Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Internet in the People's Republic of America

Get ready for the Great Firewall.

The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.

Under the plans they are considering, all of us--from content providers to individual users--would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing "platinum," "gold" and "silver" levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.

Better dig up those old 33600 baud modems, because you can bet that the new system will be used by the Bush regime next door to silence anti-government websites (that will mean no more Bush bashing for us Canadians, because we all know how good we are at resisting American trends!). And if they are going to shut out p2p, then freenet will be completely useless. Being slow already as it is, even if it's just relegated to a slow lane it will be unusable.

And right at the same time, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are kissing China's collective arse (as if Microsoft's 'trusted computing' initiative isn't going to be enough of a nightmare as it is).

And not to be outdone, AOL launched a propaganda campaign in the UK against the freedom of the internet a few months ago:

'Oh, the internet is bad cuz it has dirty stuff on it, but we make lots of money by ripp... I mean selling you shitty connection and spamming you with CDs. Hey, I know, let's censor it to protect your kids from that evil anti-government info!'

Or hey, who needs AOL, here's a brand new internet for you, it's all nice and fast and clean and approved by the US government! None of all those dirty 9/11 conspiracy theories to corrupt the minds of your children, ma'am!


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