Here’s yet another awesome piece from The Verge on the whole “Net Neutrality Getting Screwed in the Face By The FCC’s Lack of Action” debacle by Nilay Patel:
In a perfect storm of corporate greed and broken government, the internet has gone from vibrant center of the new economy to burgeoning tool of economic control. Where America once had Rockefeller and Carnegie, it now has Comcast’s Brian Roberts, AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, and Verizon’s Lowell McAdam, robber barons for a new age of infrastructure monopoly built on fiber optics and kitty GIFs.
And the power of the new network-industrial complex is immense and unchecked, even by other giants: AT&T blocked Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Hangouts video chat services for the preposterously silly reason that the apps were “preloaded” on each company’s phones instead of downloaded from an app store. Verizon and AT&T have each blocked the Google Wallet mobile payment system because they’re partners in the competing (and not very good) ISIS service. Comcast customers who stream video on their Xboxes using Microsoft’s services get charged against their data caps, but the Comcast service is tax-free.
We’re really, really fucking this up.
He’s absolutely right. Fortunately, he’s also right a bit further down in the piece:
But not all hope is lost. “The FCC is scared of one thing: actual people,” says Wu. “When they sense that something is a popular issue suddenly the FCC is terrified.”
This is entirely accurate. If a fringe group of loonies hiding behind a name like “The Council for American Decency and Puritanical Values” can get the FCC to act about any weird little thing they find offensive, there’s a good chance a bunch of annoyed people on the internet can get ’em to jump, too.
Let’s get on this, Internets! Our ability to view hysterical kitten GIFs (and, you know, basically the whole of 21st century commerce and creativity and other “important” things) is at stake here!