Net Neutrality: a crucial issue with a lame name

The term "net neutrality" has the magical property of making most people's eyes glaze over. First, it sounds like a gambling term. "I have a system and net neutrality - I can't lose!" Second, no one using the Internet calls it "the net" anymore. Just like no one in San Francisco calls it "Frisco." So the term "net neutrality" either sounds super techie and over your head, or more dated than the 1995 Sandra Bullock movie called ... "The Net."

The concept of Net Neutrality is simple: All content should be treated equally. The Internet should be, as it has been, on a virtual level playing field. Google and Verizon announced at the beginning of August their agreement for an "Open Internet." In their statement, the FCC will continue to lack the power to enforce an open Internet, and it excludes wireless broadband from transparency, citing proprietary concerns. This is worrisome since wireless broadband is the future of the Internet. Plus, in order to ensure "openness," wireless or not, the Internet should be regulated like any other public utility.

So as soon as the word "regulation" is uttered, a Frankenstein monster of a faux populist movement arises to dispute and/or cloud the issue. With corporate sponsorship, they've become a loud lobbying spectacle for business interests.

Yes, the Tea Party, or the Grand Old Party on caffeine, is (of course) against Net Neutrality.

The Tea Party and its coalition of "grassroots" think tanks want corporations to be in control of the Internet so it will "stay open." In a signed letter sent to the FCC and the media the day after the Google/Verizon agreement was announced, the Tea Party groups' statement added that government regulation, "could also remove the ability for parents and ISPs to prevent inappropriate material from entering the home."

Catch that? Let business do what it wants or you won't be able to protect your children from smut. It's the most vulgar thing I've ever heard. Horribly untrue. And a cynical attempt at fear-mongering.

Government regulation is always annoying - unless we can't swim in the Gulf of Mexico, or eat eggs, spinach, beef or peanut butter. But wait - annoying to whom? Government regulation irks corporations. For those of us who drive the cars, eat the food or take the medications made by corporations, government regulations are, in the most basic way, lifesavers.

What needs to happen? Earlier this year, the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia handed down the Comcast Decision stating under current law, the FCC doesn't have the authority to regulate equality of content. This means the law must be changed.