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Watch: Al Franken Warns of Corporate Control of the Internet


Al Franken spoke on the topic of Net Neutrality at this year's Netroot Nation.

"I believe that Net Neutrality is the First Amendment of our time...If no one stops them, how long do you think it will take before four or five mega-corporations effectively control the flow of information in America not only on television but online? ... How long do you think it will take for the FOX News website to load five times faster than DailyKos? ... It's almost too late to stop this from happening but not quite...You have to help me fight this."


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  1. Franken is dead-on right. If you want to see what centralized control of the Internet brings, check out how China "manages" Internet content.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Jul 27, 2010 9:49:38 AM

  2. China's internet is not controlled by many corporations (whatever "control" by "many" might mean), but by its one government. Franken's proposal would shift additional power away from private hands, to government. So the analogy's a terrible -- and perhaps directly contrary -- one.

    Posted by: Wait... | Jul 27, 2010 10:00:15 AM

  3. Keep your eyes on Rupert Murdoch's online media outlets as he phases in paid subscriptions for material everyone has gotten used to being free. If it works, a lot of stuff currently free will be behind paid subscription firewalls.

    Posted by: me | Jul 27, 2010 10:22:09 AM

  4. I love Franken and the fact that he's actually into helping people versus himself.

    @ Wait: I think he's addressing not the censorship issue here, but the idea of 'website favoritism' based upon who owns your internet connection. He just wants to make sure you can visit all sites, not fewer or some slower than others. I think the government would dare seek control of the internet, because lots of voters use the internet and wouldn't be happy.

    Posted by: Drew | Jul 27, 2010 10:29:39 AM

  5. I agree with Franken, except in one respect. I think it is too late. We are each too tempting a target to be seen as anything other than a "consumer" or "potential customer". Whoever invents "caller id" for intrusive internet tracking and ads, etc. will be rich.

    Posted by: Umberto | Jul 27, 2010 10:47:11 AM

  6. There are various net neutrality concerns, particularly packet manipulation and DNS poisoning--which does happen with some ISPs already. However, putting the Internet under the umbrella of telephone regulation, like the Obama admin is trying to do, is not only stupid (it's not a telephone system) but also waaaay too corporate friendly, if one is familiar with the way telephone companies have various local monopolies, etc.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 27, 2010 10:58:57 AM

  7. @Wait

    Which assumes that the PRC and corporations are somehow competing against each other. That's simply not the case. With the exception of that very public - and very unusual - spat between the authorities in Beijing and Google, the vast majority of multinationals operating in China are in league with the government. Cooperation yields favorable contracts and tax cuts. And with over one billion new consumers at stake, do you really think Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and their ilk care about a couple e-mails being censored?

    Posted by: John | Jul 27, 2010 11:28:12 AM

  8. @ WAIT
    The means of centralized control is irrelevant. Whether it's government or corporate, consolidating control of the Internet in a few hands is a gold-plated invitation for abuse on a huge scale.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Jul 27, 2010 12:29:38 PM

  9. Yeah i think the politicians should control the internet because they're reeeal trustworthy.

    Posted by: Name: | Jul 27, 2010 12:53:57 PM

  10. i've loved al franken since he skewered rush limbaugh and made him squeal like the stuck pig that he is. he's also taken on sean hannity and bill o'rielly and exposed their buffoonery. it is so heartening to see a politician who gets it; who gets the harm that capitalistic acquisitiveness can impose on freedom of information. fuck "1984." this is more like "animal farm." the u.s. is more and more becoming a plutocracy. and, as goes 'america', so goes the world. we should not allow rupert murdoch or pepsico or monsanto to dictate the agenda. unlike the craven dullard directly above who posted as NAME, i have more trust in government than corporations.

    Posted by: nic | Jul 27, 2010 1:53:35 PM

  11. The only reason politicians get away with crap is because we as voters aren't paying attention. It isn't about government vs corporate if we are holding the government accountable. Where is our tax dollar going & how is it being used locally & on the state & federal level? Why isn't there complete budget transparency accessible to voters online? How many of us know how the electoral college works & why we use it? The government should be working FOR us & the only reason it isn't is we have no idea how it works & therefore are a bunch of lemmings at the mercy of information pushed by giant corporate-sponsored television, internet & print media. Educate yourself & participate! Insist on civic educational requirements for graduation & citizenship papers. Why aren't we required to show up to vote (even if we choose not to)? Because if we don't participate in our democracy we are at the mercy of the those with the power & money & that's how they like it. There doesn't have to be anarchy, just education & the dialog & participation will follow. Alrighty, if you stuck with me, thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

    Posted by: 2 cents | Jul 27, 2010 1:59:18 PM

  12. Franken is right... and those that are against Net Neutrality are just a deluded bunch of corporate-bots. Try to understand, go on... at least TRY: the GOVERNMENT will NOT control or take over the internet, you morons, it will simply STOP large scale takeovers and monopolies on information and information flow... that will allow for equal speed, equal access and no favoritism. Tell me what is wrong with that? Jeez!

    Posted by: CKNJ | Jul 27, 2010 4:49:15 PM

  13. thank you, CKNJ.

    Posted by: nic | Jul 28, 2010 3:07:57 AM

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