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Thread: Net neutrality is dead

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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Net neutrality is dead

    Several things come to my mind ranging from big bucks, NSA reward, free-speech...

    Advocates of a free and open Internet could see this coming, but today's ruling from a Washington appeals court striking down the FCC's rules protecting the open net was worse than the most dire forecasts. It was "even more emphatic and disastrous than anyone expected," in the words of one veteran advocate for network neutrality.

    The Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit thoroughly eviscerated the Federal Communications Commission's latest lame attempt to prevent Internet service providers from playing favorites among websites--awarding faster speeds to sites that pay a special fee, for example, or slowing or blocking sites and services that compete with favored affiliates.

    Big cable operators like Comcast and telecommunications firms like Verizon, which brought the lawsuit on which the court ruled, will be free to pick winners and losers among websites and services. Their judgment will most likely be based on cold hard cash--Netflix wants to keep your Internet provider from slowing its data so its films look like hash? It will have to pay your provider the big bucks. But the governing factor need not be money. (Comcast remains committed to adhere to the net neutrality rules overturned today until January 2018, a condition placed on its 2011 merger with NBC Universal; after that, all bets are off.)

    "AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will be able to deliver some sites and services more quickly and reliably than others for any reason," telecommunications lawyer Marvin Ammori (he's the man quoted above) observed even before the ruling came down. "Whim. Envy. Ignorance. Competition. Vengeance. Whatever. Or, no reason at all."

    The telecom companies claim their chief interest is in providing better service to all customers, but that's unadulterated flimflam. We know this because regulators already have had to make superhuman efforts to keep the big ISPs from degrading certain services for their own benefit--Comcast, for example, was caught in 2007 throttling traffic from BitTorrent, a video service that competed with its own on-demand video.

    Amazingly, even after Comcast was found guilty of violating this basic standard of Internet transmission, the FCC greenlighted its acquisition of NBC, which could only give the firm greater incentive to discriminate among the content being pipelined to its customers.
    ISPs like Comcast are only doing what comes naturally in an unregulated environment, the way a dog naturally scratches at fleas. "Cable and telephone companies are simply not competing for the right to provide unfettered, un-monetized internet access," wrote Susan Crawford, an expert on net neutrality, around the time of the Comcast case.

    This wouldn't be as much of a threat to the open Internet if there were genuine competition among providers, so you could take your business elsewhere if your ISP was turning the public Web into its own private garden. In the U.S., there's no practical competition. The vast majority of households essentially have a single broadband option, their local cable provider. Verizon and AT&T provide Internet service, too, but for most customers they're slower than the cable service. Some neighborhoods get telephone fiber services, but Verizon and AT&T have ceased the rollout of their FiOs and U-verse services--if you don't have it now, you're not getting it.

    Who deserves the blame for this wretched combination of monopolization and profiteering by ever-larger cable and phone companies? The FCC, that's who. The agency's dereliction dates back to 2002, when under Chairman Michael Powell it reclassified cable modem services as "information services" rather than "telecommunications services," eliminating its own authority to regulate them broadly. Powell, by the way, is now the chief lobbyist in Washington for the cable TV industry, so the payoff wasn't long in coming.

    President Obama's FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, moved to shore up the agency's regulatory defense of net neutrality in 2010. But faced with the implacable opposition of the cable and telecommunications industry, he stopped short of reclassifying cable modems as telecommunications services. The result was the tatterdemalion policy that the court killed today. It was so ineptly crafted that almost no one in the telecom bar seemed to think it would survive; the only question was how dead would it be? The answer, spelled out in the ruling, is: totally.

    The court did leave it up to the FCC or Congress to refashion a net neutrality regime. The new FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, has made noises favoring net neutrality, but he also sounds like someone who's not so committed to the principle.

    In an important speech in December and a long essay released at the same time, he's seemed to play on both sides. But that won't work. The only way to defend net neutrality, which prioritizes the interests of the customer and user over the provider, is to do so uncompromisingly. Net neutrality can't be made subject to the "marketplace," as Wheeler suggests, because the cable and telephone firms control that marketplace and their interests will prevail. Congress? Don't make me laugh--it's owned by the industry even more than the FCC.

    The only course is for public pressure to overcome industry pressure. That's a tough road, but there's no alternative. Do you want your Internet to look like your cable TV service, where you have no control over what comes into your house or what you pay for it? Then stay silent. If not, start writing letters and emails to your elected representatives and the FCC now. It's the only hope to save the free, open Internet.


    Net neutrality is dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, your overlords - latimes.com
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    I saw this several days ago. This is merely another battle in the war over the internet, much as SOPA/PIPA and the PROTECT IP bills were.

    A free and open internet is a threat, both to democracies and to dictatorships. Eisenhower warned of the Military–industrial complex, and it's only gotten worse now, because telecommunications are in on it, too. To put it simply, a public that has access to information, that knows too much, can lead to problems, with people actually demanding that their elected officials work for a living, or work for the people instead of the companies paying them big bucks.

    We saw it before, when the people managed to get SOPA/PIPA and PROTECT IP stopped. Think that same thing will be able to happen with an internet that is under the firm control of the people paying money to get the laws passed? Doubtful.

    When Iran/Egypt shut down the internet in order to prevent uprisings, they were called tyrants. The USA wants to pass that into law, and the lawmakers, those who are meant to fight for liberty, are not only not silent, they're playing along.
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    This will simply usher in the death of AT&T and Verizon, people will simply begin using their own networks. I can totally see it now "frequency piracy" or very high use of non-used frequency that does not transmit far by local networks and populations. Essentially a completely detached internet that is not controlled by gov't or any industry.
    But this will take some time.
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    Pgp (or free version Gpn) with SSH tunneling works well enough for everyday screening. Tor is another option.

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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    nternet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody — from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle — and it will be reflected in the platform.
    Obama on reddit's AMA 2012
    Last edited by Doktor; 27 Jan 14, at 09:29.
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    Netflix Could Rally Its 34 Million Members to Uphold Net Neutrality | Jan 23 2014 | Reuters

    Netflix is threatening to rally its roughly 34 million domestic users against a hotly contentious ruling last week overturning laws that heretofore stated all data on the internet should be treated equally.

    "Were this draconian scenario to unfold with some ISP, we would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open internet they are paying their ISP to deliver," Netflix pledged in a letter to investors.

    At the same time that it is primed for battle, Netflix also expressed doubts that providers would choose to tread "this consumer-unfriendly path of discrimination" given "broad public support for net neutrality." The company also reasoned that it works closely with providers, whose consumers frequently purchase higher bandwidth packages precisely to stream the kinds of high-quality videos that Netflix provides.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    I was, and still am, suspicious of the "net neutrality" act. Anything that involves the government, even with the best of intention, turns into something ugly.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    I was, and still am, suspicious of the "net neutrality" act. Anything that involves the government, even with the best of intention, turns into something ugly.
    Why? Specifically, what are you not comfortable about maintaining Net Neutrality?
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    Why? Specifically, what are you not comfortable about maintaining Net Neutrality?
    Specifically, the government part. Any time the government gets involved, things invariably turn bad. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Government says insurers cannot charge a different rate for auto insurance policy based on zip code. OK, everyone pays the highest rate.

    Government says insurers cannot turn down patients with "pre-existing" conditions. OK, everyone else pays.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Specifically, the government part. Any time the government gets involved, things invariably turn bad. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Government says insurers cannot charge a different rate for auto insurance policy based on zip code. OK, everyone pays the highest rate.

    Government says insurers cannot turn down patients with "pre-existing" conditions. OK, everyone else pays.
    But that is not specific, that is general, as in you generally distrust the government.

    What, in your mind is wrong with the concept of Net Neutrality : that forces all ISPs and governments to should treat all data on the Internet equally?

    You should be especially happy with this, as it makes everyone keep their hands off the data and not throttle what they would consider undesirable.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    But that is not specific, that is general, as in you generally distrust the government.

    What, in your mind is wrong with the concept of Net Neutrality : that forces all ISPs and governments to should treat all data on the Internet equally?

    You should be especially happy with this, as it makes everyone keep their hands off the data and not throttle what they would consider undesirable.
    What is wrong with not being able to use zip code to set auto insurance rates?

    What is wrong with not being able to use "pre-existing" condition to set medical insurance rate?

    Like I said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The law of unintended consequences will strike whenever and wherever government interject itself on behalf of "public good."
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    gunnut,

    They were always free to charge bandwidth.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

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    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    What is wrong with not being able to use zip code to set auto insurance rates?

    What is wrong with not being able to use "pre-existing" condition to set medical insurance rate?
    I don't know. Also, I don't care.

    However, you obviously care enough to disapprove of it. Why?

    I will readily agree that governments are not the beacons of efficiency and innovation. That said, I don't see why I should have a knee jerk reaction, just because the govt. is involved in something.

    I think things should be looked at at their own merit.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    I don't know. Also, I don't care.
    You should. Instead of paying more money, moving to a better neighborhood with lower crime rate, thus getting a discount on your car insurance, you are now paying a higher rate to subsidize those who live in a bad neighborhood.

    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    However, you obviously care enough to disapprove of it. Why?

    I will readily agree that governments are not the beacons of efficiency and innovation. That said, I don't see why I should have a knee jerk reaction, just because the govt. is involved in something.

    I think things should be looked at at their own merit.
    When it comes to the government, it should be a knee jerk reactioin, especially when commerce/business is involved.

    Remember "cash for clunkers?" An unintended consequence that no one saw coming was it raised the prices of used cars and parts for used cars. The program literally rewarded the rich with tax money while punished the poor by driving up the cost of their transportation.

    If I understand "net neutrality" correctly, it is a law to forbid ISPs from giving certain net traffic priority. For example, Netflix couldn't pay AT&T some money to facilitate its signal over others. ISPs cannot pick and choose whose signals to send. They must all be treated equal.

    I don't know how the law is worded. But I see a way out. ISPs can offer different plans to customers so they can pick to have certain signals over others. AT&T could have a normal plan with 50 Mbits/s for $50. However, AT&T would offer a "multi media booster package" that costs $70 so Netflix/Hulu/Youtube have 100 Mbits/s bandwidth. This way the ISP doesn't pick and choose, but the customers do. Thus getting around the law.

    We must be ever vigilant of the "do gooders" in the government. They are not smarter than the rest of us. They are us. They are greedy bastards just like the rest of us. Giving them power to let them run our lives is playing with fire.
    Last edited by gunnut; 04 Feb 14, at 21:54.
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    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    You should. Instead of paying more money, moving to a better neighborhood with lower crime rate, thus getting a discount on your car insurance, you are now paying a higher rate to subsidize those who live in a bad neighborhood.
    Fine, I will look it up, but I see no sense in having an out-of-box negative reaction

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    When it comes to the government, it should be a knee jerk reactioin, especially when commerce/business is involved.

    Remember "cash for clunkers?" An unintended consequence that no one saw coming was it raised the prices of used cars and parts for used cars. The program literally rewarded the rich with tax money while punished the poor by driving up the cost of their transportation.
    That seems very generic to me. I don't see why you should not view an idea on its own merits.

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    If I understand "net neutrality" correctly, it is a law to forbid ISPs from giving certain net traffic priority. For example, Netflix couldn't pay AT&T some money to facilitate its signal over others. ISPs cannot pick and choose whose signals to send. They must all be treated equal.
    Here is what it says

    1. Transparency. Fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services;
    2. No blocking. Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services;
    3. iii. No unreasonable discrimination. Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.


    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    I don't know how the law is worded. But I see a way out. ISPs can offer different plans to customers so they can pick to have certain signals over others. AT&T could have a normal plan with 50 Mbits/s for $50. However, AT&T would offer a "multi media booster package" that costs $70 so Netflix/Hulu/Youtube have 100 Mbits/s bandwidth. This way the ISP doesn't pick and choose, but the customers do. Thus getting around the law.
    They can offer prices for different bandwidth tiers, but how are they going to offer the "multi media booster package" that specifically charges video streaming consumers without violating the above?

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    We must be ever vigilant of the "do gooders" in the government. They are not smarter than the rest of us. They are us. They are greedy bastards just like the rest of us. Giving them power to let them run our lives is playing with fire.
    And we must be as vigilant for mega corporations seeking to profit from their monopolistic or oligopolistic business models. We can vote politicians out, we cannot do a thing against providers in monopoly/ duopoly situations like cable providers.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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