piss in a blizzard.  When companies are given free reign to do as they see fit, which they have in this case, they tend to slowly start abusing that free reign, and before we know it we have toxic chemicals floating down a river that supplies our drinking water.  The single largest source of information in the known universe is about to be cut off, and unless we start raising hell with our representatives in congress we will be stuck getting news from places like Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and other biased sources, rather than blogs, and other news services.

Here is the link so you can find your legislator in Washington, raise hell with them, demand they enact laws that strip non-entities such as Verizon of the freedom of speech, demand that rules be put into place that companies cannot slow down service speed for specific sites on the internet.  So which is more important to you, your rights or those of companies that you pay your money to?

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