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Al Franken Warns Big Corporations Are 'Hoping To Destroy' The Internet

| Filed under: PolitikTech Talk

Al Franken warns SXSW

This makes us a little nervous.

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken gave a speech to hundreds of attendees at this year's South By Southwest festival on the subject of net neutrality, warning that we may be facing "the First Amendment issue of our time."

Referring to the threat of corporations taking over the internet, the senator said:

"I came here to warn you, the party may be over. They're coming after the Internet hoping to destroy the very thing that makes it such an important [medium] for independent artists and entrepreneurs: its openness and freedom.”

As an opponent of the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal, Franken singled out the corporate giant.

Alleging that the cable company wants "to put Netflix out of business entirely" due to their streaming video business that could pose as a threat to Comcast's cable franchise, he warned:

"In the end, the American people will end up paying a lot more for worse service."

He encouraged festival attendees to fight the political influence of the big telecom firms, saying:

"Unfortunately one thing these big corporations have that we don't is the ability to purchase favorable political outcomes. Big telecoms have lots of [lobbyists], and good ones, too. … The end of net neutrality would benefit no one but these corporate giants."

He ended his speech by encouraging people to fight to preserve net neutrality to avoid a future in which they're "stuck listening to the Black Eyed Peas and reminiscing about the days before you had to sell out to make it.”

Ha! Now THAT'S a scary thought!

The senator continued:

“Let's not let the government sell us out. Let's fight for net neutrality. Let's keep Austin weird. Let's keep the Internet weird. Let's keep the Internet free."

Well said, sir! We couldn't agree more! After all, this internet thing is kind of our life blood.

Are U afraid of corporations or the government taking over the internet?

[Image via WENN.]

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24 comments to “Al Franken Warns Big Corporations Are 'Hoping To Destroy' The Internet”

  1. 1

    People started warning folks about this years ago. no one ever wants to listen until its too late…about ANYTHING.

  2. 2

    Fuck yeah I am scared!

  3. 3

    The internet should be left alone, what else are they going to take away from us? There aren't any rights anymore they just take and take. Fucking stupid.

  4. 4

    Screw all those companies that spent billions to build up the infrastructure, lets have the government take it over. They are so great at running things Im sure it will be awesome.

  5. 5

    There is a difference between the building of the internet, and it's usage. The corps can get plenty of money for it's usage without regulating it's usage. It's not their job to regulate. It's just their job to collect the money, and they are really good at that.

  6. 6

    If the government messes with my internet, I will mess with their faces!

    I'm more addicted to the internet than I am cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol, everything. And I know I'm not alone.

  7. Bevi says – reply to this


    Oh, good luck with THAT… (rolling my eyes) If they want to avoid a revolution, they better not mess with us.

  8. 8

    Re: Bevi – Does the government not remember what just happened in Egypt??? America is much larger then Egypt, there are more people with computers and Iphones and cell phones and laptops that will NOT be happy if our internet is messed with. OMG! Talk about revolution! Egypt will be nothing compared to what will happen here. Nothing…

  9. 9

    Al Franken is a fat bag of shit

  10. 10

    Overreacting Democrat trying to scare the electorate.

    Franken is a vile, deplorable man.

  11. 11

    does sound scary especially being stuc listening to the black eyed peas ick

    of course the internet is all of our life blood thats why we are on it right now unplug my internet see my wrath lollll hahaha
    someone trips over the cord u can hear the scream 3 streets away

  12. 12

    This guy is such an irrelevant tool. He is just trying to look for publicity in non issues. Go back to writing comedy Al, you were much better at that.

  13. 13

    i just wish these fuckturd senators would get the hell out of our lives..every damned day they get n2 something else that is not their business…enuf already..

  14. 14

    I'm afraid of government, not corporations. Remember this: "that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have." NET NEUTRALITY LAWS = NO!

  15. 15

    He's absolutely right. Our media isn't liberal, it is corporate. Now they are going after the internet. I'm almost glad I'm the age I am. I feel bad for the next genertion having to deal with the corruption and greed. Then their is the attack on the middle class and the poor. It's all related and so many people are busy trying to keep their heads above water and don't realize what is happening. These crazy governors who were elected are now slashing budgets decimating schools and programs that help people so the top 2 percent get get tax cuts. Oh wait you barely hear a peep about it because the media only reports what they want us to see and that's the plan for the internet too.

  16. 16

    I've talked about corporate art and media and the consolidation through the last 18 years of my zine Musea.
    Time for a revolution in the arts and media. When will people have had enough of over priced bad music, film, concerts, art shows, plays, books, etc. How many service charges for generic music will people accept ?

  17. 17

    Welcome to The New World Order.

  18. 18

    Google and Verizon are already working together to create a "tiered" version of the internet, where streaming websites and etc would be on a higher, more expensive level than say wikipedia. They call it Googlezon. Yeah. Pretty much the suckiest thing you've ever heard.

  19. 19

    What's wrong with the Black Eyed Peas?

  20. 20

    Re: Hunkasaurus – isn't art subjective? Who are you or who is anyone else to say what is "overpriced" and "bad"? If there is demand for it and people like it, then that is good for them. In other words, no art or media, however "cheap", "expensive", "independent", "corporate", "crappy", or whatever should be censored. EVER. Let people make up their own minds as to what pleases them….

  21. 21

    He's overreacting. But it got him some press coverage, so it worked.

  22. @v@ says – reply to this


    So what else is new. The free internet of information is targeted by corporate types who want to own, control and profit off of anything that moves. They see beauty and inspiration only only growing mounds of (theirs) cash. If they do that, it will go dead just like mainstream is taking ever increasing losses, and the young, idealistic techs will simply move to another information stream which they will establish and leave the greedy behind, again. Everyone who likes the net for ideas and communication and common purpose will follow.

  23. syd3 says – reply to this


    Have always admired this Harvard educated progressive. Some individuals need to "google" the word 'fascism.'

  24. 24

    Re: Not my gumdrop buttons! – No, art is NOT subjective. Do you think a 3 year old kid banging on a piano is as good as Mozart? Art is just as objective as anything else. Some Doctors are better, some musicians are better. What you and I LIKE, and what is good are often two different things. People who know and study the arts really do know more about it than others. They can clearly tell the difference between what is great art, and what is bad but they like too. That's what a good reviewer does - he tells why art is good or bad. Talent and hard work count in arts just like they do in any aspect of life. Some artist are really better. Corporate art does NOT want you to hear all kinds of music. They are by far the worst censors of your freedom. How can you make up your mind when you only hear their version of mostly bad music? When everything is praised , nothing is valued.