Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska gave his colleagues a brief primer
on how the Internet works while explaining why he voted against Net Neutrality.
It's a series
And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled,
when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed
by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous
amounts of material.
This is what we get when we hire nitwits to write our laws.
I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff
at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?
Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.
A Whole Internet? No wonder it's slow!
Now I think these people are arguing whether they should be able to dump
all that stuff on the internet ought to consider if they should develop a
I don't understand this guy. Is he explaining why he voted against
Net Neutrality or why he should have voted for it?
If anyone should have to develop a system themselves, it should be
the corporations. This Internet is ours! We paid for it!
Turning the Net over to major corporate interests
The vibrancy of American culture is seen on its virtual Main Street
– the Internet. But, now the big telecom companies want to change that
and the House of Representatives is ready to help them.
The Internet has been open and independent – a place for immense human
creativity. It has produced sources of independent news, blogs with commentary
and discussion on all matter of issues, virtual videos that spread through the
net sharing new ways of seeing our times. It has allowed for virtual communities
where people gather, discuss, meet – communicate freely. And so much more
– sharing of music, digital art, photo shop, email – and, if it
remains free and independent who knows what new creations are in store. It is
one area where Freedom of Speech is flourishing in the United States.
But, this could all change. The big telecom and cable companies – the
same ones that shared phone records with the NSA – want to get control
of the Internet. They want to start charging people who use the Net –
to take money for something we don’t need them for – to determine
which website, search engine, and other net communication tool gets priority
on the information superhighway. Rather than a competition of ideas and creativity
the net will become controlled by who has the most money.
Could there be any more obscene example of our Congress selling the country
to the highest bidder? What, other than campaign contributions – and there
have been millions of dollars in telecom contributions – could politicians
be thinking when they vote to turn the Net over to major corporate interests?
What is the public benefit? The private benefit is evident, as the Net is an
economic engine creating jobs, businesses and profits for many, but a benefit
to the public interest is hard to discern.
This is a classic case of corporate control of government and it demonstrates
the two-party nature of the problem. Earlier this month, when the Congress voted
321 to 101 for the misleadingly-named Communications Opportunity, Promotion
and Enhancement Act (COPE) it showed its true colors. COPE does not include
network-neutrality protections and allows telephone and cable companies to exploit
the Net by doing away with requirements that they maintain a level playing field
for access to Internet sites. Even in the Democratic Party there was majority
support 106-92, it is evident who the corporatists are and who are those who
want an independent Internet for the people. The number two Democrat, Steny
Hoyer (MD) and centrist Democrats like Ben Cardin (MD), who is running for the
U.S. Senate, voted for the telecom and cable companies.
We don’t need a corporate controlled Internet. Americans are turning
off to the corporate media – newspaper readership has dropped from 64
million in 1984 to 42 million today and is still dropping 2 percent a year.
People are watching less television news, a Pew Research Center survey shows
that 75% of 18-25 year olds prefer the Internet 15% prefer TV.
The Internet is the future – nightly network news shows are viewed regularly
by 64% of people 65 years old or older but by only 22% of those in their 30s
But now the Congress is moving to give corporations control of the Internet.
The corporations will decide which content is easily accessible, which web sites
download easily, and which search engines work most quickly. They’ll decide
what personal information to share with the government as telephone companies
did with the warrantless eavesdropping program of the NSA.
Advocates for an independent Internet point to examples of discrimination by
Internet service providers against content and competing services they don't
• In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers
from using any rival Web-based phone service.
• In 2005, Canada's telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting
a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a labor
• Shaw, a big Canadian cable TV company, is charging an extra $10 a
month to subscribers in order to "enhance" competing Internet telephone
• In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned www.dearaol.com
— an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.
It is time to put in place rules that ensure an independent Internet with a
level playing field for everyone. The United States cannot let the Internet
become captive to the self-interest of a handful of big companies. The Internet
has thrived because it allows creativity to flourish and lets ideas like blogs,
google, Wikipedia and My Place to start with an idea and attract gigantic audiences.
The major challenge facing the United States on issue after issue is big business
control of government. The debate over an independent Internet highlights who
is on the side of the people’s interest and who is on the side of the
corporate interests. There can be no real democracy if information is controlled,
manipulated and censored by special interests working hand-in-hand with those
they fund in the Congress. Voters need to fight for the freedom of the Internet
– to keep America’s virtual Main Street open.
Kevin Zeese is running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland.
One of his campaign innovations is a wiki-Campaign site, www.Zeese.US,
where people can come together to develop policy and organize campaign activities.