In January 2011, thousands gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, threatening for the first time the 30-year dictatorship of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Decades of suppressed dissent was finding an outlet in the streets and online as well. Six months earlier, in Alexandria, 28-year-old Khaled Saeed was dragged out of a cybercafe and beaten to death by police. Photos of his corpse, released by his family, went viral on the Internet, fomenting discontent.
“The large Internet providers will be prevented from discriminating against people who publish on the Internet, or against those who seek out information on the Internet. All must be treated equally, regardless of race, color, beliefs and, perhaps most importantly, how rich they are. The major corporate ISPs have lobbied hard to create a multitiered Internet to squeeze more profit out of this public treasure. Tom Wheeler and the other commissioners have listened, not only to President Obama, but to the public, millions of people who have demanded the fundamental right to communicate without discrimination.”
Wheeler’s statement is great news, but let’s see what the Commission actually does, and then let’s see what the industry and the Congress it so heavily influences do. The corporations will certainly not stop trying to force-feed us their version of “freedom.”
In an age where the privatization of public utilities such as water systems is very much “on the table,” declaring the Internet a public utility is positive, but also speaks to the need to work out a fundamental disempowerment of the corporatist predators who are rapidly “privatizing” (stealing) everything from the genetic foundation of life, to the minerals in outer space.
We have a LOT of work to do. We need to keep working out how to exercise popular power on behalf of all, to completely end the destructive practices of false corporatist “freedom” that are carving up the ecology and society.
Not being a lawyer, the following is purely speculative skepticism. I wonder if this development will somehow evolve into a control structure through the use of taxes. Perhaps ISPs will be subject to a tax burden, which would likely be the switch to the bait of “net neutrality”. I am not predicting anything here, just being cautiously optimistic about this development. Such taxes could either be progressive (based on traffic) or regressive (high entry fee) in character. I’ll know more in about ten years…
It’s good that net neutrality is back, but, yes, there is lots of work to do, and we’ve got a long way to go.
Relying rather heavily on free Wi-Fi at my local library, I am certainly glad to see net neutrality make a come back. I hope it stays.
Good thinking! At first, I was surprised by your comment but then realized we should never assume that a gov’t intention is what it appears. One has to ask what’s in it for them as well as looking at a positive development.
This was a reply to WISE OWL Maybe some bugs to still work out.
This is very good news indeed. The devil is always in the details, however. Congress already has at least one bill in the works which will strip the FCC from exercising its authority in this way. There will be law suits aplenty from the cable and phone companies. If SCOTUS ever gets involved, net neutrality is dead meat. Finally, there’s TPP – need I say more? As a previous poster has noted, the FCC’s ruling is but the first step albeit a big one. Anyone who is concerned about this issue must not think for a second that the fight for a free and open internet is over.