Carly Fiorina, the millionaire former Hewlett-Packard CEO and telecommunications industry executive, is running for the US Senate as a candidate who supposedly knows a thing or two about technology.
But California Republican appears to be a lot less interested in realizing the promise of new technologies than in warping federal policies regulating those technologies in order to make it easier for big telecommunications companies to get a whole lot bigger -and a whole lot wealthier-at the expense of consumers and democracy.
By subdividing the Internet so that telecommunications companies can "prioritize" certain content. Translation: She wants multinational corporations to be able to buy establish and information superhighway for corporate content while steering the content that might serve the public interest onto a digital dirt road.
Fiorina has repositioned herself as an ardent opponent of Net Neutrality, the principle that says all Internet content must be treated equally-and that assures Americans can easily access every site on the World Wide Web, not just those set up by big corporations.
The candidate, who bought her party's Senate nomination with heavy spending from her own bank account, wants to go to Washington to protect the interests of people like her. To do that, she says she will work to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from using its authority to preserve a free and open Internet.
"The FCC is not an appropriate regulatory body for all of the advances going on for the Internet," says Fiorina.
The senator Fiorina is challenging, Barbara Boxer, is a supporter of Net Neutrality.
The senator's re-election campaign proudly declares that: "Senator Boxer supports Net Neutrality legislation to ensure that Internet Service Providers cannot discriminate against web sites or give preferential access to some web sites over others."
That's not just election-season rhetoric.
Boxer has long been a leader in the fight for the expansion of broadband services. For instance, she is a co-sponsor of legislation that seeks to preserve Net Neutrality. That legislation would amend the communications act of 1934 to ensure to that the Internet is not divided into tiers that are serve commercial and entertainment interests while undermining consumers and democracy. To that end, it asserts that:
1.) Broadband service providers shall not interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband service to access or offer any lawful content via the Internet;
2.) Only prioritize content or services based on the type of content or services and the level of service purchased by the user, without charge for such prioritization.
Boxer's on the side of citizens and consumers.
Fiorina's on the side of the corporations that she used to work for-or, to be precise, that she continues to work for in the new capacity of US Senate candidate. That's unsettling. What's even more unsettling is the notion of what she might do as US Senator Carly Fiorina, R-Telecommunications Corporations.