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Eric Russ
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Posted: 24 November 2017 at 7:26pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

This administration is bent on destroying freedom -

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/22/fcc_moves_to_gut_net_neutrality



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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 November 2017 at 9:01pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I've only recently come to understand what "net neutrality" means. At the risk of getting in all kinds of trouble, I'm not sure why this is an issue. We don't have such "neutrality" in other aspects of our lives. No "automobile neutrality" or "clothing neutrality" or "housing neutrality."

What am I missing? Seriously, I would like to be enlightened.

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Karl Wiebe
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Posted: 24 November 2017 at 9:12pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I know that the idea that the internet is a "series of tubes" is used in jest, but it is one (simple) way to look at it.  Or the internet is like a water line (or gas line) to your house.  The idea is that with something so critical, the electric company shouldn't play favourites when administering the power.

So like for example, I use Telus for my internet, phone and TV (in Canada).  If I wanted to watch a recent movie, I could watch it on Netflix or Telus on Demand.  Both use data.  But Telus owns one of those platforms (the on Demand one).  If they made Netflix slow and made Telus on Demand fast, I might wind up purchasing more through Telus (and less on Netflix).  So it could be seen as a conflict of interest.  Telus owns two vertical layers of the service.

That's the way I understand it (but I am sure there are other pieces to the situation).
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Jean-Francois Joutel
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Posted: 24 November 2017 at 10:11pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

No "automobile neutrality"

------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------

Well, if I would try and use that analogy, imagine a highway where the high speed lanes are reserved for Fords only. Certain highway exits are only available if you have a domestic car.

The abolishing of Net Neutrality would mean dedicated traffic flows for the rich and established websites and web services, and makes it harder for start-ups who can't afford to pay for the dedicated traffic. If your internet company also owns a streaming service, suddenly, Netflix is having a lot more buffering issues in your area.

There are also other issues of Net Neutrality, which could include a level of corporate endorsed censorship.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 12:30am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Tim Berners-Lee - hey, I’m going to give this away because it is for everyone.
Corporates - I can take advantage of this. Vertical integration of provider and content where neutrality is not mandatory is the problem.

As mentioned above - those services that are in competition with companies that provide services and also have a control of the distribution network can be treated as second class. That provides an unfair advantage to those companies that have both parts of the platform.

You could end up with an inferior service being the one you have to use for the sake of convenience - because the better service is operating with one hand tied behind its back.

What is incredible about this, is that the only reason it can be being discussed, is that vertically integrated companies must be thinking of doing this. If they were not, why would it be being discussed? Or being lobbied for?
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Eric Russ
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 1:51am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Well, if I would try and use that analogy, imagine a highway where the high speed lanes are reserved for Fords only. Certain highway exits are only available if you have a domestic car.

The abolishing of Net Neutrality would mean dedicated traffic flows for the rich and established websites and web services, and makes it harder for start-ups who can't afford to pay for the dedicated traffic. If your internet company also owns a streaming service, suddenly, Netflix is having a lot more buffering issues in your area.

There are also other issues of Net Neutrality, which could include a level of corporate endorsed censorship.

--------

Excellent points. Price gouging is definitely a concern.  A big one is censorship and not allowing voices to be heard. Net Neutrality enables people, without mass amounts of money, to communicate and have a voice. 

With the corporate control element, their political enablers the masses will be subject to whatever "propaganda" comes out of their machine for their agenda.

Could you imagine being forced feed certain political views that only helps a politician and his financial backers? That is the threat.

We do not need a "monopoly" by big business on communication. We really don't need big business influence on the Internet, especially, as far as I know, it was created to be accessible to all.

Some quotes from the link -

"This is one of the most extreme proposals we’ve seen this FCC, which is saying a lot, because there have been a number of very extreme proposals over the last six months including efforts to roll back broadband subsidies for working families, efforts to knock away media ownership rules that would allow a company like Sinclair to control local television. This goes even further. It takes away the essential protection that Internet users have to ensure that their online connections aren’t blocked, aren’t throttled, or that their communications aren’t censored in any way."

"Well, the Internet was created as this network where, where there were no gatekeepers. Essentially, anyone who goes online can connect with everyone else online. And that’s given rise to all sorts of innovation, it’s allowed political organizers, and racial justice advocates to use this tool to contact people, to organize, to get their message out.

What Pai is proposing is to take that principle, net neutrality, out of the network and allow these very powerful companies to insert themselves as gatekeepers. And when you look at a company like Comcast which owns NBC Universal, there will be this great incentive for them to favor their own content and to degrade content from websites and services like Democracy Now! or other services. So, this fundamentally upsets the level playing field of the Internet."

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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 5:15am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Well, if I would try and use that analogy, imagine a highway where the high speed lanes are reserved for Fords only. Certain highway exits are only available if you have a domestic car.

•••

But that's the wrong analogy. We might call it "highway neutrality" -- and note that such a thing in fact does not exist. Streets and highways have speed limits, certain kinds of vehicles cannot use certain roads, etc. Exactly what seems to be the concern in the elimination of "net neutrality."

It all feels rather like some people are viewing internet access as a right, rather than a luxury.

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Jean-Francois Joutel
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 7:02am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

But that's the wrong analogy. We might call it "highway neutrality" -- and note that such a thing in fact does not exist. Streets and highways have speed limits, certain kinds of vehicles cannot use certain roads, etc. Exactly what seems to be the concern in the elimination of "net neutrality."

It all feels rather like some people are viewing internet access as a right, rather than a luxury.

-----------------------------------------------------

You're right, the analogy isn't perfect.

Supporters of Net Neutrality point to the first amendment; protection of  free speech. The abolition of Net Neutrality could signify that companies can shape network traffic which could be disastrous for smaller sites that call for political or social reform that corporations disagree with.

There is no constitutional guarantee of the right to drive or own a car.
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Jean-Francois Joutel
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 7:12am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The big issue though, is many people who support Net Neutrality are worried that large corporations will have unfair advantages and can use their influence to blot out sites they disagree with.

The counter-point is: isn't that already happening? We use Google or Bing to do web searches, and either of those could filter out sites they disagree with. Web hosting sites like Amazon and GoDaddy could also shutdown sites they disagree with, like they have with the Daily Stormer.
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Karl Wiebe
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 8:29am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Yes many people view the internet as a right, similar to clean drinking water or access to education.  The United Nations stated in 2016 that the importance of the internet is closely tied to human rights.  
https://www.article19.org/data/files/Internet_Statement_Adop ted.pdf

Whereas TV is a commercial medium, the internet was originally designed as a community resouces for sharing ideas.

Using the highway analogy: there is a speed limit, but the speed limit applies to everyone.  It is not a perfect analogy, but in the internet highway, in theory we all drive the same vehicle (ourselves/our agenda).


Edited by Karl Wiebe on 25 November 2017 at 8:33am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 8:37am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Using the highway analogy: there is a speed limit, but the speed limit applies to everyone. It is not a perfect analogy, but in the internet highway, in theory we all drive the same vehicle (ourselves/our agenda).

••

But, to extend this analogy, on the highways we DON'T all drive the same vehicle. Some want faster cars, bigger cars. Some want trucks. Some want RVs. Some want motorcycles.

So this "net neutrality" distills everyone to a common denominator, which may be good for those who would otherwise be on the low end of spectrum, but not so much for those who wish to be higher.

The equalent scenario with "highway neutrality" would be so say everyone has to drive a Volkswagen Beetle, regardless of what they can actually afford. And, let's face it, progress has always been driving by some people demanding more. The Wright Brothers didn't build their plane with the idea that everybody would have one.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 8:42am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

The big issue though, is many people who support Net Neutrality are worried that large corporations will have unfair advantages and can use their influence to blot out sites they disagree with.

••

Which is, sadly, real life. And we should remember that the internet is already a very elitist system. "Everybody" doesn't have access. According to Google, about 3.2 billion people can get on the internet. That's somewhat less than half the global population. And depending where those people are, that access is already being crimped and folded.

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Karl Wiebe
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Totally valid points.  I guess another way to phrase the debate is arguing about what IS vs. arguing about what SHOULD be.  So I agree, the highway has different vehicles.  But if each of us could wave a magic wand and make it the way each of us think it SHOULD be, there are some people who feel that cars should never have a capability to exceed the speed limit.  Or some people think that highway speed limts should be removed.  Or your car can't start without an activated seat belt and a breathelizer.  In other words, public safety trumps freedom in some people's perfect world, or freedom trumps safety.

So with the internet, the argument could be seen as what it should be--how the internet was originally conceived and designed, rather than what it really is.  The internet may be an elitist system now, but that doesn't make it right (at least if you are one of the guys arguing that access to the internet is a human right, especially to protect the little guy).


Edited by Karl Wiebe on 25 November 2017 at 6:57pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 7:17pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

So with the internet, the argument could be seen as what it should be--how the internet was originally conceived and designed, rather than what it really is. The internet may be an elitist system now, but that doesn't make it right (at least if you are one of the guys arguing that access to the internet is a human right, especially to protect the little guy).

•••

The internet was created so a bunch of scientists could share data. The printing press for today's generation. But unlike the printing press, the internet was not controllable. The genii escaped its bottle and spread out at the speed of thought, blasting thru the rules and regulations that governed the "free press". To protect the little guy? With hacking? Cyber-bullying? Foreign governments influencing our elections? Fake news? And all those "little guys" too dumb to know when they're being manipulated?

Maybe some doors DO need to be closed, some channels diverted -- and maybe a greater level of responsibility should be brought to bear. Freedom, not license.

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 25 November 2017 at 9:57pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Back to the ‘highway neutrality’ scenario. We actually do not have full parity at the moment.
While in the U.K. we all have broadband, there is a range of broadband types/speeds available - broadband, fibre broadband, super fast broadband and cable.
Depends where you live as to what max speed you can get. But once you have your speed, the content all comes at that speed. So there is a highway market based on which lane you can afford.
But that’s based on hardware and not the content.
I’m a bit uncomfortable with someone else dictating what I can and cannot have access to with a few caveats and I totally understand the implications of both parts of that sentence and that it makes me a hypocrite.
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 5:57am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has written an op ed encouraging the public to resist the repeal of net neutrality. I think it is tough to avoid thinking the worst if it is repealed. When has an advantage ever NOT been taken in a capitalist society? "It's just business" is the mantra of anyone wanting to obsolve guilt while they screw you. Net neutrality treats all data the same. The packets are not restricted by their place of origin, content, or any other possible difference. The potential to restrict data based on anything is scary.

Op Ed: LA Times
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 9:43am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Regarding the "highway" analogy, consider if all roads currently in existance had their accessibility changed based on where you wanted to go, what you wanted to do, etc. Imagine a road/route you were allowed to travel in order to get to the grocery store, but if you wanted to go to the restaurant next to the grocery store you had to take a different, longer route. Also, imagine these pathways and their accessibility changing on a monthly basis based on whether or not the place you wanted to go had paid a premium. In the highway analogy the origin, destination, type of vehicle and content of your vehicle all influence what route and speed limit you are allowed to travel. If a new road is built it may be a toll road, dedicated to local travel, etc., but we are talking about giving service providers the ability to change how your data is delivered based on almost anything conceiveable with the existing infrastructure on a monthly basis

Edited by Eric Ladd on 26 November 2017 at 9:45am
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Eric Russ
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 3:15pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

What is amazing about American citizens, is that we have a lack of understanding and involvement on issues that will impact us.

I dread to imagine what would happen if  net neutrality is dismantled.  Sharing and getting information, truthful or not, your point of view or not, is at a disadvantage. 






Edited by Eric Russ on 26 November 2017 at 3:23pm
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Michael Murphy
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 4:17pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I think some are getting too hung upon the highways analogy.

Say Verizon is my ISP. Verizon, through AOL, owns the Huffington Post. Verizon decides that they only want their subscribers to visit the news outlets they own so they slow or restrict access to other news sites. Net neutrality does not allow this behavior, the loss of it would make it ok for ISPs to engage in that behavior.

Comcast owns NBC. Loose net neutrality and they could slow or restrict access to on NBC news sites (NBC, MSNBC, CNCB etc) and any entertainments services they don't like. NBC has a streaming service and part ownership in Hulu. They decide Hulu needs to get all of your viewing so they slow or restrict access to Netflix and HBO Now.

It is not just about making more money from "fast lanes" it means that your ISP can choose what you have access to. There is not true competition between ISPs, where you live determines your provider and in many places there is only one choice. With the loss of net neutrality that provider now gets to control what you can do with the internet.



Edited by Michael Murphy on 26 November 2017 at 4:18pm
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

But if there is only one choice for a provider, and that provider became unpopular due to their restricting certain sites, wouldn't that mean there would be a market for another ISP to swoop in and take customers from the original provider?
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 6:34pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

But if there is only one choice for a provider, and that provider became unpopular due to their restricting certain sites, wouldn't that mean there would be a market for another ISP to swoop in and take customers from the original provider?

——

Nope. Because the US lacks the broadband infrastructure. In most of the country, the choice is between whatever cable company monopolizes your area or slower DSL through the old phone lines. 
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Adam Hutchinson
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 7:37pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Jon Oliver gave the best explanation for the importance of Net
Neutrality, I believe. Here’s the segment from his show a few years ago:
Link. with an update from
a few months ago: here
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Mark McKay
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Do anti-trust laws already cover these issues?
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Eric Russ
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 1:09pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Here is an article -

FCC will block states from passing their own net neutrality laws




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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 1:29pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

It all feels rather like some people are viewing internet access as a right, rather than a luxury.

At this point, though, the internet's a necessity to a majority of people in this country. You need it for work, for communication with family, for shopping--it's a "luxury" in the sense that having a phone is luxury. It's so ubiquitous now that it should be considered a public utility for all intents and purposes.
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