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"When I Invented the Web…"

So begins Tim Berners-Lee’s short piece arguing for net neutrality.  He applies Occam’s Razor to the arguments being made by the big media companies, and service providers, finds them wanting, and reduces the case for net neutrality to this simple statement.

If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.


For Tim, the arguments made by the service providers trying to defeat net neutrality are the precursor to controlling information, and access to businesses. It’s not about being free, as in “free beer”.  It’s about being free to connect with whom you please.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Randy Charles Morin June 22, 2006, 1:53 pm

    What if whom you please is a porn site? or a gambling site? or a terrorist site? I'm 100% behind the movement to keep legit sites from being blocked, but my daughter knows how to search using Google. Can't we censor the bad stuff?

  • Alec June 22, 2006, 11:40 pm

    Do you want to live in China, Randy? I don't want the government making those decisions. There are plenty of ways for me to filter sites, without resorting a regulator. That's what I really want.

  • Randy Charles Morin June 23, 2006, 6:36 am

    I want to live in Canada. The government of Canada is already making those decisions. It's called the CRTC. There are no porn channels on basic cable. You have to pay a further premium to get those channels. There's a balance between regulation and anarchy. Right now, the Internet is pure anarchy.

  • Alec June 23, 2006, 7:19 am

    Mmmm… are you sure it's the CRTC making those decisions? Or is it simply the service provider. In any case, the net neutrality argument isn't an argument about censorship, but rather an argument that says that the service provider doesn't have the right to make decisions about which services and content you access. The service provider shouldn't be able to advantage their own services to the detriment of others. It's fundamentally an anti-trust argument.

  • Luke June 23, 2006, 2:14 pm

    I always cringe when the Internet is compared to TV cable. I don't know how it is in Canada, but in the US cable sucks! It’s all about quantity over quality. Do we really want telecoms turning the Internet into something like TV Cable. Why should we pay them twice (once for the connection and again for SOMEONE ELSE’S' content)? Moreover, how will smaller independent sites (like this blog) complete with deep corporate pockets? Just think of all of today’s Internet giants that started out in a garage or living room (google, flickr, craigslist, etc)? Would this type of innovation still flourish in an Internet that requires mucho-mass dough just to get started? Finally, I agree with Alec about censorship. The telecom’s were not elected, they do not represent us, so what gives them the right to decide what is decent or not? The bottom line is that the telecom’s are doing what is responsible for big business: making more and more and more money for themselves and for their investors. But this does not always mean better service or better products. The fast food industry makes gobs more money nowadays. Do you think their product and service is really that much better and improved? As consumers we need to tell the telecoms to find another way to get the cash. We need to tell them that other people’s content is not their commodity to sell and to leave the Internet alone.

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