Saturday, November 15, 2014

Net Neutrality : A Bad Idea or Freedom for All?

I've written extensively on Net Neutrality in the past. But this thing just keeps cropping up and frankly it's getting quite annoying. I'm afraid that too many people simply do not understand the implications behind the innocuous sounding bill. It doesn't keep the internet free for all, it simply opens another portal for the federal government into the free range internet that we need to keep fighting to keep free.

Forget the phrase' Net Neutrality.' It's just a buzz word meant to illicit a passionate response. It is, in essence simply a piece of legislation designed to prohibit ISP's from holding bandwidth hostage unless a particular target group pays more money. Also the concept of Net Neutrality would prevent ISP's from simply oppressing bandwidth on protocols such as Torrents or P2P file sharing. The problem is not in the idea, it's in the implementation. In the past few years numerous bills, under the guise of net neutrality has come and gone including the failed 2010 FCC penned 'open internet' order.

The content of any piece of legislation is key to making a final determination on if it should be implemented or not. While on the surface it may seem benign, there may be parts of the bill or vague wordings therein that could allow the government or a particular private company to bend or break the rules for their own gain. This is an all too common issue with such types of legislation and is the reason bills like SOPA and PIPA were shot down, and why many people were disgusted with the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine' touted by butt-hurt Democrats whose radio shows were miserable failures and needed a way to try and limit the Conservative dominance of the airwaves.

Before anyone gets all giddy because porn stars are making viral videos to try and explain the awesomeness of net neutrality, it might be in your best interest to actually read the content of an proposed internet bills and see if it sounds as fair in meat as it is in skin. You can title a bill anything you want and the content can be completely different. That is how Washington works and you'd do well to remember it.

I have always been vehemently opposed to any legislation that restricts, prohibits, expands, or contracts any of the rights inherent in the wide open wilderness of the world wide web. I don't care what criminal activity you are trying to curb, governments should have no more than cursory access to any data on the internet that is not meant to be public.

If you bust a company for selling child porn  over the internet you should have access to the data on their machines and any information that can be obtained from those assets. You should be able to subpoena the phone and internet records for the named defendants only, and you should never have access to the whole of any data owned by any ISP or hosting provider that is not an indicted party. Even if say- GOOGLE was indicted in a lawsuit about pirated material, the brunt of user data should be off-limits. Search histories and sites accessed for non-defendants should be sealed and unusable.

No government should ever have the right to turn off or otherwise restrict internet access even in an emergency situation like we saw in the highly improbable action film 'Live Free or Die Hard.' The problem in America however is peoples lack of interest in the actual working of government. They hear the call of their political masters and do what they say without much thought of their own. They are ignorant of the content of the bills they helped to get passed nor are they fully aware of the rights and freedoms they sign away on a regular basis in the name of 'fairness' 'equality' or the 'common good.' All words that have hidden meanings in the minds of very rich men with only their own interests at heart. Money and power motivate these people and not your rights or freedoms.


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