Something I’ve been starting to care about recently is the issue of Net Neutrality. (It’s becoming so important that I think it deserves capital letters.)
Whether you are a media producer, actively fighting for democracy, or an at-home user, this affects you and will continue to affect you.
In case you don’t know what Net Neutrality is all about, imagine your service provider, such as Rogers, Bell, AT&T, etc. getting to tell you where you can go on the Internet. So, let’s say you sign up at home to get Internet from Bell. Bell would offer you “dozens” of Internet sites you could visit. And nowhere else. Your. Internet. Experience. Would. Be. That. Limited. And the funny thing is (and not the haw-haw kind of funny) is that these companies are not hiding it. If you do a Google search on the issue, you’ll find several press releases coming from within and outside of the industry.
Here is an excellent video talking about this and other related issues. It’s 10 minutes. I found it worth every second.
Other links on Net Neutrality (many suggest things that everyone can do and/or have listservs and newsletters you can sign up for):
- Page at Wikipedia
- Canadian site Neutrality.ca
- Michael Geist’s blog – a must-read for this and other important issues
- Canadian-based Campaign for Democratic Media on this issue: they deal with others as well (now OpenMedia.ca)
- Council of Canadians
- United States based SaveTheInternet.com
Someone just sent me the following message, and should be considered before you read the rest of my post: “The original posting on this was un-sourced and, I think, inaccurate in regards to a broad conspiracy among ISPs to shut down the free Internet. In the US and I think in Canada as well, this would be a clear violation of telecom legislation. That being said, it is also clear that ISPs will continue to attempt to limit and shape Internet traffic in order to maximize their revenues.”
And now with the rest of my original post . . .
I also subscribe to feeds from Mostly Water, and I read this, which really supports the notion from that YouTube video that service providers want the Internet to act more like a television service and only offering “dozens of sites” (wow, we will be so severely limited if this happens!):
Death of Free Internet is Imminent: Canada Will Become Test Case
By Kevin Parkinson – July 20, 2008
[Canada] is being used as a test case to drastically change the delivery of Internet service forever. The change will be so radical that it has the potential to send us back to the horse and buggy days of information sharing and access…[There is a] diabolical plot by *Bell Canada* and *Telus*, to begin charging per site fees on most Internet sites. The plan is to convert the Internet into a cable-like system, where customers sign up for specific web sites, and then pay to visit sites beyond a cutoff point.
(Links updated November 2013)