The Free Press is all exercised about the Google / Verizon proposal, which will, in its own paranoid estimation, amount to a “massive corporate takeover of the Internet.”
(I can hear the black, corporate helicopters now, swooping down over the, er, entire Internet, absconding with the whole kit and caboodle. Down to the last router. Swoosh, stolen, gone.)
Their expression of corporate animus borrows freely from people like Eben Moglen and his dotCommunist Manifesto:
“We, the creators of the free information society, mean to wrest from the bourgeoisie, by degrees, the shared patrimony of humankind. We intend the resumption of the cultural inheritance stolen from us under the guise of ‘intellectual property,’ as well as the medium of electromagnetic transportation…In overthrowing the system of private property in ideas, we bring into existence a truly just society, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”
The Free Press’ Google is evil campaign essentially informs the group’s troops that Google and Verizon have no legitimate rights in working to manage their network assets. As the action alert exclaims: “It’s not up to Google and Verizon to make public policy. Tell Chairman Genachowski to denounce this deal and save the Internet.”
Lurking beneath this preposterous statement is the group’s consternation with de facto, organic growth. They can’t stand it. The fact that millions of individual, free choices – fostered by essentially unregulated development – have occurred drives them nuts. It makes their efforts moot, hobbling their (or their approved proxy’s) ability to centrally control what’s truly just.
If the group had its way, only the FCC (as presently composed) would have the right to control the Internet, to save it from corporate America.
Ironically, though the Free Press would have one believe that government mandates should drive the Internet’s growth, thus far the FCC’s regulations have never been a big part of how the Internet self-governs.
As Clay Claiborne notes in the Daily Kos “the Internet is a social organization that is unique in human history.” Claiborne points out that numerous NGOs – such as World Wide Web Consortium, ICANN, InterNIC, The Internet Society, Internet Architecture Board, and the People for Internet Responsibility, among many others – “play important roles in making the Internet work and so far have done a very good job of keeping it free and innovative.” Claiborne stresses further that “Net neutrality is the standard and the Internet has been relatively free by the design of these [organizations].”
Of course, this reality runs headlong into Free Press’ distorting spin. And this disturbs them. Why? Well, one might be inclined to ask: “Hey, if the Internet works mainly through the lack of government control, through essentially private agreements, then why do we need the FCC to intervene to make it truly just?
The answer is we don’t.
Whatever one may think of the Google and Verizon proposal, the underlying habit of key players in the Internet ecosystem to cooperate is the rule, not the exception. Thank goodness for that.
But the Free Press is a misanthropic lot. They cannot stomach such a lack of control.
It is not enough that the “Stimulus” passed with $7 billion for Net Neutrality-favorable projects; that they gamed the Berkman Report, which framed the FCC’s Net Neutrality NPRM; that the FCC issued its National Broadband Plan, which further laid the groundwork for today’s “Third Way” push; that after the crushing blow of the Comcast ruling the FCC stood behind its Net Neutrality plan by issuing an even more dubious and circuitous “Third Way” / broadband reclassification proposal; that they prevailed on the Commission to nail the wireless and broadband wireline industries with its “poor” Wireless Competition and 706 reports; that they, or their proxies, stood behind the FCC’s “closed doors” for it’s so-criticized (by them) “closed door” “Third Way” negotiations for nearly a third of those “closed door” meetings; and that after millions of dollars of lobbying, PACs, grassroots organizing, web campaigns, advertising and PR they have nearly unfettered access to the leadership in Congress, the agencies, the White House and the media.
Man, it’s tough being the downtrodden Free Press.
All of this is not enough for them. They want the brass ring. To squelch dissent and move straight to an innovation-killing, Net Neutrality rule, even when the Congress (whom they initially courted but now disregard because it’s inconvenient), average Americans and the Constitution demand otherwise. All to “bring into existence a truly just society.”
The Internet cannot be corralled. Free Press – get used to this organic, de facto regulation. It far exceeds what your group or other chosen elites could do to bring about a truly just society.