This is one of the the key issues in the advancement of human rights in the 21st century. Yes, human rights, in that communication and information rights are the nexus of power in our modern, digitally-networked “Information Age” (much the same way labor was the defining point of rights-based struggles during the Industrial Revolution). This short video does a good job in explaining some of the ramifications involved in what happens to the Internet, how it functions, who controls it, etc., and why we need a new series of updated laws to that protect our constitutionally-protected rights to speech and privacy. Well worth the six minutes it takes to watch it.
Michael Woodridge makes some good observations about the video on Truthout…
“…the infrastructure [of the internet] - the “tubes” that connect us - in the United States are all owned by a handful of private companies, such as Comcast and Time Warner. The platforms we use on the Internet, such as Facebook and Google, are also run on servers owned by those private companies.
We relinquish any rights we have the moment we sign up for any of these companies’ services. The Bill of Rights does not apply to this privately owned space, nor do these companies honor those rights. Our data and information is theirs to package and sell, censor and limit.
Laws to protect any of these rights don’t exist. The laws currently governing the online realm date back 20 years, when the Internet was in its fledgling state. Currently, Internet-related bills that are up for discussion threaten to make things worse.The Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (often referred to collectively as SOPA/PIPA) would have severely crippled the way we can create and distribute content online. A new bill called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) currently being marked up in closed hearings in the House would take away our right to sue private companies for turning over our information to the government or each other. Reform of the vague Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which many criticized after the death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, threatens to become more narrow-minded and harsh.
Insist that your representatives oppose these dangerous and corrupting laws. They have no place within a free society.