Thursday, August 31, 2006

Americans, guard your internet

Hmmm. As an editor, I'm a stickler for style - and, if I may lay aside modesty for a moment, I was a driving force of Internet stylebooks in the early days of the Web. There weren't many editors in the early to mid 1990s, and no established style at all until Wired put something down in electrons. I've stuck with my style, and I believe that headline above is the first time I've intentionally written "internet" without a capital letter. I do that because I mean the American portion of the capitalized global Internet.

But I digress.

American bandwidth providers and the politicians who nibble at their pockets have pushed for laws to promote tiered Internet traffic. To sum up what that means in one sentence, such a law would allow companies like AT&T to favour traffic from some Web sites over others, and to charge differing rates for or even restrict access to different services.

Right now, the Internet more or less works with Net neutrality, even in the US. All Web traffic is equal to all other Web traffic. Some inequalities exist among different types of traffic - say, Web and VoIP - or for security concerns, but on the whole, everyone can get to everything equally.

Wikipedia discusses the situation in its Net Neutrality article.

So far, I've written what amounts to a dull Netsurfer Digest survey article - here comes the pizzazz!

Everyday users of the Web should favour Net neutrality. Eclectic folks with esoteric Web sites really should favour Net neutrality. I have a site like that. You might. Leslie Hall does. So do Peter Pan, and the Tron guy.

We are the Web, people. We Are the Web.

(Leslie, Peter, and Tron guy all previously featured in NSD. Of course.)


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