NET NEUTRALITY WARRIORS
Senator Al Franken & The Guild's Felicia Day spearhead the SXSW battle cry
BY FAYZA A. ELMOSTEHI
03.15.11 | 11:38 am
There's an incredibly real, incredibly terrifying threat to the very being of geekdom as we know it.
It's worse than watching the last one percent of the battery life on your iPhone slip away at 11:30 a.m. at SXSW Interactive, with a full day of Gowalla check-ins and tweets ahead of you. It's worse than being defriended by social media superstar Gary Vaynerchuk, who you talked with for about 0.2961 seconds last year at the Engage party at SXSW (you were frankly surprised he remembered you well enough to accept your friend request in the first place).
It's even worse than getting the Fail Whale just as you hit send on the most brilliant tweet of your life.
What could be worse than that?
The lustful gaze and the talon-bearing tentacles of corporate greed — which are now squarely focused on our beloved, anything-goes Internet. That's what.
When you round up a bunch of Internet nerds under one roof, of course they're going to gossip about their shared digital mistress. And as to be expected, when facing the imminent death of the good ol' days, the techies go into hyperdrive.
Heard almost as much around the conference as "This room has reached capacity," net neutrality — the end of the fun and freedom we've come to expect from the Internet — is in danger now more than ever, and some high-profile webheads are throwing their weight behind making sure we're aware of it.
Famed funnyman-cum-politician, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) kicked off the Monday session schedule by getting straight to the point — rallying for the cause.
"The party may almost be over. There's nothing more motivated than a corporation that thinks it's leaving money on the table," he said during his core conversation, "An Open Internet: The Last, Best Hope for Independent Producers." Franken continued, "They're coming after our freedom and openness on the Internet. Net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time."
Of course, Franken is referring to the FCC's recent provisions, which created the concept of Internet "fast lanes." These Internet "toll roads," as they've been called, would be available for a price — a fee only those with the deepest pockets (ahem, corporations) would be able to afford.