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The Bat Cave EAR

Evie is an aeorspace engineer and will blog about current events in various fields including but not limited to: Space, Astronomy, Genetics, Biology, Green Energy, Neuroscience, Physics, Quantum Physics, Evolution, Environmental issues, Engineering.. Pretty much anything and everything that catches her eye. Stay tuned! Thoughts, comments, requests – always welcomed!

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Awesome Stuff
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Net Neutrality is a very important issue.

If you’re not familiar with the term, here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

“Internet neutrality is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates NO restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed.

The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.”

Net Neutrality is all about safeguarding your freedom to choose what sites you visit, without being restricted or hindered. You should have the ability to check out both CNN and MSN, you should be able to watch videos on YouTube, and Vimeo. That sounds fair.

But what if for instance, and this is JUST an example, CNN were to strike a deal with an internet service provider and say hey, if we pay you some extra money, would you provide higher bandwidth to CNN sites and lower bandwidth to our competitors?

That right there, is no longer net neutrality. And that is what we the people are fighting against.

I for one, want to make sure that I get equal access to all sites. I don’t want my ISP or the government or any other company, institution, or organization, diverting my access to bandwidth in a way that manipulates my internet travels.

I don’t want websites run by people with money, who are willing to pay for diverting bandwidth, to be favored and more accessible than others. That goes against everything the internet stands for today, and against everything I believe in.

Regulation of such things falls to the FCC, and until now, they haven’t gotten anything concrete down as far as laws. This leaves the door wide open for anyone to take advantage of the lack of regulations/enforcement going on.

It would appear that Google and Verizon may be doing just that. The two companies have come up with a "joint policy proposal" or a set of rules they are willing to adhere to.

Why is this a problem? Well, let’s see..

The first point made in this proposal, is that wired ISPs will be prohibited from blocking any lawful traffic, and will allow customers to connect all legal devices. Note the word WIRED.

Yup, they want all the regulation to only pertain to wired networks, meaning NO wireless network regulation whatsoever. None. Are you fucking kidding me?!?! How is excluding wireless networks from regulation in any way net neutrality?? That is some seriously heavy bullshit. Off the charts on the poop-o-meter.

Next we have a nice little exception in the form of ‘other services’. So basically an ISP can slap a new name on some new 'service' (3D for instance) which would still be allowed to use internet content, but since it’s got a new name which makes it distinguishable from the normal internet, it won’t fall under the scrutiny of any regulations. As a bonus the ISPs can now charge you for the new services too. They’re intentionally creating loop holes the size of the Milky Way galaxy. Poo-meter still off the charts.

This one kinda made me laugh, they are actually suggesting that the FCC be able to enforce the consumer protection and non discrimination rules (how nice of them), but are then adding that the FCC would NOT be allowed to instate any additional rules in the matter, nor would it have any power regarding conflict resolutions. Should any conflicts arise, they would be brokered using nongovernmental processes. This would leave the FCC able to dish out a max fine of $2 million, which let's not forget, is nothing for someone like Google for instance.

These are not all the points in the proposal, they are just the ones that I found most troubling. And again this deal between Google and Verizon has nothing to do with the FCC for now, but clearly they are very much pushing for the FCC to adopt this proposal as the new legislation.

This makes me sad. I love Google. Why must all corporations turn Evil? Why??

Anyway, for a summary of what’s going on and what it all means, watch this vid by Reese Laysen (@reese015 on twitter). He is one of the founders of the IPower network, which has been instrumental in keeping net neutrality alive.

Here are a couple of links to petitions you can sign to help stop the madness, and keep the internet accessible
SaveTheInternet petition towards Google petition towards Google

And for more details check out this very cool article on the subject at Engadget

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Blog Comments

Dr. O
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Hubby and I were talking about this last night. I for one am scared to death about what this means for us little bloggers, especially those that are doing their best to make science intellectually available to the public. It's hard enough to get accurate science information out there; this could make it that much more difficult.

I really wish more people were paying attention to this...thanks for blogging about it!!

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It does seem that people are either unaware that this is going on, or don't grasp the importance of this issue. It scares me too. For so many reasons. The internet is and will be (at least for the forseeable future) seen as the open place where all the truth comes out. If the truth is blocked, but the masses don't realize it.. ughh.. I don't even want to think about this. Very no bueno.

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It's like Metallica shutting down Napster a few years ago. They made themselves big on the back of bootlegs and covers of others' work, but once the $ come flooding in everything changes.


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Couldn't agree with you more. I heaR that the tea bagger movement is taking up this issue too, saying net neutrality is impeding free speech and free markets. I really hope this doesn't become a divisive issue.

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Oh no... not the tea baggers! *sigh* this will not end well..

Beth D.
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Faux News is trying to confuse people by saying that if the FCC has more regulations in place, then the net is "less free". People don't understand the issue at all and won't until the consequences of a pay-to-play internet are in place. I've already signed all the petitions and keep posting on Twitter, but I'm not feeling too good about this one.

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@Holly - That article is really scary. How can anyone be against net neutrality..? Then again how can anyone be against health care or equal rights..

@Beth - I keep doing the same, no one seems to care. And you're right, they won't figure it out till it hits them directly..

None of this bodes well for open information or for the human race as a whole for that matter.. I keep feeling more and more like the professor on Futurama from the awesome previous episode on evolution: "I don't want to live on this planet anymore." If you havent seen it here's a link, just click the free option Link pops
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