Letter to the Editor on Internet Censorship I am writing in response to Amy Gehrt’s article in the Mineral Daily News-Tribune titled “Is Internet censorship coming to America?” It is a very informative response to a subject that has not had a lot of headlines. I agree with net neutrality because if the telecom and cable companies are allowed to start charging content providers a premium rate for faster delivery speeds over others, censoring what content is delivered and ending the free and open internet system that we have. First, the fact that it is big businesses that is behind the push for the so called fast lanes is somewhat surprising. Most of the internet censorship throughout the world is done by governments, but the new rules that the FCC is proposing would leave it open for service providers like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon, to create a two-tiered internet, were some websites or content providers pay for preferred access or speeds to the public. Amy Goodman talks in her column how the fundamental principle of the internet allows users to access content freely and without corporation censoring the content or slowing down the connection speeds, and because so much of the world’s internet traffic passes through the United States, any regulations to the internet will impact the entire planet. (Goodman, 2014) The fact that a provider could block or slow down a competitor’s site or a site with differing views is too much power and nobody should be allowed to do it. I like my internet free and open. There are a lot of companies that feel the same. On September the 10, there will be a net neutrality slowdown protest. On that day many websites will display a “spinning wheel of death” the wheel will represent what surfing the web could be like if the rules proposed by the FCC take effect. The 10th is being used because that is the end date of the comment period for the FCC on the open internet issue. There has been over 1.1 million comments so far.
Secondly, the government seems to me to be sending mixed signals to the net neutrality. There are very few things that I agree with President Obama on, but even he has said he is for a free and open internet. Yet he placed, as chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, who was a top lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, before his appointment, the same people who want to try and control the internet. The fact that the President is not the one pushing for the censorship is surprising, as this sounds like one of the socialist issues that he usually tries to pass. It is the latest rules that the FCC has proposed that has so many upset, as the new rules would effectively do away with net neutrality.
The internet has its problems, there is content out there that each of us would like to get rid of. The problem is, when you start to control the internet where does it stop. Amy Gehrt says it well, “Fast lanes may be great for highways, but they have no business on the information superhighway. So perhaps if telecom providers want to focus on faster speed, they should turn their attention to speeding things up for customers. After all, as John Oliver pointed out in his HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” back in June, “We pay more for our Internet service than anybody else on Earth, and yet the download speeds we get lag behind Estonia.” (2014) There is still time to let the FCC know your feelings on how you what your internet. The thought of any type of censorship, especially buy a business for money, is a really bad idea.
Gehrt A. (2014, August 8) Amy Gehrt: Is Internet censorship coming to America? Mineral Daily News-Tribune.