Richard Branson was a hero of mine. We have a few things in common. He is an entrepreneur. He has a home in the Caribbean. He is the same age as me (58 as I write this). He is concerned about the environment and he is a Star Trek fan. He loves technology.
Today, I am a little pissed off at him. Why? I just found out that the new CEO of Virgin Media, Neil Berkett, has openly stated in an interview that they think net neutrality is “a load of bollocks” and claimed they’re already doing deals to deliver some people’s content faster than others.
This is not the first assault of Net Neutrality. It is an ongoing assault.
“Bell Canada and TELUS (formerly owned by Verizon) employees officially confirm that by 2012 ISP’s all over the globe will reduce Internet access to a TV-like subscription model, only offering access to a small standard amount of commercial sites and require extra fees for every other site you visit. These ‘other’ sites would then lose all their exposure and eventually shut down, resulting in what could be seen as the end of the Internet,” warns a report that is circulating on the internet.
Internet censorship is also on the rise around the world. Not for child porn or hate sites as you’d expect; but against alternative news sites, bloggers and social activists. Not just in China or fundamentalist Islamic states, but countries like Australia, England, France and the USA. In fact, it is a global issue.
The Nation magazine reported in 2006 that, “Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets–corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers–would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.”
Obama said that he will ensure an open Internet and supports Net Neutrality. Let’s see if he follows through on that commitment in his first 100 days in office.
If you value your freedom and your ability to have free access to information and your ability to communicate with your fellow human beings, this is not an issue you can ignore.
What can you do?
1) Go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation website to get educated.
2) Contact your local Political representative to insist they support Net Neutrality
3) Join Obama’s Organizing for America (yes, even if you are not American) and insist that The US Gov’t pass Net Neutrality laws to prevent the corporations from taking away your right to the free access to the Internet.
4) Share this blog post with as many people as you can. The more people who become aware of the problem, the more power we have to fight those who want to limit your ability to communicate with your fellow human beings.
Fight for your rights while you still have the ability to do so. If they kill your Interent, then the greatest communication tool ever invented by humanity will be lost and you will be back in the pre-internet dark ages unable to do anything except that which the global media giants want you to do, see and know.