What the Heck Is An Open Internet?

I hate "Big Brother" antics on the Internet... well, mostly. Do you know the Internet is being compromised in the U.S.? "Free speech" is one of the best and worst aspects of our beloved online world. Well, dear readers, the government keeps trying to regulate it.

For those of you who have following my weekly musings or those of you who know me, I don't write about politics. I especially don't write about my opinions and beliefs about politics. I grew up in a strict Irish Catholic setting. I was taught that I should refrain from airing my opinions and thoughts politically. It was weird, now that I look back on it.

I remember being so excited when I could vote. My dad took me to the local high school and walked me through the whole lackluster process. My gym was transformed into a sea of seriousness. There were no megaphones, cheerleaders or mascots. It was very quiet and very personal.

When I saw the latest news about telecommunications companies trying to control the use of the Net, it brought these memories back. Gone are the days of having to be quiet about my political beliefs. My bottom line is, this is so wrong.



Thanks goodness for the Snowe-Dorgan Bill. It represents the "Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2006. "This bipartisan bill was introduced by Senators. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). It aims to protect Network Neutrality. The bill defines the obligations of broadband providers in supplying the link between content providers and consumers.

"The Snowe-Dorgan bill will allow innovators, entrepreneurs and investors who rely on the certainty of that open marketplace to continue to fuel the engine of our nation's economy and our global leadership in Internet technology and services," the group said. "Our companies join an ever-growing group of consumer and public interest groups, trade associations, bloggers, content and services companies, individuals and family and religious organizations who believe strongly in the open Internet."

No doubt this has caused a heck of a lot of hoopla. Everyone has been buzzing. Even the 800-pound gorilla sites came together.

Leading sites Inc., eBay Inc., IAC/Interactive Corp., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo applauded the Snowe-Dorgan Bill. In a combined statement, the companies said the bill provides "a meaningful, bi-partisan solution that will maintain an open Internet and prevent broadband network operators from using their control over Internet access to control the experience of Internet users and compromise the vibrant Internet marketplace."

The House Commerce Committee has approved legislation that would permit the plan.

"Traditional rules that have required communications operators to follow principles of non-discrimination no longer apply," Inouye said, referring to court and FCC rulings that classified DSL and cable modems as information services and exempt from common carrier rules and regulations.

Simply put, without these measures the Net is not protected. Why on earth would we want to give big corporations the ability to control the Internet?

A CNET report published recently shows that the Internet industry is being outspent in Washington by more than a 3-to-1 margin. AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon Communications spent $230.9 million on politicians from 1998 until the present, while the three Internet companies plus and eBay spent only a combined $71.2 million. (Those figures include lobbying expenditures, individual contributions, political action committees and soft money.)

So how do you feel about all of this? Should we protect the Net? Is the Snowe-Dorgan Bill a step in the right direction? Post your rants and raves to the Spin blog.

Friday's Spin erroneously noted that Ingenio has partnered with Verizon. The correct name of the Ingenio partner is, not Verizon

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