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Censorship Your Rights Online

Cory Doctorow Draws the Line On Net Neutrality 381

Posted by kdawson
from the preserving-the-next-google-from-cradle-strangulation dept.
Nerdposeur points out that Cory Doctorow has a compelling piece in The Guardian today, arguing that network neutrality is not only crucial for the future of the Internet, but is what the ISPs owe to the public. He asks, "Does anybody else feel like waving a flag after reading this?" "If the phone companies had to negotiate for every pole, every sewer, every punch-down, every junction box, every road they get to tear up, they'd go broke. All the money in the world couldn't pay for the access they get for free every day... If they don't like it, let them get into another line of work — give them 60 days to get their wires out of our dirt and then sell the franchise to provide network services to a competitor who will promise to give us a solid digital future in exchange for our generosity."
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Cory Doctorow Draws the Line On Net Neutrality

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  • Amen (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @05:23PM (#28018731)

    No idea what the flag remark is about but I certainly applaud what he is saying.

  • by Rycross (836649) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @05:34PM (#28018885)

    That's not what net neutrality is about. That's QoS or usage tiers. What net neutrality is about is making sure that toll road owners are not charging more for trucks carrying company A's stuff than trucks driving company B's stuff. ISPs want to be able to degrade performance from certain internet services, such as Skype and Hulu, in order to "encourage" you to use their own services. That is, unless those services pay your ISP an extortion fee.

    In other word, net neutrality is about not discriminating against the source of the traffic. It says nothing about discriminating based on the type of traffic and amount. Comcast should not arbitrarily degrade my Skype traffic because they prefer me to use their VOIP service and Skype refuses to pay them a kickback. I should be able to choose how I use my connection, so long as I am not infringing upon other users.

  • Re:Dirt Rental (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cajun Hell (725246) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @05:39PM (#28018939) Homepage Journal

    Municipalities do charge them. We just charge too little, and don't ask for much service in return. The last time my city "negotiated" with the cable company, I don't recall it being big news, and I certainly don't recall there being much public debate over what the terms should be.

    For me, it's 8 years until the current contract is up. And yes, I'm going to make a stink.

  • by Laebshade (643478) <> on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @05:46PM (#28019003)

    Some parts of the country don't even have 2 options. The company I work for, we do tech support for multiple cable companies across the U.S. Some areas, speeds are as low as 256kbps down/128kbps, and that's all that's available. No DSL.

  • Re:Umm, yeah (Score:2, Informative)

    by GeekWade (623925) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @06:14PM (#28019339)

    What generosity? The city owns the land they're using, not you.

    I don't know where you live, but I OWN the property right up to the middle of the road. Just about everyone here with country road frontage does.

  • by siddesu (698447) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @06:18PM (#28019399)

    In my neighborhood I have a last-mile fiber provided by a government-regulated monopoly, to which I pay a government-established fee (small).

    The monopoly cannot provide uplink services; these are provided by a ton of ISPs over the monopoly's fiber. I know of about 5-6 such ISPs, and I am sure there are at least a few dozens.

    I am paying a total of about $40 a month for 100Mbps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @06:51PM (#28019825)

    NO NO NO NO!! Stop with the uninformed nonsense. I live IN FUCKING SILICON VALLEY and I have exactly ONE "choice" for broadband. FUCK the telcos, and FUCK the governments that let them get away with monopolistic practices.

  • by siddesu (698447) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @07:58PM (#28020431)

    Japan, but the model would work anywhere.

  • Re:Statist abuse (Score:2, Informative)

    by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @08:22PM (#28020587)

    Or quite possibly he really is an irrelevant blowhard with a stupid website. Just because someone may (or may not) be jealous doesn't mean their statement is any less true.

    The wide impact the GP cites shows that he's not irrelevant. The blowhard part is generally a matter of opinion, so we can't prove much. Most members of the RIAA and NSA probably agree that he's a blowhard, and most EFF members probably don't think that's true. Stupid website? Eh, I don't care enough to look.

  • by eddy the lip (20794) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @08:43PM (#28020725)

    What, you're not big on Ayn Rand fanfic?

  • by Almost-Retired (637760) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @10:04PM (#28021231) Homepage

    As long as a competitive, free market is ensured, this won't happen.
    If a ISP starts filtering, people will move to the next.

    Of course, things may turn out very different if we allow dominant market positions to be built in the ISP market.

    (But this won't happen, right? Just as we never let any dominant market position arise in the OS market, or in the microprocessor market. Now sorry, gotta rush back to my cave).

    Good, because you have obviously been in it way too long and there is little hope of your ever being successful in rejoining the real world. OTOH, maybe there might be a future in satire for you?

    Only in the larger cities is there such a thing as even token competition. Here the choice is 33k dialup & pay LD charges out the yang if you don't sign up for verizon's Freedom plan, or verizon's crappy adsl, which is quite heavily filtered for everything but spam. Or the local cable, but their rates are at least double that of verizon's. So there really is no choice. So I must use verizon's circuits if I want net access, its that simple, and it is most certainly not a mistake, the FCC see's to that.

    As for the filtering, they are an M$ only outfit and don't seem to like linux, and they have summarily blocked several linux related mailing lists from their mail servers, calling them spam, forcing me to re-subscribe but using a gmail account AND gmails servers, going both ways. Such actions go heavily afoul of the FCC rules for Common Carrier status which carries a huge advantage to the carriers that maintain that status, but is generally ignored unless some federal court judge forces their hand. See Comcast. Otherwise it is business as usual, like the thread on M$ being a 2 bit company that can't stand one bit of competition...

    I would love to see some real competition, something Judge Green intended when he broke up AT&T, but which has (not so quietly since 2000 thanks to the shrub #2.) been thrown under the bus. Frontier just bought most of verizon, and this games rules are bound to change, probably not for the better. We need another Judge Green. Badly...

    Cheers, Gene
    "There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
      soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
    -Ed Howdershelt (Author)

  • by Fred_A (10934) <fred AT fredshome DOT org> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:31AM (#28023607) Homepage

    Japan, but the model would work anywhere.

    Anywhere with a large enough population density. The US people's problem is that their country is mostly empty.

    If they lived in reasonable cities where services could be easily centralised, this would work. But post-ww2, the big thing was the suburbs, going by car everywhere, spreading the population all over the place...
    And it doesn't even start to take the truly rural population into account.

    So now they cannot pull cable to every home (not to mention that of course the telcos certainly don't want to be in competition against one another). So no broadband for them (except in select areas).

  • Re:Statist abuse (Score:4, Informative)

    by Phreakiture (547094) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:27AM (#28023921) Homepage

    Um, guys? A black flag symbolizes Anarchism. The suggestion of waving a black flag, I think, was intended as a sign of support.

    Then again, I reserve the right to be wrong.

  • by gidds (56397) <slashdot&gidds,me,uk> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:37AM (#28024523) Homepage

    If a ISP starts filtering, people will move to the next.

    I think many people miss the real danger here. Yes, if your own ISP is doing stuff you don't like (filtering, throttling, prioritising, spoofing, whatever) then you can change them -- in a fair market, at least. So that sort of thing generally won't be in their interests.

    But what if it's not your ISP? What if it's a backbone provider, or some other middleman?

    Suppose an upstream provider threatens to throttle traffic bound to/from Amazon (say) unless Amazon pays them a big fee. If neither you nor Amazon have a direct business relationship with them, then neither of you can work around it by choosing another provider. How can a competitive market fix that?

    The real problem, as I see it, is not discriminating against packets based on their type (email, P2P, web, whatever), which some might consider fair and reasonable, or at least justified; it's discriminating against packets based on their source or destination, which can never be fair or reasonable. That's what we need legislation to prevent.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke