Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Net Neutrality Divides Christian, Conservative Groups | Liveblog | Christianity Today

Net Neutrality Divides Christian, Conservative Groups | Liveblog | Christianity Today:
"For people who frequent YouTube, Facebook, and Google, net neutrality is a hot topic. For Christian and conservative groups, it became a divisive topic today.

While the Christian Coalition supports net neutrality, 12 politically conservative and Christian conservative groups today began lobbying against net neutrality, according to U.S. News & World Report."
Sarah Pulliam summarizes the Christian responses to this important issue. Net Neutrality is a response to the idea that internet service providers could partition the internet into premium and basic service levels, based on amount paid. This unites people from all points in the political and social spectrum in the common goal of ensuring that all information providers (news, bloggers, universities, organizations, etc.) would have equal access to the internet.

The main objection some groups have to this is that pornography would be unfettered along with most other content. Of course, we already have that. The question is whose responsibility it is to control access to objectionable content. Public schools and libraries often filter content on their networks. Parents can install software that does similar filtering.

Blocking content at the ISP level would possible, but not a particularly smart thing to do. Who will decide? Will Democrat's blogs be filtered out while Republican's blogs pass through unfettered? Will evangelical web sites be sent to the slow track while more liberal church web sites run at maximum speed? There is much opportunity for mischief here, and trusting the ISPs (or even the government) to make such decisions is not necessarily prudent.

The average person has unprecedented access to information of all kinds -- sometimes "too much information." The proliferation of Presbyterian blogs, nearly all of which are independent of PC(USA) control, have provided members in the pews access to information that, 10 years ago, might take many weeks to propagate to the congregations, if at all.

Of course, it really isn't about politics, religion or morality -- it is, at its core, about money. We have been using the Web for information, email, buying stuff from Amazon, and so forth for many years.

All during this time companies have been looking for ways to put a meter on the network, and establish a "pay-as-you-go" financial model (above and beyond the basic cost to have broadband in the home). That, in and of itself, should cause people to think hard about what freedoms they are willing to give up.

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