A bad day to be the little guy: Why Netflix is the least of your net neutrality worries

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 14, 2014 0 Comment

I don’t want to overstate this or use high volume hyperbole, but there’s no other way to say it: if today’s U.S. Appeals Court’s decision on internet neutrality stands, the internet as we know it is dead.

The decision is, however, in keeping with the federal judiciary’s pattern of decisions affirming the rights of people who also happen to be corporations. They also happen to have more rights than you and more money to spend on screwing you out of your money.

For those of you unfamiliar with the issue, the Federal Communications Commission had enacted some policies to ensure that internet service providers didn’t try to restrict access to some websites while boosting access to others. A U.S. Appeals Court on Tuesday ruled against those policies, following a lawsuit by Verizon Communications.

Or to hear CNBC tell it, “YOU MIGHT HAVE TO PAY MORE FOR NETFLIX!

Yeah, forgive me, but whether I pay a buck or two more for streaming services is going to be relatively minor compared with the other implications of this ruling. For a less stupid recounting of today’s events, check out this article on The Verge. While there are some rules that are still in effect, Verizon’s cheering alone is enough to give me stomach cramps.

If ISPs can control access to different websites by forcing companies to pay premiums for using their services, there’s absolutely no way to prevent them from using it to promote voices favorable to their own interests while suppressing others. Our chief advocate in this case, the FCC, already is a revolving door for lobbyists working for the big telecom companies. The deck has been stacked against the little guy from the start.

This ruling is simply awful. How we rectify it is something that’s a little above my pay grade. There is an interesting thread in the Atlanta Reddit community about this, though. It’s worth checking out for ideas about how we can pressure our elected representatives to do something to fix this, preferably sooner than later.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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