Monday, July 5, 2010

Big Brother and Big Business

I recently got the chance to get extremely pissed off at a bill that Senator Joe Lieberman is trying to push through congress. It's been called the Internet Kill Switch. Follow the link if you'd like to read the entire bill. Its a long one, and I can tell you it's very vague, in so many ways that it's scary.

How is it scary? Well it's scary to me because it give not only the President, who, by the way had nothing to do with creating this bill, but the media is blaming him, but it also gives an appointed Director absolute power to kill the internet, whenever a financial threat is imposed upon us by terrorist. Actually the bill is so vague they don't even go into detail about what the parameters to be considered a threat. Could be ANY threat....And while we're at it, wouldn't shutting down the internet cause more damage to our financial structure than the threat?

I've talked about this to several of my friends, some of them posted their own blogs on it, others reminded me that this kind of thing is not new, but has been in effect since 1934 for all forms of media. I didn't know that, and that completely bombards my argument on why haven't they tried to do this with radio, television or telephones....apparently they have and can. So Big Brother now is striking a deal with Big Business, wouldn't be the first time, to control our basic freedoms. This makes it very hard for me to feel good about any of the people we have in power. And it makes me wonder how much more as citizens we will stand before we say, enough is enough. And if Big Business, say wants to make even more money, whose to stop them from regulating the internet into a form of media, instead of communication so that it can be handled differently. And then charging us to use it even more than they do now.

Some of my friends have said, it'll never happen, because the porn industry would never allow a kill switch for the internet. Many have argued that it's impossible to 'shut it down' when it's not a centrally located thing. But the bill refers to very high fines to the internet providers and three most popular search engines, yahoo, google, and youtube, if they did not shut down.

But the vagueness of the bill is perhaps the scariest to me. This director will have all departments of government reporting to him, even military and intelligence, and what they find they will then determine if the internet would be shut down. Now I wonder, where does this end? How much do I have to say in lets say my blog, before Big Brother decided I'm a threat to our financial community, or even just a threat, and came and carted me off.

I won't stand for it! What about my INTERNET AFFAIR! What about my facebook account? Not to mention any real work I might need to do to, oh I don't know MAKE A LIVING! This is against my constitutional rights. And if we don't stand up for our rights no one else will. The time for revolution is now! Write your senators and congressmen, go to your state's website and send them an e-mail that says you are against this. Or if you are for it then do that too. But do something other than just blog and complain. Make a difference. It's one of the only freedoms we still vote and to let our voices be heard through the political system. The more we let our representatives know how we feel, the better chance we have of not letting this pass.

Oh and while I'm at it....Stop listening to the news or reading the paper until they decide to tell it like it is instead of making up headlines or news bites that sound good and are geared to give them good ratings instead of telling you the truth and keeping the public informed. The media is more to blame for this than anyone, by slanting stories.

If they don't cart me away I'll see you next week.


  1. I wiser man than myself once said, "The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free." Laws and regulations attempt to define freedom and to control the circumstances and reach of that resistance. Voting is not a freedom. It is a socially acceptable, quantifiable, and therefore easily dismissible means of expressing an opinion. Nothing more. Having expressed an opinion is not the same as having power or control over one's life or circumstances. Thought is freedom and action is the truest expression of thought. They can't take away your rights, they can only try to DEFINE them in an attempt to convince you that those are all the rights you have. Think about it. And then act. (And constitutionally speaking, no its not against your rights as defined by the first amendment. See the 'doctrine of prior restraint' as well as 'clear and present danger' as there are already checks in place to supposedly ensure that abuse of such implied power over freedom of speech never occurs, or, should it occur, shall be punished with severity. I may be an anarchist but I still read the small print. Legislation to regulate the internet has been building up since it's incept. Legislation to regulate all varieties of expression in this country already exists and has for some time, true, and The People (ha) rallied against the attempts to control their new-fangled media then as we rally against the attempts to control ours now. So it goes. One more line of text buried in the tomb that is our constitution.)

  2. Beware the government. Beware the corporations. Understand WHAT is going on. Net neutrality - big issue in some circles. It's being called net socialism by some - inspiring an anti-movement. But socialism has become a buzzword as of late that has little meaning. Net neutrality is to ensure that ALL persons have access to the high speed internet. (Try getting on the internet with dial up. Then try drinking a lake through a straw. Both give you a horrible headache and neither is a very good idea.) I don't want some big business holding a monopoly on internet access. I would like something in place to ensure that that doesn't happen. They, the monopoly, would have the power to charge as much as they like, limit your access, or deny you access right out. Don't live on the right side of town? Sorry, don't have high speed available. So PLEASE, if someone brings up internet socialism, please ask them what they mean. And ask them if they are for the corporations being in control, if they are for a MONOPOLY. Big brother, big business. I fear both, but I have less control of big business if they have a monopoly. It's not like I can buy from the local guy.

  3. Monopolies don't occur without the support of government. A monopolist needs laws and regulations that hinder competition to gain and maintain its position, keeping other firms from entering the field. Otherwise, a firm that charges high prices and provides shoddy service leaves itself vulnerable to the first competitor that says, "Hey, I can make a lot of money just by being a little bit better!"

    Monopoly is a creation of the State, not the market. Asking for the State to use its power to prevent monopolies is like putting the mafia in charge of preventing murder and racketeering.

  4. Monopolies are created with or without the help of the government. Yes, a poorly run government can facilitate a monopoly. But monopolies are a natural part of economy. Blaming the government for ALL monopolies is a false statement (per my intro to economy class and a quick reference to wiki.) It happens as a natural point of capitalism. MONOPOLIES are bad for a free flowing economy. There is a government sort of monopoly that is put into place to ensure that we have access to affordable energy. (Water and energy are usually a monopoly. At least, I don't have a choice on where I get my utilities.) A monopoly exists when a specific individual or enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it. Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods. The verb "monopolize" refers to the process by which a firm gains persistently greater market share than what is expected under perfect competition.

    What is your source saying a monopoly is a creation of the govenment and NOT the market?

    Further, capitalism works most effectively when the consumer is WELL INFORMED. Since this is an issue of access to information. If a monopoly is created, with the product being access to information, a free market is in jeopardy.

    So the question to be asked might not be who sets the climate for a monopoly, but who do we want to be in control of access of information. The arguement was put forth and answered with the establishment of libraries. Did libraries really hinder free market? Did it really influence our economy for the worst?

    I am not advocating buying a computer for every household. But I am saying that every household should have the ABILITY to hook up to a high speed internet connection. When the internet was like it was 10 years ago, dialup connection could suffice. (phone access has been guaranteed by our government, not the actual phone.) So having the ability to connect to the internet should be looked at. Monopolies have more control of a commodity because they HAVE NO competition. I don't think the climate now favors any competition to providers to internet. I can get it through ONE company. I applaud competition, but the business practices have stifled competition and now the companies are lobbying YOUR government to make it even MORE to their advantage.

    So, if you are just going to let the companies gouge out your rights because at least it isn't the government, than poo on you. I like defending my rights by keeping informed by reading actual theories, facts and textbooks, not listening to some talking head on the TV.

  5. This debate is really getting some teeth now. Just heard from one of the people that posted an anonymous comment, that will be posting to their own blog in response to this last comment. . . I hope to be able to link it here. . .
    I'm interested in learning as much as I can about this topic, so if you have any sites (other then wikipedia, since anyone can change info on that site and high schools and universities don't consider it a valid resource) I would love links posted here for everyone to read. Thanks so much for all your information. And keep talking. . . I'm listening. . . :)

  6. here are some links from friends that chose to post on my fb link instead of here:

  7. So, here are some specific for against. And I've tried to include where it is stated in the bill, and why I think the arguement is flawed.
    I've seen a lot of arguement that people don"t want to see the internet they paid for being used for free. Um, people invested in this technology, including some local governments and schools.
    arguements provided by
    HR 3458:(4) offer Internet access service to any person upon reasonable request therefor;
    AGAINST :Would you call a policy “neutral” by which a customer could walk into a store and demand a service or product that is expensive for the store to provide at the same price as some service or product that is cheaper to provide?
    Counter argument: Is the above statement a reasonable request? No. It’s a poor analogy. If you sell a nice shiny bauble to Joe because he lives on oak street and I ask for the same kind of shiny bauble, even though I live on Maple street. But the analogy is comparing apples to golden apples. Yes, I will concede that laying the infrastructure will cost some money but that the companies will recoup. It’s called investing. I’ve seen this passed down to consumers as an additional fee that is spread out over all buyers. Maintenance fee, environmental fee, whatever fee. It would be a beautiful thing if a small company could do it, but I don’t think it is possible. But supply isn’t meeting demand at the moment. However, for those in the rural areas, USDA has already had their guys looking into it, and it isn’t really part of this bill.
    AGAINST: This so-called “interference” is little difference from people in front-row seats at the stadium paying more than those in the 50th row or from large trucks being charged more at the highway toll booth than passenger cars are. It is not only normal, but necessary, for companies to manage demand for their products and recover costs of providing those products with tiered pricing.
    COUNTY: What? I lived in an area, was offered hi-speed access, and when I called, said it wasn’t available in my area. I moved three blocks! I got my access. I’m not asking for a better view (football analogy). I’m not tearing up the internet driving down the information super hi-way (truck analogy).

    AGAINST:Currently, ISPs can slow or block certain types of content, such as file transfers which use peer-to-peer software. According to the Heritage Foundation, “such (peer-to-peer) networks are used by about 5 percent of Internet users, but consume as much as 70 percent of broadband capacity.” Since bandwidth is a finite resource, overuse of bandwidth can slow or cripple Internet access for the rest of the ISPs customers.
    BILL: Sect 12, Para (a)(2) to preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of broadband networks and to enable consumers to connect to such networks their choice of lawful devices, as long as such devices do not harm the network;
    `(4) to ensure that consumers receive meaningful information regarding their communications services;
    `(5) to ensure the ability to use or offer lawful broadband content, applications, and services for lawful purposes, as has been the policy and history of the Internet and the basis of user expectations since its inception;

    COUNTER: If this is not enough verbage, write your congressman to amend it. I didn’t see anywhere on the document that stated they couldn’t control it for efficiencies sake. Is file transferring a type of content? And I thought it was the program not the ISP that limited the file transfer amount. (And if it is the ISP that is blocking the use of my PROGRAM, right now I’m livid because I can’t access my work site at home. And it has something to do with my provider, although customer service can’t figure it out!) I need a tech person to talk this point, and I think it is pretty vague in the document.

  8. (Glossary for investors.)
    Monopoly: A situation in which a single company owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service. This would happen in the case that there is a barrier to entry into the industry that allows the single company to operate without competition (for example, vast economies of scale, barriers to entry, or governmental regulation). In such an industry structure, the producer will often produce a volume that is less than the amount which would maximize social welfare.

    So, no, governmental regulation is not the sole reason can cause a monopoly.

    Capitalism: (Same source)
    Economic system characterized by the following: private property ownership exists; individuals and companies are allowed to compete for their own economic gain; and free market forces determine the prices of goods and services. Such a system is based on the premise of separating the state and business activities. Capitalists believe that markets are efficient and should thus function without interference, and the role of the state is to regulate and protect.


    Class discussion on formation of monopolies.

  10. Been following this for a while wondering two things really:
    1) How did this become about forms of economic trade?
    2) What on Earth has that got to do with the purpose of this bill?
    Here's some simplified reading (because this bill is a long one and no mistake) to remind everyone of what PCNAA 2010 is up to:

    And a quick excerpt from one opinion column on regarding the holes in the bill,

    "But something that concerns me most is the potential for abuse of power by the government though is the immunity from civil suits granted to businesses. In the event of an “incident related to a cyber vulnerability,” if the company complies with federal standards, plaintiffs will not be able to collect on any damages related to economic losses."

    That is a valid legal concern and well stated. Although it still has nothing to do with monopolies. But since we're on the topic, here's a little article from the Cal State website about the history of the phone company monopoly and the government regulation of that business; along with some economic notes about what happened after regulation. For those of you who will not read it, I sum up:
    Company had a monopoly.
    Company got regulated by the government.
    There are a lot of companies now, making a lot of money.
    MOST companies of that ilk are private companies now, and the government regulation never stopped.
    The end.

  11. Interesting, and scary, article relating to government control of the 'net. Though it's titled "Obama's War on the Internet" it also covers some Bush-era measures and foreign governments as well.