The Web Caste System
India is a country with more religions represented than in any other country in the world. It is the birthplace of at four least major religions: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism. The most popular of all religions practiced in India is Hinduism, with 82% of the population identifying as Hindu. If the shine of star power impresses you, even Julia Roberts, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, identifies herself and her family as practicing Hindus.
Hinduism believes in a caste system, which we Westerners would see as a structured hierarchy of social class. Which caste you belong to is determined by your birth. It defines your job function as an adult and the level of respect that you are given by your society. The highest tier is the Brahmin, and the lowest tier, an outcaste or Pariah.
There’s an issue that’s getting little coverage on the media despite its importance in all our lives. That issue is net neutrality and the proposed internet tiering system that Google and Verizon want to put into effect. Essentially, Google and Verizon are proposing that in order to drive content to its users more quickly and efficiently, that a tiered system go into effect. The tiered system would give priority to the content that Google and Verizon deem to be most important.
Why should you care about this issue, you ask? Well, you should care about this issue because it will affect your ability to see certain content on the web, like, for instance, this website. Since the most traffic I’ve ever had in a single day is 72 hits, and since I don’t represent a government entity or a big corporation or a traditional news or media outlet like Fox, or the Big Three, I wouldn’t make the cut for the top tier.
And there are only going to be two tiers. Either you are a Brahmin or you are a Pariah. As the internet exists right now, everyone gets equal access. If the changes that Google and Verizon are proposing happen, then it will take you much longer to access my website because the bandwidth I would have gotten before will be going to Rush Limbaugh’s website instead. Probably not, but I like to blame Rush when I can. He’s such an easy target.
As the internet exists right now everyone gets the same bandwidth. It’s a level playing field. So, even though I probably average six or seven hits in a day, if I one day write this really bitchin’ awesome post that goes viral, I could theoretically have millions of hits in a single day. But that would be hard to make happen if you have to wait five minutes just to access my blog.
And there’s more than just me to consider here. This is really the biggest First Amendment issue of our time. If some people’s messages are identified as more important than others, are we really a country that believes in Free Speech. And do we want Google and Verizon defining what’s important news and what’s not? Do we trust them to do that? I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t.
To find out more about the issue of net neutrality and how to maintain it, please access this video on YouTube from Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show, Countdown.
And then after you’re done with that, please sign this internet petition for Senator Al Franken and let him know that you want to maintain net neutrality.
Two hundred sixty-six million people in North America use the internet on a daily basis. It would be safe to assume that a huge number of those are living in the United States of America and yet less than 91,000 of us have signed Al Franken’s petition. If you aren’t apathetic, if you indeed care about this issue, then please take the necessary thirty seconds or less to sign a petition to ensure free speech for all.