As the late, great, George Carlin stated, the FCC has always been a self-appointed governance over the dissemination of media, and before, they never really had a right. They didn’t make radio stations, or TV channels, they just regulated a system that had – – limited bandwith. But now, in the digital age, the FCC seemed to be nearing its death-throes. Look at television today and you’ll see the rigors they once imposed on American programming has lifted substantially from George Carlin’s time (though more freedom would be nice always be nice- though seemingly, by the plan, that may just be the case; it could also be 1984, but more on that later) – it looked like the FCC were taking a powder hard. Then this happened:
The Chairman is fairly concise, but here’s the pertinent aspects the United States government is planning to enact (starting April 21st, according to the Washington Post). The FCC is looking to create broadband infrastructure that would be cost-effective and upgradeable, to make high speed Internet accessible and affordable to average Americans – developing that infrastructure would give jobs to “pipe-layers” and Internet Technicians for developing and maintaining the servers. They seek to create an emergency broadband system to allow first-responders to connect to a national system allowing them to interact during times of local or national disaster. They want to alter education, so that everyone graduating high school will be Internet-savvy enough to get a job in the growing global economy. They want to take information and make it more readily available to everyone in the United States.
And yet I have that nagging Orwellian-induced reluctance to adopting such an inter-connected system. Will not the level of integration allow for a more invasive network to potentially be compromised? Say you have a 25.5″ HP Smart Touch IQ804 that you have hooked up to your TV Tuner – this should also allow you access to the coaxial cable tapping you into government-subsidized broadband. You stream Hulu whenever nothing’s good on TV and you webcam both for work and for naughty time with the misses when she’s out of town. You keep important documents on that TV, and the photos from all your vacations and nights out on the town.
But those devices can be accessed discreetly; there’s no real way to secure such a system from someone that persistent, so they could…watch you watching TV in your living room, or fooling around in the bedroom (if you were gonna put this “TV” in your bedroom). The plus side is that most people’s lives are mundane enough that people won’t try and hack it, except to maybe see if you’re not home (which is still not a great system, because we’re only talking about the room with the TV); and as far as Big Brother goes – who would ever want to (or could ever) sort through all the data coming from the millions of people living in the United States? The Big Brother system would be ineffective from sheer volume alone.
Anyway, in my opinion, this shift is more like a Hail Mary against this recession, like the integration of the highway system, or outfitting the US with electricity – it’s a necessity to link people together, and will be an economically sound means of helping America in the present (with employment) and in the future (with its connectivity).