R Bryant FranciscloseAuthor: R Bryant Francis
Name: Bryant Francis
About: R. Bryant Francis is a former contributing writer to the Jace Hall Show who specializes in gaming, pop culture, and all-around geekiness. Outside of the show, Bryant pursues a career in Hollywood as a producer and filmmaker.See Authors Posts (226)
By R. Bryant Francis
It’s 2011. We’re able to conceive and execute functional robotic limbs for the price of a small car. Our cars can be hacked by Android-wielding security experts. And the internet has changed the way we perceive the value of content and goods.
I ask because today, as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime falls further by the second, I stumbled on an article discussing the decline and return of internet in Tripoli during the course of the Civil War. Listeners of NPR or viewers of Al-Jazeera might be aware that Gaddafi’s regime did their damndest to manipulates journalists and the population of Tripoli to ensure it appeared the Regime appeared strong and well-supported. Now the rebels are openly partying in the streets.
A huge part of that repression and manipulation involved tightly controlling the internet access for the nation. We take for granted how often we can get online and access data and information in this country, but in places like Tripoli it’s a valuable resource tightly controlled by the government and sought after by the people. It didn’t fuel ALL revolutionary activities, but it certainly was a part of it.
But forget about the revolution for a moment. Part of the reason the Libyans wanted their internet so badly wasn’t just to take down the regime—or at the other end of the pole–log back into WoW. They wanted to check in with their families, find out what had happened in the world, and gain knowledge and resources that would empower them for their future. (I’m aware that’s a lofty way of phrasing it.)
Take it back to the western world for a moment. You can file for unemployment online. You can file to start a business online. You can use google maps to help you properly do your job in a timely manner, or e-mail your business partners to let them know of a crisis in your chain of manufacturing that needs to be resolved.
Imagine how reliant tomorrow’s generation will be. They can carry their libraries in small tablets, they can play games that never have to exist on their computers, and they’ll watch movies and TV shows wherever they want.
Take a look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. Now I’m not saying that the right to play MMORPGs should be entrenched in there, but look at some of those provisions, and realize that you NEED internet access in order to properly ensure those rights remain existent.
Without the internet, it’s harder for everyone to have the ability to freely express themselves without being repressed. Without the internet, it’s harder to get a proper education, especially in a world where education should no longer be reliant on memorization.
Why isn’t it a right already? First, almost every government in the world is staffed mostly by people who still view the internet as a luxury. This isn’t to say our current leaders aren’t narrow-minded on the subject, it just hasn’t really occurred to them how important an idea this could be. (Though UN Secretary General Frank La Rue has put forth a declaration boiling down to) “it damn well should be”
Second, Internet Service Providers: Right now ISPscan do almost whatever they damn well want with your internet. They can cut you off, slow you down, shut you down, tell you how and how not to use it, and all other kinds of shenanigans, mostly because they got into their various markets first and grabbed a hold of all of the hardware. There’s almost no local competition in most markets, and they like it that way. But if government regulation gets involved, they’ll be forced to change their business models in order to make a profit, and could see themselves repurposed as utilities instead of luxuries.
Third, because it’s a brand new horizon of an idea. As previously mentioned, the UN IS aware of this idea, but it hasn’t added it to the Declaration of Rights yet. Even when it is, it’s still up to its member nations, (Including internet-unfriendly China) to actually follow the damn accords set forth. (Which even the US is bad at sometimes.)
There is a way to take action though–keep demanding this right. Demand it from your Congressional representatives and senators when votes on Net Neutrality come up. Demand it from your cable companies by switching to new providers and encouraging competition. And most importantly, demand it from yourselves—realize and recognize how the world has changed, how your LIFE has changed and what the implications are.
It’s 2011, and the world has changed. Let’s make it change for good.
R. Bryant Francis is a filmmaker and contributing writer for the Jace Hall Show. You can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or @RBryant2012. Be sure to send your #thoughtsongaming to @Jacehall, so we can hear your voice and hear you expryour
Post By R Bryant Francis (226 Posts)
R. Bryant Francis is a former contributing writer to the Jace Hall Show who specializes in gaming, pop culture, and all-around geekiness. Outside of the show, Bryant pursues a career in Hollywood as a producer and filmmaker.
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