Keri Renault

Civil Rights in the Digital Domain

Filed By Keri Renault | April 10, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: AT&T, Big Business, Comcast, exploiting tragedy, FCC filings, freedom of speech, internet, ISP, NAACP, National Urban League, Net Neutrality, profiteering, Telecom, Verizon

Big business special interests have proven to be the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing of the new world order.

Let me count the profiteering ways.

The unfettered greed of Wall Street crippled America's Main Street, a domino effect contributing to global recession. Big Health insurance led by #1 United Health and its conservative lobbyists distorted facts, spread falsehoods and instigated near riot conditions from Town Hall meetings to Capitol Hill. It was a calculated, covert strategy of fear, employing everyday Americans to kill the health care bill. Reform intended to benefit them most.

The strategy worked. A disenfranchised and misinformed middle class rallied to dilute the positive impact of legitimate health care reform.

Now Big Telecom is successfully employing the same tactic, exploiting the very people it allegedly serves.

Yes, it's the telecom industry's turn at bat. AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be taking a mighty swing at unregulated internet information exchange. To coin a baseball phrase the telecoms are playing long ball, swinging for the fences, greedy for the game winning home run.

We need to make them swing and miss now.

This isn't a game. At stake is the right to an uncensored internet, a civil right to freedom of speech in the era of the digital domain.

Big Telecom believes the public interest will best be served only if internet information access is their sole gatekeeping province. If serving the "public interest" just happens to be their next cash cow, the telecoms will likely argue it a result of "good business practice".

The FCC would like to preserve the status quo of free information exchange on the internet, protecting the American people with a policy of "net neutrality". The FCC is encouraging all interested parties to weigh in on the matter. Lobbyists of the Big Three telecom industry have a huge head start on the public, a decided advantage on the outcome.

The Color of Change coalition opposes the vested profiteering interests of the telecom industry. It endorses the proposed 'net neutrality" policy outlined is the FCC proposal:

The FCC is working to create rules that would protect "net neutrality," the principle that protects an open and free Internet and which has guided the Internet's operation since it began. It guarantees that information you put online is treated the same as anyone else's information in terms of its basic ability to travel across the Internet. Your own personal website or blog can compete on equal footing with the biggest companies. It's the reason the Internet is so diverse -- and so powerful. Anyone with a good idea can find their audience online, whether or not there's money to promote the idea or money to be made from it.

Free and open access to the "information highway" is arguably the greatest gift to freedom of speech in a generation. But that's not the way telecom and their money-seeding lobbyists spin it.

Big Telecom Enlists the Black Community

AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would like to pilfer freedom of expression away, protecting us from ourselves. Like their Big Biz brothers of recent past the Big Three have recruited a heavy hitter. Once again, this powerful ally in the covert game of corporate profiteering would be the group most adversely impacted by the cause it supports.

That ally is the NAACP and coalitions of the Black community.

Color of Change reports that over the past 10 years AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have contributed millions upon millions of dollars to the coffers of the NAACP and the National Urban League. In exchange they've purchased the grass roots endorsement of these prestigious equality organizations. The telecoms do it with a ridiculous argument that greater internet control would generate greater profits which would in turn lead to investing in the Black community, expanding internet access where little is currently present.

If the past is any indicator of the future, it won't be long before indignant, underprivileged members of this exploited community rise in outrage against the evils of "net neutrality'.

Concerned citizens can send a message to the FCC: Keep the internet free of corporate corruption by signing Color of Change's online petition.

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Businesses never have our best interests at heart. They have the motivations that they're board tells them to have - which is "Make more money for shareholders."

The day after the courts made its ruling in favor of Comcast, every GLBT website I tried to access took at least twice as long do so. Friday I couldn't even access The Advocate from my iPhone at all.

Censorship? Or just a 'slow internet experinace'? Will the day come where I try to open Bilerico Project only to see a blank page because the ISP decides that 'teh ho-mo-sexuallll menace' should be blocked?

and yet strangely, I do see them keeping all porn on the web since it makes money. Like Trekkie Bear says "the internet is for porn".