What can be better than equal net access for all and a network Privacy Police force patrolling and monitoring the pipes to protect you? Sure equal network access isn't in your country's constitution. But it should be! And just because you're not sure how to act or what to do on the web, that's not your fault - it's the government's!
Equal access should be available to anyone who wants it, but that doesn't mean everyone deserves a pipe big enough for them to watch live television, download huge clips or stream video on demand to their device. Some cultures remember government police actions and somehow they went astray and the powers were abused. There are rules, there is commonsense and there is a strong degree of group policing on the web that is done by the group and the common good. As someone said, be careful for what you wish for because you just might get it.
"Can't push him too hard; he might break. You gotta' remember who you're dealing with,"
– Steve McCroskey, Airplane (1980), Paramount Pictures
The government has finally proven the saying, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If it doesn't, hunt it down and kill it!" Back in the sixties, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) had this idea to protect us from them - "them" being the Soviet Union. Information and communications were the keys to survival. Then, in the eighties, they privatized it. In the nineties it became commercial. Today, billions of people and millions of organizations – good, bad, ugly – say it's theirs.
Net Neutrality not working
Now, the Commission has dubious legal rights to lay down new regulations for the fixed wire and wireless net activities. But don't you dare think for one second that will stop or slow them down. Didn't the government put the fun back into flying? Imagine what they can do with Net Neutrality and the FCC-proposed "The Basic Rules of the Road." Basically a set of rules that create two classes of Internet access - one for fixed-line providers and the other for wireless folks - they exist to prevent old bullies like Comcast or Qwest from blocking access to sites and applications.
In reality, those rules allow big, established Internet service companies to unfairly pick on the weaker phone companies. Phone people stick repeaters up on poles while wired folks invest in laying miles and miles of fiber cable. Some people have better lobbyists. The weak and struggling wireless folks, however, are being allowed to limit access to services and apps.
Obviously, the sexy technology needs protection so it can build its own economy and infrastructure in order to be able to stand on its own. Government policy makers help you really understand the old saying, "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." The government never looked at the bullies infrastructure (which they built) to see if it could handle their weaker siblings.
No speed demon
While the government moves to protect the fledgling wireless network and investments, providers have to expand and upgrade their services. But the government overlooks the investment that wired network providers made in fiber and cable over the years. An equal investment will be needed to keep pace with bandwidth demand. This includes tens of thousands of miles of cable criss-crossing the oceans and the seas of the world. A tremendous US investment will have to be made to keep pace with global leaders.
The underdogs – AT&T and Verizon – will have the right to "reasonable network management." What that means is they can do what service providers do in other countries - offer paid prioritization and tiered service offerings. As a result, services can pay for faster transmission of data and end-users can choose metered service schedules for calls, data, video, music, etc.
Most folks never notice whether their provider is slowing down the speed of peer-to-peer apps or giving their services more bandwidth. As McCroskey said, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking." Streaming Glee and Lady GaGa's newest music videos to your phone matters, but you might notice you're paying for an extra bandwidth needed to accommodate your media needs.
The problem with privacy
The Commerce Department is determined to show the FCC that they are just as interested in protecting people. Their super-responsive Privacy Police is modeled after the Department of Homeland Security rules that govern the use of personally identifiable information.
The key points include:
- companies need to be transparent about data use
- organizations should seek individual consent to collect, use, disseminate and maintain their information
- companies should spell out how data will be used
- data minimization should be deployed
- companies should use personal data only for the use disclosed
- personal data should be secure, accurate and audited
They just figured out that no one really understands those application or site agreements, even if you read them. You just tell people it's free and they're there. That's the way Google - home of the free stuff monetizer - racks up billions in revenue every year. They're not as outspoken as their nemesis, Facebook. The social network's boss, Mark Zuckerberg, who has gone to great lengths to clean up his image, blurted out what our kids have known for years of living on the web - that privacy on the Internet is basically dead and here's why.
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