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Net Neutrality

werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
edited October 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
Since things have started really ramping up on the next wave of policy initiatives from the Obama administration (financial regulation, climate change, and net neutrality), now seems like a good time to start focusing down on details. The lay of the land as it stands now:

The Obama administration has decided to push forward with Net Neutrality through the FCC, which just released their proposed new rules for debate over the next 60 days before a final vote. Wired has a good plain text summary here, but the major take away points are that all the rules are going to be applied not just to line based data service providers but also wireless, and the meat is beefing up four existing rules and adding two new ones.
  • Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service may not prevent any of its users from sending or receiving the lawful content of the user’s choice over the Internet.
  • Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service may not prevent any of its users from running the lawful applications or using the lawful services of the user’s choice.
  • Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service may not prevent any of its users from connecting to and using on its network the user’s choice of lawful devices that do not harm the network.
  • Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service may not deprive any of its users of the user’s entitlement to competition among network providers, application providers, service providers, and content providers.
  • Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service must treat lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner.
  • Subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service must disclose such information concerning network management and other practices as is reasonably required for users and content, application, and service providers to enjoy the protections specified in this part.
On the political front the fight looks to be decidedly bloody. It goes without saying every telecom company in existence is going to be willing to spend every penny they have to fight this, because it's the difference between being the choke point for digital content and getting obscenely wealthy and being dump pipes and just being profitable while the real money goes to device and content creators. The typical old media and struggling content providers on old business models are already picking sides, which is likely to mean an unfriendly and even stupider than usual mainstream media.

The republicans are, as can be expected in any case involving a democratic initiative and business big old school businesses throwing money and their weight around, going to double down on obstructionism like there's no tomorrow. The odd thing for me is the letter 72 House Dems signed opposing neutrality. The Blue Dogs are to be expected, given they've never met a business interest they weren't willing to slobber all over, but the odd as hell thing is the Black Caucus coming down with them. I sincerely have no idea what the hell is going on there.

On the pro side you have the new media and the democratic activists. Google, Facebook, and pretty much every innovative company of the last decade can't wait for this to happen. Opening up the internet is always good for them. The Net Roots, which basically is the entirety of the non-union democratic activist base, pretty clearly has a preference here. It's been one of their touch issues for years.

On the merits I can't say I've ever heard a good argument against net neutrality. Wireless and the internet are, for all intents and purposes, the infrastructure of the 21st century. They should be as widely available, high quality, and low cost as humanly possible. And that's leaving aside that social and democratic benefits of having wide open and freely available informaiton.

So that's where we are. The lobbying is going to be fast, furious, and bloody over the next two months, and at the end of the day it'll be passed by a five person vote from the FCC. It should be a fun ride.

werehippy on
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  • AegisAegis Not Quite TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    To add Canada's input to this, we just earlier in the week had our CRTC (Telecommunications Regulatory Body) rule on the use of throttling by our ISPs, in advance of your FCC decision. The salient points are nicely summed up by Michael Geist:
    The key elements of the decision on retail services:

    1. A new framework for considering traffic management. Consumers can complain about traffic management practices or the Commission can bring an action on their own. Where there is a credible complaint, the ISP will be required to:

    * Describe the ITMP being employed, as well as the need for it and its purpose and effect, and identify whether or not the ITMP results in discrimination or preference.
    * If there is any degree of discrimination or preference:

    * demonstrate that the ITMP is designed to address the need and achieve the purpose and effect in question, and nothing else;
    * establish that the ITMP results in discrimination or preference as little as reasonably possible;
    * demonstrate that any harm to a secondary ISP, end-user, or any other person is as little as reasonably possible; and
    * explain why, in the case of a technical ITMP, network investment or economic approaches alone would not reasonably address the need and effectively achieve the same purpose as the ITMP.

    2. There are two key additional considerations. First, traffic management that degrades or prefers one application over another may warrant investigation under section 27(2) of the Act. Second, economic traffic management practices (ie. bit caps) are generally viewed as ok.

    3. The Commission has stepped into the throttling issue. It has ruled that for time-sensitive Internet traffic (ie. real-time audio or video), where the throttling creates noticeable degredation, this "amounts to controlling the content and influencing the meaning and purpose of the telecommunications in question." The Commission will require prior approval for such activities. Even for non-sensitive traffic, the CRTC has ruled that it is possible to slow down to an extent that it amounts to blocking or controlling the content, therefore requiring prior approval.

    4. The Commission has mandated new disclosure requirements. It is requiring ISPs to disclose their traffic management practices to customers, including:

    * why there are being introduced
    * who is affected
    * when it will occur
    * what Internet traffic is subject to the traffic management
    * how it will affect an Internet user's experience, including specific impact on speed

    5. New privacy requirements

    The Commission has established new privacy requirements on the use of information obtained from deep-packet inspection. It now mandates ISPs "not to use for other purposes personal information collected for the purposes of traffic management and not to disclose such information."

    In addition to the retail side of the equation, the decision also addresses wholesale (ie. ISP to ISP). In a nutshell, where incumbents treat independents in the same manner as their retail customers, the same complaints-based approach applies. Where the approach is more restrictive, prior approval is required.

    While this decision will undoubtedly leave many disappointed, a full prohibition on throttling was never in the cards. Many consumer groups and net neutrality advocates got some of what they asked for - a test that looks a lot like what they recommended, an acknowledgement of the problems with application-specific measures, new disclosure requirements, new privacy safeguards, and agreement that throttling can violate the law in certain circumstances. That isn't bad as an overall framework.

    The big question is how to enforce these rules. The larger ISPs may well view the decision as a green light to continue doing what they are doing with a bit more communications. Indeed, by placing the onus squarely on consumers, the CRTC has virtually guaranteed continued throttling and a steady stream of cases. There is now more guidance and guidelines but it will take more than just this decision to provide Canadians with the neutral network so many crave.

    Aegis on
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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Don't underestimate the fact that a lot of politicians just don't know shit about tech/internet issues, so if some lobbyist comes to them and says 'hey this really bad and here's why' they don't have any frame of reference to come at it from.

    This is going to be a really interesting fight because this issue is (maybe the only) one that seems to have the extremes on both political sides more or less in agreement. I'm pretty sure even the redstate guys are out in favor of net neutrality.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    It's also interesting that it's the congressional black caucus that aligned with the blue dogs on this issue. It would be interesting to see if the black caucus has been targeted by telcos in terms of political support in the past.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • KanamitKanamit Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    That letter has a disturbing amount of fairly liberal names, and not just the CBC. Fortunately my representative is not among them.

    Kanamit on
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Don't underestimate the fact that a lot of politicians just don't know shit about tech/internet issues, so if some lobbyist comes to them and says 'hey this really bad and here's why' they don't have any frame of reference to come at it from.

    This is going to be a really interesting fight because this issue is (maybe the only) one that seems to have the extremes on both political sides more or less in agreement. I'm pretty sure even the redstate guys are out in favor of net neutrality.

    Funny you should mention McCain.

    I don't think it's so much the extremes of the political spectrum agreeing, because I guarantee you the red meat republicans and tea party/Beckians are going to be screaming about socialism. It's the divide between people who use the internet and wireless data and people who don't. Anyone remotely technical who doesn't have a financial stake in kill net neutrality overwhelmingly favors it, everyone else is the typical partisan and financial motivations.

    Except the black Caucus. I really, really don't understand where they're going with this. Maybe it's that they tend to represent black and urban populations that are least effected because they have the best situation in terms of choice/infrastructure and give the least amount of a crap.

    werehippy on
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Don't underestimate the fact that a lot of politicians just don't know shit about tech/internet issues, so if some lobbyist comes to them and says 'hey this really bad and here's why' they don't have any frame of reference to come at it from.

    This is going to be a really interesting fight because this issue is (maybe the only) one that seems to have the extremes on both political sides more or less in agreement. I'm pretty sure even the redstate guys are out in favor of net neutrality.

    Anything in this vein has be on edge because of

    VeritasVR on
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  • Smooth AlternateSmooth Alternate __BANNED USERS
    edited October 2009
    What's a really good way to market this problem? This is something that no one has done real well.

    I know years ago internet celebrities came out trying to say why Net Neutrality was a good thing but the campaign came off as hilariously bad and didn't do too well.

    Most people don't understand how important this issue really is. There is so much on the line, this is basically up there with Health Care Reform.

    Smooth Alternate on
    MaLibu wrote: »
    i have raped sheep like 9000 times.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    There's a pitchman in Washington explaining to politicians how ending net neutrality will end internet porn. No one's gonna want to suffer through a slow connection when the ISPs put the brakes on porn sites and shady filesharing sites so these things will dry up and go away.

    emnmnme on
  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    What's a really good way to market this problem? This is something that no one has done real well.

    I know years ago internet celebrities came out trying to say why Net Neutrality was a good thing but the campaign came off as hilariously bad and didn't do too well.

    Most people don't understand how important this issue really is. There is so much on the line, this is basically up there with Health Care Reform.

    I've always thought this was succinct:

    5z6vt4n3.jpg

    Raiden333 on
    steam_sig.png
  • Edith UpwardsEdith Upwards Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Is that how the internet looks in hell?

    Edith Upwards on
  • Smooth AlternateSmooth Alternate __BANNED USERS
    edited October 2009
    There is a Super Bowl coming up, how much would it cost to buy 1 minute of advertisement and cram in a movie in there about Net Neutrality, starring some major movie star that everyone will watch?

    People need to write to their congressmen.

    Smooth Alternate on
    MaLibu wrote: »
    i have raped sheep like 9000 times.
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    It would cost a couple million for a thirty second spot, assuming they'd even sell to you

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    There is a Super Bowl coming up, how much would it cost to buy 1 minute of advertisement and cram in a movie in there about Net Neutrality, starring some major movie star that everyone will watch?

    People need to write to their congressmen.
    This would be a good time to e-mail them. "This letter came to you via e-mail. Via your website. You wouldn't want disgruntled constituents having fewer ways to contact their elected officials, would you? You'd want to have better knowledge of why your constituents are angry before they tell you at the polls, wouldn't you?"

    Gosling on
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  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'd assume you'd get some other company paying the NFL millions of dollars just to not let you air the ad.

    zerg rush on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    What's a really good way to market this problem? This is something that no one has done real well.

    I know years ago internet celebrities came out trying to say why Net Neutrality was a good thing but the campaign came off as hilariously bad and didn't do too well.

    Most people don't understand how important this issue really is. There is so much on the line, this is basically up there with Health Care Reform.

    I've always thought this was succinct:

    5z6vt4n3.jpg

    This seemed like a neat idea until I realized that a lot of people would probably be just fine with paying 20 bucks less to just use email and watch american idol reruns

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Don't forget the 199/month package that lets you onto them thar porno sites.

    Magus` on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    What's a really good way to market this problem? This is something that no one has done real well.

    I know years ago internet celebrities came out trying to say why Net Neutrality was a good thing but the campaign came off as hilariously bad and didn't do too well.

    Most people don't understand how important this issue really is. There is so much on the line, this is basically up there with Health Care Reform.

    I've always thought this was succinct:

    5z6vt4n3.jpg

    60 websites? Really? Fucking really?

    Edit - And I have to pay extra to use Google and Wikipedia of all things, and even more extra for You-fucking-Tube!

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    There's a pitchman in Washington explaining to politicians how ending net neutrality will end internet porn. No one's gonna want to suffer through a slow connection when the ISPs put the brakes on porn sites and shady filesharing sites so these things will dry up and go away.

    The hilarious part being porn webites are among the most profitable out there. So if anyone has money to throw around to by better access, it would be them.

    Also, fuck legislating other people's morality.

    werehippy on
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    What's a really good way to market this problem? This is something that no one has done real well.

    I know years ago internet celebrities came out trying to say why Net Neutrality was a good thing but the campaign came off as hilariously bad and didn't do too well.

    Most people don't understand how important this issue really is. There is so much on the line, this is basically up there with Health Care Reform.

    I've always thought this was succinct:

    IMG]http://skeptisys.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/5z6vt4n3.jpg[/IMG

    60 websites? Really? Fucking really?

    Edit - And I have to pay extra to use Google and Wikipedia of all things, and even more extra for You-fucking-Tube!

    You will notice that Hulu isn't even on that list. Nor would it ever be. (Well, maybe in off-peak hours if you area also a digital cable subscriber...)

    Tomanta on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    How old is that image? Hulu may not have existed at the time.

    But you're right. Hulu would get fucked right over. I imagine YouTube would be held more accountable for web operation too.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    If net neutrality hit, all of a sudden you'd find entire websites being torrented.
    "Disney.com/HandyMany rip 10/25/09"

    Improvolone on
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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I have no clue how old the pic is or where it came from, it's just been floating around Fark for awhile.

    Raiden333 on
    steam_sig.png
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    How old is that image? Hulu may not have existed at the time.

    But you're right. Hulu would get fucked right over. I imagine YouTube would be held more accountable for web operation too.
    There are serious rumblings that Hulu will be going to a paid model by next year actually. http://gizmodo.com/5387909/hulus-free-glory-days-are-officially-numbered

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    over 20 websites...

    over 200 websites...

    over 2000 websites...


    That is the most terrifying image I think I have ever seen in my life

    Al_wat on
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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    I have no clue how old the pic is or where it came from, it's just been floating around Fark for awhile.

    Even if it's fake it represents an example of what they'd do to the internet.

    Of all things political as of late, this is the one thing I feel strongest about.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • ClipseClipse Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    How old is that image? Hulu may not have existed at the time.

    But you're right. Hulu would get fucked right over. I imagine YouTube would be held more accountable for web operation too.
    There are serious rumblings that Hulu will be going to a paid model by next year actually. http://gizmodo.com/5387909/hulus-free-glory-days-are-officially-numbered

    They'll probably end up making less than they do from ads presently.

    Clipse on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    S[strike]ta[/strike]ite's rights!

    Improvolone on
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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    There's a pitchman in Washington explaining to politicians how ending net neutrality will end internet porn. No one's gonna want to suffer through a slow connection when the ISPs put the brakes on porn sites and shady filesharing sites so these things will dry up and go away.

    Porn and Gambling are what birthed the internet as we know it. If it wasn't for them it'd still just be some cutesy toy in DARPA that they use to fax things to computers.

    moniker on
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Clipse wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    How old is that image? Hulu may not have existed at the time.

    But you're right. Hulu would get fucked right over. I imagine YouTube would be held more accountable for web operation too.
    There are serious rumblings that Hulu will be going to a paid model by next year actually. http://gizmodo.com/5387909/hulus-free-glory-days-are-officially-numbered

    They'll probably end up making less than they do from ads presently.
    You're assuming they'll stop the ads.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'm not entirely sure that in their heart of hearts most politicians want to be the guy that turned off the free porn.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • KanamitKanamit Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'm guessing that Hulu moving to a subscription model would mean all the network station sites would start charging for content too, right?

    Kanamit on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Clipse wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    How old is that image? Hulu may not have existed at the time.

    But you're right. Hulu would get fucked right over. I imagine YouTube would be held more accountable for web operation too.
    There are serious rumblings that Hulu will be going to a paid model by next year actually. http://gizmodo.com/5387909/hulus-free-glory-days-are-officially-numbered

    They'll probably end up making less than they do from ads presently.
    You're assuming they'll stop the ads.

    I think he was commenting that people were going to stop going to Hulu because they don't want to pay money. Which means less people clicking on ads.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • ClipseClipse Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Clipse wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    How old is that image? Hulu may not have existed at the time.

    But you're right. Hulu would get fucked right over. I imagine YouTube would be held more accountable for web operation too.
    There are serious rumblings that Hulu will be going to a paid model by next year actually. http://gizmodo.com/5387909/hulus-free-glory-days-are-officially-numbered

    They'll probably end up making less than they do from ads presently.
    You're assuming they'll stop the ads.

    Actually I was assuming that viewership will drop so low no one will pay to advertise with them.

    Clipse on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Kanamit wrote: »
    I'm guessing that Hulu moving to a subscription model would mean all the network station sites would start charging for content too, right?

    First they get ya hooked on samples and then they start charging big bucks to feed your addiction...to television on the internet.

    emnmnme on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Kanamit wrote: »
    I'm guessing that Hulu moving to a subscription model would mean all the network station sites would start charging for content too, right?

    Would there be any reason to, exactly? If it turns out to be profitable, what we'd see is new sites springing up and cable TV models would be adopted to this new breed of internet sites (but the internet itself wouldn't adopt to it). Honestly I wouldn't mind too bad if the price is right. And since it's on the internet, they'd all have some semblance of TiVo. So y'know. Death of the television.

    I imagine Viacom would be dicks and pull the Colbert Report and Daily Show from the net.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Figure I'll repost the essay I wrote for class, and posted in the last Net Neutrality thread, here. Spoilered for length
    myself wrote:
    The Need for Net Neutrality

    As one looks around, it is not hard to notice that people in United States and around the world have come to rely on the Internet as a major facet of 21st century daily life. From the businessman checking his stocks in the morning before he goes to work to the bibliophile shopping on Amazon.com for the latest #1 seller, or the boy who spends his morning doing last minute research for a paper due in his class that day to the journalist using Skype to interview a source across the globe, everyone finds themselves utilizing the Internet to complete daily tasks. Even this very essay has relied on information researched almost exclusively via the internet.

    However, there is the fear that Internet Service Providers, or “ISPs,” will begin to restrict or otherwise negatively affect the content that subscribers can access on their networks. Be it to charge for tiered services that would place different sites in different tiers, by creating partnerships with certain sites to be carried exclusively by that ISP. There also exists the fear that that they may restrict content or services to decrease competition, in the case of ISPs who themselves provide television services and do not wish to compete with legal, online viewing of TV programs and movies.

    But how could anyone restrict content or services? One answer lies in a technique called traffic-shaping, also known as packet shaping. To understand how it works, one must first understand how information is transferred across the Internet. Basically, every bit of data that is moves across the Internet is transferred via small elements of data called “packets,” which are typically approximately one kilobyte each. ("How packets work,"). Packet shaping works by setting a network, through which these packets transfer, to prioritize how packets will be received. Such prioritizations can be configured by several different bases, including the IP address of the users, the type of data going over the network or even based on the program that is downloading the data. It should be noted that packet shaping is a necessary part of keeping networks functioning efficiently, but it must not be forgotten that it also holds a significant danger of being abused. (Boyko, 2007)

    As such, society must therefore enforce rational, well thought-out Net Neutrality standards on the nation’s ISPs to defend the rights of Internet users. These standards will not only work to preserve the free and innovative nature of the Internet for its users, but will also have the side-effect of preserving the chances for further innovations that will benefit the public at large.

    Take, for example, Skype: a service that allows users to essentially make free phone calls to other Skype users from anywhere in the world. The use of Skype has gone on to not only provide an easy means of communication among people, but has helped to make recording podcasts, for many a growing business, an easy task. It has allowed people from all across the globe to get together and record together instantly, and without long-distance fees; physical distances create no problems for Skype communications. However, such a service would surely cut into the phone service side of an ISP’s business, as many are also telecommunications companies; without Net Neutrality, there exists the possibility for these ISPs to hinder, or even block Skype service to keep their customers on their phone plans.

    Tim Berners-Lee, one of the founding figures of the Internet, has argued for the importance of Net Neutrality regulation. In a 2006 piece, Berners-Lee argued that now is the time for the regulations, because “it is only recently that real explicit threats have occurred.” Berners-Lee also drew a comparison between an Internet without Net Neutrality and the Internet in China, saying that the ability for a group to control information content is a powerful one. (Berners-Lee, 2006). In the case of United States, ISPs may be tempted to control this content for commercial reasons, such as restricting online television viewing to “encourage” viewers to subscribe to the provider’s cable service.

    Unfortunately, in the past ISPs around the globe have shown that they will gladly restrict what their subscribers can do with their connections, even when what they use may be perfectly legal; as far back as 2007, the Associated Press reported that ISP and Cable Television provider Comcast had partnered with a company called Sandvine to handicap connections using a peer-to-peer file sharing system called BitTorrent. (Popkin, 2007)

    In this regard, we have seen a violation of what proponents would call violations of Net Neutrality on the part of the ISPs. In the aforementioned case of Comcast and BitTorrent, methods affecting the way packets are sent and received were used in such a way to hinder the usage of BitTorrent and other torrent programs used by Comcast customers. In 2008 after initially denying the claims, Comcast admitted to sending its torrent-using customers phony packets that would essentially reset their connections and defended it, comparing it to a car not being denied passage, but simply “delayed,” by a roadblock. (McCullagh, 2008). Of course, the argument comes off as a tad inaccurate, as when someone comes to a roadblock, they’re can very well be detoured to a new route to try and reach their location, depending on the cause and severity of the block.

    Comcast was not alone in indulging in fishy network practices. In Canada, Bell Canada, Inc. found itself in trouble for using traffic-shaping, to hinder torrent traffic as well, with organizations such as the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (Nowak, 2008) and Internet giant Google speaking out against the practice. (Nowak, 2008). With incidents like these, it is easy to see where the worries of Net Neutrality proponents come from.

    Even the government itself has now seen the need to set standards to protect individuals and the Internet from ISPs. During the final weeks of September, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to set standards for the ISPs about what they can and cannot do regarding their services.

    Some would argue that Net Neutrality is, however, an infringement upon the freedoms of the ISPs. In his editorial for NPR, Precursor LLC President Scott Cleland argued that such regulations by the FCC infringe on the property rights of the ISPs, as well claiming that it violated due process and that Net Neutrality freedoms are found nowhere in U.S. law or the Constitution. He even argues that somehow the regulations limit their right to free speech, but he never explains how, only saying that Internet users have “many outlets.” Cleland seems to infer that these multimillion-dollar conglomerates, all having public relations departments or firms in some form, somehow have fewer avenues to practice free speech than your average Internet user. (Cleland, 2009). However, this argument does not hold up if we consider them to be what is known as a “Common Carrier;” in essence, a person or company that offered carriage in some form or another to the public at large for reasonable compensation, as well as holding liabilities for damages should they breach their contract. ("Common carriers," 2009).

    In this case, we would consider the ISPs to be Communications Common Carriers, whom must follow the regulations set forth by the FCC, as such Carriers are considered to be any person or company who are “common carrier for hire, in interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio or in interstate or foreign radio transmission of energy,” as designated by the Communications Act of 1934 and its amended forms. ("Communications common carrier,"). It is through this method that Net Neutrality may be achieved, by considering it to be part of the stated mission of the FCC.

    However, there are still those who claim Net Neutrality will stifle innovation, such as the case of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, along with five other Republican senators, who have put forward an amendment for the Interior Appropriations bill that would limit the funds the FCC could use to create and enforce new regulations relating to Net Neutrality. They argue that there has been no real need for regulation, that the market has corrected itself in the cases where problems arose; as well, they argue that innovation could be hindered. (Tencer, 2009). However, the press release by the senators does not offer much further argument or any citations of this supposed market self-correction, nor does it offer how regulation will hinder innovation. ("Hutchison: fcc's net," 2009). Additionally, House Republicans have now begun to suggest that the FCC do a market analysis to see if there are or have been any failures in the market. (Lasar, 2009).

    But the actual propositions by the FCC, according to the Wall Street Journal, do not seem to indicate that there is much danger of stifling innovation. Instead, they seem to merely reinforce the free nature of the Internet as currently exists: they would allow customers access to any legal content, applications, services, as well as preserve the freedom to connect any non-harmful device to a network. It is hard to imagine these rules stifling innovation, when they have yet to stifle it thus far. The FCC would also enforce uniform regulation across all broadband and wireless providers, as well as granting Internet users safety from being hindered from using a service that may compete with those offered by their ISP. (Schatz, & Johnson, 2009)

    As such, we must forward the cause and support Net Neutrality regulation, not only to protect the Internet as we know it, but to defend our rights as individuals to access any legal content without being infringed upon unjustly. If we do not, we could very well see the end of the free and open Internet that we have grown to rely on. This could mean, depending on whom you subscribe to for service, difficult to no access to YouTube, Hulu, online gaming, digital downloads, Skype or many other kinds of content and services that ISPs may find beneficial to shape or block to their needs over those of Internet users.

    Lanz on
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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Kanamit wrote: »
    I'm guessing that Hulu moving to a subscription model would mean all the network station sites would start charging for content too, right?

    First they get ya hooked on samples and then they start charging big bucks to feed your addiction...to television on the internet.

    Give away the razors and charge out the ass for the blades. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. That being said, though, I wouldn't mind having to pay for that stuff since it would basically be along the same line as what iTunes has with some TV shows. Seeing how I don't plan on having cable TV, just cable internet, in my apartment it'd probably wind up costing less overall regardless. So I'd be saving $20 instead of $40 a month, hardly the most horrific of outcomes. Besides it might speed up the switch for networks to get on the 'net and more or less eliminate TV as we know it today.

    moniker on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Kanamit wrote: »
    I'm guessing that Hulu moving to a subscription model would mean all the network station sites would start charging for content too, right?

    First they get ya hooked on samples and then they start charging big bucks to feed your addiction...to television on the internet.

    Give away the razors and charge out the ass for the blades. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. That being said, though, I wouldn't mind having to pay for that stuff since it would basically be along the same line as what iTunes has with some TV shows. Seeing how I don't plan on having cable TV, just cable internet, in my apartment it'd probably wind up costing less overall regardless. So I'd be saving $20 instead of $40 a month, hardly the most horrific of outcomes. Besides it might speed up the switch for networks to get on the 'net and more or less eliminate TV as we know it today.

    This was going to happen sometime within the next decade, so it may as well start now. Who knows, maybe when they find out they can charge an internet subscription for streaming shows they'll drop the price on regular TV services.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • KanamitKanamit Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    moniker wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Kanamit wrote: »
    I'm guessing that Hulu moving to a subscription model would mean all the network station sites would start charging for content too, right?

    First they get ya hooked on samples and then they start charging big bucks to feed your addiction...to television on the internet.

    Give away the razors and charge out the ass for the blades. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. That being said, though, I wouldn't mind having to pay for that stuff since it would basically be along the same line as what iTunes has with some TV shows. Seeing how I don't plan on having cable TV, just cable internet, in my apartment it'd probably wind up costing less overall regardless. So I'd be saving $20 instead of $40 a month, hardly the most horrific of outcomes. Besides it might speed up the switch for networks to get on the 'net and more or less eliminate TV as we know it today.
    As a poor* student is pisses me off. I don't want to pay for what I'm getting now for free unless there's a good reason for it (beyond NewsCorp needs moar monies).

    *Not actually that poor, but only because I have very few expenses. I want to keep it that way!

    Kanamit on
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    werehippy wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Don't underestimate the fact that a lot of politicians just don't know shit about tech/internet issues, so if some lobbyist comes to them and says 'hey this really bad and here's why' they don't have any frame of reference to come at it from.

    This is going to be a really interesting fight because this issue is (maybe the only) one that seems to have the extremes on both political sides more or less in agreement. I'm pretty sure even the redstate guys are out in favor of net neutrality.

    Funny you should mention McCain.

    I don't think it's so much the extremes of the political spectrum agreeing, because I guarantee you the red meat republicans and tea party/Beckians are going to be screaming about socialism. It's the divide between people who use the internet and wireless data and people who don't. Anyone remotely technical who doesn't have a financial stake in kill net neutrality overwhelmingly favors it, everyone else is the typical partisan and financial motivations.

    Except the black Caucus. I really, really don't understand where they're going with this. Maybe it's that they tend to represent black and urban populations that are least effected because they have the best situation in terms of choice/infrastructure and give the least amount of a crap.

    Speaking of McCain's sudden and purely principle driven interest in technological issues, by a funny coincidence McCain received more than double the campaign funds from telecoms anyone else in Congress has received.

    werehippy on
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