Death of Net Neutrality

Discussion in 'General Computing' started by MikeyD, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    This isn't necessarily "Linux" related, but in case there are people out there unaware of Tuesday's ruling this could mean massive changes to the internet as we know it right now.


    A Washington appeals court yesterday struck down the FCC's net neutrality rules protecting the open internet and forbidding ISPs to discriminate between websites and services. In a nutshell, your ISP will now have the ability to flat out block access to certain websites, greatly slow down access to others and give "preferential treatment" to sites that either fork over massive amounts of money or, truthfully, for any reason they deem worthy. The worst part is the "success" really boiled down to a technicality on how cable modem services are classified. (They also claimed FCC rulings were a breach of ISPs' First Amendment rights which I find laughable, I guess our First Amendment rights don't matter.)

    Read more here:
    http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-net-neutrality-20140114,0,522106.story

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57617242-94/why-you-should-care-about-net-neutrality-faq/

    So what can we do? That's a good question. I know this isn't new to many of you. I've been an open internet advocate since SOPA and PIPA first raised my attention to the issue, but no amount of donations or letters to the FCC will seem to help at this point.
    I've already written my state reps and I've already been boycotting Verizon (who brought the case to court) because of a history of shady behavior: https://community.verizonwireless.com/thread/800702

    Just wanted to see what you all thought of this and raise awareness for those who may not have been aware. The future of a free and open internet could be bleak.
  2. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Super Moderator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Well, people have a few options.

    1. People could write/email their political representatives and legislator.

    2. Join Anonymous

    3. Join the Amish. Whoops, wrong "A" group.:p
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  3. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    I'm beginning to think the Gilligan's Island castaway's scenario is beginning to look pretty appealing right now.:)
  4. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Super Moderator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Oh, well then I guess you will miss out on our rebellion. You go have fun on a mass of dirt in the middle of nowhere while we play with deadly weapons. :D:p
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  5. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    On a serious note sadly my own country New Zealand with National Party at the help is going down similar lines, the erosion of our freedoms is disgusting.

    I do get involved politically and try to fight where possible for it especially when the Earthquakes in my home city Christchurch happened and the government bureaucracy took over so I totally agree with what you said it is just that sometimes you think what next and things like this happen.

    Basically put don't take freedom for granted.
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  6. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    The internet is no different than any other technical communication medium. Radio, television, telephone, even paper letters in some places, are controlled. Radio waves and internet signals are not simply sent through the air. They are carried on a network that requires broadcast/dispatching equipment. Governments control all communication networks by setting rules and choosing who is allowed to provide (and receive) service. Governments are just slow to react to new situations. They are now getting caught up. There is nothing surprising in these developments. Nor will these be the last changes.
  7. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    Government is one thing big business is another. I would rather at this point have the govt monitoring, they at least pretend to have people's best interest in mind. Businesses have no reason to favor individuals over profits/shareholders.

    This will kill the ability of small start-ups to compete with the mega corporations that can afford to pay ISPs big bucks for fast access, which was one of the greatest benefits the Internet offers over other communication mediums that have been controlled by slow, immoblile, and inflexible dinosaurs. The next Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. will have a much steeper mountain to climb.

    If anything this was a hindrance to the government and clearly the FCC, because the Internet is not considered a telecommunications service but an information service is the reason the net neutrality rule was shot down in the first place, and gives the FCC less and less control over how ISPs filter content through their pipes. (Its not like the govt won't just demand ISPs hand over customer info, but thats another issue)

    The FCC monitors communication mediums, but it also provides unbiased access to content. If two radio stations with the same equipment are located in the same town, your radio won't pick one up more clearly than the other because station A paid the radio manufacturer a sum of money versus station B.
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  8. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    Quote: "I would rather at this point have the govt monitoring, they at least pretend to have people's best interest in mind."

    Not if that means NSA style wholesale bugging. The only that should be monitored are those that are committing crimes. Not everyone.

    I expecially object to backdoors in an operating system, assisting a Government in this sort of activity.

    I say thank goodness for Snowden I personally applaud his courage.

    There is too much Granny state in Governments around the world - eroding our freedoms. I object to my emails being snooped on.

    Yes the Government is there to uphold and protect through upholding law and order but when it misuses that power such as the NSA fiasco - thankgoodness for people like Richard Stallman who alert to attacks on our freedom.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
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  9. DevynCJohnson

    DevynCJohnson Super Moderator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Ditto
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  10. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    Each station owner pays a fee and is given permission to broadcast on a certain portion of the frequency spectrum. How clear the broadcast signal is depends on how much money the station owner can spend for broadcasting equipment. So your analogy would be correct if stating "your radio won't pick one up more clearly than the other because station A paid the government."

    The idea of an internet free of control and money is a nice utopian idea, but in the real world everything is controlled, regulated or manipulated by the powers-that-be: governments and/or big businesses. The internet is moving in the same direction as other communication media; controlled by and for the benefit of the aristocrats in governments and at the helm of big corporations. It may be regrettable, but the only thing that surprises me is that it took as long as it did.

    It would also be interesting to research who is pushing hardest for these changes.
    I have a suspicion any such research would eventually find a connection between wealthy and powerful members of the elite and the government's intelligence arm. Yes, I am cynical, but that is my suspicion.
  11. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    That's true, its just disappointing because the internet isn't like any communication media in history. Television, radio, etc was always vehemently controlled since their inception because big companies "created" these mediums when there were maybe 2-3 total stations broadcasting.

    The net was created by nerds like us in universities as a way of sharing information and ideas, yet since it became popular it seems the only thing media outlets, businesses, etc. have cared about is "How can we make money off this?"

    You're right Cyber, it is the way of the world and there is no doubt government would inevitably get their claws in it, it's just a double-hit to me that not only will the govt be filtering content, but so will businesses based on corporate self-interest.

    The articles I mentioned above already highlight wild conflicts of interest. Michael Powell, the FCC chairman who reclassified modem services as "information services" rather than "telecommunications services" now happens to be chief lobbyist in Washington for the cable TV industry. But alas that's the way govt has been working for years.

    Time to do more research into meshnets!
    https://projectmeshnet.org/
  12. mek42

    mek42 New Member

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    If this is just at a state level, there is still a chance for a SCOTUS ruling.

    If an ISP would be able to block content, would a content provider be able to block their content from being transmitted over certain ISPs? Like, could Google decide not to let their search engine service be provided by Time Warner the ISP that serves the State of Washington?
  13. KenJackson

    KenJackson Active Member

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    When the phrase net neutrality burst onto the scene, I was immediately all for it, and was glad that someone was speaking up for freedom.

    But then I noticed that all the senators and representatives that were touting it were the ones that normally love pervasive laws and programs that give the government more and more control over our lives. And those that opposed it were the ones that know the free market is the best solution for maximum prosperity and happiness for the most people.

    And there's another thing I've noticed about elected leaders that want to pass laws that restricts freedom for the masses but gives themselves more power. They lie. One of the ways they do that is to name their bills exactly the opposite of what they ultimately achieve. (e.g. The Affordable Care Act.)

    I know this isn't a trivial issue, but I suspect net neutrality would ultimately do the opposite of what it's name implies.
  14. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    If I remember correctly, the internet was created by the American military. The university nerds developed it into something larger.:)

    Yes and yes.
    Just like the only corporation given lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq after the American invasion "coincidentally" had ties to the American vice-president (former CEO of said corporation).

    You are more attentive than most people. That may put you in danger.:eek:
  15. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    Ask yourself this - America was founded on the idea of Freedom. Iis that the case for America now??? or is America (Land of the Free)as oppressive as the Countries that it speaks out against that are a little more obvious about how they oppress the people and is America still the Land of the Free???????????????
  16. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    Of course. Although they are not alone. All "Western" governments are hypocritical.
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  17. KenJackson

    KenJackson Active Member

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    This is the crucially important question. It's so important that the excess question marks are almost justified.

    But it's odd that you posted it in this thread. It makes me wonder if you are implying that imposing new laws on internet usage can improve freedom.

    Consider some market specifics. Right now I pay Verizon a bunch of dollars every month for their three services, including internet. I used to have Comcast but they irritated me, so I switched to Verizon. Now Verizon irritates me, so I'm thinking of switching back to Comcast. If I get really irritated, I could switch to satellite (or maybe even the local WiFi company). I'm the customer. The choice is mine.

    All of those companies know two things. First, they need to maintain a certain number of paying customers or they'll fail to thrive and could even go out of business. Second, the incremental cost to them of adding one more customer is very small. So for each new customer they sign up, they pay out a few more dollars, but they have a lot more dollars pouring in every month. That's big incentive to keep their existing customers and sign up new customers.

    So what do they do? They hire exceedingly polite people to man the help lines and they try to provide better and better service. My internet speed right now is faster than most companies could have gotten at any price just a few years ago. And since I've had FiOS, I have not had one local disruption of service. If Verizon started slowing down some access that I wanted (the stated case for net neutrality), they know I'd switch providers in a heartbeat. I'm the customer.

    How on God's green earth can a bunch of bozos in Washington possibly improve on this scenario?

    The best they can do is to maintain a fair business climate. That is, they must make absolutely certain that Verizon, Comcast and the satellite companies don't collude and decide how to screw me and leave me no place to go. That is, they must protect the free market. I don't think net neutrality even addresses that.
  18. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    My personal opinion is that it has abandoned its Land of the Free Principles.

    I posted this here as a question people should ask themselves when policies that erode our freedoms are made law so that is why I posted it here, especially in keeping in mind whether this net neutrality thing is another one of those freedom eroding policies in the guise of protecting our fredoms.

    But it is not just America's problem my own country NZ has a similar problem. Just thinking out loud.

    I believe to protect our freedom we must ask these questions then do what we can to protect our freedom as Richard Stallman said you can't fight for freedom if you don't know what it is.
  19. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    Exactly. Even during the initial creation of ARPANET, DARPA recruited MIT and Stanford engineers to actually create it as well as the TCP/IP protocol suite. It didn't really expand to the "internet" as we know it today until after the government began to abandon it, and universities worked to merge together many of the smaller 'nets' (ARPANET, CYCLADES, NPL, etc).

    You make very good points, but I think you're confused about 'net neutrality'. Its not a law really, but an umbrella term for a number of FCC regulations requiring broadband providers to treat all internet traffic equally. I'm not sure how it can construed as anything other than a good thing, and its why we as consumers can connect to the internet, regardless of provider, and access websites at relatively similar speeds. It has been on "the books" in some form since the early 2000s. What new laws will be passed now that these FCC regulations have been overturned is another issue entirely.

    I believe you will be right, if the FCC is able to pass some type of compromising rule, it will most likely still restrict internet freedom, but it again comes down to making the best of a bad situation the government will be monitoring internet activity either way, they've already shown they are above the law, but on top of federal regulation, the internet will now be subject to telecom lobbyists and billion-dollar entertainment companies.

    The free market argument is spot on, but again because of the power these ISPs already have many consumers really don't have a choice. My mother lives in an apartment complex that is wired for FIOS, she doesn't have a choice as FIOS is her only broadband option. Want to switch? Too bad. Even if you wanted to pony up the cash to rewire the apartment, the leasing agreement won't allow it. I know a lot of complexes like that, not to mention many rural areas where they may only have access to one broadband provider.

    Who knows, maybe this ruling will allow a bit of market saturation and provide more companies an incentive to get into the broadband industry, but there are still plenty of barriers to entry as well as the investment needed to compete with these billion dollar companies
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