Quote of the day

The issue recently addressed by Alfredo Lopez is net neutrality and the work some corporations perform which is meant to undermine this practice. Those corporations are mostly the largest providers of retail broadband services to end users — that is, to common consumers. They wish to impose a model of broadband provision which mimics the model they use when providing cable television access. In other words, cable providers want to charge consumers economic rents beyond the costs and profits they now earn when they provide simple and direct internet access. The issue at stake is not only a moral-economic one, for this profit-motivated attack on net neutrality entails the existence of a power to determine who sees what while surfing the internet, when they see it, how they see it and at what cost. It is no stretch at all to claim that some cable companies wish to become censors. This is the power they want the federal government to give them. Thus, Lopez asks:

Do you trust huge corporations to protect your access to all the information you need and want? Do you trust them to protect your ability to give everyone else access to information you want to spread?

The answer, unless you routinely purchase Brooklyn Bridge shares, is “no”. They can’t be trusted with the power over your right to communicate. They shouldn’t ever be trusted with that power. And the Constitution of this country makes clear that they aren’t trusted.

To be sure, the federal government was also considered an untrustworthy source of social-moral regulation, and thus Congress was prohibited from making any “…law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” These rights were soon attacked by a fraction of the Founders. The federal government still threatens to undermine these rights. Today, as we know, the private powers, as found, for instance, in the possession of some corporations, are so massive that they dwarf the powers feared by the authors and ratifiers of the First Amendment. We should fear private power too.

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