Big Brother and the phone companies threat to our stores/communities??

I have been hearing about this and as it could seriously affect all of us, all our on line stores, and communities - PLEASE take the time to read It seems to me that "our" government is working with the phone companies (SBC-Yahoo is now under AT&T...Welcome back PHONE COMPANY MONOPOLY!!)

I am sure Yahoo is not worried, and see their being "in bed" with SBC-AT&T as a good way to try and bring Google down??  I heard about a freind who recently signed up to get SBC-Yahoo DSL and he cannot get any e mail to work BUT yahoo or MS Outlook Express! Even with help of a personal friend tech he could not get past the [SBC?] block, and could not get any 3rd party e mail program to work!  Something smells here!!!

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Commentary Keep the Internet neutral, fair and free

By Craig Newmark

Special to CNN

Saturday, June 10, 2006; Posted 1223 p.m. EDT (1623 GMT)

Editor's note Craig Newmark is the founder and customer service representative of craigslist.org, an online community that helps people find jobs, places to live or other services unique to their city. In 2005, Time magazine named him one of America's most influential people.

(CNN) -- Most Americans believe that if you play fair and work hard, you'll get ahead. But this notion is threatened by legislation passed Thursday night by the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow Internet service providers to play favorites among different Web sites.

Here's a real world example that shows how this would work. Let's say you call Joe's Pizza and the first thing you hear is a message saying you'll be connected in a minute or two, but if you want, you can be connected to Pizza Hut right away. That's not fair, right? You called Joe's and want some Joe's pizza. Well, that's how some telecommunications executives want the Internet to operate, with some Web sites easier to access than others. For them, this would be a money-making regime.

Next stop is the Senate. If this becomes law, your Yahoo Inc. e-mail account could operate more slowly, unless Yahoo ponies up big bucks to the major telecommunication companies that bring the Internet into your home. By the same token, your craigslist classifieds (I'm the Craig from craigslist) could grind to a halt, unless my company pays up. This is not fair.

Telecommunication companies already control the pipes that carry the Internet into your home. Now they want control which sites you visit and how you experience them. They would provide privileged access for themselves and their preferred partners while charging other businesses for varying levels of service.

But why change a good thing? Right now, the Internet is a level playing field for everyone. The wonky term for this is "Net neutrality." When the Internet is neutral, everyone can use it, just like everyone can use public roads or airwaves. All businesses on the Internet get an equal shot at success.

Here's how Susan Crawford, a professor of cyberlaw and intellectual property at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, puts it

"Think of the pipes and wires that you use to go online as a sidewalk. The question is whether the sidewalk should get a cut of the value of the conversations that you have as you walk along? The traditional telephone model has been that the telephone company doesn't get paid more if you have a particularly meaningful call -- they're just providing a neutral pipe."

That's the gist of the issue. The telecom executives tell us that they can be trusted to play fair to let all companies, and not just their paying partners, be equally accessible from homes everywhere. But some of these executives have admitted that they intend to cheat.

William L. Smith, the chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., recently told the Washington Post that BellSouth should, for example, be able to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc. or vice versa. "If I go to the airport, I can buy a coach standby ticket or a first-class ticket," Smith said. "In the shipping business, I can get two-day air or six-day ground."

In my view, executives like Smith forget that they get the use of public resources, like the airwaves and public rights of way, on which they have built their businesses and made a lot of money. As such, they shouldn't be able to squeeze out some Web sites in favor of others. This would be a betrayal of the public trust.

You, the consumer, should be able to choose which sites you want to visit without the telecommunications companies interfering. What it really comes down to is this The telecommunications executives say we should trust them to provide a level playing field of service, but can they be trusted to play fair?

You already know the answer. If not, ask your repair guy why he didn't show up when promised or consider why the telecom companies block some high-tech services from reaching your cell phone as their own services flourish, as reported recently by Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal. Or how about the fake grass-roots Web sites, such as Hands off the Internet, the telecom industry has set up to support its cause? Is that the height of honesty?

It seems to me that many telecom execs have a deep investment in "truthiness," where they make claims about this or that thing without bothering to support those claims with facts. Perhaps the clearest example of this behavior is when they say that keeping the Net neutral, as it is now, involves more government intervention and regulation, when really the opposite is true.

So let's keep the Net as it is now Neutral, fair and free. If you care about this issue, please visit Save the Internet and write to Congress.

 

More information from other sources on this Issue

Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an iPod? Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law next week that gives giant corporations more control over what we do and see on the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality--the Internet's First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. BarnesandNoble.com doesn't have to outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your computer.
If Net Neutrality is gutted, many sites--including Google, eBay, and iTunes--must either pay protection money to companies like AT&T or risk having their websites process slowly. That why these high-tech pioneers, plus diverse groups ranging from MoveOn to Gun Owners of America, are opposing Congress' effort to gut Internet freedom.
You can do your part today--can you sign this petition telling your member of Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here:
This petiton will be delivered to Congress before the House of Representatives votes next week. When you sign, you'll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress.
Snopes.com, which monitors various causes that circulate on the Internet, explained:

 

Simply put, network neutrality means that no web site's traffic has precedence over any other's...Whether a user searches for recipes using Google, reads an article on snopes.com, or looks at a friend's MySpace profile, all of that data is treated equally and delivered from the originating web site to the user's web browser with the same priority. In recent months, however, some of the telephone and cable companies that control the telecommunications networks over which Internet data flows have floated the idea of creating the electronic equivalent of a paid carpool lane.

 

If companies like AT&T have their way, Web sites ranging from Google to eBay to iTunes either pay protection money to get into the "fast lane" or risk opening slowly on your computer. We can't let the Internet--this incredible medium which has been such a revolutionary force for democratic participation, economic innovation, and free speech--become captive to large corporations. 

 

Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Together, we do care about preserving the free and open Internet.
Please sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Internet freedom. Click here:

 

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