Wheeler: if there is a problem with sponsored data we’ll look at it. As if sponsored data were acceptable on its face. Granted, sponsored data is a variant of paid prioritization but where paid prioritization and big data hijacking are like cancer, sponsored data is like spontaneous human combustion and its just been launched by AT&T and T-Mobile disguised as a product with the stated intent of making the internet more like TV. This is an outright war on the useful Internet. Of course the phone companies and cable were temporarily in a tight spot with their fradulent data caps because their foisted ads cut into the phony limits. But the data caps were just a means to bring about sponsored data, as feared. Now we have a situation that will quickly convert at least North American’s crucial (especially to future internet build out) wireless internet into cable TV. Want an almost pure down load internet with almost no upload, want no ability to block anything or have much control over browsers? In the US at least, sponsored data will bring this on super quick.
My worry is any plan to convert the networks these firms control into the necessary dumb pipes is going to be too late at least in the US. Running MaidSafe through a sponsored phone may be like trying to run it through a Comcast Cable TV channel. These firms are literally attempting to make money by damaging or breaking the working internet. Burning treaties would be much better. This is the same kind of thinking that allowed American Statesmen to suggest that Julian Assange should be executed vice given the Nobel Prize. Looking back maybe sane people will consider this stuff a crime against humanity as the American State and its business master tried to create this huge engine of censorship in the face of so many global existential challenges. Working laws and legal institutions could address this but the law and working legal institutions were broken by sponsorship to begin with.
It also means more of the current Republican party, more of the Republicans that run as Democrats, more ALEC more Fox News, more two party system. With working communication we could be getting rid of these through education and awareness. Maybe the EU will figure out how to get rid of sponsorship and sponsored media. Neutrality and unsponsored honest search and trending would be a good start. Sponsorship is always going to lead to a captured media, captured society and rule by inherited wealth.
I saw a bill board today on the highway that said in upside down letters “if you can read this you probably just had an accident buy our insurance.” Now a lone ad is not necessarily a media or medium corrupted by ads (although no medium or media should ever be driven by them) but it shows the level of belligerence. That sign may have caused people’s deaths but we aren’t supposed to be able to touch it.
Sponsored government and sponsored society are fighting for their lives against the possibility of a ubiquitous and truly open internet, or the possibility of the fraction of it that already is so continuing to exist and doing them in. What would be an equivalent tyrannical (or emergency action) in the direction of open?
Imagine an anti sponsorship act as a more meaningful kind of anti trust and media transformation. Revoke the charter of every US media or communications firm with over a billion in assets and convert them to non profits. Divest the stock holders and cover there losses at the time of divestment with tax credits over ten years. Replace the boards with rank and file employees elected by rank and file employees and forbid their sitting on any other boards. In the new charters and by laws forbid any taking of money for ads, product placement or candidates of any kind, and insist that all monies come only from paying end user customers. US ad companies with over a billion dollars would have their charters revoked with similar terms but they would be limited to product education and forbidden from inciting sponsorship. Ad based search companies would get the same deal, and the public universities and libraries would be tasked with taking up the vacuum for honest search and trending. Screw corporate rights, they never had any, at best they had slights. Rights are for people. Any kind of capital flight would get its assets checked at the boarder. Any foreign firm thinking it could fill the vacuum would get barred from the territory and where impractical fined to the gills.
Its a battle between a closed nightmare society and an open liberation that would let us meet our survival challenges. Sponsored data is a nuclear weapon against openness and fairness. Even with wag the dog kind of distractions people are still pissed but in-place sponsorship allows them to keep moving forward with sponsored data and a totally sponsored and worse than worthless internet. The internet should have replaced TV, now we are getting rid of the internet with TV! An utterly perverse roll back of progress and possibility. Another failed democracy experiment? Get ready for Cheny Adminstration. Gives me the same kind of wool over the eyes feeling that 911 did- can pick up where they left off.