I don’t usually get worked up about many things. I tend to believe that most things will take care of themselves, and individuals cannot do much to change things in a short time.

That might seem like fatalism, but it really isn’t – it is simply realism, I believe.

I have been reading so many things about the changes coming to the internet and I do feel that we, those who care, need to do something to keep those whose only interest is monetary gain from the internet, from ruining everything. This includes the Comcasts, the AT&Ts, the Rupert Murdochs, and any other entity that would adversely affect the internet.

First, the idea of adverse changes, in my mind, is anything that would change the complete freedom that we have to do just about anything. Certainly crime should not be allowed, but anything that is not criminal should be fully allowed.

That means that I was fully against the way that the attorney general of New York state practically ended the inclusion of newsgroups in internet packages, something that had been basically accepted as part and parcel of the internet account from the very beginning. Mr. Cuomo decided that it was necessary to destroy the 20-story building, in order to get rid of some rats in the basement. It was a bad idea, and not nearly enough people spoke up about it.

So what happened? The greedy providers used his antics to push a hidden price increase, by removing newsgroups from an account with an ISP, it effectively raised rates by 20% to 33%.

Now, we have John McCain, fully in the pocket of big telcos, bringing something called the Internet Freedom Act of 2009 to Congress, which would be funny if it was not so seriously screwed up. The only freedom that is apparently guaranteed with its passage is for the big companies, not any individuals.

With that assault on our senses, we also have people like Rupert Murdoch trying to make sure that there are coin slots on our internet modems, so that each new place visited can be properly monetized – for the word that is most offensive to his sensibilities is a four- letter one spelled F-R-E-E.

The changes that the Obama administration is working toward seem to be focussed in the right direction, but just yesterday I read an article in ComputerWorld, asking if a neutral internet is within the power of the FCC. I do know, first-hand, that things will have to change at the FCC, because it will take will and more bodies to power the enforcement of the rules put into place.

Another article, from slashdot, gives a bit more meat to the story of the upcoming changes, and though it might be too early to tell, the places that the current administration is looking for help seem to be ones that many will welcome, but the same people who believe that the McCain bill will supply ‘freedom’ will look at the origins of the posited change and  become apoplectic.

“The Obama administration is looking to the southern hemisphere for tips on how to improve the broadband situation in the US. The key telco adviser to the president, Sarah Crawford, has met with Australian telco analysts recently to find out how the Aussies are rolling out their $40 billion+ national broadband network. It is also rumored that the Obama administration is looking to the Dutch and New Zealand situations for inspiration too. The article quotes an Aussie analyst as saying: ‘There needs to be a multiplier effect in the investment you make in telecoms — it should not just be limited to high-speed Internet. That is pretty new and in the US it is nearly communism, that sort of thinking. They are not used to that level of sharing and going away from free-market politics to a situation whereby you are looking at the national interest. In all my 30 years in the industry, this is the first time America is interested in listening to people like myself from outside.'”

The internet policy is something almost as important as health care, and no matter where you stand on health care, you can see that much twisting of the truth is coming from all parties.  How much like that will the fight over the progress of the internet be?

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There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.

Steven Wright

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