Saturday, November 04, 2006

RFID: Net Neutrality

Nothing expands our commerce, education, politics or recreation as much as the Internet. True? False.

The real information mover-and-shaker is Network Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the principle that protects a free and open Internet by preserving equal access to the Internet. That's the way the Internet has always been and should always be.

However, some very familiar names in the telephone and cable industries would like to change that. Dramatically. AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner are spending huge amounts of money lobbying Congress for legislation that would allow them to control which web sites you can access first and fastest.

Sound crazy? Yes, it does, because it is. It's also terribly real.

Their Lex Lutherian goal is to control Internet access by providing faster Internet service for companies willing to pay higher fees, and slower or nonexistent service for those who can't or won't.

If you don't think this is your problem, think about this: The Internet sans Neutrality will resemble cable TV. Network owners will have the power to choose (or at least influence) the content and applications that are available to you.

If you're a small business owner, you'd better hope that you can afford to pay the premium rate, or customers and potential customers will never see your web site.

If you're an Internet consumer (and you must be if you're reading this online blog), you'd better hope that your telephone or cable company likes the same sites that you do, or you may never have access to them again.

Congress is right now considering legislation to protect Net Neutrality, and the telecom giants are fighting hard against it. Their biggest advantage is the lack of consumer awareness.

I'll be writing more about this in the weeks ahead. For now, please educate yourself at Save the Internet.

NOTE: There is a group called "Hands Off the Internet" which is part of a telecom disinformation campaign. Don't fall for it.