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Steve Wozniak: Net Neutrality Rollback 'Will End the Internet As We Know It' (siliconbeat.com) 215

An anonymous reader quotes Silicon Beat: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak penned an op-ed on Friday with a former Federal Communications Commission chairman, urging the current FCC to stop its proposed rollback of Obama-era net neutrality regulations. In the op-ed published by USA Today, Wozniak and Michael Copps, who led the FCC from 2001 to 2011, argued the rollback will threaten freedom for internet users and may corrode democracy... "Sometimes there's a nugget of truth to the adage that Washington policymakers are disconnected from the people they purport to represent," they wrote. "It is a stirring example of democracy in action. With the Internet's future as a platform for innovation and democratic discourse on the line, a coalition of grassroots and diverse groups joined with technology firms to insist that the FCC maintain its 2015 open internet (or 'net neutrality') rules."
In the joint letter, Wozniak and Copps write that "We come from different walks of life, but each of us recognizes that the FCC is considering action that could end the internet as we know it -- a dynamic platform for entrepreneurship, jobs, education, and free expression."

"Will consumers and citizens control their online experiences, or will a few gigantic gatekeepers take this dynamic technology down the road of centralized control, toll booths and constantly rising prices for consumers? At stake is the nature of the internet and its capacity to transform our lives even more than it already has."
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Steve Wozniak: Net Neutrality Rollback 'Will End the Internet As We Know It'

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  • What bugs me is that there so many enemies of freedom and so many enemies of 'Net neutrality. On one hand, every dictatorship wants to censor the Internet, and on the other, there are a few corporatists who want to kill it and turn it into a corporate media distribution system. Everyone else on the planet wants a free and open Internet. Yet we seem to have to be fighting these anti-freedom forces endlessly. Well, I'm staying - not breaking - staying - and will be donating - yet again - to a pro 'Net neutra
  • I love the Woz (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Saturday September 30, 2017 @09:48AM (#55283425)

    But he's really gone over the top on this one. The Net Neut rules have barely been in place for a year and a half. For him and the vast majority of the rest of us, "the Internet as we know it" is the Internet that existed before these rules were put into place.

    • Re:I love the Woz (Score:4, Informative)

      by ikedasquid ( 1177957 ) on Saturday September 30, 2017 @10:06AM (#55283485)
      Similar rules have always been in place, it's just that the rules have only applied to the telecom provider. ISPs today are both the telecom company, the internet provider, and in many cases also a content source. Prior to about 2005 your ISP was just the internet provider - other companies did the telecommunications and still others provided content. The telecom companies have always been regulated by Title II, this regulation is "new" for the vertically integrated ISPs...who are undoubtedly providing a telecommunications service in addition to being an internet provider.
      • Re:I love the Woz (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Saturday September 30, 2017 @10:44AM (#55283651)

        Similar rules have always been in place, it's just that the rules have only applied to the telecom provider. . . . Prior to about 2005 your ISP was just the internet provider - other companies did the telecommunications and still others provided content.

        I'm not sure what that has to do with my original point. We all experienced "the Internet as we know it" through those unregulated ISPs (including those such as AOL that offered their own content in addition to raw Internet access), and the world kept turning just fine.

        IMO the real elephant in the Net Neut room is streaming. People want to be able to watch Netflix all day and yet pay their ISP at a rate that was sized more for sporadic web browsing. That simply can't work as a matter of basic math, and this entire battle is little more than a tug-of-war over whether the heavy streamers pay for their own use, or whether the rest of us subsidize them. And that phenomenon is only a few years old itself, and thus has little to nothing to do with "the Internet as we know it."

        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          People want to be able to watch Netflix all day and yet pay their ISP at a rate that was sized more for sporadic web browsing. That simply can't work as a matter of basic math, and this entire battle is little more than a tug-of-war over whether the heavy streamers pay for their own use, or whether the rest of us subsidize them.

          Nonsense. Streaming video is part and parcel of modern web usage. ISP's are fully aware of the fact that people aren't just using their connections to read news and email anymore.

    • But that's because they've been wary of regulators, not just in the U.S., who have indicated they are pro 'Net neutrality. Take that away though, and Google and the very few mega-corp companies that own 90% of the media will use their vast supply of cash to crush all competition and throttle every innovator. Some innovators look like they are doing well? Either sell out to the mega-corp (if the mega-corps are even interested in the innovation) or have their web traffic throttled so slow even a turtle wouldn
    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      This isn’t about what anyone has experienced. This is a contest to dream up the scariest story about the future, then trick angry, easily manipulated internet followers into believing it and forming an online lynch mob.

      For politics, for power, for contributions, for Google and Netflix corporate convenience.

      I wonder why Woz is involved. Does he really believe the stories? Is he easy to manipulate?

      • Dream? Do you mean the fear of ISPs throttling competing video services, which comcast and verizon have been caught doing several times?
  • In the joint letter, Wozniak and Copps write that "We come from different walks of life, but each of us recognizes that the FCC is considering action that could end the internet as we know it -- a dynamic platform for entrepreneurship, jobs, education, and free expression."

    Who's freedom would that be? The freedom of companies like Google and Cloudfare to ban websites and confiscate domains they don't like? I sure hope it's the end of that internet! I liked the one we had before.

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Saturday September 30, 2017 @09:58AM (#55283461)

    Part of the problem is that while yes, there are many users of the Internet who want it to stay open and free, there is a segment of the Consumer population that wants it to be Cable TV, and Perhaps Gaming Distribution 2.0

    The idea behind DRM, and video rental systems over the internet is just asinine. But you have to look at where a particular segment of the Computer using public is going: Android Tablets, which is Linux turned against iteslf, and iPads. What do both of these things look like? Portable Televisions. They don't have keyboards, they don't have mice. They are tools of Content consumption.

    Steve Jobs, Woz's partner, was a huge part of this. Openness on the Apple Platforms ended with the Apple II GS series, and the Macs were all largely closed to the outside world until the advent of OSX. Many Pre-OSX Macs, had proprietary EVERYTHING, and even the speaker Jack was proprietary. OSX opened the Mac world up some by giving us a MacOS running on BSD.

    This allowed Mac to Survive and gve us the Trusted Computing Nightmare that was iOS. All the sudden you have what the DRM Corps want: A Computing platform where everything is a Rental transaction, and consumers money can be funneled from their wallets constantly. Thats what is happening now with iDevice owners.

    Apple should have died off back in the 90s. They should have gone out of business completely. Consumers should have resisted the introduction of DRM into computers and rejected networks like NetFlix.

    • and consumers money can be funneled from their wallets constantly.

      Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, the other side of that coin is that goods and services can be funneled to the consumer constantly as well. That's sort of the whole idea of a consumer. It's not a one-way street. When it is, consumers aren't consumers any longer, and their willingness to let the funneling of their resources away will also go away.

      At the most basic level, either you consume, or you die. Next step up, you consume and

    • You should probably have taken the time to find out what net neutrality actually refers to before spending all that time typing. Net neutrality has nothing to do with DRM or video rental systems beyond making sure your ISP can't dictate what you use with selective bandwidth throttling.

      • Net neutrality does not ban QoS. It can't without breaking the net.

        Putting the definition of QoS into the hands of the federal government? What could go wrong?

        • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Saturday September 30, 2017 @02:19PM (#55284645)

          The net neutrality rules didn't ban QoS or put the definition of it into the hands of the government. They did require that companies show technical, rather than financial, justifications for managing traffic.

          People arguing that rules should be repealed based on hearsay without taking the time to find out what the rules actually say? What could go wrong?

          • You don't know how laws work. Who decides what is and isn't a 'technical justification for managing traffic'? The feds, specifically clueless bought lawyers working for the feds, who will decide what is QoS and what isn't.

    • Since most people don't really understand how the net work, let alone how computers work, it's ridiculously easy to bullshit the masses. You can see this every day with phishing scams, "Your PC/phone/tablet is INFECTED!" scamware, social media hoaxes, and on and on. Unfortunately, this also gives big ISPs (and Hollywood for that matter) plenty of room to sling their own bullshit as well.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Yeah, no one likes Netflix or anything from Apple out there on the extreme ideological fringe.

    • by mea2214 ( 935585 )

      All the sudden you have what the DRM Corps want: A Computing platform where everything is a Rental transaction, and consumers money can be funneled from their wallets constantly. Thats what is happening now with iDevice owners.

      Windows 10 is moving towards this as well.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Apple might die off in the future with the issues they're having. And no Steve Jobs to fix them!

  • How does it feel to have big companies refusing to transmit your bits because they don't like the content? Maybe you're getting a feeling of what the alt right has to put up with now. Don't worry though - they are private companies and they can do what they like. It's not the same as government censorship.

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