Monday, April 24, 2006

Agitations over Internet Ownership

There's been a lot of discussion recently about allowing major Internet backbone providers charge ISPs for the content transferred over their networks, and otherwise take more control of how their backbones are used. They're like the ISPs of ISPs, and they want the right to control your use of their bandwidth in addition to charging you for it. This isn't entirely new, as many ISPs have had certain policies dictating acceptable use; however most local ISPs don't offer services that compete directly with other uses of their bandwidth.

I'm doubting Verizon would be too thrilled to continue allowing VoIP through their networks if they could force users to pay for Verizon wireless instead. And Time Warner would prefer you pay for their movies-on-demand instead of using a third-party internet streaming service for the same purpose. More paranoia can be found here: Save The Internet. And while it seems that this administration is favorable to large corporations, and is not likely too concerned about monopolistic practices, that's not my biggest concern.

My concern is that organizations like AT&T will continue underhanded tactics to curry favor with the government at the expense of their customers' privacy. In my opinion this is the real reason the government is so keen on consolidating access and desensitizing the public to having freedoms retracted. And to my libertarian friends: please tell me how "letting the free market decide" will have any positive effect on our civil liberties?

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