What will happen to government information on the web if we lose the little net neutrality we still have? Marvin Ammori of Slate’s Future Tense project, in partnership New America and Arizona State University, says that it will result in federal, city, and state government websites that run slowly and deliver errors.
- Nixing Net Neutrality Would Produce More Healthcare.govs By Marvin Ammori, Slate (Aug 27, 2014)
Although Ammori doesn’t say so, I would guess that it will have another, second-order effect on government information. First, using the slow internet lane will make it more difficult for governments to deliver adequate e-government services. Second, Congress and local governing bodies will use this as an excuse, not to fund fast-lane access, but to reduce funding of government information delivery and e-government even further. Finally, the private sector will move in and offer better services and fast lane access, thus privatizing and commercializing government information access and delivery. Private companies will, of course, demand that they get all the government information they want for free and then they will charge the rest of us for access to this valuable, public resource.
On May 15, the FCC created a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet NPRM) that would permit cable and phone companies to create slow and fast lanes on the Internet. The FCC has received an unprecedented number of comments on this proposal (over a million), prompting the FCC to make the comments available to the public for analysis in XML format.
- Federal Register. Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet: A Proposed Rule by the Federal Communications Commission on 07/01/2014.
- Federal Register Volume 79, Issue 126 (July 1, 2014) 79 FR 37447 – Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet. Available in text and pdf.