Senator John McCain has apparently decided to take up the issue of "net neutrality," and, in a piece of legislation that's been bought and paid for by the telecom industry, the former presidential candidate has fashioned the "Internet Freedom Act." This legislation keeps alive the recent tradition of ironically named laws. What the "Internet Freedom Act" would do is to allow Internet service providers to privilege their own content over competitors by slowing or blocking access to other web content.
The whole issue of "net neutrality" can be hard to wrap one's head around. In the first place, the term is as vague as the issue is voguish, but more importantly, those best equipped to explain it tend to be the geeky-wonk types who speak a language that causes most peoples' eyes to glaze over. It was a shrewd move on Rachel Maddow's part to engage the services of Xeni Jardin, co-editor of Boing Boing and contributor to Wired magazine to put the issue into an understandable and interesting light.
JARDIN: The funny thing about net neutrality is that nobody cares how the internet works, we just want to know that it works. Kind of like picking up the phone to call your mom. The idea behind net neutrality is that we should all have equal access to whatever website, whatever funny video, whatever animated .GIF of a kitten dancing. It doesn't matter what the content is, no cable company, no telecoms should be able to slow that down because what you want access to is against their competitive interest. So, one example of that might be, Time Warner. Time Warner is a cable company that provides broadband internet services here in L.A. If I want to watch a Rachel Maddow clip, a Daily Show clip, and a clip from CNN, Time Warner shouldn't be able to slow the Maddow Show clip and the Daily Show clip and make the CNN clip go faster because they have a commercial interest in CNN. The idea is...that all packets are created equal.
It's too bad that Senator McCain doesn't have a famous blogger daughter that could explain just how dumb the Internet Freedom Act is to him.