Net Neutrality Basics and Overview

What is Net Neutrality?

  • The principles if Net Neutrality:
    • Keep the Internet free for all to use
    • Anyone can access to the Internet and all the contents therein
    • No single person or entity owns or controls the Internet
    • Protects free speech
    • Provides all users with the ability to freely communicate
    • Content cannot be filtered or blocked
    • Apps and websites cannot be blocked
    • Speed throttling is prohibited
    • Paid ‘fast lanes’ are not allowed

What is the status of Net Neutrality?

  • On December 14th, 2017, the FCC voted [3-2] to kill the TITLE II section adopted the Obama Administration in 2015. Anjit Pai is the FCC chairman and was in full opposition to Net Neutrality and the votes were down party lines.
    • Title II was adopted, “by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama. Those rules subject broadband providers like AT&T, Charter, Comcast* and Verizon to utility-style regulation, all in a bid to stop them from blocking access to web pages, slowing down connections or prioritizing some content over others.” [source]
  • Currently, legal challenges are moving their way through the courts, but more importantly, Congress has enough co-sponsors [40] to hold a vote on the Senate floor. A CRA [congressional review act] is moving forward both in the Senate and House.
  • Anjit Pai mocked Internet users [] by claiming Internet users will still be able to:
    • Instagram your food
    • Take selfies with your pets
    • Shop for Christmas presents
    • Watch your shows
    • Remain a super-fan [online]
    • Use memes to your heart’s content
    • And do the “Harlem Shake”

Why is Net Neutrality important to you and your business?

  • If you count on your website for any of the following;
    • Website Leads
    • Online phone calls
    • Website traffic
    • Website traffic that converts to floor traffic
    • Providing information
    • Providing goods or services to any area
    • It is your primary source of advertising and marketing
    • If you consider your website a key asset in your business model
  • You can expect the following if Net Neutrality remains defeated:
    • ISPs [Internet Service Providers] will/may;
      • Charge you more for access to the Internet
      • Your Internet speed can change based on the package you have chosen
      • Access to your favourite sites may be sold on a package or tiered basis
      • Content will be decided on what the ISPs what you to see not what you CHOOSE to see
        • commerce sites, news outlets all may be restricted based on your content package – thus, curtailing and effectively shutting down free thought, free speech, and much more
      • What this means for your business:
        • If you want your blog or website to be seen online, you may have to pay fees directly to the ISPs
        • Additional costs will be associated with SEO, PPC, and access to visibility and your target markets
        • Your opportunity to have a fair playing field with much bigger companies will greatly diminish
        • Strong possibilities for large companies, new networks, and mega-corporations to rule and control every aspect of the Internet thereby preventing your company from gaining new visibility, chocking off brand awareness, online reviews, social sharing, and more

The Internet was created for all to use and for none to control. The very principle is based on freedom of speech, freedom of communication, and the ability to share knowledge. If our ability to access the Internet is taken away or restricted in any way the result will be billions in lost revenue, lost revenue streams for businesses, lost sales leads, and billions taken or deterred from e-commerce stores.

How to help:

  2. Call your local members of Congress –

Net Neutrality At Risk – What’s the worst that could happen?

Verizon just won a major battle against Net Neutrality. A US appeals court struck down the notion that the FCC can require major ISPs to treat all Internet traffic as equal. Put another way, this ruling opens Pandora’s box of paid channels for the rich and poor. Those that can and are willing for access to websites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Netflix, Facebook and other major sites may have to pay top dollar. The possibility now exists for companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other provides to package websites and search engines much like you currently pay for cable packages.

Individuals who cannot pay for this access will not have access to major search engines, websites or access to small business website. Individuals with the ability to pay [potentially high prices] can have full access to information. So, what is the worst that could happy if we loose Net Neutrality?

  1. Small business websites and owners may have to pay premium prices to have their websites show up or be found at all.
  2. Individuals who cannot afford access to the Internet [above the price they currently pay for ISPs] will no longer have access to online information.
  3. Only the wealthy or well-off will be able to have full access [based on what the ISP deems worthy].
  4. News channels and independent news outlets will be shut down.
  5. The majority of websites on the Internet will loos massive amounts of website traffic, data, revenue and exposure.
  6. Small business who focus on e-commerce, m-commerce and rely on the Internet for their livelihood will be driven out of business.
  7. Small business who rely on the Internet to drive sales leads will see the lead flow choked or completely shut down, resulting in business closure.
  8. Large companies will have the ability to fully control what you see online because they have the budget to pay for what YOU see.
  9. The very basis of the Internet is: it is free for everyone. no one person or company has control of the Internet. opens the door of ‘freedom of information’ for all.
  10. The very thing that makes the Internet so unique is access and the level playing field that is created for all.

There is hope…Internet users beat SOPA and PIPA…they have not gone away but with consistant attention, debate and objection from the masses – be prepared to loose one of the most important inventions of all time.


Online Privacy – Why big media is ignoring the issue

Online spying and privacy is the biggest issue that media is not talking about…at all.

There is something big coming around the bend. Our online privacy, freedom of speech, Constitutional rights and our very personal freedom is now inches away from being lost forever. This is not conspiracy theory nor is is some tin-foil-hat crazy talk.

We are embarking on a new terrible reality: everything we do and say online can and will [ultimately] be used against us in the court of public opinion, by our employers, by our prospective employers, by our government. But you won’t hear about any of this in the main stream media. You won’t hear any of this coming on your local news but it is the most important issue facing our collective rights and our very democracy. Why is this not in the news and why are we all terribly uninformed?

What is happening out in online privacy land?

Wired recently reported on the NSA building the nations biggest spy center. The center is designed to protect the US from cyber attacks but holds incredible computing power and can spy on US citizens as well. So you may think, well a little loss of our privacy and freedom in exchange for our collective security is okay. You should reconsider and quickly.

After 911 our world was turned upside down and the events of that day haunt us all and the impact is much greater than we could have ever possibly thought of or considered. In a recent article on The Raw Story, describes a journalist who was targeted by the US government for her work on the Occupy Wall Street movement. The US agency tied her work on OWS to some  type of terror group…which in turn led to her termination.

“There is no provision in there to protect journalists at all, or anyone. Anybody can be swept up under this. You don’t want to hand these kinds of powers to the state, because history has shown that, eventually, they will use it.” Chris Hedges from The Raw Story

The National Defense Authorization Act allows the US government to indefinitely detain US citizens without trial, without council…without evidence. Moreover, the content you post online via social media, blogs or online articles can be used against you. In other words…watch what you say online as your words can be used against you.

Employers and potential employers want to spy on you

It is not just the US government who wants to spy on you – employers are asking for Facebook passwords. CNN and several other news organizations have recently reported on job candidates and current employees being asked for their passwords to Facebook and Twitter accounts. To compound this massive intrusion of privacy, the US House of Representatives recently shot down a proposed law which would make asking for passwords by employers illegal. Facebook states that-

“You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account,”

This is not stopping would-be employers,current employers or the US government from spying and is as good as pouring acid on the Constitution. Where is the media on this? The main stream media is busy blowing smoke at all of us with the year long presidential election cycle. It has juicer headlines and makes for a continual loop of ‘he said she said’ which continually keeps many of us literally turned off from potentially important information.

We as a society have decided to become stupid and have an average reading level of 8th to 9th grade. We buy everything that is put on the media sales block and look no further than our selected sources…which are primarily based on closed world views and not on facts. Case in point: Fox News views know less than those who don’t watch news at all.

We as a society need to make a big decision…and it will be a decision that will impact all of us, our children and our concept of democracy. Where does our privacy begin and exactly what is privacy? What is the media’s responsibility to report responsibly? The longer we collective ignore the massive implications of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression…the closer we get to a totalitarian government.

Your off your rocker and are throwing out conspiracy theories.

In order to call an event a conspiracy we only need: 1. act of plotting 2. two or more people planning an illegal or wrongful act 3. an agreement by two or more persons to commit such an act. The Supreme Court recently ruled that [Citizens United] corporations are people.

If this is the case…then Verizon, AT&T and other massive entities have and are continuing to cooperate with the US to spy on Americans. The very same companies have shares and are owned by major cable providers which control media and communication methods. Consider NBC Universal who is owned by Comcast. Moreover, these very corporations are not covering the online privacy issue because it is not in their best interest. If our government can data mine from it’s citizens…then the corporations can to right? Right.

It is our duty to pay great attention to our rights, freedoms and hold those accountable for failing to tell the truth and for withholding the truth. We may have very few opportunities to protect ourselves form very dark and sinister results. My post [possible rant] is not about a rebellion or revolution…it is about protecting ourselves and our freedom. Knowledge is power. Knowledge in the wrong hands is dangerous.

Meanwhile…Goldman Sachs may have ties to an online sex trafficking ring…but this type of activity or association poses no direct threats to national security…therefore let us look the other way.

Online Privacy & Freedom – Now At Risk

Most of us are aware of the Occupy Wall Street [OWS] protests and their message of raising awareness of the vast chasm between the rich and poor. The 1% get all of the breaks and the 99% get the boot. I am not one to argue their point. I am not one to say that there isn’t something truly amiss with the disparity between the very wealthy in this country and those less fortunate. There is…and it is systemic, ongoing and desperately needs to be addressed at the highest levels.

While most of us may believe that the aforementioned is a major issue…there is a bigger issue that is NOT being covered by the mainstream media and issues that are much closer the the very core and fabric of our nation. Our very freedoms are under direct assault by those who hold political office.

What I find interesting and a little frightening is this: the Occupy movement has awakened sleeping giants. The giants – those who seek to stop any type of protest in its tracks. The Bill of Rights allows freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably protest, right to petition our government and freedom of the press. These are the rights of Americans and this is not up for debate…until now.

Over the course of 2011, there were hundreds of protests in the Middle East which toppled governments and dethroned dictators. It was called the Arab Spring…and it’s primary communication tool was the Internet. Demonstrators and protesters used texts, social networks and Twitter to topple oppressive regimes. On one hand it was a true force of democratic will, propelled by well oiled and socially connected people. On the other was the most basic desire for freedom of oppression.

Simple desire created massive change and the vehicle that helped the people do it was social media.

When the Occupy Wall Street started to pick up steam…those in power in the U.S. started to get a little unhinged and are now pulling the plug on freedom, privacy, the press and you. Politicians [left and right] and corporate America do not want to change how we do business nor do they want to change that was once promised.

Don’t believe me…take a look at some recent stories –

  1. Freedom Index for the United States [now ranked 47th].
  2. Drones patrolling New York
  3. Homeland Security can now keep track of those “reporters” using social networks and social media outlets
  4. The new National Defense Authorization Act which allows the president to kill American citizens and indefinitely detain them with out trial or council.
  5. Failed attempt at full blow Internet censorship via SOPA.
  6. Failed attempt at additional Internet censorship with the Protect IP Act.
  7. Chicago’s mayor added on higher fees and stiffer penalties for the G8 summit.

The good news is items 5 and 6 failed. The bad news is we are teetering very close to a point of no return. Every move we make…as a reporter, blogger, or social media hipster or college student may be watched, monitored, collected and used against us in a court of law [if we are lucky]. In addition, you may end up held without trial, without legal council, without even being told why.

All of this seems like it has been specifically created and designed to curb, stop or totally shut down any unrest the current political and socioeconomic climate may bring about. By any means necessary. By all powers available. All in the name of security.

Social media and social communication has provided people around the world with a new voice and new tools to cause change. These new communication tools are extremely potent and to those in power…may be deemed dangerous. The status quo types don’t like change. They are making way too much just the way things are…thank you.

As Americans may agree, terrorism is a real threat. The individuals who darkened our skies on 9-11 are not unique…they succeeded. There are others that wish to do the U.S. it and its people harm. That is beyond tragic, sick and inhumane. However, as Americans…our parents, grandparents and millions before our time, bled to provide us the very freedoms we enjoy today. Online and offline. In private, on our person and within our own homes.

Freedom is that warm blanket of security we have all enjoyed for so long but have continually failed protect ourselves from ourselves. We are the government [as they are elected by us] and now they are digging into everything we hold dear in the name of security.

Let’s be honest. Osama Bin Laden is dead. Many of the top Al-Qaeda rank and file are dead or in GitMo. Many of the treats we once faced are now the size of a small kitten. Sure, there are more bad guys…there always will be. But what are we willing to give up for JUST A LITTLE MORE SAFETY?

I am not writing this post out of fear or conspiracy or hysteria. No. I am writing to sound the alarm that something is coming and it will be a fight for our online and offline privacy and freedom. Lets hope we as Americans are up for the fight. Paying attention is the very first step.

In closing, New Hampshire’s licence plate reads – Live Free or Die. I don’t think it will ever come to that again. The American Revolution ended in 1783…and if we continue to ignore the signs…we may not be able to stand up at all – as we will all be in Internet shackles with no one on the other side to hear our message or help.



Freedom Of Information & The Internet …Not In Texas

I have a lot of opinions about the Internet, online advertising, politics, etc. I usually don’t discuss or write about the intersection of Internet and politics. It is a little off topic for me to discuss politics and the Internet. It seems as if Barack Obama solidified how important the Internet can be when it comes to politics and, more importantly the real influence it can wield. Most of my material should stay in the realm of searchology. However,  this was a little to big of a story for me to pass up.

There is no doubt, the Internet is a powerful tool and may become even more powerful than books. You remember books right? Kind of like vinyl, old school and out of style but still cool. I’m sure your asking yourself, how this could be so? The Internet becoming more important than books. The answer is one word. TEXAS. Well really it’s the Texas State Board of Education.

You see, the Texas Sate Board of Education, or as I like to call it Texas State Board of Stupification, is in the process of redefining textbooks which will be widely distributed and read in a classroom near you very soon. Because Texas contains around 7% of the American population and one of the biggest text book buyers. Because of the Texan buying power and the amount of books that will be printed, it is certain that more books will be printed for more than just Texans.

While I would normally say, bulk book buying is a good idea…it’s not. It’s not a good idea when books (purchased and circulated in bulk) are used to teach history, to our future leaders, side on the conserviative left, don’t seperate church and state, and push Christian values. Hey, I’m all about Christian values, and Muslim values, and Hindu values…you get the point. All are create equal.

Future generations of young Texans and school children around the U.S. will need to use the Internet to get the truth about history. Real history, not contrived, and biased history. Sure, history is biased as it is written by the winners. It did seem for a while we were getting closer to a more universal truth including OUR HISTORY as opposed to the winners history.

As long as we can keep the information we find on the Internet free…that should provided the opportunity for young Texas children and kids of the New Texas History of The U.S. 1st Edition, a way to find some truth. Simply put, no one body should be in charge of our text books. It should be a panel or a collective of several cultures, perspectives, and historical facts…not A PANEL FROM TEXAS!

The Internet may provide the type of freedom needed to break free from dis-information, lies, major conservatisim, radical right nut jobs, So, let’s all hope the grand ole’ party dosen’t get a hold of our free-information-internet-freedom…or we may all be in really big trouble.