News and Views
Sunday, March 04, 2007 2:26:16 PM
One of the more dangerous pieces of legislation in Congress these days is the so-called "Net Neutrality" bill. Most proponents of free speech and free market are completely against the concept of the government getting involved with the Internet and regulating it in any way, but the bill has some huge money behind it -- Google, Microsoft, and other major players have come out in favor of it. This is hardly a surprise given the fact that they are making googillions of dollars. They do not take threats to their windfall lightly, and the kinds of competition that could be on the horizon might threaten a small piece of their pie.
Obviously, the core idea of having a successful business is giving the customer what he wants. If an Internet service provider fails to give good service or charges too much, the customer can go elsewhere.
Instead of worrying about what free people do in a free country, perhaps Google, Microsoft, and the others should put their money where their mouths are and stop allowing countries like China to block web searches it doesn't like. From the NYTimes:
"Yet Google's conduct in China has in recent months seemed considerably less than idealistic. In January, a few months after Lee opened the Beijing office, the company announced it would be introducing a new version of its search engine for the Chinese market. To obey China's censorship laws, Google's representatives explained, the company had agreed to purge its search results of any Web sites disapproved of by the Chinese government, including Web sites promoting Falun Gong, a government-banned spiritual movement; sites promoting free speech in China; or any mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. If you search for "Tibet" or "Falun Gong" most anywhere in the world on google.com, you'll find thousands of blog entries, news items and chat rooms on Chinese repression. Do the same search inside China on google.cn, and most, if not all, of these links will be gone. Google will have erased them completely."
When you think about it, a web search brings up ALL relevant search terms. Even though Google and other web searches can be "bought" by rabid opponents of free speech doing "Google bombing", the net is still a pretty neutral and free place in this country...despite or because of the fact that the federal government hasn't gotten involved yet. Government regulations are like cancers that once introduced, begin to grow unfettered until all life is sucked out.
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