FCC’s Tom Wheeler Attacks Net Neutrality, Showing His Previous Promises to be a Bunch of Worthless Garbage
Welcome ‘soft’ censorship
Thomas Wheeler; photo by Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg / December 12, 2013
Summary: The vision of ‘soft’ censorship, long sought after by corporate media, is finally here in the form of slow lanes for 99% of us
NOTHING surprises us when it comes to the FCC’s betrayal, at least not anymore. We wrote a great deal about Net Neutrality (dozens of times before) not because it relates to software but because as a site that drives around 100 GB of traffic per month we are very much affected by the issue and we should probably throw yet another opinion out there, despite the issue being covered very widely (which is good) to shed light on the seriousness of the matter.
One of our readers sent us this link which helps show the role of corporate lobbying in all this. As Mike Masnick put it: “We’ve talked plenty about the big revolving door between government and big business lately, but there are still some moments that are purely insane that show just how broken the system is. On Wednesday, news broke that former FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker has been named the new CEO of CTIA, the main lobbying organization for mobile phone operators. Baker is no stranger to questionable revolving door moves, seeing as just months after she voted to approve Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal, she took a top lobbying job with Comcast. Funny how that works.
“But, in this case, it’s even more ridiculous because, as Jon Brodkin points out, the current head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, previously was CEO of CTIA as well. And prior to that he was CEO of NCTA (the cable industry’s main lobbying group). And, to top it off, the current head of CTIA is none other than former FCC chair Michael Powell.”
Here is more about it. It’s simply white collar corruption and we should treat it accordingly. Here is an oldish quote regarding Net Neutrality and beyond, from President Obama himself: “I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”
Nonsense. False promises and no hope.
As one article put it, we now have “Net Discrimination” and it is being stamped into law. As another article put it, “FCC guts net neutrality to pave way to tiered internet” and there is similar analysis elsewhere. Well, as usual we have a deceiving headline from the Murdoch propaganda press (we highlighted this pattern before) and as one blog put it, “FCC Plots Murder of Blogs on Behalf of Billionaire Media Lords” (like Murdoch).
The cable and media giants are not really liking it when other points of view are being sent across, especially some in video and audio (which is where traffic gets very expensive). It is clear that for financial reasons some shows will have to shut down as a result of the FCC’s (lobbyists’) latest moves, which were driven in part (as precursor) by Comcast and Netflix. They are banning competition by passing new laws, or at least suppressing competition. There is now a White House petition for Net Neutrality, but these petitions usually prove to be a waste of time; they might generate some press, but the White House is not genuinely interested in serving people, only corporations. There are still some weeks left for things to change, just like in Europe (where Net Neutrality is being defended and finalisation of such a decision is imminent).
What big businesses and lobbyists seek here is protectionism. They are making sure that the Internet becomes useful only for surveillance and propaganda, as much of the rest is censored, made expensive, slowed down, and suppressed behind protocols that make the Web “Hollyweb”.
As we pointed out before, Tom Wheeler is more like a mole, never really committing to Net Neutrality. Some sites provided proof of it while continuing their coverage of the latest developments.
This is not about videos. Like many other policies, “congestion” is an excuse, like “terrorism” and “think of the children!”
They are starting with videos and later, once the presence is already there, expand to more areas and media types, driving small sites out of the Web. What we deal with here is erosion of Internet freedom and rights, promoting the big corporations and subverting equality of speech.
Net neutrality is not just some Utopia. Subscribers who pay for the Internet connection typically bear the costs and if there is a capacity issue, then expansion can be taken care of. People pay for it already. Watch the article many sites have been citing, spinning the news as a discussion about a “Fast Lane”. This is nonsense. As one person put it, “NYT framing is also slavish. It’s not a “fast lane” it’s the ability to throttle and extort everyone that is being allowed. Wheeler’s assertion that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated ignores prior and ongoing throttling. Shame on Wheeler and the NYT.”
So the rich and powerful will have their traffic and packets treated specially, at the expense of others’. They are also putting DRM in HTML and incorporating other abuses against the Web, including DPI and other forms of surveillance. According to the NYT: “The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals.”
That’s deceiving. They use the same propaganda language that the cable oligopoly has been using all along. It continues by saying: “The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers.”
It’s not much of a turnaround for those who have watched the FCC being taken over by lobbyists (and revolving doors actions, including from Microsoft). The FCC should be disbanded and a new body put in charge of these issues. The FCC is no longer what it’s supposed to be; it has been hijacked.
It is a turning point in the fight against censorship and the fight for information on the Web. Costs are being used in this type of warfare; So shows like TechBytes will be disciminated against and sent more slowly (if at all) to listeners, unless the host pays additional, prohibitive costs.
Watch another example of corporate press spin: “Internet service providers could strike special deals with Internet companies like Netflix or Skype for preferential treatment, under proposals by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, violating the ideal of equal access for all consumers”
This is not about fast lanes for large corporations and mass media’s corporate masters; it is about SLOW lanes for those who are not in a list of “approved” media or whatever. It’s ‘soft’ censorship. █