Kissing Neutrality Goodbye

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As someone who has their brains picked for technical computer solutions I cannot tell you how many times fully grown adults ask me how they get to download music via the Internet.

I take them through the usual options of purchasing via iTunes, emusic, napster etc but am often met with an irritated response in that the idea of purchasing music is a little bit irksome to them. On the whole these are not people who would ordinarily purchase music legally. They just want to download illegally because they can. Once obtained I doubt that the music would be listened to that much.

A Warning

I’ve been warning parents in particular about the then upcoming and now very current state of play where our own illustrious government is compelling Internet providers to report and ultimately remove the Internet from persistent illegal downloaders of music.As many parents may be totally unaware that their offspring are merrily downloading illegal music it may come as a shock when threatening legal letters drop onto the mat one morning.

ISP‘s are skewing internet access to favour a particular ‘struggling’ industry. That’s a government ordered bias imposed on the commercial sector isn’t it?

The right and wrongs regarding on-line copyright, fair use and whether illegal downloading really impacts on how much music is purchased and whether the music industry is partly to blame for not making music available to all computer platforms and at a price the market wants to pay can be argued elsewhere.

Approved sites only?

The main worry I have is regarding in this altered role for ISP’s and the prospect of an end to the concept of  net neutrality. What happens when Internet providers start manipulating what we can and cannot access. Blocking illegal downloads is one thing but what about blocking  or slowing access to a specific social networking site but enhancing the experience of accessing a commercial partner’s site instead. We are heading into the dangerous territory of ISP becoming the gatekeeper for Internet content that they approve of only. Indeed we may see ISP’s degrade the easy access and speed experience of sites that they get no commercial benefit from as a matter of course.

In the meantime some ISP’s will begin to intercept our browsing data in order to manipulate our future internet experience.

We seem to be on the slippery slope of losing net neutrality in Britain. The Internet is a resource and should, I feel be as unhindered and unfiltered as possible. Controls and filters should be made available easily to those that require them but decisions about what we can and cannot access is a very worrying and very anti-democratic, anti-freedom move.

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4 thoughts on “Kissing Neutrality Goodbye

  1. In the present climate, this kind of surveillance is almost inevitable, unfortunately. Freedom is something we have continually to fight to preserve. It is not something that we get once and for all, no matter how many people suffered and died to give it to us.

    The present government, that does not deserve the name of Labour, lies through its teeth and has a programme of erosion of civil rights that that has already carried us into the borderlands of a police state. The amount of surveillance we now take for granted would have horrified us if we had been told about it two decades ago but we seem to have accepted it and ignored it.

    The thing to remember is that though each new restriction seems small in itself, together they all add up. They also reveal the government’s attitude that total surveillance (for our own good, of course!) is the ultimate goal.

    How long before we find that, like the citizens of China, we are denied access to certain sites around the world that present inconvenient information?

  2. Well put SilverTiger. I couldn’t agree more about the absurdity of Nu Labour even having the word ‘Labour’ within it (New Tory sometimes seems more apt). I’m sure the filtering & shaping of our Internet experience is just around the corner both by the commercial interests of the ISPs and the influence of government requirements.It sounds like paranoia to talk of an erosion of civil liberties but I fear that the British penchant for apathy is allowing an ongoing dismantling of many hard won freedoms (steps down from own soap box).

  3. We are so far down the road of a Nanny State that I suspect all the Government feels it can do is keep the ball rolling. To take the step of actually giving people back the right to make decisions for themselves is a step they cannot even conceive let alone contemplate.

  4. Hello Aoj-We’re a funny lot in Britain in that we seem to abhor the ‘nanny state’ whilst equally expecting the state to sort so many things out which always seems quite contradictory. I would like to see the seemingly necessary evil of government spend more time specifically getting real people involved in those things that eventually become law. Part of me is worried that certain British sensibilities would quite like a highly autocratic pseudo fascist government to become the norm.

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