congress passes telecom bill, breaks internet 06.09.2006, 2:29 AM
posted by ben vershbow
The benighted and corrupt U.S. House of Representatives, well greased by millions of lobbying dollars, has passed (321-101) the new telecommunications bill, the biggest and most far-reaching since 1996, "largely ratifying the policy agenda of the nation's largest telephone companies" (NYT). A net neutrality amendment put forth by a small band of democrats was readily defeated, bringing Verizon, Bell South, AT&T and the rest of them one step closer to remaking America's internet in their own stupid image.
Jesse Wilbur on June 9, 2006 3:54 PM:
It may be remade in a foolish fashion, but unfortunately it's not being remade stupidly. In fact, the networks want exactly the opposite: a network that's too smart for its own good. Networks that investigate all cargo to prioritize their own packets will end up destroying the very traffic they are trying to profit from.
ben vershbow on June 9, 2006 5:31 PM:
The broadband ads on TV get creepier by the day, all about instantaneous downloads, fast movies, fast photos. All about consumption -- "your world delivered." What's stupidest, and most short-sighted from a business perspective, is that discouraging many-to-many communication in favor of few-to-many entertainment delivery shuts out countless new ways of making money.
bowerbird on June 10, 2006 3:53 AM:
um, except let's not be confused about things.
for the big boys, it's _not_ about making money.
they've already got tons of money, and they know
as long as they stay in control, they always will.
so it's about power. holding on to their power.
and a big part of their power is being able to
define the terms by which debates take place.
(see chomsky and the manufacturing of consent.)
they don't want to see many-to-many happening
because that would make things far too messy...
it's one thing if ted turner and rupert murdoch
eat away at their edges, because they'll let them
join the rich club, after which they will act right.
but it's quite another when a million bloggers
start eating away at the edges. that's too big
of a paradigm shift to be absorbed so easily...
it doesn't threaten the rich boy status quo when
one person starts talking to thousands of others.
but when _thousands_ of people start talking
to thousands of other people, the multiplication
means millions, and that might tip some scales.
so they are going to try and nip that in the bud.
we need to _expect_ that that's what they'll try,
and we need to be smart enough to thwart them.
the notion that they will just sit back and let us
disintermediate them from their power is naive.
they've let the game play itself out thus far, but
they aren't stupid about the direction it's heading.
they now know they need to rein the thing in soon.
watch 'em, because they'll be sneaky about it too.
notice, for instance, how they're now working on
trying to get changes made under the rubric of
_international_treaties_ and "harmonization",
since those routes neatly and unequivocally remove
matters from voters' hands in various countries...
it's too easy -- and wrong -- to think of the changes
that we're making in terms of mere communications.
who we talk to, and the things we say to each other,
are intimately tied with the essence of being human.
this is why oppressors strip slaves of their language.
we are revolutionizing human relationships, nothing less.
Gary Frost on June 11, 2006 12:28 AM:
reading mode and governance mode
On the bright side, computers augment our native abilities to sort, search and discover. On the dark side, the search results, unbeknown to the reader, can be preselected, manipulated or censured. So contrasts between print and screen reading include issues of democratic governance. These issues are not much different than those posed by paper ballots vs. electronic voting.
"Under a secret ballot system, there is no known input, nor is there any expected output with which to compare electoral results. Hence, electronic electoral result cannot be verified by humans and the people need to have an absolute faith in the accuracy, honesty and security of the whole electoral apparatus (people, software and hardware). Requiring reliance on such faith may not be considered compatible with democracy." Wikipedia