PHOENIX, AZ -- During the 2008 election, Senator John McCain famously admitted he didn't know how to use a computer and was only then learning to use a Blackberry. Preferring to stay out of the 21st century when it came to computers, Senator McCain was clearly no Senator McGeek.
Oh, how times have changed.
On October 22, 2009, John McCain introduced in the Senate a bill surprisingly called the "Internet Freedom Act". This proposed legislation is a brazen bid to stifle use of the Internet, making it potentially far more restricted for the average web user. The bill would bar the FCC from enacting regulations that would prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from interfering with users' preferred content choices, would penalize small content producers and slow the internet overall in order to collect fees for higher-speed services, which the ISPs would select.
McCain introduced his up-is-down, freedom-is-not-for-you legislation on the heels of the FCC's proposed rules to establish net neutrality, or the concept where individuals and entrepreneurs -- not network owners -- can connect and interact, choose marketplaces, and create new services and content on a level playing field.
Contending that net neutrality regulations would hamper "innovation" in the internet services marketplace and therefore slow job creation, McCain once again decided in favor of a few giant businesses over the people he serves.
Furthermore, Senator McCain's proposed legislation, while masquerading as a defense of "internet freedom" may actually be a legal assault on the First Amendment, which mandates that:
Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacably to assemble [...]
Giving ISPs total "freedom" to control and manipulate the information that others create would effectively interfere with the press and how information is or is not disseminated. Under McCain's geekmanship, the Internet would no longer be the gathering place for the American citizenry that it currently is. Online communities would be forced to pay whatever fees the ISPs demand in order to assemble and communicate. News would not be so newsy.
If McCain's proposed bill is passed and becomes law, it would be the end of the Internet as we know it. It would remove any effective obstacle to major connectivity providers using their networks to select among users' content choices, leading to a kind of profit-based censorship of online content. Simply stated, it would censor content currently provided by journalists, media outlets, network and website designers based on profit motives.
Generations to come could possibly end up just like John McCain -- computer illiterate and unable to gather and prosper intellectually in the common marketplace of information.
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