The Internet is so much a part of our lives that we almost take it for granted. We rely on it for so many things from social interaction, research, education, to commerce, recreation and everything in between. Now the powers that be want to control and charge for it.
I know we already pay through ISP costs, but if the major telecommunication companies in U.S. (the likes of AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.) get their way – we’ll be paying much more or losing much of the control over content.
Their plans involve actually buying the Internet. I know that sounds slightly ridiculous as the Internet is international, and it’s the website owners that own the content. But should they succeed with their plans, they will control what is actually seen online.
That’s right, you as a website owner might have to pay to have your website visible – on top of your hosting costs (or included as a substantial increase). Imagine having to pay for your blog, for posting photos or video; or even using search engines.
Rest assured that if the big telecoms triumph, these additional costs will be passed on to users and visitors, which means that the internet could lose it’s highly competitive cost structure. eBay or Amazon might no longer be more affordable than their offline counterparts.
Another concern with these plans is the control of information. Just like television, newspapers and radio, when companies control the content shown, you can lose the variety and objectivity of the information presented.
Let’s face it – this is the internet’s great asset. As the social revolution (web 2.0) has started and everyone has a voice (blogs, video, photo sharing), the freedom of speech and expression has taken on new meaning (for better or worse). Start charging people for this freedom and the internet could fall silent.
Every reader of this blog could be affected by this initiative. My only recommendation is to start paying attention and take the action you deem necessary. Whether you’re “for” or “against” the proposed changes, it’s time to understand the implications of any such action.
For more information visit: www.itsournet.org which is a coalition backed by the likes of Google, Yahoo!, eBay and Amazon.com
Share your thoughts whether you agree or disagree…