Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G
sinetimore

FREEDOM! We're Gonna Ring The Bell!

We longtime denizens of the Internet have a special hatred for AOL.  AOL built it's customer base with "custom" content, created by AOL or members themselves while walling off the Internet at large.  Those of us with access to indie ISP's could only marvel at the sheer amount of stuff we could find while AOL users got relative squat.  Well, or things that were meant to sell, like their Entertainment Tonight-ish news pages.  Broadband became AOL's downfall, as people left AOL's long connection times, pokey speeds, and random carrier drops for the faster lines, and discovered what they'd been missing.  AOL eventually caved, allowing access to all the Internet, going true hi-speed themselves, and offering content to non-subscribers.  And yippee, I don't get those stupid discs three times a week in my mail (and blown in with countless magazines).

Lately, the major Internet companies have been trying to take an approach reminiscient of AOL.  They figure that, since it's their servers people are connecting with, they have the right to deny people access to certain websites.  Lest you think this is to guard against drive-bys and PR0N, the terms the companies laid out meant that, to allow your web site to be viewable through their servers, you'd have to pay them.  And since they have most of the Internet subscribers in the country sewn up, you will limit yourself and not even know it, especially if you are a business trying to make a living.  In short, "Dis iz a stick-up."

This prompted us FOSSers to call for Net Neutrality, saying that information should be free and not subject to an extortion racket.  There have been a couple of incidents where 'Net providers nearly got it through, but it was never soundly defeated, and it kept coming back.

Yesterday, the FCC announced it was going to propose Net Neutrality as an offical policy for the US.  About friggin' time.  It's only being proposed at this point, but the FCC doesn't get a lot of challenges, and it makes me more hopeful about their ruling on SOC.  Keep them fingers crossed.
Tags: computers, digital rights, news
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