Tens of thousands sign petitions concerned about the further corporatization of the Internet
May 15, 2014
Citizens wary of government and corporate encroachment on Internet freedom have launched multiple White House petitions seeking equal treatment of all information and data stored on the web, with several petitions calling for the ouster of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler.
“Access to the Internet is an invaluable commodity that should transcend socio-economics. Allowing ISPs to auction off preferred access to companies who pay more runs counter to the free market philosophies on which America was founded,” one petition, started by a Baltimore resident, states.
Another petition argues for the removal of FCC boss Tom Wheeler for a supposed conflict of interest. “Before he became Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler was a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, which the FCC is supposed to regulate. Not only is this a conflict of interest, Wheeler has repeatedly demonstrated that he is not working for the good of the American people,” a petition started by J.D. Of Lufkin, Texas states.
Yesterday, the FCC voted to begin considering plans to allow “internet fast lanes,” which would essentially give cable providers (e.g. Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon) the ability to give preferential treatment to certain web services, such as Skype, Facebook and Netflix, based on premiums paid for high-speed delivery of their content.
Profits derived from the premiums, cable providers argue, are essential to begin upgrading existing Internet cable connections, which they say will ultimately benefit the consumer; however, many perceive it will have the opposite effect and lead to the regulation of the flow of information on the web and ultimately the “televisation” of the Internet.
“This new economy will undoubtedly result in less choice for consumers and lead to what may be termed the ‘televization’ of the internet. In other words large players like NBC and Disney will effectively monopolize the medium as they now do with cable and broadcast television,” Infowars reported yesterday.
The bill’s language is cleverly disguised as calling for an “Open Internet,” when it will actually do the opposite, and Wheeler’s apparently not above playing devil’s advocate, saying recently, “There is one Internet. It must be fast, it must be robust, and it must be open.. The prospect of a gatekeeper choosing winners and losers on the Internet is unacceptable.” His statements against his agency’s own bill are akin to Br’er Rabbit feigning not wanting to be thrown into the briar patch.
By far the most successful petition, and the one that at this point has the best chance of receiving a response from the administration, is one that simply requests the White House “Maintain true net neutrality to protect the freedom of information in the United States.”
“One of the most effective tactics of an invading military is to inhibit the flow of information in a population; this includes which information is shared and by who. Today we see this war being waged on American citizens,” a resident from Ridgecrest, California, whose petition needs just under 29,000 signatures, wrote.
Here are a few of the petitions (and their current signature counts, at time of publication) regarding net neutrality currently active on the White House site, which can all use additional signatures. Petitions must meet or exceed a threshold of 100,000 signatures within 30 days before they require a response.
The video below by Youtube user CGP Grey gives a great, easy to understand presentation of what’s at stake in the battle for net neutrality, and defines why maintaining the web in its current form should be one of the most important causes of our generation.