On the FCC’s net neutrality rules

We haven’t read the new FCC net neutrality rules, because you need a Freedom of Information Act request to see them, so we haven’t decided our position on it, but here are a few perspectives:

Dan Gilmore:

But when it came to rules that might boost network neutrality — the notion that end users (you and me) should decide what content and services we want without interference from the ISPs — the FCC’s order paid lip service to the concept while enshrining its eventual demise. In theory, land-line carriers (traditional phone and cable companies, for the most part) won’t be allowed to play favorites. In practice, the new rules invite them to concoct new kinds of services that do precisely that.But even that fuzzy concept won’t apply to mobile carriers, which means that discrimination will be explicitly permitted by companies like AT&T and Verizon for customers of the iPhone and iPad, among other devices that are increasingly the most important entry point to the Internet.

The rules are also an open invitation to ISPs to spy on their customers. Genachowski’s repeated references to users’ right to use “legal” content were code words for the entertainment industry’s push to have ISPs become their enforcement arms in the copyright wars. Hollywood wants your ISP to watch everything people do, and then block users who are alleged to be infringing.

Harry Lewis brings up some past history on the disadvantages of allowing network providers to create fast and slow lanes for traffic.

Steve Wozniak:

The early Internet was so accidental, it also was free and open in this sense. The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created. But those freedoms are being chipped away. Please, I beg you, open your senses to the will of the people to keep the Internet as free as possible. Local ISP’s should provide connection to the Internet but then it should be treated as though you own those wires and can choose what to do with them when and how you want to, as long as you don’t destruct them. I don’t want to feel that whichever content supplier had the best government connections or paid the most money determined what I can watch and for how much. This is the monopolistic approach and not representative of a truly free market in the case of today’s Internet.

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