updated 05:20 pm EST, Tue December 21, 2010
Apple co-founder argues against monopolization
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has sent an open letter to the FCC, arguing in support of extensive protections for net neutrality. The plea suggests the Commission is the only agency "still wearing a white hat," as few other government agencies are generally viewed as helping to protect the rights of the population.
"The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created," Wozniak writes. "But those freedoms are being chipped away."
The computer engineer calls on the FCC to prevent ISPs or other companies from interfering with the content people can access. He argues that the Internet should be provided by local ISPs, but users should be able to choose what to do with the connection as long as it is not deemed destructive.
"I don't want to feel that whichever content supplier had the best government connections or paid the most money determined what I can watch and for how much," Wozniak suggests. "This is the monopolistic approach and not representative of a truly free market in the case of today's Internet."
The Apple pioneer claims that the personal computer revolution would have been set back by "a decade or more" if the company had chosen to charge buyers for the amount of bits run through the computer's microprocessors.
"Not only is current action on Net Neutrality one of the most important times ever for the FCC, it's probably the most momentous and watched action of any government agency in memorable times in terms of setting our perception of whether the government represents the wealthy powers or the average citizen, of whether the government is good or is bad," Wozniak concludes. "This decision is important far beyond the domain of the FCC itself."
The FCC today voted to expand net neutrality rules, requiring companies to disclose network management practices and follow other guidelines. The regulations prohibit companies from blocking legal and safe apps or services, but the proposal only bars cellular carriers from "unreasonable discrimination." [via The Atlantic]