Berners-Lee On Net Neutrality
When, seventeen years ago, I designed the Web, I did not have to ask anyoneâ€™s permission. The new application rolled out over the existing Internet without modifying it. I tried then, and many people still work very hard still, to make the Web technology, in turn, a universal, neutral, platform... The Internet is increasingly becoming the dominant medium binding us. The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy.
He did really, in fact, design the web. So listen up.
I'd go a step further and posit that in the 21st Century, the 1st Amendment would be (to use a phalocentric term) castrated without Network Neutrality.
What do I mean? Well, think about it: we don't need a right to speech because it makes us feel good to speak our minds. We need the right to speech becuase puts power in the hands of citizens. It's not just about preventing thought police, it's about letting people freely communicate, organize and assemble, all of which help balance power between human beings and institutions.
Currently, a narrow definition of the "right to speak" means you're free to be a crackpot on the street corner, or perhaps to protest in a "free speech
cage zone," or to chat with your friends in person, or (if you've got the dough) spend your money to create a media outlet and/or contribute to a politician's re-election fund.
That's not a very empowering paradigm for citizens.
Lately that's been changing, and the effects are good overall, I think. The trends, at the very least, are encouraging. However, without Network Neutrality, we all fork over our right to communication online -- the most empowering type of speech -- to the whims of Verizon.
Not a good idea.