If you haven’t been paying attention to the wholesale assault on the free internet that is happening in the budding fascist land to my south, it’s worth noting that on Thursday afternoon the cadre of wannabe-criminals who are in charge of protecting consumer rights (at least with regards to communication and media down there) set up camp in the land of corporate protectionism. Well, more than set up camp. It’s more like they revealed that they actually own a two-story house with a picket fence and have been going to PTA meetings for a decade.
The American FCC killed net neutrality in the United States on December 14, 2017, a date that you should remember because it became the day that everything you think of as good and open about the net (and make no mistake, most of the english-speaking net still lives within those borders) and everything that you take for granted about opening any network connection and having equal access to post, share, read, view, download, or upload anything and everything without the people you pay to make those connections asserting their opinion into the mix… this is the day that died.
There are arguments for & against on both sides, but as someone who has struggled to be an independent content creator for most of his internet life, I’ll freely admit that I’ve set up my own tree fort in the side of pro net neutrality. I don’t have a powerful media conglomerate behind me. People like me now have one more massive hurdle to deal with to get from zero to something.
The good thing for me (specifically me) is that I don’t actually live in the Corporate States of America. Thus, I’m moving my business (because that’s how I think of my independent work) out too. I’m taking my ball and coming home. As of reading the news about the hostile corporate takeover of the internet, I’ve bought and paid for a new web hosting package on Canadian soil and over the next month I’ll repatriating my websites, cancelling all web business I do with US companies, and doing something I should have done years ago, but have been far too lazy to start: moving all my websites back to Canada.
This is all speculation, of course. The optimist in me wants to think that corporations could and will make the net better through investment and enhancement. But the realist in me knows that corporations are not charities, and their sociopathic tendencies tend to drive hard against the best interests of what’s good for society, people, children and communities. In it’s prime the net was a place where anyone could make anything, a good idea could be scaled up into a meaningful business or service, a kid could become a millionaire for playing videos games, or a dad could cobble together a small audience of people with whom to share a laugh or two. In the coming years you’ll find that the only people who can see that content are those who are willing to pay a bit more for the independent, fringe stuff. Basic web packages will let you shop at a short-list of retailers, interact on a select collection of social medias, and cap how much music you stream. American WiFi is about to become as restrictive as a cell phone data plan: and the trickle down, no matter where you live, is that a huge audience has just been silenced.
Me moving doesn’t fix anything, but it’s the only vote I have.