One danger of mass internet communication being channeled through private companies – like Facebook – is the possibility that our communications can be severely curtailed, especially when we try to organize. Consider public protests: How easily could they be labeled as acts of terrorism by those with the ability to cut us off from communicating with each other? Especially in an era where police have become increasingly militarized and people have become accustomed to using corporate-owned online environments with the expectation of having free speech or privacy protection rights when we do, this possibility becomes disturbingly real.
What kind of a nation would lock up 10% of its adult population long term for minor crimes like smoking a marijuana joint or stealing a jacket … and on top of that, make calling home so expensive for prisoners it became virtually impossible?
Well, that would be the United States of America – until this morning, that is, when the FCC voted to make prison calls affordable. Thank you for heading up this valuable initiative Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
Today (Thursday, 21 October 2015), the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to cap the rates and fees companies charge those families struggling to keep in touch with incarcerated relatives by phone. That change came as a direct result of mounting pressure from groups across the country.