Once upon a time, We the Connected didn’t have an inkling of the inconceivable value of our digital data.
Our mass ignorance allowed Huge Tech companies like Google and Facebook – to become Huge Tech companies. By mass harvesting our data…and mass selling it to the highest bidders.
Finally, We the Connected began to ask “Google gives everything away for free – how are they worth nearly a trillion dollars?”
Which began the Privacy Wars. But that’s a story for a different day.
For the longest time – most of us thought the Internet was a giant “free” party. Where nigh every manner of things was without charge – and just a couple of clicks away.
Except for our way to actually get to the party. Before you could mingle there – you had to be taken there. And We the Connected – had to pay to get connected.
The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t make their living via data collection. They make their living – by making it possible for the Huge Tech companies to make their huge livings via data collection.
ISPs are our ride to the Internet party.
The ISPs – are our Internet Uber.
And their charging us to get to the “free” party – instantly renders them the least popular people of your Internet experience. Because human nature.
But: We the Connected are finally figuring out the “free” Internet keg party Google and Facebook are throwing – is actually a MASSIVE identification theft operation.
Which makes the ISPs charging us for a ride to the rip off – seem orders-of-magnitude less offensive.
But for the last quarter century – as governments everywhere developed their Internet policies – the ISPs were the villains, and Big Tech the good guys.
A false storyline aided and abetted by much larger Big Tech’s MUCH larger government bribery…oops, I mean lobbying budgets.
Because: Please remember the scale of the respective players.
Our nation’s largest traditional ISP – augmented by TV and phone – is Comcast (Market Cap: $170 billion). Our largest wireless ISP – augmented by several other businesses – is AT&T (Market Cap: $235 billion).
Without the ISPs – none of us would have ever heard of the likes of Google or Facebook. Because we couldn’t have clicked our way to the likes of Google and Facebook.
Google and Facebook are exclusively data collection businesses – laying in wait for the ISPs to deliver them their victims.
And these Big Tech Market Caps – are after a month of Coronavirus stock market collapses. The Dow has gone from ~28,000 – to ~20,000. A near 30% decline. A month ago, both these Tech giants were flirting with trillion dollar valuations.
Speaking of Coronavirus….
We are in the midst of the biggest, stupidest freak out I have ever seen in my excruciatingly elongating existence.
Compared to the 2009 swine flu pandemic – this thing is NOTHING.
Unlike the 2009 swine flu pandemic – we are shutting down the entire US economy in response to this relative NOTHING.
What are governments themselves doing? And recommending – and increasingly demanding of us (without any authority whatsoever to do so)? Telework.
In this telework “experiment” – I have the utmost confidence.
Because the nation’s ISPs – have spent more than a trillion dollars making us ready.
We have “average” Internet speeds – that are exponentially faster than 99% of us need to do what we do for work…away from work.
Because the ISPs have made us ready, this freak out-induced telework “experiment” – should begin a worldwide workplace revolution.
A billion-plus additional people will realize the amazing new world the world’s ISPs have created for us.
Where they too can use their connections – to break their tethers to offices and vehicular commutes.
This will almost certainly be the brightest side of this Coronavirus nonsense.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my personal telework – for nearly a decade now. I am quite sure nigh everyone else does – and will.
So I’ll say it yet again – because too many people never say it at all:
“Thank you VERY much, ISPs.”
This first appeared in Red State.