Access to YouTube.com, usually readily available in China, was blocked after videos appeared on the site Saturday showing foreign news reports about the Lhasa demonstrations, montages of photos and scenes from Tibet-related protests abroad.
The internet is a tremendous tool for democratization. While access, even in the US, is not yet universal, if some poor person without a personal computer and internet access can get online at the local library, a tremendous amount of user-generated content is readily available.
The problem is, a very similar problem is rearing it’s head here in the West; the idea of tiered access. Providers want to be able to limit your ability to access some content – at their discretion – unless you have the means to pay them for a higher level of access. The converse of this – the concept that all network traffic should be treated equally, regardless of content or your bandwidth – is called “network neutrality“.
This is a vitally important issue, and I hope to be able to provide some examples in future posts about how the corporate media has already successfully subjugated itself to the kleptocracy. Allowing network providers, many owned by media conglomerates, to regulate what is allowed to pass over their network is inherently undemocratic, and it is a very real threat.