Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Black Leaders, Old Civil Rights Groups Conflict in Net Neutrality Debate

RE:  Net Neutrality Issue Heats Up

Please remember that the First Amendment to the US Constitution prevents the US Government and the states from abridging our right to free speech, but it does not oblige huge communications corporations like newspapers and Internet providers to carry our content.  It does not prevent corporate giants from limiting or discontinuing our speech. 

francislholland's Channel


I was an active participant at Now Public, with my articles drawing hundreds of reads, until Now Public was bought by a Phillip Anschutz, a billionaire Republican who donated to people like Senator "Wide Stance" Larry Craig, John McCain and state Republican parties.  (See my article entitled, "Billionaire Republican Campaign Donor Buys "Now Public" Site").

About three days after this Republican billionaire bought Now Public, my posting privileges were withdrawn and placed "under review" and have remained withdrawn and "under review" for over a year now.

I understand what happens when billionaire pro-Republican individuals and groups get control over Internet content, and I don't want to see that happen to the entire Internet. 

If they do get content control over the Internet, then I think you can kiss groups like BlackNetAction and Color of Change goodbye.  Since we do not agree with large Republican Corporations about many things, we may find that our groups' accounts are "under review" as well.

I am no expert on Net Neutrality or the proposals before the Federal Trade Commission, but I do understand major corporations trying to gain monopoly control over the Internet and then use it to squelch Black people's and Democrats' communication with each other.  Why should they carry our content if we are disagreeing with them at every turn?

At this point, cable corporations control the speed of each of our Internet connections, but not the content.  What I have read is that a few big cable corporations want the green light to, for example, charge the public one price if we  want access only to commercial sites, but charge more if we want access to send or receive messages from non-profit groups like Color of Change and Black Net Action.  Or charge Color of Change more if it wants access to e.g. send and receive e-mails from people in the 50 states.

Although I haven't heard these specific proposal, I can well imagine it happening, particularly if groups like ours continue to challenge these major corporations, as we do when we see color-aroused antagonistic and anti-Black commercials on television and in print.

The entire Internet could become like a privately-owned newspaper, where the editorial board decides what will be published and what will not.

Over the last two decades, "letters to the editor" have become practically irrelevant compared to the power of our communications over the Internet, our blogs and websites.  But, if corporate giants get editorial control over our Internet content, then we will effectively be back to writing letters to the editor and hoping the publisher agrees with our message enough to publish it.

That would be a gargantuan defeat for us and our communities and it is a battle that we must fight to our last breath.

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