Who decides what is available on the internet for you to see? Is it the government, like in China, and other tightly controlled countries? Is it corporations, who own rights to high-traffic content and are constantly linking to themselves all over the place (some sites even say another site they own is the ‘source’ of the information, just to make it sound creditable to the reader). Is it you, and the billions of people who use it? Hint: Yes it is, at least for now.
Verizon, however, doesn’t think an open web is a good thing, and they are moving to extreme levels to change history in America, by suing the Federal Communications Commission for the right to censor your content how they see fit.
Verizon customers should be appalled by this move, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if public uproars occur. Greedy corporations have been trying for years to pass legislation to censor the internet, and if Verizon wins this case, it’ll be the last time the freely accessible web will be ‘freely accessible’ in this country
The move that Verizon is attempting to pull here, in a brief filed as Verizon vs. FCC with the U.S. Court of Appeals, is to gain the right to “pick favorites” and decide what was “priority” for their customers to be exposed to. There are a wide variety of ways you can interpret that, and while Verizon has admittedly ‘never’ used anything similar to this against its customers before, it wants the right to be able to.
The worst part of this, is that when Verizon wins, we all will lose. As soon as one company is allowed to do it, every internet provider will jump on this quickly, and our experiences could be very different depending on whose web we’re using. I use “whose web” on purpose there, because the moment they are actually allowed to filter and modify content based on their own wishes, it no longer belongs to the people (you). They’ll have the right to take away anything, and add new content at their discretion. CNET reports more on the issue:
This comes at the same time that Verizon is set to win approval from the FCC, according to reports, in an airwave buyback deal from a group of cable companies (including Time Warner and Comcast). Only the U.S. Justice Department can block the deal.
Verizon is suing to have the FCC’s net neutrality order thrown out — and it’s not the first time, as Verizon was quick to challenge the FCC about this very issue in 2011 when the FCC first set such rules.
The FCC’s order was intended to keep the Internet as it was when it began — to keep Internet service providers like Verizon from becoming “editors” or gatekeepers. It holds that neither Verizon nor any other Internet provider can block or slow access to online content, including if they disagree with its message or are being paid by a third-party to favor some alternative.
Verizon’s argument is sure to enrage people who cherish the free and open Internet. Verizon’s reason is that Internet/broadband providers inherently have “editorial discretion.”
It doesn’t matter their intentions… if the internet becomes segmented and up for corporate, private control, it will lead to a terrible future on the web. Lets hope sensible people who actually care about our rights do something to stop this from going through. If you have an opinion on the matter, please leave us a comment in the field below.
Here’s a direct excerpt from their filing:
In performing these functions [providing the transmission of speech], broadband providers possess “editorial discretion.”
Just as a newspaper is entitled to decide which content to publish and where, broadband providers may feature some content over others.
Am I off base here? Is this really not that big of a deal after all?