Image by thehoneybunny via FlickrFrom Josh Silver on the Huffington Post today:
"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.""
Net neutrality -- NOT going to happen?
If this happens, Verizon is going to serve up certain content faster if companies pay for it. I use a Verizon Mi-Fi card for traveling and should this be what happens (looks like it is) then I'll be looking for a net-neutral internet provider.
This in many ways is more than censorship - it is attention to the highest bidder. Companies already have the benefit in that they hire people to optimize their sites for search engines and boost their "ratings" however, still, links can and do rise to the top based upon what people write about them. A school teacher in remote Georgia or Saskatchewan Canada can have her or his posts alongside educational journalist giants if she works to write well enough and has enough friends talking about it.
Will the Net Be Ruled by Capitalist Communism?
However, now, the actual carrier of the internet service can bias how fast we access websites. That is not just unfair - it is undemocratic. It is capitalism communism in many ways and repugnant to those of us who appreciate that anyone can rise to the top.
In many ways this would be a meta- filter of what would come into our schools that can influence what comes to our students.
Can't we at least require Internet companies to provide net-neutral services to schools? Does this mean that certain companies pay Internet companies to "bias" in favor of their company with download speeds etc. letting our schools become a commodity and yet another way to serve up targeted advertising to kids?
Pay Me a Fee and I'll Let You By
This sounds a lot like paying a street thug for "protection" to me. I'm sorry, but the whole non-net neutral tact that Internet companies are taking is repugnant. If we don't care, then we're truly letting our future go up to the highest bidder.
It is easier to pull up an oak tree when it is a scrub - let this thing grow and the roots will be so deep it will be virtually impossible to remove. I promise.
This will be an issue that my students review and report on this fall as it is a pivotal one for our future. Certainly the lawyers know more than I do on this one, but it is one to follow and reflect upon.