Big Telecom wants to build an Internet slow lane to squeeze more money out of Internet users. That's bad enough. But there's a much more troubling consequence of restricting Internet traffic, and it threatens to undermine the free flow of knowledge and information that makes the Internet great.
Article by Bob Castleman for Critical Thought
Net Neutrality is often argued in terms of tiered services, equal access, bandwidth throttling, innovation by start ups and other issues related to the mechanics and economics of the Internet. But beneath this raucous fray lies a more dangerous and less talked about issue - that being the control of information in general. How is it that we receive our information and how is it that we decide its value? Through how many filters has the “real story” been passed before it arrives on our devices? What is the difference between The Arab Spring and The Great Firewall of China if not free versus restricted flow of information?
The Net Neutrality debate is at its core more about who controls the flow of information, not how it’s paid for and delivered. It is about individuals empowered to shine a light on what is important to them, whether child soldiers in conflict zones, suicides at Foxconn, police brutality in American towns, or yes, even LOLZ cats.
The capacity of the Internet to allow the rapid dissemination of information must not be infringed. Net Neutrality isn’t just about the control of bandwidth, but also about who gets to control the information itself, who gets to control the filters that strip away content selectively in a concerted effort to influence our perceptions of the world and ultimately our behavior. We are facing the possibility where every piece of information that comes to our computers and mobile devices has been optimized to promote interests that would themselves rather not be revealed.
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