The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, was founded in June, 1934 to protect US citizens from prejudice and illegal intrusions on their education; today they begin to do quite the opposite. On December 21, 2010 there will be a meeting to decide whether to strictly regulate the Internet or to let it remain an unmonitored resource to United States and the world.
Why are They Passing Legislation About Net neutrality?
In February 2008, an FCC investigation into Comcast, a large TV, phone and internet provider across America, revealed that they Comcast was cutting bandwidths without notifying customers. People who had paid for sizable bandwidths had their Internet flow strangled; Comcast claimed that this was for the betterment of all Comcast subscribers. They announced that if one person was over utilizing their network, downloading movies or large groups of audio files, that everyone else’s bandwidth suffered. For the greater good of their customers they shrunk overloaded bandwidths, however policy was deemed illegal by the FCC
Comcast and the FCC went before a judge, who ruled in favor of Comcast. The FCC did not have the right to reprimand Comcast for redistributing its internet access as long as Comcast did not do so maliciously or unconstitutionally, both of which they were not. Since this time the FCC has been trying to regroup, currently they are near powerless Internet issues. This has emboldened Comcast and Verizon, who are now cautiously testing their new-found independence.
How Does This Threaten our Free Speech?
The largest media source in this world today is the Internet. previously the FCC let the internet operate under “network neutrality,” which essentially means that everyone is allowed to post everything and anything online, except outlawed materials. Thanks to this policy internet has arisen as a crucible of creativity and truths that would otherwise never be known. Virtually unmonitored Internet providers can eliminate this freedom on the internet.
This is a hypothetical situation, but it is the one that would play out should net neutrality be mitigated or eliminated. First the service providers would protect themselves from bad public relations, by cutting off bandwidth of all damaging media sources online. They would act with impunity, most of the population would never know any illegal acts or accidents they committed without access to the whistleblowers of the Internet.
Opening the floodgates, more and more topics become censored on the Internet should net neutrality weakened. Every major corporation would pay off the internet providers to silence damaging articles. Politicians would do the same. Truth would rapidly degrade on the Internet and none of the naive internet users like you and me would realize it. Why? The whistleblower’s articles about this hypothetical net neutrality infringements would never be released.
Truth on the internet would go to the top dollar at the expense of crippling free speech. Previously the FCC and the Internet providers, like Comcast, had an informal agreement to respect net neutrality, letting people post whatever they liked without purging anything. Should net neutrality be impeded there will be no free speech on the Internet; those with the most money will dictate the media. To dismiss net neutrality is to dismiss free speech.
Why May the FCC be weakening Free Speech?
The five man board of the FCC are divided on net neutrality. Democratic Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed legislation that maintains net neutrality. His policies will reclassify all wired and wireless communications, allowing the FCC to continue to police them and defend our free speech. Under this new policy the free speech will be protected and Comcast will not be allowed to fluctuate bandwidths.
The two republicans commissioners, Robert M. McDowell and Mignon L. Clyborn have attacked this liberal policy as “reckless.” This radical stance comes from their close party ties. The Republican party is closely aligned with major corporation across America. These corporations fund Republican political campaigns and in return the politicians pass policy that benefits these corporations and the men who run them. The massive military spending and Bush tax cuts, which have lower tax percentages for the richest Americans than those who are less well off, came from this relationship.
There are two other Democratic commissioners, Attwell Baker and Michael Copps. The allegiances of the Democratic party of with those of the people; their goals are to help as many people as possible even at the expense of increased taxes. They rely on the common man to help get them elected to office.
Naturally, it would be assumed that these two Democratic commissioners would support this legislation that would support the people. However, they have remained silent. This has led to speculation that one or both of them have broken ranks and switched sides to the Republicans. Should this have happened Chairman Julius Genachowski would not have the three votes needed to pass his legislation.
If this is the case free speech will rapidly degrade.
How you can protect you Free Speech?
Exercise you right to Free Speech, let your outrage be heard. Post on the blogs, and write in the comments down below. Write letters to the newspapers and email the media. Above all, contact your democratic Senators. They have influence to guarantee that free speech is protected or even override the FCC if you react strongly enough. Act before December 21, that is when they will vote on this momentous issue.
The future of free speech comes down to you.
Sources: BBC.com, InformationWeek, InternetNews, and Brietbart