Maddow Takes McCain to Task for So-Called Internet Freedom Legislation


Picture 11Rachel Maddow took time on her MSNBC hour last night to take a closer look at some of Senator John McCain‘s latest legislative activity: his net neutrality bill, The Internet Freedom Act of 2009.

The branding at work in the name of the The Internet Freedom Act is impressive, but the bill is aimed at preventing the government regulation from affecting corporate Internet strategy. From McCain’s Press Office:

“Today I’m pleased to introduce ‘The Internet Freedom Act of 2009’ that will keep the Internet free from government control and regulation,” said Senator John McCain. “It will allow for continued innovation that will in turn create more high-paying jobs for the millions of Americans who are out of work or seeking new employment,” McCain continued. “Keeping businesses free from oppressive regulations is the best stimulus for the current economy.

Maddow broke it down like so: “The government says the internet should be free — big companies should not be able to rig the Internet for their own purposes. John McCain’s bill says they should.” And then she cut to a clip of McCain confessing his computer illiteracy and pointed to a recent report that identifies McCain as the single largest congressional recipient of campaign contributions from the telecom industry.

Because the term ‘net neutrality’ doesn’t readily explain itself, it’s worth saying that the recent debate raises the question of whether or not telecom should be able to control the speed of Internet access to favor themselves and their content. For example if a telecom company owns stake in a media company, the telecom company might speed up internet access to the media company’s content and slow down access to content from competitors.

Maddow raised these questions to Boing Boing‘s Xeni Jardin, who said simply “all packets are created equal.” Or at least they should be. Later Jardin added:

“Whenever there’s a fight on the Internet it’s always good to side with the geeks who actually built the Internet rather than fat cat telecom lobbyists … the Internet is a basic right, it’s a basic necessity, such a fundamental way for communicating and accessing info now. Telecoms shouldn’t be able to throttle, to slow down or to block our access to something that might not be in their corporate interest.”

Rachel Maddow discusses John McCain’s net neutrality legislation last night:

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