Steve Wozniak to FCC: Keep the Internet Free

Illustration for article titled Steve Wozniak to FCC: Keep the Internet Free

In light of the roundly disliked FCC net neutrality ruling today, Apple co-founder and Gizmodo hero Steve Wozniak has written an open letter to the regulatory group. His message: let us decide what to do with our own damn internet.

Woz's epistle appeared today over at The Atlantic, and lays out a heartfelt, well-reasoned case for an open internet:

The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created. But those freedoms are being chipped away. Please, I beg you, open your senses to the will of the people to keep the Internet as free as possible. Local ISP's should provide connection to the Internet but then it should be treated as though you own those wires and can choose what to do with them when and how you want to, as long as you don't destruct them. I don't want to feel that whichever content supplier had the best government connections or paid the most money determined what I can watch and for how much. This is the monopolistic approach and not representative of a truly free market in the case of today's Internet.

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There's more—much more—drawing comparisons to Apple, the Federal highway system, and more. But the root message is: net neutrality is important and good and big and crucial. We need to keep it that way. [The Atlantic]

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DISCUSSION

I see both sides of the net neutrality argument - The argument that we need to have freedom on the internet, and we shouldn't have it censored (I wholeheartedly agree with that!) but I also see the side of the content holders (i.e. movie studios, musicians, authors, artists,etc.) who are trying to make a fair wage and earn a living off of their material. They want their copyrighted material NOT to be shared, and they're part of the side arguing for censorship, in a way...They want some control and monitoring over who's sharing their stuff.

I mean, if you're an indie musician and you've got a song that you're trying to get out there and you want people to pay you for it so you can put food on the table, wouldn't you want to make sure someone's not pirating your songs?

That's just one scenario - let's throw cyber bullying up there as well. Without a little control, people can threaten others without repercussions, and the ISPs can say, "Well, you took away the right for us to monitor who that is because you wanted the freedom..."

Unfortunately, I don't think that net neutrality is ever going to be a black & white, you're-wrong-I'm-right battle. In a perfect world, we wouldn't have any of the above issues going on, monitoring wouldn't be needed, and people would censor themselves and do the right thing. But the world's not perfect, and so we need to have a little control over everything...Not a lot, but some.