Ode to the dawn of the twilight
Nothing much happened today. Nothing much at all.
Congress did some stuff. Whatever. Well maybe not exactly whatever. See, there was formerly an uncodified mandate that ISPs (the mega corps that provide you with internet service) not do things like sift through, store and sell your browsing data. To much fanfare and celebration, 5 months ago, companies were formally banned by the FCC from selling your browsing history.
Today Congress reversed that ban.
Big deal, right? Stop with the histrionics. Whatever.
I mean, it is a big deal to lawyers and journalists and such like folk doing research and contacting sources and needing privacy to exist and whatever, but fuck us anyway. Journos spew fake news and lawyers, well … lawyers. Lol.
If only it was going to end here.
Alas, several things are in the sights of Congress that are much, much worse. For example, the FBI wants to ban encryption for use by private persons. I use encryption. I need encryption. Are you an encrypter? You will be. Oh, you will be. But terrorists use it too. So it’s got to go. I feel safer already.
Same thing for VPN services that don’t log their internet traffic. Are their days numbered? There have been major rumblings. Ask your nephew what that means. I already have to explain net neutrality to you. Anyway…
And then there is net neutrality. On its way out. Gasping for sir. Here’s how the good folks at Wikipedia define net neutrality: “Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.”
So you know how you have to pay more for Showtime and HBO? How’d you like to pay more to use FaceBook or Twitter? Or have it be unavailable from your local provider? Or if you have to pay more for access if you’re a business. Trust me, you can live without it. It’ll eventually come to basic internet anyway after 5 seasons (I know, I’m about as punny as Dennis Miller and 1/100th as clever).
Don’t sweat it though. Seriously. It’s really good for the bottom line of companies like Comcast and Time Warner that provide you internet service. That’s good for business. Those are the job creators, people. Job creators.
And then, invariably, there will be the rebirth of SOPA or some other incarnation. My Google machine says this about SOPA: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a controversial United States bill … to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to combat online copyright infringement and online trafficking in counterfeit goods.” Every major internet company worth its salt opposed it and it died. But…
Let’s again be honest. Ugh, too much honesty here. Online piracy is a scourge and its seed (see what I did there?) should be wiped from the face of the earth. It matters little that we should give up freedom – like the right to privacy in the computers in our own home – to stamp out piracy. Piracy! FFS, Piracy! It’s not just your patriotic duty as an American, it’s your duty as a citizen of the world to stop the dialogue about the transmogrification of copyright law and the advancement of Creative Commons licenses. Your turn to google, I’m tired. Plus, Lars Olsen needs a new Maserati. (I know. Shut up.) Plus, the NSA has already shown it can be trusted with all of your data. (NSA: Some used spying power to snoop on lovers, 9/27/13, CNN). So there’s that.
What’s my point. As you might have guessed, I don’t have one. Or can’t remember it. Ahh, whiskey.
But there’s this. I wanted to share this with you: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That’s it. That’s my point. The classic by Big Benny Franklin. Played out though, dontcha think? Encore with Dock of the Bay, exit stage right, whatever. That can’t be my point of this offhanded diatribe.
No, this is my point. I actually have one. It is this quote by William O. Douglass, former US Supreme Court Justice. Please consider this, as we move forward into a new frontier of constraints upon our liberties that seek to chill the digital revolution and make our thoughts less safe, our lives less creative and our souls less alight with the joys only freedom, true, unfettered freedom, can provide:
“As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
Ode to the dawn of twilight indeed. Stay vigilant my friends.