Don’t Throttle Me

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Dear Ajit Pai,

No one really wants to think about taxes or health care. Both are incredibly complicated subjects that always end with how much money will be deducted from our paychecks. They suck, but are ultimately necessary. So, we elect officials who we believe will handle these matters with our best interest in mind, then try to avoid the subjects for at least another 2 years.

Conversely, people are really really passionate about frivolous things like watching their favorite shows on Netflix and sharing junk on Facebook. Seems backwards, I know, but that’s how it is. We love our endless choices of on-demand entertainment; we are quite literally addicted to it. So when you meddle with our Internet access, the people who couldn’t care less about politics will start to pay attention. I can’t think of another issue that will galvanize every level of society against a political group faster than this. That is probably be the last thing you want– to have the “masses” involved in your game.

Here’s what I don’t understand. What is the long-term benefit of gutting net neutrality? Who “wins” in that scenario, other than maybe the small handful of mega media corporation that lobbied for it? And even then, I think it is a short-sighted move that will suffocate their own businesses and encourage people to find new way around them. The entire culture of the Internet is built on finding innovative ways to share information quickly and efficiently. Anything that stands in the way of this will get run over, under and/or around.

At a deeper level, people are passionate about access to information and expressing opinions. This issue is not far off from a 1st Amendment debate in my book. The FCC, an extension of the Federal Government, is allowing these companies to limit our freedom of speech. As consumers, we could chose to not support these businesses and the tenets of capitalism say they will eventually be replaced by companies that meet the market’s demand. That works in theory, but not when the entire media landscape is controlled by tightknit group of companies. As the President might say, this is a “bad deal.”

Beyond all the health care and tax noise, this single issue will be the biggest political rallying point in November. I’m excited to watch, that is if I still have access.

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