OK, so the Internet isn't going to explode or get taken over by aliens or anything, but there have been heated discussions recently about the topic of net neutrality, which have many people saying those three very words.
So what is net neutrality you might ask? Surprisingly many people I've spoken to have no idea what it is and why they should care? This is where my net neutrality for dummies comes into play: Net neutrality is basically the theory that everyone should have equal access to the Internet.
The Internet thus far has been a landscape of democracy and freedom. Anyone from anywhere can post just about anything. Well, Internet service providers like AT&T, Time Warner and DirecTV want that all to change in many ways. They want to decide what we see and what we don't, by basically charging sites and content creators to get priority viewing online. According to FreePress, between January and June of 2009, telephone and cable companies have spent over $46 million dollars trying to kill the net neutrality campaign.
You can see why this scares many individuals and corporations, including Google, Amazon and Skype to name a few, who have come together under The Open Internet Coalition to fight back and- yes, we've come full circle– save the Internet! But it does seem like we might be headed in the right direction. On October 22nd, The Federal Communications Commission started a process to codify Internet freedom, and over the next 150 days will construct the rules of the Web.
I recently sat down with two of net neutrality's Hollywood supporters at the Writers Guild of America, actress Justine Bateman and WGA Political Director, John Kosinski:
While we spoke about the controversial future of our beloved webosphere, an interesting comparison came up. Let's say that only the major chain stores are allowed to set up and open shop, because they simply have the money to do so. There are no independents or mom and pop stores. Imagine each block is exactly the same. That's a bleak and boring world I wouldn't even want to see exist- on or offline.