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PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Another Threat to Internet Freedom; Contact Your Senator ASAP; The House Has Already Done Its Dirty Deed

Posted by kinchendavid on July 17, 2006

By David M. Kinchen
  
Hinton, WV  – I say “Hands off our free Internet” and the king of free Internet, Craig Newmark, agrees with me. Of course, the Internet isn’t free. I pay more than $30 a month for my high-speed cable connection.
 
No, the threat is from large telephone and cable companies who, according to an Internet freedom site http://www.savetheinternet.com .want to “control what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.”
 
Don’t be fooled by the fake site set up by stooges of big telecom
 
http://www.handsoff.org
 
This latter site has classic double-talk — the kind I readily recognize from my stints as a PR man when I was responsible for writing double-talk — including this gem:
 
“Hands Off The Internet is a nationwide coalition of Internet users united together in the belief that the Net’s phenomenal growth over the past decade stems from the ability of entrepreneurs to expand consumer choices and opportunities without worrying about government regulation. We believe consumers across America see the results of this “hands off” approach — through such benefits as expanded distance education opportunities, improved access and speed to almost any information, on-line commerce, and an easier and inexpensive way to communicate with family and colleagues.
 
“To that end, Hands Off The Internet supports state and federal public policies that ensure the broadest possible range of choices for consumers and businesses using the Internet. That includes:
 
• Support for an unregulated approach to Internet access in which consumers, not government, choose the method that is best for them; and
 
• Opposition to government attempts at regulating and/or taxing Net content or commerce. “
 
Those two bullet points are cleverly written so it SEEMS that this is a libertarian approach. Consumers would have no input in a situation like this, with big telecoms calling the shots and buying their way through public utility commissions throughout the nation, in my humble opinion. This is based on my view that PUC’s and PSC’s – and the Railroad Commission in Texas — would rather run under the porch and hide than fight like a dog.
 
They’re toothless toy poodles where we need pit bulls.
 
According to http://www.savetheinternet.com “the U.S. Senate is preparing to cast a crucial vote on Internet freedom. They will vote on a bi-partisan Net Neutrality bill put forth by Sens. Olympia Snowe and Byron Dorgan (S. 2917) We need to pass this bill so large telephone and cable companies do not control what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.
 
“More than 800,000 people have sent protest letters to Congress. Thousands more are calling their elected representatives to demand that they take a stand for Internet freedom. Because of the intense heat, some members of Congress are switching from AT&T’s side to ours. Every elected member of the Senate needs to take a stand on Internet freedom.”
 
What’s that about Craig Newmark? He’s the founder and “customer service representative” of craigslist.org, which specializes in free advertising (some advertisers are charged in certain situations and markets). He’s eating the lunch of newspapers throughout the nation, who rely on classified ads – “want ads” – to make a profit.
 
San Francisco-based Newmark told CNN a few weeks ago that he wants to keep the Internet “neutral, fair and free.” On June 8, 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow Internet service providers “to play favorites among different Web sites” Newmark says. He says if the Senate follows the misguided example of the House, “your Yahoo Inc. email account could operate more slowly, unless Yahoo ponies up big bucks to the major telecommunication companies that bring the Internet into your home.”
 
Of course, Craig Newmark is looking out for his profitable baby and he said in his piece that he contributed to CNN that “your craigslist classifieds…could grind to a halt, unless my company pays up. This is not fair.”
 
The same could happen to Huntington News Network and its web sites. We can’t let this happen. Call your senators and let them know that a “yes” vote on this issue – S. 2917 — is necessary to undo the damage already created by the House of Representatives.
 
As Newmark says: “Telecommunication companies already control the pipes that carry the Internet into your home. Now they want control which sites you visit and how you experience them. They would provide privileged access for themselves and their preferred partners while charging other businesses for varying levels of service.
 
“But why change a good thing? Right now, the Internet is a level playing field for everyone. The wonky term for this is ‘Net neutrality.’ When the Internet is neutral, everyone can use it, just like everyone can use public roads or airwaves. All businesses on the Internet get an equal shot at success.
 
“You, the consumer, should be able to choose which sites you want to visit without the telecommunications companies interfering. What it really comes down to is this: The telecommunications executives say we should trust them to provide a level playing field of service, but can they be trusted to play fair?”
 
Here’s our view: let’s keep the Net as it is now: Neutral, fair and free. If you care about this issue, please “DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW!
 
Here are the web sites for our Senators:
 
Robert C. Byrd: http://www.byrd.senate.gov
 
Jay Rockefeller: http://www.rockefeller.senate.gov

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