On August 19, Free Press, Main Street Project and the Center for Media Justice are co-hosting a public hearing on the Future of the Internet. This important hearing is a valuable opportunity for those outside of Washington to share their ideas, experiences and concerns with the FCC.
The Google and Verizon are facing a huge backlash against their plan to give corporate control over today's fair, open Internet.
The media has trashed the deal as a giant corporate power-grab, and over 300,000 people, including you, have signed petitions calling on Google to drop this disastrous proposal.
By Josh Silver - Huffington Post
For years, Internet advocates have warned of the doomsday scenario that will play out on Monday: Google and Verizon will announce a deal that the New York Times reports "could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege."
The deal marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as you know it. Since its beginnings, the Net was a level playing field that allowed all content to move at the same speed, whether it's ABC News or your uncle's video blog. That's all about to change, and the result couldn't be more bleak for the future of the Internet, for television, radio and independent voices.
How did this happen? We have a Federal Communications Commission that has been denied authority by the courts to police the activities of Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast. All because of a bad decision by the Bush-era FCC. We have a pro-industry FCC Chairman who is terrified of making a decision, conducting back room dealmaking, and willing to sit on his hands rather than reassert his agency's authority. We have a president who promised to "take a back seat to no one on Net Neutrality" yet remains silent. We have a congress that is nearly completely captured by industry. Yes, more than half of the US congress will do pretty much whatever the phone and cable companies ask them to. Add the clout of Google, and you have near-complete control of Capitol Hill.
A non-neutral Internet means that companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Google can turn the Net into cable TV and pick winners and losers online. A problem just for Internet geeks? You wish. All video, radio, phone and other services will soon be delivered through an Internet connection. Ending Net Neutrality would end the revolutionary potential that any website can act as a television or radio network. It would spell the end of our opportunity to wrest access and distribution of media content away from the handful of massive media corporations that currently control the television and radio dial.
So the Google-Verizon deal can be summed up as this: "FCC, you have no authority over us and you're not going to do anything about it. Congress, we own you, and we'll get whatever legislation we want. And American people, you can't stop us.
This Google-Verizon deal, this industry-captured FCC, and the way this is playing out is akin to the largest banks and the largest hedge funds writing the regulatory policy on derivative trading without any oversight or input from the public, and having it rubber stamped by the SEC. It's like BP and Halliburton ironing out the rules for offshore oil drilling with no public input, and having MMS sign off.
Fortunately, while they are outnumbered, there are several powerful Net Neutrality champions on Capitol Hill, like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Henry Waxman, Jay Rockefeller, Ed Markey, Jay Inslee and many others. But they will not be able to turn this tide unless they have massive, visible support from every American who uses the Internet --- whether it's for news, email, shopping, Facebook, Twitter --- whatever. So stop what you're doing and tell them you're not letting the Internet go the way of Big Oil and Big Banks. The future of the Internet, and your access to information depends on it.
Author's note: Notice how a company can change their tune in the name of profitmaking. From Google in 2006: "Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody - no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional - has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can't pay."
Follow Josh Silver on Twitter: www.twitter.com/freepress
By Sharon Schmickle | Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 | www.MinnPost.com
Minnesota's schools are nowhere near the point of the old ditty, "No more pencils, no more books . . . ," but they increasingly turn to the Internet for everything from science testing to foreign language classes.
Rulemaking Fixes Critical DMCA Wrongs
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won three critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anticircumvention provisions today, carving out new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones and artists who remix videos — people who, until now, could have been sued for their non-infringing or fair use activities.
It’s been a busy July for MAG-Net, filing FCC comments related to our Mobile Justice and Broadband for the People Campaigns. Our comments build off our annual plan, and the Media Policy for Social Justice track that we created and led at the Allied Media Conference. Our goal was to use this track to kick off our campaigns, as well as develop closer working relationship with new partners--and we did! Since the start of July, MAG-Net has filed comments (and reply comments) on Bill Shock, Broadband Reclassification, and USF Low-Cost programs. Below you can find a short primer on our filings.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in the office of the New Sanctuary Movement NYC teaching some of their members how to use twitter and facebook to connect to the growing movement to counter Arizona's racist anti immigrant law SB1070 that went into affect yesterday July 29th, 2010. New Sanctuary Movement NYC along with Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project, Black Institute, Churches United to Save & Heal, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, DRUM-Desis Rising Up & Moving, VAMOS Unidos, American Friends Service Committee, Wind of the Spirit (NJ) organized a march over the Brooklyn Bridge to protest anti SB 1070 as part of a national day of action.
By Gretchen Livingston, Senior Researcher, Pew Hispanic Center
Technology use among foreign-born Latinos continues to lag significantly behind that of their U.S.-born counterparts. The nativity differences are especially pronounced when it comes to internet use. While 85% of native-born Latinos ages 16 and older go online, only about half (51%) of foreign-born Latinos do so. When it comes to cell phones, 80% of native-born Latinos use one, compared with 72% of the foreign born.
Listen to an interview that KPFA Radio's Apex Express did with MAG-Net's new coordinator, Betty Yu.
The show also features two songs created by MAG-Net members, "Regulators" and "Broadband in Yo' Face".