No Net Neutrality?!

Tuesday’s US federal court overruling regarding net neutrality is a big deal, and one that thankfully more people are finally talking about a few days later.  I was honestly a little concerned Tuesday evening that only a few people were talking about it, but it seems like information has been spreading.  But for how long will information be allowed to spread like this?  That’s the slippery slope we stand on at this point.  Whether you’re like me and concerned about the dissemination of information and the possible censorship risk, the social implications (can’t really pull ourselves up by the bootstraps these days without access to decent Internet for job applications, education, etc) as well as the further impossibility for smaller entrepreneurs and innovators to survive (let alone thrive) in a market run by a handful of corporations, or you’re just worried it’s going to cost consumers more to watch porn and silly cat videos, the implications that this ruling has are vast indeed.

I remember back to this amazing infographic by Jason at the Frugal Dad back in 2011.

IllusionofChoice-1More mergers have happened since.  Six corporations control the media at EVERY SINGLE STEP OF THE PROCESS.  Six.  Will they do whatever they can to increase their profits at every step?  Of course.  That’s what they do!  And in their efforts to grab the last penny they can, we see an increasingly homogenized system.  I think they’ll always keep at least two viewpoints (because you need to give people an “other” to be angry about), but you will possibly lose the viewpoints of people in other nations.  That’s where most of the illegal downloading or questionably murky streaming comes back into the States, so why not shut that pipeline down?  There’s no money to be made off it, and in fact, it’s making the companies lose a little money.

There is also this fascinating opinion piece over at Wired about how the FCC may have lost the battle but has gained vast control itself over much of the Internet.  I hadn’t considered it from that point of view, but it’s an interesting one to consider.  Regardless, whether the corporations or the government, this ruling takes power out of the hands of individuals and places it in the hands of an entity.  Do you remember how important the Internet and social media has been in recent years during the protests in Egypt and Tunisia?  And is that a power we should be willing to give away?  I’m not saying that the corporations and/or our government will necessarily abuse the power, but if the past several decades are any indication, chances are at least one person high enough up to do some damage will do so.