Once again, Montana charges forward with direct opposition to a federal body. Our last major stand was enacting
Montana Firearms Freedom Act
, which prevented a large swath of federal
regulations from affecting Made-In-Montana firearms and accessories. The act is an affront to the ATF and many gun-control-friendly DCenizens.
Now we're standing up to the FCC for their lack of regulation with the repeal of Net Neutrality, which in essence gives ISPs free reign over
technology and infrastructure that was vastly
funded with public money. To the tune of $200 billion, at minimum. It isn't hard to
track down with some Google Fu, and the best commentary I've come across is this (PDF LINK to .gov site)
document published and recognized by the National Telecommunications and
as a valid criticism of the amount of public funding that has found its way into the private telecom industry.
I'd love to expound on the history of the technology that allowed for the rise of the WWW/internet. To save on TL;DR responses to this thread, I will
state, in-a-nutshell, how the "interwebs" was first realized:
(mid 60's to early 80's) The military's network. This is when the whole idea of
interconnecting geographically distant computers first became a public works project. The technology (TCP/IP) had been around for awhile, originally
developed mutually between Bell Labs and MIT in the mid 60's. During the development of this technology, DARPA decided that the military needed to
have its computers interconnected (circa 1969). By the late 70's DARPA realized that TCP/IP was probably the way to go, and went ahead and had the
original designers implement their TCP/IP technology to the military computers/infrastructure. Many a caveat was worked out in this process which,
undoubtedly, was paid for with DARPA funds, which went to a public entity (MIT). Bell Labs had funded the development of TCP/IP to start, BUT, they
funded it through MIT, which requires it's technology to be available to the public regardless of the origin of the money. By 1982 the infrastructure
was complete and working wonderfully.
This history is not exactly spelled out in any particular place so I will refer you to this
and suggest reading some very underrated true-crime:
The Cuckoo's Egg
and The Hacker
Why would I suggest true-crime for information? Because those two books will paint the clearest picture of what the internet means to the government.
The technology, software and hardware, was developed at a public institute with private funding, then implemented on a wide scale with government
money, thus "proving" the technology and in a weird way, opening it up for abuse. It was - and still largely is - a frontier that was open to the
public at large by the early 90's with the application of HTML as a standard to how things were presented ("The birth of the World Wide Web", so to
speak) and the growth of the PC/MAC in homes. Almost every other "modern" or "western" or "just not backwards" nation favors open access to a
neutral playing field. The US governments direct interests in the internet seem to still be military in nature. The redundancy that is created by a
literal "web" cannot be beat, and if you need something to work in the worst situation, redundancy is utmost.
Going back to net neutrality in general. Has the notion of a neutral playing field caused some ripples? Of course it has- namely Google and Amazon.
But the country where these corporations are based has a long history of upholding infrastructure and knocking down monopolies (Can anyone connect me
with Ma Bell?). The kink here is the "digital world". The government can't regulate a single entity out of existence. It can push anti-trust laws,
however, that action is very murky in terms of internet corporations. Google, for example, is providing a service that's closest physical equivalent
is a phone book. Who provided the phone book? The phone company! Of course, it's a lot more nuanced, but let's think in terms of "How we explain ze
Googles to Grandpa". Because that is exactly what is happening with telecom companies right now. They're taking advantage of a complex technology
that was developed with public money and trying to pass it off as an invention of their own.
The concept and technology of the internet is not owned by any private company. It has been a public works project since the inception of ARPANET and
prior to that was still a public technology, having been developed by a public institute, albeit with a healthy amount of private funding. To argue
that Internet Service Providers can dictate where, what and when goes across "their" networks is heresy to the nature of the internet at its base
and current state.
I welcome any replies, and if you've made it this far, thanks for reading!