Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Win for Internet Freedom

A big win took place for internet freedom yesterday that you can read all about here.

Apparently, Comcast was sending fake signals during file-sharing that gave the appearance of certain files being unable to be shared. Some smart guy figured this out, brought it to light, and Comcast denied it (of course). The FCC conducted an investigation and low-and-behold, found out that Comcast was full of shit (big surprise).

Chairman Martin of the FCC compared this deception of Comcast to that of the Postal Service opening up your mail, deciding what they did and didn't want to deliver, and then returning that which they decided not to deliver back to you stamped "return to sender; address unknown".

Just because the Post Office controls the mail system, do they have the right to do such a thing? I might argue that they do not, simply because the Postal Service is owned by everyone, paid for through taxation, whereas Comcast is a private business with the right to do as they please.

However, what Comcast was choosing to do affected more than their business. Their actions affected the space known as the Internet and no single entity owns the Internet.

It is a space owned by whomever owns the countless and limitless number of servers throughout the world that keep the Internet running and each of those owners only owns those servers that are theirs, any of which can easily be replaced by the existence of a new server brought online by anyone else in the world at any time, thereby keeping the Internet free of ownership by any one entity. It is essentially a free "land" and it should remain that way.

Telecom companies might be the gatekeeper and, as such, should be free to decide how much it costs to get through the gate and even whether or not they want to provide access to the gate. But, once they choose to provide access to the gate and the price has been paid to enter, what exists beyond that gate is not theirs to manipulate.

Keeping that which is beyond the gate non-manipulated is the basis for Net Neutrality and it is the bases of freedom. I hope we keep it that way.

Now if we could just get the FCC to loosen their grip on so much of the radio wave spectrum, we'd be all set! But that's another battle to come.

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