Do Wireless Carriers Have Too Much Power?

from the too-much-control dept

One of the things that helped make the internet successful was that it wasn’t controlled by the ISP. All the ISP was really doing was helping you connect to the internet, and then letting you do what you wanted. While this was a scary idea for some, it helped turn the internet into what it is today (both good and bad). However, in the wireless world, the carriers are much more reluctant to give up control, and are trying to make sure they manage the user experience and content much more carefully. Some are worried that this means the carriers have too much power and will snoop on what people are doing. Already, for example, Vodafone has launched some sort of content control system, to make sure no “inappropriate” content is viewed by users of their network. As with various attempts to block content on the internet, this is likely to fail (for both technology and social reasons). I’m not all that concerned about the risk of carriers acting like Big Brother, but am concerned about how these sorts of actions are only doing more damage to the carriers, by slowing down wireless data services adoption. In attempting to control the network, they’re only going to succeed in making it less useful, and less attractive to users – who will find other ways to get what they need.

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