Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Feeling My Freedom

Battle For The Internet About To Enter Crucial Phase "Telecommunications firms salivate at the prospect of eliminating Net Neutrality requirements and setting up systems where websites that pay for the service will be more easily reached than sites that cannot afford the toll. And U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who has for many years been a dominant figure in communications debates on Capitol Hill, is determined to change the rules so that Internet gatekeepers such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner, can create an 'information superhighway' for those who pay and a dirt road for those who fail to do so." The Nation 09/05/06

Once again it seems as if corporate elitism and political philandering is at the heart of stealing knowledge from the masses. At what time will we look back and decry our modern society while longing for the “good ole days” of net-neutrality? Now is the moment when we have the ability to answer any question or the ability for our home-brew website to stand on equal footing with the best of the corporate masses. If you type in my name in Google or Yahoo or the like – my website will appear first. In fact, my portfolio website currently maintains the number one position on all the major search engines (this is oddly enough an accomplishment in the land of internet). In what order will I be listed if I refuse to pay the corporate pipers? Will I be on page fifty? Will I even be listed, anymore?

I loath visiting Sam’s Club, but occasionally it is a necessary evil. A while back I had to return a non-working Lexmark printer. The return process was uneventful. I dare say the customer service employees made the process painless. Then I tried to leave the store. Two “greeters” stepped forward to block my path to the door.

“You can’t go that way, sir.”

“Excuse me?”

“The exit is at the other end”, one of the employees pointed roughly 300 feet across the front of the big-box store.

“I’m parked in the first row, right out this door; I’m not walking all the way over there, just to walk back again on the outside of the store.”

“We can’t let you leave this way, you might get hit by a car,” the other one spoke-up now.

“What are you saying? If I go that other way, you’ll CARRY me across the parking lot to my vehicle?” I asked as I stepped around them and out the door.

“People have to follow directions, sir! It’s not my fault if you get killed going that direction!” one of them yelled after me from the front entry.

Later in the week, I complained about the ridiculous confrontation during a phone conversation to a friend. The response was simply – “why didn’t you just comply?” It never occurred to me that others may not find the corporate employees’ behavior overtly harsh. I didn’t comply, because why should I make their ability to rule over me an easy task. Why should I hand over my freedom to make a choice (even a bad one - which I still believe it was not), to curtail to a corporate or governing body’s interpretation of an appropriate measure of safety?

What knowledge or freedoms must I sacrifice to continue my journey through life unscathed? At what point shall I bow to the ridiculous demands of power-hungry killers of the human condition? Hand-over our ability to choose and we may as well hand-over our decision to live. - DN


Anonymous said...

You could say that you were folowing the signs directions by going "In" to the outside, and not "Out" to the inside. You also forget that this is a corporate institution that demands that you pay to get in there in the first place. I find that the most repugnant idea of all, Elitist Shopping.

Elise Tomlinson said...

Hi Daniel, I've been following net nuetrality for awhile now and it is a complicated piece of legislation. I don't think it will affect (directly) ranking of websites...your site would still come up first but if it was a high bandwidth site, I.e. you had a lot of movies for people to watch by downloading or streaming, then you may be asked to pay more by your network provider. If you don't, then they could make it so your movies wouldn't download as quickly, and in this "two seconds or I'm outa here" mentality of the net, that would mean reduced traffic, reduced number of people linking to you, and ultimately...lower rankings.

I think for blogs and people like us who don't offer a huge file sizes to download we're pretty safe but it open a whole can of worms that I'm still 100% against.

As for the greeter, good for you! said...

John - I originally claimed that I only boughtthe "membership" for the cheap gas, but just this month it lapsed and I have taken a stand to NOT renew!

Elise - It's good to get the lowdown from someone living in the middle of the argument. I still worry a bit about the parts of any bill/law that are less than clear in some areas of technology and snooping. - DN