Net Neutrality Panic, Day Two

Well, I guess I’ll be writing about this for a second day in a row.

So just for the record, I prefer Net Neutrality.

But I’m a realist and a pragmatist. The Utopian dream of The Internet as a level playing field for all of humanity to come together will collapse as more and more businesses and governments get involved. Frankly, it already collapsed a good ten years or more ago. Mobile smart devices weren’t made to make people’s lives better and bring them together, they were made to trap consumers on a platform they can’t escape. They are antithetical to openness. The very existence of cell phones is the death of the Utopian Internet, because it was the opportunity businesses needed to get people off of “open” PCs and on to more controlled environments.

I would love to see Net Neutrality (with capital letters) become law. But people who think Obama’s FCC regulations did that are sadly misinformed. FCC regulations are not laws. I am particularly amused by all the tweets imploring people to call their congresspeople to object to the FCC changes (they’re going to be like, “Why are you calling me about this?”). In any case, Obama’s FCC regulations fell short of the ideal, which I discovered by simply reading them and noting all the loopholes. Here’s a good Twitter thread about it from a trusted technology reporter:

If the FCC repeals Net Neutrality (which is a gross mischaracterization of the facts, but people can’t understand big concepts), the world is not going to fall apart. If Verizon starts selling wireless content packages in the U.S., people are just going to buy them and keep going on with their lives without interruption, or buy the “everything” package, or keep using their desktop PCs and forget about the whole thing.

This investigation is a little troubling, but entirely unsurprising:

The “public comment process” is pretty much a joke these days. Everyone just gets out their favorite bots to spam the inbox of the committee. If I were in government, I would entirely ignore any “public comment” that did not come in the form of a personal visit or a handwritten letter in an envelope with a stamp, because there is no way to know if electronic communications reflect the real sentiment of the public or just one guy with a botnet.

Okay I’ll keep my comments short today because I need to write more for #NaNoWriMo.