I never thought I would need to write about this, because I kind of assumed that in general, people know what net neutrality means. Of course, if everybody knew everything, then I wouldn’t be teaching in a university now, would I? (I’m still shocked when I watch my students write down everything I say. “Wow,” I think, “you didn’t know that?” I guess they didn’t. Actually, what I really think is, “Wow. You think what I’m saying is important? My mother never did.” But I digress.)
I just finished my routine of catching up on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s Whatever Show. On Stewart’s show, he revealed what I did not know (because I try not to listen to Republican mouth pieces if I can avoid it), and that is that Republicans are lying through their teeth AGAIN. I really should not be shocked at this, because whereever money flows into a Republican’s pocket, there shall be his or her platform. And so, all the corporate media behemouths are bound and determined to block net neutrality in order to secure enough money so they can pay off more Republicans (oh, and to be fair, several Democrats, I’m sure) to make sure the media conglomerates can continue to make ludicrous amounts of money off of us.
The lies are typical – spreading enough fear to shrink the gonads of regular gullible Americans so that they run to their elected representatives and scream at them to save them from socialism, gayness, government control and terrorists against marriage, oh and tea bags too, just for good measure.
So, let me try and explain net neutrality to you, in case your gonads have climbed up into your asshole and you’re busy building an underground fallout shelter just in case Obama’s Socialist Secret Soldiers come knocking on your door demanding your soul and push their way into your very own living room so that they can turn your children into gays.
In a perfect world, net neutrality means that the Internet is neutral to the content that travels upon its “tubes.” The Internet is just a vehicle or conduit for content. It passes no judgment nor imposes restrictions on that content. It sends your porn video bytes (Not bites folks. Settle down.) to you the same way it sends that video of Sarah Palin getting exorcised by her crazy-ass preacher. The internet doesn’t look at Sarah Palin and decide to download her faster than your porn (Thank The Lourd). No. It sends both videos to you (because there are people out there that watch BOTH Sarah Palin AND porn videos, and you know who you are) at the same speed.
Here’s another example. Your car is also a neutral vehicle. If you buy a Ford, you aren’t restricted to buy only Exxon gas. Your Ford is neutral when it comes to the fuel it uses to get from one place to the other. Both your fuel and your car are neutral. Neither one gives a rat’s ass if you drive home to your wife or across town to your Mistress. The car doesn’t go any faster or slower based on which person you will be visiting. The fuel doesn’t spark more or less based on where you go either. Your Ford passes no judgment on you. Only we pass judgment on you for driving one.
Your computer is mostly neutral (I say mostly because Bill Gates tried to control how you used your computer through limitations in your browser and Microsoft applications). No matter where you go, you can plug it in to an electrical socket and charge it. The electrical socket doesn’t give a shit what you do on your computer. It just sends electricity to your computer to keep it running. It won’t DENY electricity because you are using your computer TOO MUCH, or looking at the WRONG things.
Your computer is neutral in another way. You can get the Internet on your computer from any Internet Service Provider (ISP) out there. Your computer doesn’t slow down or speed up based on which ISP you’re using. You can go online via cellular, wireless, wired, satellite, cable, T1, dialup or DSL. Your computer couldn’t care less which one you choose. These different providers are inherently slower (Dialup) or faster (T1) based on their physical limitations, but not based on some human deciding to fuck with you and make your internet slower.
That’s what the people against net neutrality want to do. They want to fuck with you based on how you use the internet and what content you choose to access over the internet. They want to make judgments about what you do on the internet and punish your ass because of it. If you’re a superuser, you get slowed down, unless you pay a premium to get faster speed. If you’re a superuser AND a schlub with no money (like me), you won’t be able to pay the premium, so you’re stuck with slower access.
Without net neutrality, if you watch lots of video online or play massive-multi-player games online, your ISP can detect that, and slow your ass down. Or, if your ISP gets PAID by some content provider to FAVOR their content over somebody else’s, then when you access the other content, it’ll be as slow as molasses. If you go and pay a premium to download the favored content, it’ll be faster than a speeding bullet (to the brain).
In other words, your ISP, like Comcast for instance, will have (and in the case of Comcast, already has) you by the gonads.
Here’s an example of something that is NOT neutral: your cell phone. Your cell phone should be like your computer, but it isn’t. You buy an iPhone from Apple and in the US they force you to use AT&T as your carrier. Apple locks the phone (that you paid a fortune for – isn’t that nice?) and you can’t use any other provider. In Europe, that’s against the law. That’s because in Europe, they are more consumer-centric, versus corporate-centric. They actually care about the consumer. So, when I bought my iPhone here, I had a choice between three carriers: Orange, SFR and Bouygues. Of course, if I go back to the states, I can’t just slip a SIM card from an American carrier into my iPhone. Because Apple made sure I couldn’t do that. Steve Jobs sold his soul to the devil on this one.
Your ISP, like Comcast, and their partners who wish to make more money off of you, are the ones trying to destroy net neutrality. It’s THEM that you should be afraid of. It’s THEM that wish to control you. It’s them that want to stick their noses into your private life and regulate you and based on what you do online, punish you with higher fees. It’s THEM that can be bribed by anybody to make sure that you only see THEIR content, versus the content you want to see.
It is NOT our government who wants to control your life in this situation, OK?
Yell loudly at your representatives to VOTE FOR net neutrality, or Big Brother (in the form of your ISP) actually will be looking over your shoulder, very, very soon (If they aren’t already). (Your gonads should be tiny little rocks right now, but for the right reasons this time.) Learn more at wearetheweb.org and/or savetheinternet.com. And take all the actions suggested on those sites (email your representative, sign petitions, etc.). If you want to read what the guy who invented the internet thinks about net neutrality, go here.