portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

alternative media

Say Goodbye To The Real Internet

'www.handsoff.org'... The giant telecoms have come up with a brilliant strategy to ensure they can create a partitioned-off, for-profit Internet, and they're implementing it now. The above website is your introduction to a world of bullshit that I promise you will mark the successful corporate takeover of the Internet. Mark my words --but do it fast, because they won't be here for long, unless the telecoms are stopped.
On left-of-center (or middle of center) outlets like Salon.com, they're putting up folksy banner ads that look like a kid drew them, with pitch-perfect hokey Flash animation and everything, that state the government is trying to regulate the Internet, as if this means regulating what's on the Internet. Handsoff.org sounds so people-friendly, like moveon.org, doesn't it? The real issue is not the content on the Internet, but who gets to put content on the Internet, and how much they will have to pay to do so. But the giant telecoms and their fake grassroots campaign aren't going to let you know that.

And of course as usual the good guys have utterly failed to frame the issue, using the abysmally shitty term 'net neutrality', which means nothing to the casual observer. Uh, guys? USA PATRIOT Act. Get it? They should be calling this vitally important keep-the-Internet-democratic-and-free legislation something catchy and inspiring like 'Internet Freedom Forever', not 'net neutrality'. Who came up with that clanker, John Kerry?

Albert Camus said, "Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the gradual degradation of the idea of liberty." What the telecoms (the same telecoms that sold your name and phone records to the NSA) are capitalizing on is the most pernicious parasite draining the blood out of our American freedoms today: the idea that all liberties boil down to the freedom to make a profit. It is the rotten idea that everything should be owned by whoever has enough money to buy it, and thereafter it is their privelege to sell it back to us at whatever price they wish.

More than rotten, this is an evil idea; when the fresh water is owned by somebody else, when the parks and wilderness are no longer public, but private, when information and ideas are ordinated by their monetary value and doled out according to profitability, not merit, we are made slaves.

So here's the playbook: the massive telecoms are right now showering your legislators with hookers, cash, and trips to golf courses. You are being sold out cheap. Meanwhile the telecoms are filling stupid people's heads with lies that sound scary enough to merit a phone call to these legislators, which will then be spun by the telecoms as evidence of a popular groundswell of support for their nasty proposals. At least enough to give the lawmakers political cover.

In a brief while, our representatives will duly vote to create a tiered, pay-to-play Internet in which all the cool, personal operations that give the Internet its richness and power, from politics to entertainment, from sex to literature, will get stuffed into a kind of made-up 'slow lane' designation that renders them sluggish, low-bandwidth, and worthless, while big corporate operations get 'fast pass' access, because they can afford it, so the electronic lemmings will visit their sites instead.

Think it won't happen? Look at what went down with public broadcasting. They rewrote the rules so there are now commercials in public radio and television, and the content is as sterile as the Chernobyl swim team. Look at Internet radio stations. There were tens of thousands of independent online broadcasters, until our representatives handed the entertainment companies what they wanted. Now there are a few dozen independent online radio outlets left; the rest are simulcasts of traditional radio stations or nonprofit college operations.

So not only will this Internet crackdown happen, it is already on its way. Soon it will come into being. Then people like me, who use the Internet as a platform to reach a potential audience of hundreds of millions (and an actual audience of about thirty), will be silenced. And for big corporations and a Big Brother government working in lockstep, that's an ideal situation.

A.J. Liebling said, "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."

We're about to lose this great, glorious free press called the Internet, kiddies. Then it's back to the mimeograph. Unless you do something about it right now. My suggestion? Check out the fake grassroots corporate front handsoff.org, and then do the opposite of whatever it says.

 http://people.lulu.com/blogs/view_post.php?post_id=20910

the term Net Neutrality 19.May.2006 14:24

CaptainPlanet

There are some good points in this article, and there is obviously a lot of fishy propaganda on the handsoff.org site, but the writer comes off sounding like a blowhard:
"using the abysmally shitty term 'net neutrality', which means nothing to the casual observer"

Actually, what better term? It was coined by a professor who favors equal access to the Internet, and means basically that the Internet would be neutral in the way that data packets are transmitted, not favoring transmissions by a larger carrier over a smaller company such as a locally-owned hometown Internet Service Provider.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

I think the writer thought that the propaganda folks behind handsoff.org came up with the term, which makes them seem ignorant. I'm happy that you're bringing this issue to the attention of readers, since Internet favoritism of larger companies would result in much less usability for many average users... I'm just urging a little more research and less hot-headedness.

Hands off? who's hands? 19.May.2006 15:46

Chardman

It's funny to see that Hands off is run by wanker Mike McCurry.
They frame the issue as government intervention of the 'net but leave out the fact that it would mean giant corporations would have carte blanche to do what they want with it, as if they would actually be more accountable.
But there I go again, stating the painfully obvious.


No Internet? No Porn? Good then maybe people will want revolution 19.May.2006 19:27

antifascist

Though the internet has brought us a revolution in communications and access to information and disinformation alike. After years of waiting for "the Revolution" to finally get rid of the ruling elite and corporate psychpaths I have finally concluded that the internet with all its porn and other distractions might be our new opiate of the masses. I would bet if you yank this monkey off the backs on all the porn addicts which is probably 60 to 90% of the population that uses the internet then we will see rebellion. So yank the sucker (I mean the internet you pervs). Sure there will be those saying 'this is another violation of our basic freedoms' or 'this is just more corporatization of the public commons'. I say 'Yeah it is. So? I do not see people up in arms over the fact that he airwaves were public domain or the sky is a basic commons polluted by planes and sattlites. But yank a porn addict's porn. Then you will have Revolution.' So I say kill the internet! Do it I dare you! Of course if the fascists wanted to crush any Revolution then instead they would gives us even more porn and faster downloads with more wide-bands so we can all get our jollies off some stupid celeberty doing some 'amateur' porn. If that is the case then "The Revolution will be pornographized"

this legislation is just a symptom... 19.May.2006 21:00

this thing here

welcome to our new home.

that's right ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. we live in a corporatist state. we are citizens of a corporatist state.

"not so fast" you say? how could i say such a thing?

well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, let's not beat around the bush any longer:


business is lord and god almighty. it gets whatever it wants. full stop.


and when business walks down the aisle, hand in hand with our dear leaders, the union is called corporatism. our leaders write the favorable laws. or, they prevent investigations, criminal inquiries, and unfavorable laws. and in return, business pays the bills. symbiosis.

ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, think of all the legislation passed in the last few years. hmm, with very few exceptions, i can't think of any that didn't have something to do with business - what business needed, what it wanted, what it didn't want. business is all over legislation. from start to finish. business infuses every last atom of legislation that gets written. so where were we, the common citizens, in all this legislation? when was the last time the needs, demands, rights and aspirations of average people were the primary concern of a piece of legislation? when was last piece of purely civil legislation written, legisation that didn't have anything at all to do with business? the civil rights act, how long ago...

all of us, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, all of us with our ideals and ideas, our dreams and beliefs, all of us are nothing in the end to corporatism but a problem to be overcome. a voice to be edged out. our rights. our beliefs. our demands. nothing but a thorn in the side of the lord god almighty. nothing but the annoying squeaks of little mice who dare to challenge the power.

so slowly, we may not have noticed: we have less rights and freedoms today than we did 10 years ago.

and looks what's next: we'll have less information at our fingertips too. want access to that site? pay your pretty penny.

everything the lord god sees he reduces to a monetary value and transfers and exchanges as such. everything. everything. abstract things, ideals, beliefs, freedoms, people, animals, plants, much less physical objects made of stone or wood or metal. all of it, all of human existence. pay your pretty penny, for i am the lord god.

this is what the lord god almighty wants. and so it shall be. he wants us reduced and small and powerless. because then we are nothing but a monetary value. because he has needs, bigger than all of us combined. he needs power and profit, and he needs to grow his power and profit, and he needs to protect his power and profit, and he will do anything, anything, anything to make sure that he is secure now and forever. yes, he will launch attacks against us and blame it on someone else. he will do anything.

the only hope we have, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is the flaw in the god almighty's power. he isn't the lord god. he just thinks he is. that's enough, i hope, to start to bring him down...

about "net neutrality"... 19.May.2006 21:03

dj megawatti

"the term [net neutrality] was coined by a professor [problem 1] who favors equal access to the Internet, and means basically that the Internet would be neutral in the way that data packets are transmitted, not favoring transmissions by a larger carrier ..."

blah blah blah data packets. transmissions. carrier.
you've already lost half your audience. i should know, i am a technician. people tune out. "net neutrality" means nothing to most myspace mavens and does not sound important. the writer did not imply that the propagandists came up with the term. the writer makes a valid point that, as usual, the left has failed to couch the issue in terms that will appeal to and grab the attention of the masses, which is the first step in building a popular movement.

i agree.

this issue is far too important to relegate it to the realm of technicians and professors. this is about free speech and freedom of the press. i know what "net neutrality" means, but its not the real issue. the real issue is greedy corporations trying to privatize and capitalize on anything and everything: communications, water, genetic code.

the tragedy of the commons is not that people sometimes forget how to work together and neglect their resources. the real tragedy is that the owning class has been able to use that meme to justify their bid for privatization and world domination, and they have successfully used mass media to hijack our minds and degrade the social bonds that would allow us to work together in a mass movement powerful enough to stop them.

we have to figure out how build that movement or we will not survive. not in freedom anyway. and it starts with smart memes: propagating information in a way to speaks to people and makes them understand.

neutral Vs ? 19.May.2006 21:18

contrast engine

No - Net Neutrality ia an excellent term - let me prove it to you.

At the fake site is a link that asks you to click so that you can tell your congressperson:

"I don't want net neutrality".

Now who would say that?

Who can not pause for a moment when confronted with such words?

Hmmm...If I don't want net neutrality, what DO I want?
Net Bias?
Net Bias?
or Net Bias?

LOL 20.May.2006 04:17

Mike Novack stepbystpefarm <a> mtdata.com

The existing "net neutrality" is simply an accident of technology. You need to understand how the internet came about, growing like topsy from the connections between various university and government computer systems. With connections in existence, systems were put up that could transmit material between the systems without the need for special jobs being run (in other words, message passing daemons waiting for "work") and it was EASIER to have these daemons handle "all comers" rather than giving preference to "our own messages" (whould have to be able to identify this "ownness"). Various big businesses began installing the daemons and a protocol was established for whatnthe daemons would do (originally there were SEVERAL protocols meaning several DIFFERENT "internets" which collapsed down to one.

But NOTHING in this evolutionary process precluded members of the net (the interconnected computer systems) from running daemons of another protocol constituting in effect a separate (parallel) "internet". It just wasn't in anybody's advantage to do so since the existing one served the perceived needs.

OK -- so now some parties are proposing doing just that. For higher speed, for freedom from spam, for whatever reasons. Are you saying that they should not be ALLOWED to do that? Not allowed to have their own (private) internet? Are you saying that if you, X, Y, ad Z wished to have a connection between your computer systems and transmit material between yourselves on your own terms you shouldn't be allowed? Say give priority to your own messages over those of outsiders you were willign to also transmit?

Understood -- this development might be very bad for the existing "neutral" interet. The reason being that many users might opt to utilize this new internet for reasons that they considered to be benefits in spite of costs (monetary? lack of neutrality? etc.) In other words, that they might do their own cost-benefit analysis and come up with a choice different from your own and that this internet would grow and our current one contract.

they want refashion the net into another version of cable t.v. 20.May.2006 07:40

this thing here

>OK -- so now some parties are proposing doing just that. For higher speed, for freedom from spam, for whatever reasons. Are you saying that they should not be ALLOWED to do that? Not allowed to have their own (private) internet? Are you saying that if you, X, Y, ad Z wished to have a connection between your computer systems and transmit material between yourselves on your own terms you shouldn't be allowed? Say give priority to your own messages over those of outsiders you were willign to also transmit?<

how am i in control if i have to pay to gain access to partitioned segments of the internet, on top of the fees my service provider charges simply for providing a link to the internet? how does it help me if the IMC.org address requires a higher fee to access because of no other reason than how at&t decided to partition it? so the CNN website is free, but IMC.org requires a charge? that doesn't help me, in my opinion. it only helps the bottom line of large corporations.

the way i see it, they are trying to turn the internet into another version of cable television. our payment determines which "channels" (websites) we have access to. instead of having equal access the billions of web pages on the internet, we'll be given a choice of "packages" and "service levels". this is NOT cool. this is NOT what has made the internet what it is. this is NOT helping me gain more control and make better decisions as an informed citizen of a democracy. higher speed and freedom from malicious code is totally insignificant to me compared to complete access to all the internet.

Profit 20.May.2006 19:32

At the public trough

is why it's not ok for "them" to take it over. The internet is public. bought and paid for. If these companies want something like it, then they can build it from the ground up with their own money. The majority of the natural & communications resources are public property that has been stolen and given to Business by so-called representatives of the people. If a business wants to make an honest profit, let it do so by its own toil and not by gorging at the public trough.

in answer to Mike's question 20.May.2006 23:39

CaptainPlanet

"Are you saying that they should not be ALLOWED to do that? Not allowed to have their own (private) internet?"

It wouldn't bother me if Big Business created their own private Internet... as long as they didn't use any of the infrastructure that was created with public funding. Of course, they're never going to do that.

Time to build our own networks 22.May.2006 13:22

Fredric L. Rice frice@skeptictank.org

Local cities and towns need to develope their own local wireless networks which also contain web servers and other services publically and for free, operating and interoperating with all users and servers in line-of-sight networks.

The telephone companies that have been committing massive felonies and treason against us can be side-stepped or otherwise bypassed locally, at any rate, and with cooperation and wireless technology at the interface between local cooperative networks, they can all function fairly well.

The major loss would be bandwidth however low-volume access times like in the morning hours could be spent indexing and copying high-interest files which can be served up during the busy day hours.

We as a nation have to always take matters intoi our own hands. These fascist traitors among us have to be side stepped where they can be.