Archive for July, 2008

Well, well, well.  Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, a 40-year veteran of Washington and a Republican anchor in Congress, is caught taking $250,000 in gifts from oil magnates and not disclosing them to the public.  This is Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens, who prided himself as “the meanest man in Congress,” who once said “a vote against this bill is a vote against Ted Stevens, and I won’t forget it,” and who personalized political disagreements to a level that even Richard Nixon would have found stunning.

This is also Ted “the Internet is a series of tubes” Stevens, who tried, on behalf of cable companies, to give ISPs the right to differentially charge content providers to have access to the ISP’s customers.  This is, of course, an attempted body-blow to the whole concept of net neutrality.  I have always wondered if the cable and phone companies were supporting his campaign; now I wonder how much they just gave him in cash.  Not only does he sell out his constituents for cash, he is willing to bargain away the entire Internet and it’s users, to enrichen himself.  And he’s in his 80s — for gosh sakes how much money does he need?

Over the next few years the whole operating structure of the Internet is going to come under tremendous pressure as various players attempt to monetize it to their own gain, and this particular version of Net Neutrality is just one approach.  Several companies are developing technology to allow ISPs — just the transport guys — to intercept your traffic, profile you, and use that profile to serve interstitial and replacement ads on the pages you request.  And there will be other schemes, the potential amount of money to be made (according to their calculations) is too much to resist.  Unless everybody keeps their eyes open, the Internet of 5 years from now will be a very different place.


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