Net Neutrality is one of the most important challenges facing civilization as a whole right now, yet most people don’t even know – let alone care – about it. Here’s my simple summary of the issue, and please be sure to watch (and pass along) the video that comes after it.
Radio and newspaper, when they were first introduced, were user-generated media sources. This means that people could, for relatively little money, produce their own content and then get it out to very large groups of people through these media. But once corporations realized how lucrative the mediums were they, along with government help in many cases, created an environment where only very few could create the content, while the masses could only consume it.
This translates directly to the Internet. For these first 10 years or so that the web has been in its current form the people have had the ability to create and instantly publish their content to millions of people. This, just as with radio and print, has been an invaluable tool for propagating all types of individual expression. Art, movies, music, poetry, novels, political opinion, philosophical discourse – all these constituents of healthy democratic society are spread instantly through the Internet, even more so than with the previous media types.
But just as with radio and print, the corporations have now realized the power of this medium, and they’re moving to seize control of it. Quite simply, they plan to limit access to content, making it far more difficult (if not impossible) for regular people to create content and then distribute it to the world. Their intention is to place controls on who can and cannot create and distribute content by, you guessed it, charging for this “privilege”. What this will do is effectively do to the Internet what they did to radio and print, i.e. make it a one-way highway that goes from corporations to the people, but not from the people to the people.
So this is not a minor technological debate; it’s quite simply one of the most important issues facing our generation. The Net Neutrality debate literally discusses the ease with which people gain access to information. Please take the time to follow the issue and educate others whenever possible.: