Showing posts with label Internet Neutrality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Internet Neutrality. Show all posts

November 3, 2019

Are Russians Aware Their Government is Taking Them Out of The Internet toRestrict Their Info.

Most people know that when you get your information from just one source you are not getting the whole story. Accidentally or on purpose, mistakes are made examining and distributing information. One thing most people do know is if it's just the government that is feeding you information must of is going to be wrong because is going to be changed to make the government look good. No government is going to want to tell it all because that is the way humans are. 

The only time the government can be believed is when there are other sources that are saying the same thing and sources that did not get the story purely from the government. That is what the government of Puting and it's many layers of governmental agencies want to do, they want to be perfect so people will trust them and keep them in power. 

My question is are 144.5 (2017) Million Russians will just sit around and let the government do as it wishes? In the past Russians have suffered hunger, lack of money and other necessities but now we are in the 21 century and you would think a country that is spending so much in unique missiles that hopefully will never get used because it will destroy Russia's enemy's together with Russia and everyone else. So, why the investment? If you leave for the government to explain it will tell you it needs defense. The U.S. will say the same. But that does not make sense. Improving and spending more on missiles that will never (hopefully) get used? So far both governments are getting away with it. In the U.S. you have a President that can not tell a single truth and you see in his lips face and you hear it in his voice and in yesterday's truth which today is not. Russia you have the same type of individual President but being an ex KGB spy, you never know what he is thinking and his lies have few emotions. Thank goodness some of us have been given common sense and when something does not make sense no lie can cover it up.

 Taking away the Internet and I don't mean Facebook which promotes untruths, but the internet where you learn politics, science, medicine and everything else. What is discovered (if it's not by the government) is there for the average citizen. It's a miracle of the time and you must be pretty backwords to go back on the future. By the way, North Korea has its own internet...With that example, I will tell you no more.

Demonstrators protest at a Free Internet rally in Moscow in March. A new law takes effect 
on Friday that could restrict Internet access.
Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
 Russian law has taken effect that, in theory, would allow the Russian government to cut off the country's Internet from the rest of the world. 
The "sovereign Internet law," as the government calls it, greatly enhances the Kremlin's control over the Web. It was passed earlier this year and allows Russia's government to cut off the Internet completely or from traffic outside Russia "in an emergency," as the BBC reported. But some of the applications could be more subtle, like the ability to block a single post. 
It requires Internet service providers to install software that can "track, filter, and reroute internet traffic," as Human Rights Watch stated. Such technology allows the state telecommunications watchdog "to independently and extrajudicially block access to content that the government deems a threat."
The equipment would conduct what's known as "deep packet inspection," an advanced way to filter network traffic. 
Such widespread control is alarming to human rights groups, which fear it could be used to silence dissent. 
"Now the government can directly censor content or even turn Russia's Internet into a closed system without telling the public what they are doing or why," Rachel Denber, Human Rights Watch's deputy Europe and Central Asia director, said in a statement. "This jeopardizes the right of people in Russia to free speech and freedom of information online."
The Russian government has justified the law by saying it is needed to prevent U.S. cyberattacks. And, as the BBC reported, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has rejected the idea the law could be used to cut off Russia from the rest of the world: "No-one is suggesting cutting the Internet." 
Regardless of what the government intends, some experts think it would be technically difficult for Russia to actually close its network if it wanted to, because of the sheer number of its international connections. 
"What I found was that there were dozens of existing Internet exchange points in Russia, some of which have hundreds of participants — so hundreds of networks coming together there to exchange traffic," says David Belson, senior director of Internet Research & Analysis at Internet Society. Many of them are international network providers, he says, so "basically it's challenging — if not impossible, I think — to completely isolate the Russian Internet." 
Belson says that the requirement for Internet service providers to install tracking software will very likely also be challenging in practice. He adds that it will be difficult to get hundreds of providers to deploy it and hard to coordinate that they're all filtering the same content. And blocking certain content could have "collateral damage" — effects that the government hasn't foreseen. 
And how will this law ultimately change how Russians use the Internet? "It's not clear," Belson says. "There could be no change." Or, Russians may begin having difficulty accessing certain sites or be redirected to other sites when they request ones that are blocked. 
Internet freedom has been on the decline in Russia for at least six years, according to Freedom House. Last year the government tried to block the messaging app Telegram and cracked down on virtual private networks, which encrypt Internet traffic.

November 25, 2017

On December FCC Will Vote to Remove The Rules that Protect Your Net Neutrality

 Space Broadband Virtual Reality (AF)

Sometimes we are given something from the money we give our government and it works so well we forget how important it is for us; Until is taken away or worse we let them take it from us and given to the cable company to use and make money from you and me. 

You know it will be like your net experience you get now but then someone will have control over it.
They will have control of the channels obviously and will be happy to turn the channels you turn now but then they will charge you for it. I am just making a money argument but there are other reasons you don't want to give up owning this vehicle but I will stay on the economics of it affecting you.

 The bottom Denominator is money and people in the business of the internet would like more of it and now there is a government that is pro-business, are very rich themselves and would like to help out people (Supreme Court ruled that Business' are people too)when the arguments come to Americans vs. Business' this government will vote business they supply jobs argument.. 
Actually, this is not an argument about jobs but about control=money. In all fairness I understand the internet companies being nervous about the 2020's when there would be different world from today. By 2050 nothing will be the same. Buses without drivers, electric airplanes, money. All of that we have already and it just need to be replacing the way we are slowly. That is a more convincing argument that you don't sell when the world is volatile but what you own does not loose value. We need to hold on to it. We need some control so others won't control us.

What would happen if we lose the net neutrality for its users? The control will go to cable and communications companies and they will do what they always do(you can answer that one). 
The government will want a piece too.

For sure your cable bill will go down to prove what a good choice that was. Then, they will sell you the experience a la Carte. You pay when you join any intent company separately or use it, ie: Facebook$ would sell you the experience and if you want Google$ experience, or others etc. it will be more membership or usage$ It's a little like Con Ed does in NY. They charge for selling you the electricity that other companies are selling you and charging your experience separately. Many times my Con Ed Experience $ is higher than the actual electricity and that gives me a bad experience and one can tell me that is good for me because I don't feel it when I see the numbers.

It used to be called shipping and handling when someone charges you to have good or services delivered to your home. Now is called Supplying you with the experience or just Post office or delivery charges (the Con Edison Factor). Never give up what you have because you want something better! No one will replace it, they will give you their own idea of what you have with their idea of what they want for you.
 You can even see it so clearly in the national government we elected.
Adam Gonzalez Blogger, talking about Net Neutrality. Below is NPR with nonfiltered news.

NPR's Elise Hu talks to former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler about what the FCC decision to end so-called net neutrality means and what it will mean to consumers of internet streaming.

The Federal Communications Commission will vote next month to remove nearly every rule on the books that protect the idea of net neutrality. Basically, that means Internet service providers like Comcast or AT&T could go from being neutral gateways to everything on the Internet to gatekeepers. They could decide to load some sites more slowly or impose fees for faster service. The rules being repealed are just 2 years old. The FCC's Republican chair, Ajit Pai, says they've hurt the online economy. Here's what he told NPR's Morning Edition today.

AJIT PAI: The Internet wasn't broken in 2015 when these heavy-handed regulations were adopted. And once we remove them, I think we'll continue to see the infrastructure investment that will benefit digital consumers and entrepreneurs alike.

HU: Let's get a response to that from Pai's predecessor. Tom Wheeler chaired the FCC when it approved these rules in 2015. Tom Wheeler, thanks for joining us.

TOM WHEELER: Thanks for having me.
HU: Well, first, net neutrality is a term that can cause our eyes to glaze over. But obviously, it's been central to your career. So how do you explain it to people in your life to get folks engaged on the issue?

WHEELER: We actually said that we need to talk about this in terms of the open Internet rather than the abstract term net neutrality because that really describes what's going on here. We're talking about - is the Internet, which is the most powerful and pervasive platform in the history of the planet - is it going to be open to all comers, or is it going to be a toll road that the consumer has to pay to get special services or that service providers have to pay to be able to reach the consumer? And what we said was, no, this is an asset that is key to the economy of the 21st century, and it must be open to all.

HU: Your successor though, Chairman Ajit Pai, says the Internet wasn't broken in 2015 when you and the commission approved these rules. He calls them heavy-handed. So can you point to anything that got better for consumers over the past two years because of these regulations?
WHEELER: After these rules were adopted, we have seen investment in the broadband increase. We have seen VC investment in new startups that use the Internet increase. And we have seen an expansion in the kinds of services that are available to consumers. This has been a success.
The Internet was indeed broken before the 2015 rules were put in place because the companies were blocking content. They were throttling content. And they even went to court to tell the court under oath that they intended to have fast lanes and slow lanes so that consumers would have to pay more. So with all due respect to the current chairman, he is making up something out of whole cloth that was denied under oath (laughter) by the Internet service providers in court.

HU: So what would be the effect on consumers now under the changes that are proposed?
WHEELER: Oh, wow. If you like your cable company, then you'll love what's going to happen to the Internet because suddenly the rules - instead of being open, the rules now will resemble very similar to what your rules are if you're a cable company where the cable company decides who you can get access to, what your prices will be.

HU: I'm curious, though. Something confusing in all of this is that both sides of the debate say that they support the idea of an open Internet. So sort through this for us. What's the debate over if both sides say, hey, we love the open Internet?
WHEELER: I think you've got to start with one key fact, and that is what we found when we were developing the open Internet rules - is that two-thirds of American consumers have at most one choice as to who they can get their Internet access from. That means we're dealing with a monopoly. And when those monopolies turn around and say, oh, we're for an open Internet, what they're really saying is, we're for an open Internet because we can make the rules. And we said, no, we think that the representative of the consumer ought to make those rules.

HU: Tom Wheeler served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from November 2013 to January of this year. He's now a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Tom Wheeler, thanks for coming on the program.
WHEELER: Thanks, Elise.

October 2, 2016

Did The US Give Away The Internet ? It’s Complicated

A judge in Texas has put the kibosh on a last-minute legal attempt to block the controversial decision for the US to give up control of one of the key systems that powers the internet.
It's a move being breathlessly described by some as the US "giving up the internet" to the likes of China, Russia and the Middle East.
It’s the weekend, so if you’re keen to save yourself several hundred words and get on with whatever you like to do with your free time, then here we go: No, the US hasn’t given away the internet. Don’t be absurd.
The long answer, naturally, is more complicated than that - and one mired in mistrust of one of the internet’s key organisations, the detail of which I’ll dig into in a moment.
Let’s start with the basics. 
For starters, while they can take the credit for inventing the underlying technology, the US never “had the internet” to begin with. Nobody did. It’s a, duh, network. Decentralised. That’s what makes it so powerful.
But there are bits of internet infrastructure that some people and governments do have control over, and that’s what this row is all about.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers handles the system for domain namesImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers handles the system for domain names

One of them is the DNS -  Domain Name System. This is the system for looking after web addresses. Thanks to the DNS, when you type, you’re taken to the correct servers for the BBC website. It saves you the grief of having to remember a string of numbers. 
That pairing of names and numbers is kept in one great big master file, the land registry of the web. The only organisation that can make changes is Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
As of Saturday 1 October 2016, Icann will no longer be under US government oversight. 
Instead, it’s now a fully “multi-stakeholder” non-profit that will take on board the views of companies, experts, academics and, yes, nation states, in how the naming system of the web is run.
Here’s a crucial bit: as a user of the internet, you won’t notice any difference whatsoever. And that’s because Icann isn’t a new entity. It’s been doing precisely this job since 1998 before the vast majority of us were even online.
The switch ends a transition that has essentially been in the works for around two decades, removing a dominant power the US had by circumstance rather than intention, and one which was causing friction in the international community.

God of the internet

Back when there were only a handful of websites, a man named Jon Postel - nicknamed “god of the internet” - was in control of DNS.
His task was assigning the easy-to-remember names to those bothersome numbers. It was a crucial step in accelerating the popularity of the world wide web.

The domain name system makes it easier to remember how to access a websiteImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image captionThe domain name system makes it easier to remember how to access a website

When it became clear this was clearly not a job for one man, however godly, a new body was set up to take over the task. They called it the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, IANA.
In 1998, control of IANA was given to the newly-formed Icann. It was given the power over internet naming globally. Experts saw Icann as a good blend of interests and expertise. One which they felt would keep the internet as open and useful as possible.
One quirk of this set-up, though, was that all the while the US’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the Department of Commerce, kept its final say over what the IANA did.
In short, if Icann did something the US government didn’t like, it could step in and knock it on the head.
With the handover, that power is lost -  though it was very sparingly used.


As with most political tussles in the US, both sides say they are fighting for freedom.
Opponents of the plan, the likes of which include presidential candidate Donald Trump and his former rival Ted Cruz, say giving up the power amounts to handing it over to countries like China and Russia. 
In one hearing, Senator Cruz asked if Icann - an international organisation - was bound by the First Amendment to the US constitution defending freedom of speech. No, came the reply from Icann's chief executive, Goran Marby.

Senator Ted Cruz has spoken out strongly against the handover planImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionSenator Ted Cruz has spoken out strongly against the handover plan

Evidence enough, the senator argued, that by giving Icann complete control over the internet’s naming system, it could use that power to disrupt and censor communications online.
And so this week, at the eleventh hour, district attorneys representing four US states filed a legal challenge in Texas.
They had hoped to argue that the root file, the big directory of domain names and their associated servers, was US government property - and therefore required congressional approval before being "given away". 
In court documents filed on Thursday, they also argued that without US control, well established domains like .gov and .mil (for government and military-related websites, respectively) could be tampered with. 
In other words, a fully independent Icann could not be trusted and may act unpredictably once free of US oversight.
But others, including some of the web’s founding fathers, believe blocking the handover is a far bigger risk to the internet’s long term well-being.

Diplomatic headache

Because if the US didn’t handover its power to Icann, it may have been cornered into doing something far riskier.
Unnerved by US power, many countries, particularly Russia and China, have pushed for the DNS to be looked after by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which is part of the UN.
This came to a vote in 2012, but failed. The US, UK, Canada and Australia were the dissenters, refusing to back a new treaty on the grounds it could be abused to affect internet governance, and by extension, content. 

An attempt to give naming control to the UN failed after a vote in 2012Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionAn attempt to give naming control to the UN failed after a vote in 2012

In other words, the four countries were worried by sharing out ownership of the internet’s core systems, more states could act like China and clamp down on internet use on their own countries - and all would be fair under the UN.
The US opposition drew heavy criticism - as it was essentially saying no countries can be trusted to look after the internet. Except the US. That didn’t go down well.
That said, given the US was responsible for creating the internet, it did have a valid argument in taking its time in handing over DNS. But it knew time was running out - ownership of the internet’s naming system was fast becoming a diplomatic headache the US needed to solve sooner rather than later.
The handover to Icann is a compromise that appears to suit the country very nicely, and not just because Icann will remain in Los Angeles.
It has the backing of many influential experts who, to counter the likes of Senator Cruz and Mr Trump, argue those opposed to it simply have no clue what they’re talking about.
On Friday, an amicus brief was filed to the Texas court by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), a group which represents the tech industry en masse. Its president, Dean Garfield, said: “This effort by a small number of attorneys general is misguided and inconsistent with the founding values of the Internet.
“It is an ironic endeavor because the transition will actually keep the internet an open and flourishing engine of innovation and open global communication.”
The judge agreed.
So when it comes to domain names, it's true. The US no longer has the keys to the kingdom. 
But the important thing to remember is: neither does anyone else.


Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC and on Facebook

September 22, 2016

Internet Control Transfer: Putin UN-Like, Ted Cruz US, Obama Ind., Who Won?

Congressional Republicans have recently taken a new hostage in their never-ending stream of threats to shut down the government. This time, their target is the transfer of control of usually unseen clerical functions that keep the internet working. Somehow this arcane transition has become one of the major hurdles to funding the government. So how did we get here?

The story actually started two decades ago when the federal government announced that it would step away from running the technical functions of the internet. Since then the Department of Commerce, under the watch of three Presidents, including administrations of both parties, has been living up to this commitment.

The Obama administration then announced two years ago that it would complete the transition by transferring control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (or IANA) functions.

These are the functions that allow us to use web addresses rather than long sequences of numbers to find a website — it’s essentially the internet’s phonebook.

The announcement was praised by everyone from the Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association to public interest groups. But after the administration announced its intention, dictators like Vladimir Putin and his cronies launched a whisper campaign against the U.S.  We could not be trusted, they alleged, to follow through with our plan.

Instead, Putin and other like-minded leaders urged the world to have a governmental body such as the United Nations take control of the internet. They would have more sway over internet policy if the internet was regulated by a global governmental body such as the UN than if we are successful with this transition, and the internet becomes fully managed by a global community of experts, led by private businesses.

Fortunately, most of the world dismissed these accusations, choosing instead to believe in the honesty of the United States.  A governmental power grab was not necessary.  The administration’s plan was better than the risk posed by more Russian control of the internet’s functions.
But some fringe American politicians, led by Senator Ted Cruz, saw the transition as an opportunity to undermine the President.  Despite the widespread support for the transfer, they are trying to block it.

As the election approaches, their claims are becoming more outlandish—the transfer would lead to a loss of free speech online (it won’t); it risks national security (it doesn’t); it is against federal law (it’s not).

Most outlandish of all, these Republicans claim that the U.S. is ceding ownership of the internet to the international community.  But the U.S. does not own the internet.  It never has.  In fact, the transition protects the internet from authoritarian control.

This is not just our opinion, as members of Congress who have held hearings on the IANA transition.  Nearly every technical expert agrees that Senator Cruz’s claims are simply not true.  As the professionals explain, administration of the domain name system is clerical and has nothing to do with manipulating content.

Republicans claim that the U.S. is ceding ownership of the internet to the international community. But the U.S. does not own the internet. It never has.

As Assistant Commerce Secretary Larry Strickling recently testified, the Senator’s claims just don’t comport with the facts.

Until recently, Senator Cruz’s crusade has been a lonely one—nearly all of Congress from both parties saw through his over-the-top assertions.  Congress held a nearly unified front against his attempts to upend the transfer.

But this political season, anything can happen.  During this month’s budget negotiations, Republican leadership took an about-face and is now threatening to fulfill Putin’s Prophecy by postponing the transition.  They seem to view a delay as an easy way to mollify their extreme colleagues.  But this cynical trade is not worth the risk—the possible consequences are just too great.

If the Republicans successfully delay the transition, America’s enemies are sure to pounce.  Russia and its allies could push to shift control of the internet’s core functions to a government body like the U.N. where they have more influence.

Moving internet management to a government-led organization would, over time, politicize how the internet functions, allowing foreign governments, for example, to veto free speech online.

If the transition fails, some governments may also try to create a new numbering system, fracturing the internet as we know it.  Such an approach would effectively destroy the “world-wide-web” by creating walled-off pieces of the internet in countries that want to prevent their citizens from communicating with the free world.

Finally, by preventing this transition, we will have failed to keep our long-standing and public commitment to the global community to keep the internet open and free.  In short, delaying this transition is a threat to online freedom, global commerce, and American interests broadly.

We urge our colleagues to give up on this ill-conceived attempt to block the transition.  Now is not the time to walk away from our convictions.  Congress should allow the Department of Commerce to do its job.   It should keep the internet intact, and it should maintain America’s integrity.

Editor’s note: Frank Pallone is a U.S. representative from New Jersey and ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Brian Schatz is a U.S. senator from Hawaii and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet; Anna Eshoo is a U.S. representative from California; Chris Coons is a U.S. senator from Delaware and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts; and Doris Matsui is a U.S. representative from California.

March 25, 2015

Supreme Court in India Stops Internet Arrests


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Section 66A of Information Technology Act as unconstitutional and struck it down.

This section had been widely misused by police in various states to arrest innocent persons for posing their comments on social network sites on social events and political leaders.

The court said such a law hit at the root of liberty and freedom of expression, two cardinal pillars of democracy. 
The court said the section has to be erased from the law books as it has gone much beyond the reasonable restrictions put by Constitution on freedom of speech.

The court, however, allowed the government to block websites if their contents had the potential to create communal disturbance, social disorder or affect India's relationship with other countries.

The SC delivered its judgment on a bunch of petitions filed in the light of misuse of the penal provision by government authorities against persons who allegedly uploaded offensive posts on social networking sites.

The petitioners, including NGOs, civil rights groups and a law student, had argued that Section 66A violated citizens' fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

The government had opposed the plea for quashing the provision saying it is meant to deter people from uploading grossly offensive material which can lead to lawlessness by inciting public anger and violence.

Justifying the retention of the provision, the Centre had told the apex court that the impact of internet is much wider and restriction on this medium should be higher in comparison to print and TV.

It had said unlike print and electronic media, internet did not operate in an institutional form and there was need for some mechanism to put checks and balances. The government had said the provision could not be quashed just because of its potential misuse. Posting pictures and comments on social networking sites which hurt religious sentiments could not be tolerated and people must be prosecuted, it said. 

India Times

February 28, 2015

Streaming Internet Should Flow like water: FCC “Internet a Utility Now”

After almost a year of fierce national debate, the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to pass net neutrality in a 3-to-2 partisan vote. The five-member commission “reclassified” broadband Internet access as a “common carrier” under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, making the Internet a regulated utility like water or electricity.
The new rules aim to ensure that Internet service providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate between content-makers by blocking or deliberately slowing some content while offering prioritization for those willing or able to pay. Mobile data service for smartphones and tablets also are being placed under the new rules. The directive also includes requirements to protect consumer privacy and to ensure Internet service is available for people with disabilities and in remote areas.
Critics of the rules say they may hinder innovation and investment. Opponents have said they plan to challenge the FCC order in court. But Republicans on Capitol Hill announced Tuesday that they do not plan to pass a legislative response. 
Recommended: How much do you know about cybersecurity? Take our quiz.
Net neutrality, or an open Internet, is the concept that ISPs should give consumers equal access to all legal content and applications. That means ISPs could not favor or block some content-makers or charge them to provide faster delivery of their content, in what are known as “fast lanes.” ISPs would also be forbidden from slowing the content of competing providers.Supporters of net neutrality say the Internet has become a human right that should be equally accessible for everyone. Denying access or giving preferential treatment to one user over another is thus considered a violation of the user’s rights.
"The Internet, which was once a luxury, is now a necessity, and it has given people the ability to be heard in our democracy and have more opportunity in our economy," Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange, an online civil rights organization, was quoted as saying in USA Today. "It has been a tool for the little guy to get ahead."
Proponents of net neutrality say that without the new rules, smaller content providers unable to pay hefty fees to ISPs would be pushed out and made more difficult to access.
“No one should have to ask permission to innovate, and we need to retain the ability of all Internet users to communicate and compete on a level playing field, preventing the presence of fast and slow lanes that are contrary to the essence of the Internet,” Sen. Edward J. Markey (D) of Massachusetts said in a statement.
Many larger Internet companies such as Netflix and Amazon, both of whose streaming services use large amounts of bandwidth, support the idea of net neutrality. Google and Twitter also are supporters.
"More than 30 percent of Internet traffic at peak times comes from Netflix, according to studies. So Verizon might say, 'Netflix, you need to pay us more,' " NPR’s Laura Sydell explains. "Or maybe Verizon strikes a deal with Amazon and says your prime video service can get speedier delivery to the home and we're going to slow down Netflix.”
If companies are asked to pay more, consumers may be asked to foot the bill, observers say.
But those who oppose net neutrality say it is an issue of free enterprise: Service providers should be free to decide how they deliver content and charge customers for their services. They also claim that net neutrality will prevent ISPs from making network upgrades and finding new business models.
“The last thing we should want is President Obama or a government agency picking winners and losers on the Internet. And enforcing net neutrality is picking winners and losers even if it looks like it is just ‘leveling the playing field.' He may think it is not, but it completely blocks certain business models and stops any possible innovation that might emerge if given the option of seeking differential access to bandwidth,” writes Jeffrey Dorfmanin Forbes.
“ 'Net Neutrality' is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of the government,” wrote Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in a tweet last November.
Furthermore, more than just the Internet is at stake, some say.
“Advocates for pay-TV providers are saying the FCC should use Section 706 to act more aggressively against the companies that produce TV content. Why? Because the pay-TV providers think the content producers are charging them too much for programming – and because programming costs eat into the budget for building, say, cable broadband,” writes Brian Fung in The Washington Post.
If the FCC decides to pursue this line of logic, it could affect how much consumers pay for cable providers, too.
What every side does agree on, though, is that the results of today’s vote will affect everyone who uses the Internet. Anyone who goes online does so through an ISP, and increasingly these companies are lobbying to provide services on their own terms. Without net neutrality rules, companies like Comcast and Verizon could cherry pick which content is easy to access. And that means that consumer access to specific online content could slow down or speed up noticeably.
For anyone who uses the Internet, around 87 percent of Americans, today’s vote is a really big deal.                            

November 17, 2014

Most Americans Support Net neutrality but Wary of New Gov. rules


The overwhelming majority of Americans support net neutrality rules, but are wary of more federal regulation of internet service providers

This week a growing rift between the Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) emerged on the fraught topic of net neutrality. The president came out strongly in favor of a change in the rules that would see internet service providers (ISPs) regulated like telephone companies, who are not allowed to prioritize certain customers' calls over others. Currently, ISPs are allowed to charge websites to prioritize their data, and in turn restrict the speeds of others, to ensure that customers do not experience slow speeds on their sites. While legal it is controversial and rare, and the first such deal was only struck in February this year between Comcast and Netflix.
YouGov's latest research shows that when Americans are asked whether ISPs should be prohibited from restricting the speed of certain content or if they should be allowed to prioritize some content over others, the overwhelming majority of Americans (77%) say that ISPs should be prohibited from restricting speeds. Only 23% say that ISPs should be allowed to prioritize certain data traffic. Support for prohibiting restrictions or prioritization of certain data, is highest among Democrats (80%) and lowest among Republicans (70%). 
Despite this, however, when Americans are asked whether internet service providers should be subject to more regulation by the federal goverment, only 19% of Americans agree. 33% say that the current level of regulation is about right, while 27% think there should be less federal regulation. If the FCC were to regulate ISPs like phone companies, they would be subject to far stricter federal oversight. 
At the moment Americans narrowly tend to say that their internet service providers are giving them good value for money. 47% say that they get good value for money from their ISP, while 38% say that they don't. Republicans are overall the most likely demographic to say that they get good value for money from their ISP (59%), while Democrats (45%) are the second least likely after over-65s and people living in the Northeast (44%). 
Full poll results can be found here and here.

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