SUPER SERIOUS RE-BLOG

Victor Pickard, associate professor of communication at the University Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School, talked with Jacobin’s Meagan Day recently about the threat to the internet posed by the Federal Communication Commission’s looming decision to do away with net neutrality and the open internet. It’s a great interview in full, but it’s this part that is perhaps most frightening and most dangerous as the authoritarian bent of popular vote loser Donald Trump continues to be almost completely unchecked by Congress.

If we were to lose net neutrality protections, which by all appearances we will, that would suddenly create all kinds of vulnerabilities for independent media. There are clear dangers associated with vertical integration, where the company that owns the pipes is able to control the dissemination of information, and able to set the terms by which we access that information. When we think about, for instance, dissenting political news sources that don’t have the resources to compete in a pay-to-play media environment, we see that there are obvious political hazards.And more than that, we could start to see scenarios where ISPs don’t like the political views that are being disseminated from a particular news outlet. Without net neutrality they would be free to block or slow down content from those sites. There have been cases like this already. In 2005, the company Telus, which is the second largest telecommunications company in Canada, began blocking access to a server that hosted a website that supported a labor strike against Telus. Anyone involved in journalism or activism should be concerned about this kind of retaliation and censorship.

It’s likely not going to be just independent media that becomes vulnerable. Consider Trump’s jihad against CNN, and how he appears to be using his Department of Justiceto block AT&T from acquiring Time Warner in retribution for CNN’s coverage of him. We don’t know how this particular story is going to play out yet (and yes, there are reasons to cheer this merger not going through) but it’s clear that Trump and his administration will retaliate against the media.

The open internet has been essential for the resistance and for new civil rights movements. It has “decentralized the media and allowed black activists in a modern movement against police and state violence to bypass discriminatory media gatekeepers and reveal the extent of the state’s abuse.” The ability to record police abuses in real time and to disseminate that footage quickly—or even in real time—and cheaply makes the open internet the primary tool for fighting for social justice.

It makes its potential loss at the point in time, with the Trump administration in power, so much more dangerous for this nation’s future.

Re-blogged from Daily Kos/Joan McCarter/Alternet 11/28/2017

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
This entry was posted in A mixed bag, Rump/Net Neutrality/Crisis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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