NY Times Says Getting Rid Of Net Neutrality Will Make U.S. Like China Or Something

NY Times Says Getting Rid Of Net Neutrality Will Make U.S. Like China Or Something

With the vote on doing away with the Obama era rules on Net Neutrality coming today, supporters of this big government plan are getting nuttier and nuttier. We had the banksy idiocy, proclaiming you’d pay $1.99 for each Google search (which would simply mean, if it happened for real, that people would just use other search engines, putting Google out of business on the web). Now we have another bit of moonbattery by Nick Frisch, which, interestingly, proves why we do not need Obama’s NN rules

For a Preview of Life Without Net Neutrality, Go Online in China

To taste a future without net neutrality, try browsing the web in Beijing. China’s internet, provided through telecom giants aligned with the Communist Party, is a digital dystopia, filtered by the vast censorship apparatus known as China’s Great Firewall. Some sites load with soul-withering slowness, or not at all. Others appear instantly. Content vanishes without warning or explanation. The culprit is rarely knowable. A faulty Wi-Fi router? A neighborhood power failure? Commercial sabotage? A clampdown on political dissent? To most Chinese netizens, the reason matters little. They simply gravitate to the few sites that aren’t slowed or blocked entirely: the Chinese counterparts of Facebook, Google, and Twitter. But these Chinese platforms come with heavy government surveillance and censorship by corporate and party apparatchiks. For the Communist Party and its commercial allies, this is win-win, cementing respective monopolies on political markets and consumer power.

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This is what NN partially brings here in the United States: a government being heavily involved in how ISPs provide service to users, working hand in hand with those ISPs. And, further, companies refusing to dump more and more money into infrastructure, with the concern that the government will take ever more control as it deems the Internet a “public utility.”

The Trump administration’s plan to dismantle net neutrality regulations has brought this nightmare scenario to America’s digital doorstep. With the Federal Communications Commission scheduled to vote on the issue today, the threatened rollback not only imperils fair play and free speech; it will also empower foreign entities with substantial market-making power, like China’s government, to meddle in American public discourse on a scale dwarfing Russia’s recent cyber-chicanery. Worse, abolishing net neutrality gives American corporations the means, motive and opportunity to become accomplices in selling out our freedom of speech.

Good grief.

Net neutrality is called the First Amendment of the internet for a good reason. Obama-era net neutrality rules classed telecom giants, such as AT&T, as “common carriers,” de facto public utilities like water and electricity companies. This status prohibits corporate bosses from abusing control over network infrastructure to stifle rivals or favor subsidiaries. Under net neutrality rules, a company like Comcast, which owns NBC, cannot throttle data flows carrying Netflix’s competing TV shows, any more than General Electric, once a majority stakeholder in NBC and corporate parent to Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” could have cut the power to David Letterman’s “Late Show” studios at CBS. These content-neutral safeguards apply to political speech as much as to “Orange Is the New Black.” They enshrine a basic American value: that diverse opinions, from diverse sources, are a pillar of public welfare. Eliminating net neutrality allows corporations to tamper with data flows on their networks without public oversight or accountability. If a connection is slow for MSNBC but not for Fox News, you may never learn why.

It’s called the 1st Amendment of the Internet because the hardcore supporters who love the notion of big government controlling everything have duped others into supporting this garbage.

Browsing the web in China today, one rarely encounters the once ubiquitous “your connection has been reset” or “due to relevant laws and regulations, this content cannot be shown.” You’re likelier to endure a load time that’s just a split-second too long, get bored and move elsewhere. Under this system, even content creators who refuse self-censorship, regardless of consequences — such as The Times, which has been blocked in China since reporting on the party leaders’ family wealth in 2012 — may find their ability to reach consumers at the mercy of the companies that run the pipes. Without net neutrality, American firms will have no obligation to provide equal access for content, and minimal statutory requirement to explain why one piece of content might arrive more slowly than another.

With NN, they have no obligation to provide equal access for content. In case Mr. Frisch has forgotten, the NYT only gives you 10 free articles a month. After that, you must pay (there are ways around this, of course, like using different browsers).

If anything, government should relax the rules on Internet providers. For hardwired service at home and work, how many of you have more than 2 to 3 options? I can choose between Time Warner and AT&T (just a slow phone line DSL for the latter, because, though it is supposedly available in my area, my next door neighbor tried to get U-verse, and it was outside the loop). That’s it.

If anything, NN rules turn the Internet infrastructure into China, with the government in heavy control.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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