May 23, 2006 | By Peter Bihr |
The net neutrality
debate campaigns are going into the second round:
- Pro net neutrality: Save the Internet, a wide alliance of open-source, academic, activist, blogger and open knowledge people around Lawrence Lessig. (Watch their video.)
- Contra net neutrality: The telkos. (Watch their flash animation.)
The basic principle of net neutrality is simple. Internet-Guru David Weinberger (Author of the Cluetrain Manifesto among others) describes it as follows:
Net neutrality … means that the people who provide connections to the Internet don’t get to favor some bits over others. This principle is not only under attack, it’s about to be regulated out of existence.
If AT&T and the other telcos who are lobbying Washington get their way, net neutrality is no longer given: They get to decide who can access which websites, based on some yet-to-be-defined business model.
I can’t pretend to be
neutral unbiased there. If the big telecom companies really get a say in which websites and which contents you are allowed to access, it’s bad. That simple. Really, really bad. Bad for innovation, bad for creativity, and most of all bad for free speech.
What’s more, whatever happens to the internet in the U.S. happens in other countries a little later, too. Germany is mostly only a small step behind the U.S. when it comes to screwing up internet-related regulation and laws, both in terms of timing and degree.
While I’m not a big fan of the format the Save The Internet campaign uses (too propaganda-ish in my opinion), they are the good guys here and are fighting for the absolute right things. To keep access to the net as neutral – read: open – as possible is top priority.