The internet is in a dark corner crying right now — rolled up into the fetal position, sobbing. Quite frankly, I feel its pain. I, too, want to roll into a ball and cry. The Federal Appeals Court has broken the internet.
Back in the day the FCC basically said you can’t control the internet. I imagined them saying it in the voice of James Earle Jones (also my go-to when a God voice-over is required): “You can’t control the internet.”
For years, everyone took what the FCC said and ran with it. Providers offered access to the internet, but the FCC said the internet was public domain.
Life was good, because you couldn’t control the internet.
Then came in giants like Verizon, who huffed, puffed, and threw a giant toddler-like fit, declaring that they wanted to control the net. FCC, who I imagined did a double take, said (again in James Earle Jones’ voice) “No, ya morons. We have clearly stated, ‘no one control the internet.’”
Service providers huffed some more, and declared that they could control the rate people could access the net. The FCC begrudgingly said “sure, you can offer tiered access, but you can’t limit content.”
Life was good, but now with tiered speed.
Service providers decided that this didn’t offer them enough control. So, they huffed and puffed at the FCC again, and told the FCC, “we want to limit what folks have access to, and make the websites we don’t like run super slow.” The FCC looked at them like they had four heads and were possessed, slowly backed away declaring, “You can’t control the net.”
It should have ended there. The FCC, which controls all things TV, radio, phone, and other, should have the authority to tell companies that they can’t limit access to the internet. The huge companies should have gone back to their corner and left it alone. But, alas, they didn’t, and what happened next? Well, it broke the internet. It crippled the internet, with the possible ramifications of making the net something useless.
Our current access could be limited to whatever your provider wants you to access. So, say you are an avid NASCAR fan, and every day in the fall, your routine in life is:
1) Wake Up
2) Make Coffee
3) Go to the bathroom.
4) While *cough* spending quality time in the bathroom, meander through NASCAR’s website.
One morning, while going through your normal routine, you pull up NASCAR’s site to find it is taking forever to load. Longer than usual — like, your morning worship to the porcelain god is done. It’s never moved that slow, ever. So you exit out of that app on your phone and continue on your day.
Life is slightly more grumpy because you haven’t gotten to cuss about the latest stupid Kurt Busch comment.
After work, you come home and settle all nicely in your chair, snuggled in with your laptop. You go to pull up the NRA website. It is time to renew your membership. The site is moving slow. It seems oddly similar to the issue in the morning. You open a new browser tab to pull up a recipe site. The recipe site loads beautifully. Super-fast, with all of its glorious images. Ultra-fast, it is. The NRA site is still loading. You are drumming your fingers by now.
You go to open a WWE site, which is also taking forever. You do a search for WWE and nothing appears. Like, nothing. Google has become as helpful as a spoon in a sword fight.
You’ve gone from drumming your fingers to a fit of anger. You’ve begun teaching your kids colorful language.
Why in the word won’t your sites load?
Because your service provider doesn’t approve. Saint Be Stupid (your internet provider) has decided that the NRA is too closely linked to, ya know, guns, NASCAR is clearly a redneck mockery of the true racing of Formula One (they obviously don’t know what they are talking about), and WWE must be promoting violence, because it just is.
This is now all possible with the brilliant backing of the Federal Appeals Court.
FCC told businesses like Saint Be Stupid that it couldn’t control the net. Saint Be Stupid filed an appeal, and somehow, the Federal Appeals Court thought censorship was a stellar idea.
Censorship isn’t something that we are overly fond of here in the states. However, take a look at China and its methods for controlling the net. The government there can regulate speed, access, and searches. Well, interesting. That seems to be exactly what the Federal Appeals Court has allowed to happen, but with Saint Be Bastard taking control instead of Uncle Sam. During the time when China decided that Tibet should no longer exist, the Chinese government basically made the word “Tibet” (or any form of) non-searchable.
Suddenly, our internet access tastes of Chinese.
Life is okay, slightly grumpy, and now with more soy sauce censorship.
Author’s note: Obviously, the dialogue above is my own creation. The basics are correct though. Any provider who deems so fit will have the authority to limit your access without having to prove “why” to anyone. The FCC has said they are thinking about filing an appeal. I really hope they do, because the idea that folks like Verizon, AT&T, and any Joe Blow provider can now censor the internet worries this Google-holic.
And yes, I do have random voiceovers in my head. Probably more than I should admit to. ;-)
As always, if you have a thought or rant to share, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email makes me happy.
I enjoy all sorts of feedback. I’ve developed a decently thick skin and would love to hear what readers are saying. And I do know you folks are talking, I hear about it through the grapevine.