Friday, May 12, 2006

Net Neutrality

It's an issue that's brought together both the left-wing and right-wing blogospheres. And major computer companies like Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, and Amazon are on board. What is it exactly? I'll let the wonderful wikipedia provide a definition:
Network neutrality is a principle of network operational architecture. It means that the network is operated under the three principles of neutrality: non-discrimination, interconnection, and access. The principles can apply to any network. They govern the operation of the network, not the content or business practices of the network operator. Inherent in the definition is that network operations are distinct from the content side. Network neutrality is one way to describe the operational architecture of the global Internet. Nearly every nation operating a portion of the Internet, often by default, has adopted some form of the neutrality principle.
The United States does not have enforced Network Neutrality, and various telcoms would like to keep it that way so that they may charge differential rates to various providers. Those who could not pay higher rates might have their content delivered more slowly or not at all, at the whim of the telcom company. This would be bad for free speech, and bad for economic innovation, and those are two things I really like about this country. has a petition related to this, here. I urge everyone to sign. You can also call your congressfolk.  By the way, signing up for e-mails is one of the best ways to become an "armchair activist". They send simple action items that are easy to do, and knowing that thousands of other people are doing the same thing helps motivate you and eases the sense of futility that sometimes accompanies such actions.


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