Imagine a group of paid lobbyists behind closed doors engaged in secret negotiations regarding the internet, your internet. Sure, you may not own it, more than likely you haven’t personally purchased any of the wires or organized any of the companies that have created the structure and framework that allows the internet to function, speeding information to your computer, but it is your internet. It has become the marketplace of ideas; it has become so pervasive in how we communicate, learn, share information and organize that it could certainly be argued the internet is now in the public domain. So when the doors close in a faraway government office and lobbyists hired by Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Google, and any other large corporation with a stake, trying to negotiate a compromise with the government about the way the internet will function, specifically about rules for net-neutrality, why is it these meetings aren’t open to the public? Why doesn’t the public get their say? The internet has gone beyond a simple profit-making exercise for a handful of corporations. The internet is now one of the key purveyors of free speech in this country and worldwide.
From an article in the Wall Street Journal:
At stake is how far the government can go to dictate the way Internet providers manage traffic on networks they have spent billions of dollars rolling out. The FCC has proposed so-called net neutrality rules that would ensure carriers treat all content equally, and not slow or block access to websites.
Net-neutrality be good for the citizens, but the Telecoms want control.
“The potential deal between two broadband behemoths underscores the need for the FCC to act quickly to protect the free and open Internet,” said Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “In the absence of such action, it’s increasingly clear that cozy cooperation between communications colossi will reign on the Internet.”
So, what halted the meeting?
The news yesterday of a probable deal between Google and Verizon which threw the whole get-together into chaos. Nobody likes it when two of the major players in a negotiation suddenly try to change the rules behind everyone’s backs. Google and Verizon have since denied their efforts to circumvent net-neutrality, though they admit they are working together on a deal, the fine details of which, they refuse to release.
Barack Obama ran on a campaign platform of net-neutrality and openness in government, these closed door meetings are a slap in the face to both.
The meetings should be open.
Upon news of the failed negotiations, Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:
“We welcome the FCC’s decision to end its backroom meetings. Phones have been ringing off the hook and e-mail inboxes overflowing at the FCC, as an outraged public learned about the closed-door deal-making and saw the biggest players trying to carve up the Internet for themselves. We’re relieved to see that the FCC apparently now finds dangerous side deals from companies like Verizon and Google to be distasteful and unproductive.
“Now the FCC must match the chairman’s words with decisive actions. We need our leaders in Washington to make the tough decisions and take on the difficult task of standing up to entrenched interests and pushing forward strong rules that will protect Internet users everywhere. Today, Julius Genachowski and the FCC took a big step back from the brink and gave everyone who cares about the free and open Internet reason to be hopeful that they still might do the right thing.”
Read the article,
Have a nice day.