Thursday, December 23, 2010

WW Editorial: No Monopoly on Information

Published Dec 22, 2010 11:11 PM

The FCC’s Dec. 21 ruling on “net neutrality” attempts to put into law the corporate monopolization of the Internet.

The ruling not only tries to seal the rise of corporate control of the Internet; it also enforces a two-tier system on the Internet’s “super highway” — a fast lane for the rich, and a slow lane for everyone else.

This is the “neutrality” of the giant imperialist monopolies.

Two major changes are being introduced. First, all wireless Internet connections will be exempted from any open access rules, allowing AT&T, Verizon, the big wireless service providers to decide which websites you can access and which you can’t. They will probably start charging a fee to website owners to allow access, making access available only to the sites backed by big money.

The second big change that is coming is that wired access companies can create a divided highway, with fast and slow lanes. Both Internet companies and those accessing the Internet will be charged more money for the fast lane services.

The future is a more sharply divided Internet: fast and open service for the rich, with limited, slow service for everyone else. The slow service will be slow enough to make full use of the Internet all but impossible; think of driving on a dirt back road as opposed to an Interstate highway.

It’s also a backroom deal that’s meant to shut off access to WikiLeaks and other unapproved websites. Apple immediately pulled the WikiLeaks app from its Apps store. With wireless access the fastest growing segment of the Internet and all restrictions removed, the wireless providers, including Apple, can now say what is and is not accessible.

Capitalism works this way. The big monopolies restrict and control all development of goods and services, always driven by the demand for superprofits.

The Internet has grown to become not only a major source of commerce, through Web stores; it has also become the leading source for media distribution, from music to movies to television. Big profits are made by Google, Facebook, Apple, the New York Times and a few others through their Internet services. This “net neutrality” will enforce a system of control and access that is dominated by just the few richest monopolies, those that can pay for the service and those that can pay to ensure they are accessible.

The only way out of this stifling monopoly is to break the bonds of capitalism.
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