Net neutrality is an issue that is so oft-debated and cited but the stakes of which some may not actually know. To combat this, filmmaker Gena Konstantinakos has released a short mockumentary called “Leaked: The Internet Must Go,” aimed at getting in a final word on net neutrality and why it’s important.
The film follows John Wooley, a fictional market researcher hired by Internet service providers to do some digging on how to best sell the idea of an “Internet fast lane” — a concept currently being proposed by ISPs that opposes the foundations of net neutrality (where all sites are equal). In short, “fast lanes” would allow content creators to pay ISPs to provide speedier access to their websites. The film documents over a month of Wooley’s life, while he interviews a wide range of experts on the subject. This includes well-known online business mandarins, internet advocates, professors, and public figures.
And, what do you know, he learns en route that he may be working for the wrong people.
For anyone who wants to understand the core tenets of open Internet advocacy, this would be a good and easily consumable starting point. There are also some great footage with the likes of Al Franken and John Hodgman.
It’s no coincidence that “Leaked” is being released today, when a Federal Appeals court will be hearing arguments for and against net neutrality. While Wooley is portrayed as an almost lovable buffoon, the anti-net neutrality arguments he cites in the film do mirror those of Verizon.
For example, Verizon claims the FCC’s “Open Internet Order” inhibits Verizon’s First Amendment right to restrict content. As Verizon wrote, these rules “subject broadband providers to quintessential common-carrier duties by compelling them to carry the Internet traffic of all comers.” Those interviewed in the film respond by saying that Verizon provides a way for content to be diffused, but has no jurisdiction over what can and cannot transmitted.
For those who don’t want to get bogged down in the legal jargon, there’s “Leaked” — although, it may be a little partisan. But maybe, if the video goes viral, more eyes will be on the court’s upcoming decision.