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Electronic Frontier Foundation Government The Internet United States

"The FCC Still Doesn't Know How the Internet Works" (eff.org) 289

An anonymous reader writes: The EFF describes the FCC's official plan to kill net neutrality as "riddled with technical errors and factual inaccuracies," including, for example, a false distinction between "Internet access service" and "a distinct transmission service" which the EFF calls "utterly ridiculous and completely ungrounded from reality."

"Besides not understanding how Internet access works, the FCC also has a troublingly limited knowledge of how the Domain Name System (DNS) works -- even though hundreds of engineers tried to explain it to them this past summer... As the FCC would have it, an Internet user actively expects their ISP to provide DNS to them." And in addition, "Like DNS, it treats caching as if it were some specialized service rather than an implementation detail and general-purpose computing technique."

"There are at least two possible explanations for all of these misunderstandings and technical errors. One is that, as we've suggested, the FCC doesn't understand how the Internet works. The second is that it doesn't care, because its real goal is simply to cobble together some technical justification for its plan to kill net neutrality. A linchpin of that plan is to reclassify broadband as an 'information service,' (rather than a 'telecommunications service,' or common carrier) and the FCC needs to offer some basis for it. So, we fear, it's making one up, and hoping no one will notice."

"We noticed," their editorial ends, urging Americans "to tell your lawmakers: Don't let the FCC sell the Internet out."
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"The FCC Still Doesn't Know How the Internet Works"

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  • Honest Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:40PM (#55707435)

    Honestly, what can we do? This is an unelected board with a majority that will change this no matter what we say. Congress has not taken up the issue in any way, and doesn't seem to have any intention of ever doing so, so what would be the purpose of writing to them? It just looks to me like Ajit Pai is going to force this measure through, no matter the science, business, societal, or ethical concerns.

    In short, the current FCC doesn't give a damn about any of us.

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:59PM (#55707555) Homepage Journal

      Time for code red. If you wait on him, be rude, get his order wrong, and be slow. If you pass him in the street, utter random expletives. Don't hold the elevator for him. Do mot assault or threaten him, just shut him out. Remind Trump that Obama appointed him, perhaps that strange urge to undo anything Obama ever did will take hold. Post it to Twitter. Make it a fun game.

    • I've got another honest question.

      "Besides not understanding how Internet access works, the FCC also has a troublingly limited knowledge of how the Domain Name System (DNS) works -- even though hundreds of engineers tried to explain it to them this past summer... "

      If we accept that the FCC is ignorant and incompetent regarding the internet, then why the hell do we want them regulating it?!?!

      Strat

      • by Ixokai ( 443555 )

        Ajit Pai is neither ignorant nor incompetent; what he is, is just about the most corrupt person we've seen in a long while. Its not like these arguments he's making are things he is mistaken about: he's **lying** and he damn well knows it. But it fits his politics and his friends at Verizon's agenda to make some vaguely plausible excuse the courts or ignorant politicians will accept.

    • When Net Neutrality is lifted carriers will be able to prioritize traffic based on agreement with content providers. This is effectively a type of licensing agreement. If carriers are acting effectively in a licensing and redistribution capacity does that mean that they will be illegally re-licensing and distributing content for which they have no content provider agreements?

      I think that the carriers are looking at this and an arbitrage opportunity, however, this could crush them if content providers turn

  • Series of tubes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:41PM (#55707437)

    Come on it's just a series of tubes, it's not that hard to figure out.

    Don't blame the FCC, blame the 48% that voted to put a lunatic administration in charge. If you assign a wolf to protect the chickens, you don't blame the wolf for eating the chickens.

    • If you assign a wolf to protect the chickens, you don't blame the wolf for eating the chickens.

      Or a fox in sheep's clothing. :-)

      Smiling (for those that don't know) because the sayings are actually:

    • At least we can shoot that wolf.

  • I've got an idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:44PM (#55707455)

    Let's put an organisation which didn't understand how the internet works in charge of regulating the internet! What could go wrong?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 )

      Yeah, they present this as if it's some sort of evidence in favor of having the FCC in charge of regulating Internet access, when it's actually the opposite.

      But don't worry, if they kept their regulatory control, over the next few years/decades there will be plenty of industry "experts" willing to come in and give them a hand in "understanding" what needs to be done in the regulations...

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      You mean the whole government?
      At least this one is supposed to listen to the population opinion before deciding.

      Supposed to...

  • by yayoubetcha ( 893774 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:45PM (#55707459)

    Why is the FCC undoing Net Neutrality? Because under Obama we got Net Neutrality and common-carrier status. It is just another step for Donny John to undue anything Obama did. QED.

  • "The FCC Still Doesn't Know How the Internet Works"

    So, they didn't know this back in 2015 either, when the "Net Neutrality" was enacted?

    Or, maybe, the government should not be telling, how owners of the wires deal with their customers at all? What a novel thought...

    • I'll agree it's not the best phrasing, probably because it would be "unprofessional" to write an accurate headline like "Ajit Pai is a fuckwit ISP shill that doesn't even know how the internet works."

      As for the stewardship of the "owners of the wires," they manage to be basically the only private entities less popular than any part of the government. Do you know how fucking hard it is for a business to be LESS POPULAR THAN THE GOVERNMENT? if I were running the Heritage foundation or whatever hyper-capit

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        I'd be shocked if Pai didn't know what he was doing, and I'd be really shocked if the FCC didn't know how the internet worked.

        In fact Pai probably knows how it works better than most (or at least has close advisers that can tell him) -- how else would he know exactly where to prod in order to best fuck things up in favor of his Verizon buddies?

      • Do you know how fucking hard it is for a business to be LESS POPULAR THAN THE GOVERNMENT?

        I have no idea. I get that it's hard for the concept of "government services" in the abstract to beat out "private services", but I'm not sure if that holds in any given specific instance. It seems like individual programs can be quite popular as long as they aren't tagged "government", e.g. the famous "keep your government hands odd my medicare" quote or the people wanting to repeal Obamacare but keep their ACA-base

    • by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @03:11PM (#55707599)
      Can't have it both ways. If they get to keep their government-protected monopoly and benefit from taxpayer subsidies, the government gets to attach strings like enforcing basic fairness. I often hear arguments like yours from the free market types that don't fully understand the issue, who seem to have forgotten that monopolies aren't a free market and prevent fair market competition and allowing them to expand horizontally with unfair competition, and allow other large providers to pay them to abuse their own dominant positions, is the very antithesis of the free market.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by mi ( 197448 )

        If they get to keep their government-protected monopoly

        "They" never asked for government's protection of the monopoly. Your beloved FDR forced it upon "them" [wikipedia.org]. We've been paying for that evil Statist's misgovernment for decades.

        Fortunately, the communication monopolies are shattering somewhat. Unfortunately, that process is slow and remains reversible — thanks to government [wired.com].

        the government gets to attach strings

        Does it? Well, then it also gets to detach them. Suck it up, cupcake. Live by the government,

    • The most fundamental thing to understand about how the FCC operates is that they are run by lawyers. Lawyers do not think like either engineers or normal people. They only think in terms of rules and rule frameworks, and they use language in these rule frameworks that is fairly decoupled from reality.

      What I mean by this is that if you want to change the FCC, you need a lawyer that can translate your concerns into their language, and play their game for making rules and procedures. Right now, the ideology

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        What I mean by this is that if you want to change the FCC

        I don't want it "changed". I want it abolished. It is useless at best — when run by Conservatives — and dangerous at worst, when Illiberals use it to violate the First Amendment in their favor.

        • So that even broadcast TV or cell networks can legally be interfered with? You can't enforce spectrum assignments without a body to do so.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It seems unlikely that they don't actually understand it. The problem here is an active attempt to do harm rather than just the usual incompetence. So the fact that they are publishing stuff that is wrong on this many levels just means that they are taking a lead from their masters and recognizing that they can say what they like regardless of any concept of reality.

    Equally the general public will find it unlikely that they don't actually know so the EFF campaign might not be very effective as lobbying.

  • the FCC also has a troublingly limited knowledge of how the Domain Name System (DNS) works -- even though hundreds of engineers tried to explain it to them this past summer

    Well obviously this was "Mansplaining" and therefore invalid.

  • Yup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @04:15PM (#55707887)

    Not that people need to be reminded of this, but a huge part of this administration is irresponsible and dangerous ignorance or pure maliciousness to the benefit of few, which has not changed anything so far quite unfortunately.
    I hope the EFF, ACLU and the lawsuits that are coming against the FCC results in something. Unfortunately though, the justice system isn't showing many signs that it's all that much different from the administration too.

  • Did anyone else read the article and find that the examples citing the fcc not understanding the internet were pretty weak? Take the first example:

    The FCC Still Doesnâ(TM)t Understand That Using the Internet Means Having Your ISP Transmit Packets For You

    The article cites the following statements taken from the fcc document

    End users do not expect to receive (or pay for) two distinct servicesâ"both Internet access service and a distinct transmission service, for example.â

    Certainly what th
  • Those that have no idea how the internet works want to dictate how it should work.

    Hopefully it's also going to end as usual: Nobody gives a shit about their "regulations" and thing continue to run like they did.

  • FTA:

    This false distinction between “Internet access service” and “a distinct transmission service” is utterly ridiculous and completely ungrounded from reality. As the FCC would have it, there is some sort of “transmission” that is separate from the Internet that ISPs provide access to.

    As usual I feel behind the curve in trying to understand where these guys are coming from.

    Back in the day, when the "Internet" and AOL was the same thing to many people and you accessed it through a dial-up modem, there was definitely a distinction between packet transmission and ISP provided services. I remember trying to get USENET access through my dad's system where AOL was the "ISP." Everything in their app worked fine and you could do some "Internety" things but on the Windows side there did

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      And now AOL is.. where? Exactly. Because the telcos and cable companies started offering direct, ungated internet access and people swarmed to it (and away from AOL) in droves.

      Now those same telcos and cable companies want to essentially turn themselves into the new AOLs. Except this time they're also in control of the underlying pipes so there's not really anyone who can swoop in and cut the rug out from under them as they themselves did to AOL 15ish years ago.

      It was what.. 2 or 3 years ago when the who

    • by dog77 ( 1005249 )
      Try reading and understanding the paragraph that the article is paraphrasing.

      https://transition.fcc.gov/Dai... [fcc.gov]

      The article is claiming that the FCC position is the complete opposite from what the FCC says it is in the document. The article is pulling something out of context to make a false assertion. Here is another section from the FCC document, that explains the true position of the FCC:

      Below we examine both how consumers perceive the offer of broadband Internet access service, as well as the nat
  • It's worthless.

  • They just need to know who's giving them their money.

    At his point, that's the people who run the telco and cable companies.

    What, you still think that the higher-ups in the Federal Government actually care about We The People? Have you been hiding under a rock for the last several Presidential administrations?

  • by Neuronwelder ( 990842 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @08:02PM (#55708641)
    Management is the huge wrench that is thrown in the gears of Net Neutrality. Get rid of management and let the Engineers run it.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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