Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Net Neutrality... it's the lion telling you to fear the jackal.


I just saw this website which is clearly a Net Neutrality advocate and from what you see on this website there is really nothing not to like. Let's protect Joe User from the big evil Internet corporation. Oh wait, there isn't one big evil Internet corporation... there are dozens of big evil Internet corporations, all of which are in direct competition with one another. Competition is in fact a much better protector of the consumer than anything the government could do for us. Oh yeah the website omits the rather salient point that Net Neutrality puts Internet regulation into the hands of our oh-so-trustworthy government. But then why not? Al Gore invented it; why not let the government control it? Yes, regulation = control. When a government controls information you have a recipe for... well, let's just say it would be a bad idea.

We already have laws in place to protect us from monopolies which is really what all this is pointing to: a situation in which somehow competing companies all act with one accord to screw the little guy and somehow manage to stay in business because the said little guy has no options when it comes to ISP choice (ok I will be Devil's advocate against myself here and acknowledge that this isn't entirely unheard of... i.e. Big Oil, but ISPs are hardly there yet).

I am not defending the big ISPs. Big companies get big in part because of greed and it is in fact a goal of ALL big companies to make money and get bigger. Personally as a Network Administrator I have grown to loathe most of them and the only reason I don't say all of them is that I haven't had to work directly with all of them as of yet. My point is simply to say what I already said in my post title: in my opinion the ISPs are merely jackals but the goverment is the lion (you and I would be the antelope in this scenario). Net Neutrality looks very pretty on paper but it would be to leap from the frying pan into the fire. The free market is just that... free; at least in theory it would be free were it not for the already large intrusion of government regulation. Net Neutrality is merely another way for the government to increase its reach into our lives.