Saturday, June 19, 2010

"If you can control the conversation..."

We should also be very worried about efforts to undermine the free flow of information on the Internet.

Right now, a blog loads just as quickly as a corporate webpage. An email from your mother comes through just as smoothly as a bill notification from your bank. An independent bookstore can process your order as quickly as Barnes and Noble.

But top telecommunications companies have declared their interest in offering prioritized Internet service for companies who can pay for it. This could lead to the creation of a high--speed lane for wealthy corporations and transform the Internet from an open playing field into yet another place where powerful economic elites have a bigger megaphone than the rest of us.

Some of the same people who were instrumental in the Federalist Society's effort to change our legal system are now working to help corporations increase their control over the flow of information.

If you control the flow of information, you can control the conversation around important issues.

If you can control the conversation, you can change this country.
For those of us who live here on the internets, that's a key passage from a very important keynote speech that Sen. Al Franken gave to the Annual Convention of the American Constitutional Society on Thursday night.

Franken, that "awful comedian" that the righties fought so long and hard to defeat in favor of lightweight Norm Coleman, is one of the brightest lights in this very dim Congress of ours, strikingly more intelligent and thoughtful than most of his better known colleagues.

As I said, this was an important speech and you need to hear or read it all.

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