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The Fate of the Internet -- Decided in a Back Room

Discussion in 'Technology' started by diablo, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. diablo

    diablo TRIBE Member

    The Fate of the Internet -- Decided in a Back Room

    Timothy Karr

    The Wall Street Journal just reported that the Federal Communications Commission is holding "closed-door meetings" with industry to broker a deal on Net Neutrality -- the rule that lets users determine their own Internet experience.

    Given that the corporations at the table all profit from gaining control over information, the outcome won't be pretty.

    The meetings include a small group of industry lobbyists representing the likes of AT&T, Verizon, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Google. They reportedly met for two-and-a-half hours on Monday morning and will convene another meeting today. The goal according to insiders is to "reach consensus" on rules of the road for the Internet.

    This is what a failed democracy looks like: After years of avid public support for Net Neutrality - involving millions of people from across the political spectrum - the federal regulator quietly huddles with industry lobbyists to eliminate basic protections and serve Wall Street's bottom line.

    We've seen government cater to big business in the same ways, prior to the BP oil disaster and the subprime mortgage meltdown.

    The Industry's regulatory capture of the Internet is now almost complete. The one agency tasked with oversight of communications now thinks it can wriggle free of its obligation to protect the open Internet, if only it can get industry to agree on a solution.

    Congress is holding its own series of "closed-door" meetings and, while they've been ambiguous on the details, many remain skeptical on whether the process will lead to an outcome that serves the public interest. After all, this is the same Congress that is bankrolled by the phone and cable lobby in excess of $100 million.

    Why is this so startling even for the more cynical among us? The Obama administration promised to embrace a new era of government transparency. It's the tool we were supposed to use to pry open policymaking and expose it to the light of public scrutiny.

    In that spirit, President Obama pledged to "take a backseat to no one" in his support for Net Neutrality. He appointed Julius Genachowski to head the FCC -- the man who crafted his pro-Net Neutrality platform in 2008.

    But the mere existence of these private meetings reveals to us a chairman who has fallen far short of expectations. Instead Genachowski is shying from the need to fortify the Internet's open architecture in favor of deals made between DC power brokers.

    These deals will determine who ultimately controls Internet content and innovation. Will phone and cable companies succeed in their decade-long push to take ownership of both the infrastructure of the Internet and the information that flows across its pipes? Will they cut in a few giant companies like Google and the recording industry to get their way?

    Whatever the outcome, the public - including the tens of millions of Americans who use the Internet every day and in every way - are not being given a seat at the table.

    Genachowski's closed-door sessions come after six months of public comments on whether the agency should proceed with a rule to protect Net Neutrality.

    During that period, more than 85 percent of comments received by the agency called for a strong Net Neutrality rule. Look at it this way: If a candidate received more than 85 percent of the vote, wouldn't she have a mandate to decide on the public's behalf?

    In Chairman Genachowski's alternative view of reality, though, the public is immaterial, and industry consensus supreme.
  2. WestsideWax

    WestsideWax TRIBE Promoter

    Lol @ relegating this thread to the geek forum. It's more political than anything and would garner plenty of response in the general forum - here it's just going to collect internet-dust bunnies.
  3. diablo

    diablo TRIBE Member

  4. depraved

    depraved TRIBE Member

    feeling a bit jaded. peasants get screwed; that's how shit works. show me something that involves public policy meets private $, & i'll show you something that gets decided in a backroom. the only thing that stands out about this one is the degree of blatancy; aside from that: nothing to see here ppl, move along, etc.
    likely won't have to wait long before the usual suspects can re-bleat an expected blahblahblah from noam chomsky or mumia on this (yawn)
  5. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

  6. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

  7. octo

    octo TRIBE Member

  8. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member

    Yay and we'll still do nothing about it.
  9. Bernnie Federko

    Bernnie Federko TRIBE Member

    Wait until google gets the Ok to lay fiber everywhere, Fuck these companies whole existence into oblivion. It's only a matter of time.
  10. lobo

    lobo TRIBE Member

    Agreed. It's time we got some new overlords. :)

  11. Boss Hog

    Boss Hog TRIBE Member

    the new face of "terrorism" will be severing fiber hubs.
  12. ndrwrld

    ndrwrld TRIBE Member

    The response crashed the FCC's site.

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