Is net neutrality dying? Has the FCC killed it? What comes next? Here’s what you need to know

Byron M. G. Sanford, Esq.:

This is a good primer on Net Neutrality and why it maters. Give it a read!

Originally posted on Gigaom:

The issue of net neutrality is back in the news again, thanks to some proposed rule changes by the Federal Communications Commission, changes that the regulator says are aimed at protecting a “free and open internet.” A chorus of critics, however, say the commission is trying to eat its cake and have it too — by pretending to create rules that will protect net-neutrality, while actually implementing what amounts to a pay-to-play version of the internet, one that favors large incumbents.

It’s a complicated topic, and one that is prone to a certain amount of hysteria and hyperbole. So what follows is a breakdown of what you need to know, and what some legal experts, technology insiders and advocacy groups are saying about it:

Why is the FCC changing its rules?

The regulator’s ability to monitor and punish breaches of net neutrality was thrown into limbo by a court ruling…

View original 1,783 more words

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One comment on “Is net neutrality dying? Has the FCC killed it? What comes next? Here’s what you need to know

  1. SB says:

    A variant of this comment was previously posted elsewhere when the net neutrality issue first stirred public debate in 2014. FYI it’s been tweaked a bit and the second-to-last paragraph is a new addition. Anyway it’s fitting that I share the comment here so here it goes.

    ———————————————————-

    It is right that this move against net neutrality generally has the populace up at arms. Unfortunately people who (a) haven’t been subjected to wrongful stifling, (b) haven’t learned the dangers of limitations on free speech by studying history, and/or (c) aren’t critical thinkers might not see the potential dangers in this type of move until it is too late. This should be ended posthaste…and I don’t state that on a whim. History is full of bad acting influential entities that have abused power that they should have never had in the first place. Think about these couple of scenarios:

    1) A startup launches and its success is highly dependent on its ability to deliver various web content to the masses. However, a direct competitor owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines” (or is an associate of an entity that owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines”). No problem…just have the delivery of the startup’s web content degraded and/or charge the startup an exorbitant dollar amount. Ours is a fast-paced society full of people who are accustomed to instant gratification. That being the case it is a foregone conclusion that a startup that is subjected to inefficient and/or buggy web content delivery will fail if web content plays a significant role in its business model.

    2) A group is fighting against influential wrongdoers and the group is effectively and rightfully utilizing the internet during the course of their warranted and rightful battle. However, one or more of the wrongdoers owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines” (or is an associate of an entity that owns and/or operates one or more metaphorical “internet pipelines”). No problem…just have the delivery of the group’s web content degraded and/or charge the group an exorbitant dollar amount. Again, ours is a fast-paced society full of people who are accustomed to instant gratification. That being the case it is a foregone conclusion that a movement against wrongdoers that is subjected to inefficient and/or buggy web content delivery will fail if web content plays a significant role in the movement.

    Those who have a problem visualizing the scenario outlined immediately above need do nothing more than look at corruption-plagued countries that are built upon cultures where censorship is par for the course. Of the many things that this net neutrality move might be, one of the things that it definitely is is a gateway to the implementation of an alternative form of censorship. I’ll repeat that so that it will sink in…a gateway to the IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ALTERNATIVE FORM OF CENSORSHIP.

    There are probably multiple other scenarios that could be listed above but the given scenarios are sufficient to make my point. Again, this is not the right move and IT SHOULD END POSTHASTE. Even if there are conceivably some significant benefits (not that we’re necessarily of the mindset that there are) the very real risks far outweigh any potential rewards. And just in case anyone is saying “if you’re in one of the two groups listed above then sue”, you are naïve. The victims—and make no mistake about it, in the scenarios outlined above they are VICTIMS—indicated in the above two scenarios are already fighting against nearly insurmountable odds and they don’t need any other problems piled on. In other words, in a manner of speaking they are already “down” and don’t need anymore “kicks” such as having their web content interfered with and/or being faced with exorbitant costs. Although some things are right about America, some things are definitely going in the wrong direction. People such as Hitler, those who conducted the Tuskegee Experiment, and those whom were responsible for disseminating smallpox infested blankets to Native American Indians (just to name a few) would have a heyday with this move if they were alive and engaging in their bad acts today. Reason being, it goes without saying that as it stands the internet is the average joe’s most efficient form of a mouthpiece. And let us not forget that in America (as well as in the rest of the world) some of the greatest achievements have been accomplished by determined average joes who spoke out to the masses as efficiently as was possible. Rest assured that this move will make influential bad actors everywhere rejoice…they are likely already planning ways to exploit it (assuming that they haven’t already planned a plethora ways).

    In case anyone somehow thinks that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I will state that I most certainly do. I am personally involved in a long-running, massive, warranted, and rightful fight against epic public corruption. I can tell you that it is an undeniable fact that that warranted and rightful fight has been plagued by civil liberties infringements carried out via wrongful attempts by bad actors to stifle our free speech. For the record the fight is called GATORGAIT and those who are unaware of it can find out more information at the damning, truthful, and lawful website gatorgait-dot-com . Also for the record, the complete website and all of the website’s extensive content works perfectly and efficiently as of the time of this post (i.e. 04/26/2014). Additionally, there has been various other truthful and lawful Gatorgait-related content that has been posted online by us justice seekers and which has remained not interfered with…that content also works perfectly and efficiently as of the time of this post.

    As the net neutrality proposal involves revenue generation I’ve included this paragraph. Any “additional billing”, if any, for internet content received through “the internet pipelines” need only be on the end of the content recipient. Great power for abuse lies in that little area of the unknown created by the uncertainty bred by billing from “both ends”. In the proposed new internet model when your internet account (as a content recipient) is in good standing and lawful content you seek out is delivered in a slow and/or buggy fashion—assuming you can access said desired content at all—your natural response will likely be “oh, the content provider’s account with the ISP must be in ‘bad standing’”. But what if the content provider’s account is not in bad standing and the provider’s lawful content has merely been inappropriately interfered with or censored? No problem, you’ll know that’s the case right…W-R-O-N-G!!! You will likely have no idea of the truth behind the content delivery issue for it goes without saying that any notice posted by the content provider regarding the interference or censorship would likely be posted on the very same sabotaged website (and thus not be viewable or be difficult to view) and/or posted on some other distinct high visibility webpage that would itself likely subsequently be targeted and relatively quickly interfered with or censored. The only thing you could ever be certain of is the good standing or bad standing of your own personal internet service account. Rest assured that bad actors who would abuse the power granted by this assault on net neutrality know these things and are praying that the citizenry (1) has it’s blinders on and (2) is flush with apathy in regards to the matter. Those bad actors’ prayers must not be answered for history has shown time-and-time again that when warranted vigorous opposition is left undone when faced with intentionally-implemented incremental, but significant, wrongful acts (if not outright evil acts) what soon follows is sweeping persecution. If the additional revenue is so necessary—and for the record I’m of the mindset that it likely is not necessary—with all the years that the internet has been operational ISPs have the data available to classify the data volume and speed requirements of the median internet account (as in the median content recipient’s internet account). Using that data, after possibly incorporating a few infrastructure changes, pricing models could be established and tiered as needed…kinda like with cell phones. But with that the following must be stated. In my opinion the anonymity offered by the internet is an awesome thing…sure that anonymity can be abused but it’s my personal opinion that anonymity’s resultant long-term good far outweighs its resultant long-term bad (FYI bad actors who’ve been placed under scrutiny online, to their dismay, know this as well). Having stated that, I prefer the current pricing models where the ISPs calculate acceptable and reasonable profit margin targets and charge their customers that are generally in the same class pretty much the same thing across the board. As long as the ISPs meet their targeted profit margins all is well…that is until greed, corruption, etc. steps into the picture. It is my personal view that anything—that is anything besides the slander and libel remedies already in place and other public-driven backlash—that potentially pushes people towards self-censoring is problematic. And should this revamp of net neutrality be enacted that is exactly one of the things that would likely happen because the proposed billing would likely usher in closer monitoring of people’s internet usage…in other words more surveillance will likely ensue thanks to individualized internet billing. But obviously this time the arena targeted for surveillance will be, reminiscent of CISPA, the internet. Sure the internet might be a more cordial place for it, but the cost for that is way too high. Thankfully the ol’ saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is true in a significant number of cases. When the day comes that America’s leaders (1) are by and large above reproach, (2) consistently show that they are more concerned with serving the interests of the common man than they are with serving themselves and/or elitists whom they’ve embraced, and (3) consistently act with integrity I think we will be able to enact policies that don’t account for dissension (including anonymous lawful dissension). Unfortunately that day hasn’t yet arrived…thus the right to dissent must receive the utmost protection.

    Generally speaking I have lost faith in man’s ability to consistently do what’s right. Over hundreds of years of bad practices and policies promulgated largely by those who have wrongfully and shortsightedly used their gift of intelligence to increase their power and “line their pockets” at the long term expense of mankind and the world we have, as a whole, lost our way. Let’s see where this recent net neutrality move takes us. Just as we opposed the most recent attempt to pass the far too intrusive CISPA and the recent tentative decision regarding search engine censorship we strongly oppose this net neutrality move. Pay attention…close attention. As indicated above I’m jaded; therefore, I have no confidence that if there isn’t an abrupt about face that bad acting men and women won’t ensure that action becomes warranted. It may be soon or it may be later, but rest assured that serious action will become necessary.

    Best wishes to all,
    SB

    “Some people see a problem and do something about it. Others do nothing but sit on their a$$e$ and complain. Be a doer.”

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