The last while has been insanity if you hadn’t discerned that from the lack of posts lately… Many things have gone well while other things have gone poorly and I’d like to say that most things are good. Today, however, I’m in a very sour mood…
If you’re reading this online then chances are you’ve seen the exact reason for my salty mood. That is the FCC’s decision regarding Net Neutrality and it makes me furious.
Throughout the course of today, I’ve been told things like, “You’re Canadian and therefore this doesn’t affect you.” Except that it does. Consider the following: many websites that I use on a regular basis are owned by Americans, which means they fall under US laws. That means if ISPs in the States are allowed to throttle or censor certain sites, Americans, – many of my friends – are going to be affected.
How about this? I write articles for a video games site. That site is run by servers in the United States. Sure. I could change websites or work in tandem with it – in fact, that is happening in the new year. Anyways, working in the video games industry, in some capacity, and writing about things that I enjoy, is something that I’ve worked towards. Throttling access in some capacity will eventually affect me and my ability to do the thing that I love. This is not impressing.
You see, Canadian law is established by precedent and that means that if the US decides something, we might look to it when ruling cases (depending on the case and if there are other legal systems more closely related, etc…) Anyways, earlier today I read an article from the Toronto Star about how the FCC decision could affect Canadians because it kicks open the door to ISPs here thinking that they could do the same thing. Sure, that would take time to pass through our courts so that we could address all of the legal questions, but the reality is that the FCC decision doesn’t make Canadians immune to the possibility. Because you know… MONEY.
Let’s look at some other tacks to explain how things can affect us. You know that many people start online businesses through companies like Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Twitch, YouTube,… I could go on. So let me break the ‘free media’ idea for you…
Jeff Bezos owns Amazon and its HQ is located in Seattle, Washington. Amazon has its App store, the Echo, Kindle e-readers, Video services, Web services, and Comixology – a program which operates on a subscription basis to gain access to comics. Amazon also owns Audible, Goodreads, and Twitch TV. Think about that for a moment… Our books, our videos, our audio books, and our streaming platforms all could be locked under a paywall. And what’s to say that the US ISPs don’t decide to deny other countries access to their content because we aren’t paying the extra premium for it. Does it sound like censorship will increase?
Ebay is located in San Jose, California and was founded by Pierre Omidyar.
Etsy is also US based and its main office is in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
YouTube is a video hosting site located in San Bruno, California. And who owns YouTube? Google. The internet search engine that brings people a plethora of websites to research information is located in Menlo Park, California.
Consider this also… The FCC manages to allow ISPs to charge Americans extra or else they will throttle websites – not all of them but definitely ones that don’t agree with certain political ideas for example… What’s to stop them from nailing, Google, YouTube, and Twitch? People won’t be able to look for certain content easily, if at all. YouTube and Twitch could be categorized under ‘entertainment’ and therefore would be charged a premium. How does that affect the content creators whos only source of income is one or both of these platforms? And if you believe the notion of ‘they won’t block the big name corporations from making money’ or ‘my ISP is very consumer friendly’ then you’ve deluded yourself. All they have to do is slowly push small changes over time before it explodes out of control. We can already see this with Television packages. Do you pay for a box? That’s an additional expense. Did you want the home phone with that? We can bundle it for just $30 more and you can have all the things you want. If you cancel your TV though, we’re going to have to charge you for the privilege to do that… See what I’m saying? It’s very easily possible how your online activity is going to cost more than you expect it to.
How about the media outlets like The Washington Post, CNN, or The Wall Street Journal? Well, they are owned by large corporations also and that means information is being cherry-picked and fed to the populous. Here is an article from 2012 posted on Business Insider. It has a large graphic that gives you an understanding of how much media is being fed by SIX corporations giving the illusion of choice. In other words, if certain people in power don’t want light shed on certain issues, they can sweep it under the rug. People who want to make money, who already DONT MAKE ENOUGH, are going to get screwed over more. As they say, the rich get richer.
Just today news also broke out about the Disney and 21st Century Fox deal. Bob Iger, the man who owns Disney, said on the topic of Net Neutrality, “We’ve never really believed net neutrality is really an issue for us and we continue to believe that’s the case, and with this acquisition, we believe that to be even more of the case.” This article sites another posted on The Verge which is equally worth a read. Though to me, it’s disgusting how convoluted this whole thing has become and it only gets worse.
People have often tooted the idea of ‘paying attention to history because then we don’t make the same mistakes as our ancestors.’ Really? You believe that eh? Okay. Does the term ‘propaganda’ ring any bells? Because that’s what’s been happening and will be more prolific as time goes on if this FCC ruling stands. The only difference here is they aren’t using the word propaganda. They are using terms like “Obama-era Net Neutrality” because people don’t necessarily ‘understand the greater impact’. It’s termed like that because a lot of people hated Obama, for reasons I probably will never understand, and therefore can be tricked into thinking that all things put in place by the former POTUS are universally bad. Instead of taking the time to understand the issues, the current person in power – who I’ll keep nameless because it just angers me more – wants to dismantle everything without considering the implication.
Here’s a Philip DeFranco video about today’s ruling where you can see the C-Span votes and his thoughts regarding it. As a person who abhors news media because of the propaganda often spread by it, I find Philly D to be more impartial than other sources out there. That’s not to say that everything he says is gospel. I appreciate his content because it tries to look at everything and allows people to decide for themselves.
I may be Canadian but I’m still going to do what I can. And if that same fight occurs up here, you better believe we will battle it. You can still fight against the FCC. The information is out there on how to stop it before it goes through. DO SOMETHING.
Anyways, I think I’ve said all I need to about how very pissed off I am.
Until next time…
PS: I’ll be starting a writing gig with Chalgyr’s Games Room in the new year. I’ll be sure to add it to my site.
PPS: Work on my novels have been going quite well. More on that when I’m less angry with the world. It might be after Yule…