net neutrality

April 9, 2007

Political action. Yup…. uh…. Yup…

Never really been one for political action. Perhaps I’m the kind that has assumed that government and power players don’t affect my life, and that, in the event I’m given an opportunity to voice my opinion in an election, it won’t matter in the long run. I’ve held very vague opinions of many major issues, mostly because I didn’t think I had enough information in my brain to make a decision that was fair and honest. Actually, that’s the stance I’ve held through the whole of the Iraqi War thus far.

I don’t know everything, and the sources are too twisted to be certain of anything, so I’ll keep my mouth shut until it really starts to touch my life in big ways. Soldiers: yeah, support those guys cause they are just working like normal, basically. They have a hell of a job, but this is part of the job description for them. Politicos that keep us there: its done. We are there. We just need to hurry out.

Other than that, I’ve not had much opinion.

But when it came to other issues (stupid though they may be) that I discovered a couple years ago to have some affect on me, I think I started to actually form opinions.

Example: Gay marriage. I want to get married, eventually, and I want to be protected under the same rights as everyone else that can get married. I don’t care if you call it marriage, a union, a partnership, or a circus ring, as long as I can claim the insurance and collect the social security and all that other hoohah nonsense that is part and parsel to that argument.

Education: everyone should have one, but not for free. I didn’t get mine handed to me, so why should Joe Blow down the road, just cause he’s Black, or because he’s 1/8 Cherokee.

Network Neutrality: Some of you may have noticed my little “Save the Internet” button on the sidebar there. Give it a click. I’m gonna post some of the info here. Not too much, cause I don’t want to turn you off to reading about it. Essentially, it means a free, if not freer, flow of information and entertainment on the internet. We all use the net for research and fun, so we should be able to keep the right to access and add to the internet at our discretion. Unfettered access. Well, maybe not completely unfettered, but unfettered enough that we can all keep our blogs without paying fees, or so we can watch youtube videos without paying per click, or something like that.

How does this threat to Internet freedom affect you?
(from www.savetheinternet.com)

  • Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
  • Innovators with the “next big idea”—Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the “slow lane” with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
  • Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
  • Political groups—Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay “protection money” for their websites and online features to work correctly.
  • Nonprofits—A charity’s website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can’t pay dominant Internet providers for access to “the fast lane” of Internet service.
  • Online purchasers—Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices—distorting your choice as a consumer.
  • Small businesses and tele-commuters—When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
  • Parents and retirees—Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
  • Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

One comment

  1. I’m on the other side of the net neutrality debate and have been following this issue in my work with the Hands Off the Internet coalition. Likewise, I will try to be brief, but for anyone interested in hearing both sides of the argument I will present a few quick points.

    First, you will notice that the claims of groups like Save the Internet are hypothetical and use people’s fears of what “could” happen to cloud this debate. Second, should any of these scenarios actually occur, nobody has proved that the current laws and regulations that we have are insufficient to deal with them.

    Additionally, many senior network engineers, including Robert Kahn, who is often referred to as the father of the internet, are strongly warning against proposed “net neutrality” legislation. For a quick recap of their arguments, here are two informative articles,

    “Dr Robert Kahn says that Neutrality legislation poses a fundamental threat to internet research because it misunderstands what the internet really is; it’s a network of networks, and experimentation on private networks must be encouraged.”The internet has never been neutral,” explains Crowcroft. ‘Without traffic shaping, we won’t get the convergence that allows the innovation on TV and online games that we’ve seen in data and telephony.'”


    “Public policy should intervene where anti-competitive actions can be identified and the cure will not be worse than the disease. Policymakers must tread carefully, however, because it can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine in advance whether a particular practice promotes or harms competition. Antitrust law generally takes a case-by-case approach under which private parties or public agencies can challenge business practices and the courts require proof of harm to competition before declaring a practice illegal. This is a sound approach that has served our economy well.”



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