Monday, January 17, 2011

Net Neutrality Explained, The Real Deal

There are three principles to Net Neutrality:
  1. All legal content on internet is treated equally.
  2. ISPs cannot block access to legal websites, meaning they cannot block competitors websites or websites that have points of view they dislike. Cellphones cannot block your access to GoogleEarth so that you have pay for their GPS.
  3. Companies or individuals cannot pay to have their pages load faster than other pages, prioritizing the internet into tiers. This will prevent big business from strangling small business, and not treat users differently based on whether they want to go to a site that had money to pay to be loaded faster.
That is all it is.

On a more technical level, some argue that packets of data of video should be loaded faster than text since video information is more harshly affected by loading speeds. Net Neutrality doesn't restrict how endpoints can prioritize the received data.

In support of it:

Against it:

The argument against it I think is best summed up as: If corporations decide to control what people can see, the people will be upset, and that if it can't be stopped, there's always TV, radio, newspapers, and telephones. That is a "meh" attitude towards freedom (moreover, naive). They used the fact that it was reported that Comcast decided to strangle the speed of BitTorrent clients on their network. They think that we don't have to protect our freedoms so long as it's being reported that they're being taken away. (Comcast is the largest ISP in the country.)

Both the above groups agree on the definition of Net Neutrality.

Those whom the ISPs pay lots of money so they can get the right to sell the power to control the internet have no shame in just making stuff up about Net Neutrality - as do many prominent talk show hosts and commentators (or they simply don't care to do good research - or about the truth).

For example, Glenn Beck gets his information from a book that has since been updated to no longer say what he says it says. The book also never had anything to do with Net Neutrality.

This video unfortunately explains that the Net Neutrality regulations recently passed by the FCC are very lax. They completely exclude wireless networks, such as for cellphones, so they CAN block any place on the internet that might interfere with them trying to sell you something. They new law also completely ignore principle #1 and #3. In fact, it says violating #3 is ok. To me, the wireless network and devices with contracts issue is debatable; completely ignoring principle #3 is not.

Net neutrality is something I have felt very strongly about for the last 10 years. It's only in the last few years that it seems a misinformation campaign was begun to turn people away from fighting for their own freedom. Without people knowing what an issue really is, there can be no rational debate on an issue.

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