Sunday, August 22, 2010

Net Neutrality

You've heard the words "Net Neutrality" but do you know what they mean?

It's time to educate yourself on the issue of Net Neutrality because Republican interests don't just own FOX but also control the rest of our media and telecom companies and now they want the Internet, lock, stock and barrel.

It can not be stated enough that only six companies own all the media in the United States. All the cable and network television stations; all of the radio stations; all of the print media & publishing companies; all the movie houses and film studios - all the media we consume is controlled by only six people at the head of six corporations

General Electric - Jeffrey Imelt
Walt Disney
- Robert Iger
News Corp.
- Rupert Murdoch
Time-Warner
- Jeffrey Bewkes
Viacom - Sumner Redstone
CBS
- Leslie Moonves

That's it. Six extremely wealthy, conservative, white men control all the public media you will ever consume. So if you wonder why President Obama's overall message and accomplishments ALWAYS get buried. Well, now you know why.

If that little cartel isn't bad enough, the telecom companies are not much better. Although there are significantly more telecom companies than there are media companies, the major players outweigh the small fry to laughable degrees. For instance, I'm sure you've heard of AT&T and Verizon. Depending on where you live you may also be familiar with QWEST, BellSouth and Honeywell. These are the providers. The other companies are mostly providers of equipment and telecommunications software.

You don't have to be a tech geek to know that Google is a major player in the internet game. Google was started by two guys in their garage and has grown to be a global behemoth. Google's motto, when only run by the two guys in their garage used to be "Do No Evil" - but gradually, those two guys from the garage are either corrupted by the almight U.S. dollar or have long since caved to the pressure of the company that's far outgrown them and is now run by the demands of investors, shareholders and the people who run the place - not them.

So, it's the providers and Google however that want to change the Internet forever and not in a good way.

The Internet is truly the last bastion of free space in the media conglomerate that is America. However the government and corporate version of the Internet will look much like television. Only the richest players in the game will be allowed to play at all. More and more, despite what we pay for in equipment, internet service fees and our taxes that support the entire infrastructure, we're being told that what we're getting online is "free". Ever willing to milk every dime and dollar from the American people, we are to pay for "content" with either hard cash or by renting our brains to corporate advertising. Consume our message - buy buy buy - or just pay up in advance, either will do. But you will pay.

And once you do finally get to see whatever it is you wanted to see, woe betide if you "share" that "content" with anyone else. The media you "buy" you never really own. You can show that Harry Potter movie to your friends and family in your own home but pass it on to a friend on the Internet and you've crossed the line from friend to pirate. Or that's the bill of goods we're sold.

Censorship is nothing new in America. The fact that our government and those six media companies work together to control the entertainment we consume and the information we get should be taken as as fact, not conspiracy theory.

The company that provides your internet service (ISP) more than likely censors and or "throttles" your service. These are not the same things.

Censorship means that there is more than likely a site or two - you may not even be aware of - that your ISP outright blocks. Yes, Time-Warner/Road Runner is more than likely blocking a site or two - or few hundred. Yes, the same for Cincinnati Bell/Fuse and OneNet and AOL doesn't even bother to hide that they block sites - they use it as a selling point. After all, it's for your own good and please, won't someone, think of the children?

OK. So maybe they're just blocking kiddie porn and that's a good thing, we'll agree. But they're not. What they're doing is far more insidious. Censoring content they don't like, slowing down traffic to sites that compete with them (throttling) and elimnating competition from small cities and towns that decide to skip the big providers and provide their own broadband and wireless services to their citizens.:


ISP Censorship

August, 2007
A Pearl Jam concert at Lollapalooza this past weekend seems to have been censored on AT&T’s Blue Room media showcase, causing quite an uproar from Pearl Jam, and other Internet (Internet) public service groups.

The argument centers around the need for net neutrality, which would even the playing field for ISPs and be in the better interest of the end consumer. When Pearl Jam’s performance morphed into a song about George Bush, asking him to “leave this world alone…and find another home,” it would appear that AT&T wasn’t too pleased with the medley, as these words were not heard in the Blue Room version of the concert. AT&T says that the censorship of this particular part of the concert was a mistake, but Pearl Jam thinks otherwise.

Pushing even harder for net neutrality as a stance against content “nannies” and media censorship, Pearl Jam and AT&T seem to be at odds on this particular argument. This is mainly because AT&T doesn’t regard this situation as a correlated issue to net neutrality. As AT&T only censored its own streaming version of Pearl Jam’s concert, it’s not very different from a broadcast or cable television station bleeping out profanity.
And the fact that AT&T was going along full steam with George Bush's illegal wiretapping of American citizens at the time, of course, had nothing to do with them censoring a lyric criticizing Bush at all.


ISP Throttling

Comcast advertised to the customers unlimited "Downloads at Crazy Fast Speeds". When their customers took them at their word, Comcast decided that certain types of traffice - say people downloading or sharing music on Bit Torrent (file sharing) sites - wasn't exactly what they had in mind.

So what did Comcast do? They simply started slowing down traffice to the sites they didn't like. And when their customers asked them about it, they lied and said no, they weren't doing that. And when it got out to the press, they lied again and changed their advertising. However their customers didn't let them off that easily.

November, 2007
Comcast Sued For Traffic Shaping
Plaintiff Jon Hart, represented by the Lexington Law Group, argues that Comcast's promises of providing internet connections that let users "Download at Crazy Fast Speeds" are false and misleading since Comcast limits downloads by transmitting "unauthorized hidden messages to the computers of customers" who use peer-to-peer file sharing software. Hart wants the court to force Comcast to stop interfering with the traffic.

February, 2010
Comcast P2P Throttling Settlement
Comcast has settled a class action over the whole throttling kerfuffle you might recall began right here in the forums at Broadband Reports back in 2007. Our users discovered that Comcast was throttling all upstream subscriber P2P traffic by forging user TCP reset packets, though Comcast repeatedly denied the practice to consumers, regulators and the press.

While Comcast has settled the case without admitting any fault, they're still fighting with the FCC in court, arguing that the agency lacks the authority to dictate how Comcast manages its network.

The outcome of that case drastically impacts the authority the FCC has over broadband ISPs. Consumer-focused policy folks like Art Brodsky and Harold Feld this week have been highlighting the carriers' one/two punch effort to strip the FCC of all authority moving forward. Should the FCC find itself on the losing end of that scenario, carriers in the future could simply ignore your complaints over heavy-handed throttling practices.

ISP's blocking competition

July, 2008
Municipal Cable Blocked by Time Warner
In Wilson, North Carolina, a small city of about 47,000 residents located in the middle of North Carolina, launched a $28M program to deliver cable services at much lower rates than local service providers Time Warner Cable and Embarq.

North Carolina’s State Senate has now proposed bills to not only effectively crippling or banning the local service, but also to prevent such services from getting funds under the broadband portion of the national Stimulus law.

The city, has blasted the move, launching a new blog and urging the state government to reject the initiative.

Brian Bowman, Public Affairs Manager for the City of Wilson, stated:
If the cable/phone companies really want a level playing field, they’d open their books just like we do in the spirit of open meetings and open records law. They don’t want a level playing field. They want to be the only team on the field.


These are only a few examples of what the future of the Internet will be if the giants of telecom that also function as ISP's are allowed to sidestep the FCC and have their own way.

Google and Verizon have the unmitigated gall to feel that they are entitled to hashing out how the rest of us would like to live and work on the Internet. Instead of having the vision to provide new and better service, their main goal is to tie us in servitude to whatever draconian measures they dream up.

Conservatives from John McCain to your average Tea Bagger have all jumped on the corporate bandwagon and as usual, are more than willing to sacrifice freedom to our corporate masters for the sheer sake of doing what they always do - vote against the best interest of everyone for the sake of a chosen few. So please, feel free to ignore all Republican, GOP, Tea Bagger conservative based rhetoric on Net Neutrality. And John "I Don't Even Use the Internet" McCain, really needs to stop because this is one issue, I can assure you he knows nothing about. I don't how to operate a fighter plane either, so I suppose this makes us even but I think we can safely assume that McCain's only interest in the Internet is whatever Verizon and Google tell him his interest will be. Please note that "John McCain's bullshit "Internet Freedom Act of 2009," which is exactly the opposite of what it sounds like."

Net neutrality, the way it is meant to be, will ensure exactly that. That giants like Google wouldn't be able to prevent people accessing my own humble little blog, despite the fact that they own Blogger, the site I publish on. That you can access every site in the same manner without interference.

That is the spirit of Net Neutrality and it it needs to be upheld at all costs.

4 comments:

  1. As usual, I can count on your to have no idea what you're jabbering about.

    Six companies controlling all media?

    Please.

    Among newspapers you forgot: The New York Times, Gannett, Tribune, Time, Advance Publications, Asahi Shimbum, Reed Elsevier and International Data Group.

    Then there is the well known publisher -- McGraw-Hill.

    You missed the radio companies: Sirius, Radio One, Cumulus Media, Westwood One and Clear Channel, just to name a few.

    You also missed DISH Network, the satellite TV service provider.

    Among those companies providing Internet, Phone and Cable TV service, I think you missed Cablevision.

    But you did find six players.

    ReplyDelete
  2. you wrote:

    Censorship is nothing new in America. The fact that our government and those six media companies work together to control the entertainment we consume and the information we get should be taken as as fact, not conspiracy theory.

    Yeah. Government control of the Internet. That explains why porn finally got its major breakthrough online.

    The government censors NOTHING in this country -- except kiddie porn. But as a result of the internet, it's tough to police even that.

    As for the "information we get", well, obviously any screwball with internet access can create and distribute anything at all -- video, audio, print -- to the entire planet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You really do get a lot of things wrong:

    Google was started by two guys in their garage and has grown to be a global behemoth.

    If you were jabbering about Apple Computer, you'd be on the right track. Jobs and Wosniak did start out in a garage. It's a great story.

    But the two guys who created Google -- sergey Brin and Larry Page -- were operating in an impressive garage, also known as Stanford University.

    Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Google, AOL, Yahoo. Nothing stops the next entrepreneur from taking things another step.

    You probably never thought about how the US auto industry saw many many car-makers come and go because the business was unstable. But eventually the majority of business went to the Big Three.

    The Big Three became the Big Three mainly because General Motors bought a lot of the competitors that were heading into bankruptcy.

    If you knew anything about economics, you'd know there are phases that industries pass through. Generally it all works out okay, unless the government gets involved and skews the markets in some foolish direction.

    Like housing, by insuring that every dead-beat in the country was entitled to mortgage no matter how bad his credit, no matter if he had a job and no matter that he had NO money for a downpayment.

    All that bad business was the result of government intrusion into housing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Chris/ no_slappz,

    I am not pleased to see you back here. I asked you to stop posting here before and I'm tempted to summarily delete your posts but I won't, for now.

    The "start up in the garage" is now a metaphor hon, which means, not to be taken literally. So you can chill on that.

    You have your views on what censorship entails, I have mine, but I strongly believe that what is now commonly called the "MSM" is heavily censored.

    You have never quite been able to stay on topic in any conversation that I've ever seen. While my post is merely a long-winded one that explains the need for Net Neutrality, you wind up your min-rants with info about government interference in the housing market.

    I'll give you a generous benefit of the doubt and assume that you may have meant to eventually tie that to the topic of Net Neutrality, but you failed, so let's just stop already, shall we?

    I'd rather you refrained from posting here, but for now, I'll simply let you post and delete at my leisure as long as you keep your comments brief, don't multiple post and don't reduce yourself to personal insults as you have been wont to do in the past.

    Sincerely,

    ThatDeborahGirl

    ReplyDelete

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