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Al Franken Makes a Case For Net Neutrality 604

Posted by Soulskill
from the put-the-swiss-in-charge dept.
jomama717 writes "In a post titled 'The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time' this morning on The Huffington Post, Senator Al Franken lays down a powerful case for net neutrality, as well as a grim scenario if the current draft regulations being considered by the FCC are accepted. Quoting: 'The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don't do that at all. They're worse than nothing. That's why Tuesday is such an important day. The FCC will be meeting to discuss those regulations, and we must make sure that its members understand that allowing corporations to control the Internet is simply unacceptable. Although Chairman Genachowski's draft Order has not been made public, early reports make clear that it falls far short of protecting net neutrality.'"
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Al Franken Makes a Case For Net Neutrality

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  • Re:Yay (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:09PM (#34618950)

    The only technology they understand is which side of a TV camera to stand in front of.

    Al Franken [wikipedia.org] standing in front of a TV Camera? You don't say.

    The guy can make a good arguments without resorting to shouting or out right ignoring the public. [youtube.com] I wish my Senator would come around to the county fair and talk to his constituents like that.

    TFA makes some good points and breaks down "Net Neutrality" to the lay person who just wants to use the internet. You should try reading it.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:12PM (#34618984)

    Well, technically you can at least adjust the government if you don't like it.

    There's no such chance with companies, unless you happen to have enough money to control them.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:27PM (#34619226) Homepage

    Net neutrality is an issue because Internet access has become a near-monopoly service. Few people today buy residential Internet connectivity from someone other than their monopoly telco or monopoly cable provider. For both of those monopolies, Internet access is a tie-in sale - both want to sell customers a "bundle" with telephony, video, and Internet connectivity. In some areas, there's only one provider.

    We've already lost one deregulation battle - the right to use any ISP you want over the monopoly telco wires. [broadbandreports.com] The FCC changed the rules on that back in 2003. Until then, telcos had to provide raw DSL connections from an ISP to a customer at prices no higher than they charged their own internal ISP. Once the FCC dropped that, the ISP business became a monopoly.

    Further back, telcos used to be regulated common carriers. We lost that back in the 1990s.

    "Net neutrality" is the last stop before total monopoly control.

    Wireless doesn't help. "Deregulation" also allowed wire-line and wireless carriers to merge, which is why AT&T is back in the cellular business. Nor does cable/telco competition. Mergers in that area are coming. In the end, you'll have one connection to the outside world, with a boot ready to step on your tube if you get out of line.

  • by tthomas48 (180798) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:29PM (#34619252) Homepage

    What are you talking about? Everyone (except California) LOVED Enron. Enron fell apart because they were corrupt and eventually their losses didn't match their earnings. They were raking in tons of dough. They just happened to be spending it too quickly.

    There are very few industries where people can vote with their wallets. I live in an area with LOTS of internet options*. I can vote with my wallet between AT&T and Time Warner. Who happen to provide roughly equivalent non-service and old products. Their main competitor is Netflix, who SUPRISE, SUPRISE, they would like to run out of business by providing "tiered service". I'd say that Netflix's success shows that customers HAVE voted with their wallets FOR net neutrality.

    Unfortunately, AT&T et. al have massive lobbying power and a massive anti-competitive political and legal framework on their side.

    * as compared to areas that only have one

  • by Moryath (553296) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:31PM (#34619304)

    Yeah.

    I suppose you're in full support of monopoly cable providers like Comcrap to block off all sites like this [amplicate.com] from their subscriber base.

    And you're of course in full support of monopoly cable providers like Comcrap or TW deciding to try to extort companies like Google or Hulu to "pay for more access" merely because a large segment of their subscribers access Google or Hulu services.

    Just think - every cable provider, every DNS provider, could be just as fucking locked off as people behind the "great firewall of china" are now, and you'd probably love it, huh?

  • by mr_majestyk (671595) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:47PM (#34619564)
    Conservatives are superficially lumping network neutrality in with the rest of the anti-Obama/government/socialism rhetoric, but the issue is far too complex to capture in partisan soundbites. This Bill Moyers broadcast from a few years ago (well before Obama arrived on the scene) explains the network neutrality issue extremely well, representing multiple viewpoints, including business, politics, consumers etc. The broadcast is about an hour long, but I have yet to come across a better way to get the complete picture of what network neutrality is all about (each of these videos gives a useful illustration of a key tradeoff): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmlpfXzSfhg>Part 1 Part 2 [youtube.com] Part 3 [youtube.com] Part 4 [youtube.com] Part 4 [youtube.com] Part 6 [youtube.com] Part 7 [youtube.com] Part 8 [youtube.com] Part 9 [youtube.com]
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:59PM (#34619810) Journal

    >>>So you believe that corporations should be allowed to use any old dirty tricks they wan

    Strawman argument. NO I do not believe that. Please don't put words in my mouth, especially since I said in other posts that I Do think we need to regulate natural monopolies (electricity, phone, etc). But I also see that in most cases a government does not need to interfere when people have a free market. If I don't like Shitty Grocery Store I can go shop somewhere else, and if I don't like Kmart I can choose Target or Walmart or Macys instead. ----- Good companies succeed and lousy companies are driven into oblivion by the will of the People (via votes with their dollars).
    .

    >>>That approach leads to fascism

    No it doesn't. Fascism is very clearly defined as "government-run corporations" which is not what I am endorsing at all (except in the case of natural monopolies).

  • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:06PM (#34620756)
    My apologies, I assumed /.ers would be relatively familiar with this idea. Sources should have been provided and I'll also retract 'studies' for articles. Also note that knock-off is different than counterfeit; I'm not saying the latter is helpful, just the former.

    http://www.techdirt.com/ [techdirt.com] for general stuff on this topic.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0909/p09s01-coop.html [csmonitor.com]

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/05/business/05scene.html?ex=1333425600&en=bfb7593c76d8b819&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss [nytimes.com]

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=faking-it [scientificamerican.com] This one is interesting as it provides a guilty conscience aspect that eventually would have people buying the brand names to feel better about themselves.

    I think the basic point is that people who knowingly buy knock-offs were never going to be initial purchasers of the brand name goods. But they would buy them once the price became palatable to them. No sale was 'lost' by
  • by thule (9041) on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:10PM (#34620814) Homepage
    I have repetitively pointed out that peering is an important feature of the Internet. Networks peer with each other when there is mutual benefit to both parties. For example, at one point it was noted that Yahoo! only payed for half of their bandwidth (transit). Half of their content was delivered to eyeballs via peering. If an ISP's transit link get congested, then the large companies (or Colo's) that are directly peered with the ISP will get their traffic delivered faster. How does regulation help this situation? I thought Net Neutrality was about treating all traffic the same. In the case of Comcast, people complain that they aren't buying enough transit bandwidth. Comcast notices that a lot of their customers are puling a lot of traffic from Netflix. Comcast goes to Netflix and tries to make a peering agreement (a la Yahoo!-style). People complain that this is unfair to other video services because it is not neutral. Excuse me? By this definition most peering is not neutral. So where does it end? Are we talking only limited filtering and QoS? Are we talking about killing peering? Are we talking about forcing companies to buy bandwidth?
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:22PM (#34620964)
    Actually, for the most part, conservatives don't trust the government not to impose control over Internet content under the guise of "net neutrality". In the beginning the regulations will be very subtle, but they will establish the precedent for government regulation of the Internet. Then bit by bit the government will extend its regulation so that it will be harder and harder to get information from anyone other than the approved mega-corporations.
  • by vinn (4370) on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:46PM (#34621326) Homepage Journal

    If you're wondering the FCC is thinking, read this:

    http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2010/db1209/DOC-303457A1.pdf [fcc.gov]

    Let me summarize:
    * They only see this as a checkbox on the Obama administration's to-do list. ("Work on net neutrality." DONE.)
    * They don't see any problem with the status quo other than some "isolated incidents"
    * They feel they are overstepping their regulatory bounds and this should be an action undertaken by the courts or Congress.

    In other words - kiss your open access goodbye.

  • How to allow QOS (Score:5, Informative)

    by presidenteloco (659168) on Monday December 20, 2010 @06:10PM (#34621700)

    IPv6 provides a way for applications to request handling without delay throughout the WAN.
    Packets have priority levels. Applications not needing top priority, e.g. email, can voluntarily downgrade their priority.
    Video and audio applications could upgrade their packet priority.

    The key word here is applications, not ISPs.

    Both content sources and recipients are already paying ISPs differentially for bandwidth capability differences and or data transferred
    amounts, so why is anything other than application-volunteered packet prioritizing needed?

    If various applications (e.g. someone's web server implementation) are cheating and saying all their traffic is video, there is a rather large
    and sometimes effective tech community shunning mechanism in place.

  • Re:Yay (Score:5, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday December 20, 2010 @07:30PM (#34622652) Homepage Journal

    you don't see intelligence in Jerry Lewis [wikipedia.org] movies.Nor do you see it in Marx Brothers [wikipedia.org]

    Somebody mark this down. I think we may have the most idiotic statement made on Slashdot in calendar year 2010.

    I don't know how much you know about Jerry Lewis' films, but when it comes to mise-en-scène, his films make Woody Allen's movies look like radio. The Ladies Man is studied in graduate level film courses along side the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger as examples of director as auteur, where one man controls everything about a films artistic vision. Being a right-wing "libertarian" douche, you probably think he's highly regarded by the French just to piss you off.

    As far as the Marx Bros, those scripts by George S Kaufmann were much more about verbal gymnastics than "slapstick". In fact, except for the brilliant pantomime of Harpo Marx, there's very little slapstick in the more important Marx Brothers films.

    actually I don't watch comedy much

    You Ayn Rand types aren't really known for your sense of humor, but to be fair, you provide plenty of comedy for the rest of us.

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