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Network Neutrality — Without Regulation 351

Posted by timothy
from the but-that's-unpossible dept.
boyko.at.netqos writes "Timothy B. Lee (no relation to Tim Berners-Lee), a frequent contributor to Ars Technica and Techdirt, has recently written 'The Durable Internet,' a paper published by the libertarian-leaning CATO institute. In it, Lee argues that because a neutral network works better than a non-neutral one, the Internet's open-ended architecture is not likely to vanish, despite the fears of net neutrality proponents, (and despite the wishes of net neutrality opponents.) For that reason, perhaps network neutrality legislation isn't necessary — or even desirable — from an open-networks perspective. In addition to the paper, Network Performance Daily has an interview and podcast with Tim Lee, and Lee addresses counter-arguments with a blog posting for Technology Liberation Front."
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Network Neutrality — Without Regulation

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  • human nature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:39PM (#25836205)
    As long as companies are involved with some having more sway than others, you can expect them to abuse their position in the name of greed. It's simple human nature. Say all you want about how companies will police themselves or that the market will sort itself out. However, reality has shown us time and time again that this isn't the case.
    • human nature (Score:2, Informative)

      by janeuner (815461)
      As long as politicians are involved with some having more sway than others, you can expect them to abuse their position in the name of greed. It's simple human nature. Say all you want about how government will police itself or that the market will sort itself out. However, reality has shown us time and time again that this isn't the case.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by torstenvl (769732)

        Let me know when the average Comcast customer has a vote on the board, because until he can elect a new CEO, your comparison falls flat.

        • Comcast is a great example of how regulation has failed. The government builds up and supports local cable monopolies eliminating competition. And look what happens: Comcast.

    • Re:human nature (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:10PM (#25836647) Homepage Journal

      It's a good thing that the human propensity to seek power and do evil only exists when that human works at a company, and never when that human works in government.

      We're really lucky this is the case, since if someone in government were ever corrupt, they could fine you speciously, jail you without trial or due process, seize your home via eminent domain, or just plain kill.

    • Reality has not shown this because government always intercedes and imposes regulation. Can you actually point out an example or are you just relaying made up facts?

    • The only thing ISPs care about by default is that their users aren't abusing access to the Internet through means like taking up too much bandwidth or doing illegal things. They don't care whether you spend your day on Slashdot or Stormfront. If left up to their own devices, which they have been so far, they let their users go wherever they want until the law says otherwise. What makes you think that the government is more likely to come in and say that they must do this, rather than come in and tell them
      • by shaper (88544)
        ISPs don't even care about users abusing access specifically, unless it affects their ability to operate and make money. The only thing any business cares about is maximizing shareholder (owner) value. If an ISP offers a paid service over their network, they have a direct financial interest to promote their service over competing services. Since they own the "last mile", they have a natural monopoly position with inordinate power over the services and their quality as they reach the user, including compe
    • by FiloEleven (602040)

      Which would you rather have?

      1) A bunch of large corporations dueling it out amongst themselves, with the ones who gain and maintain the largest market share being the most successful.

      2) A bunch of large corporations dueling it out amongst themselves, with the ones who gain and maintain the ears of the most powerful government officials being the most successful.

      Yes, companies will abuse their positions in the name of greed. There is no way around that. When you get government involved, however, you're sim

  • by ValuJet (587148) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:40PM (#25836227)

    Since this is from the CATO institute, I will just go ahead and assume all their conclusions are bullshit.

  • by pitchpipe (708843)
    this [slashdot.org] for an answer as to if in theory, it is going to happen.
  • In Other News... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dcollins (135727) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:41PM (#25836235) Homepage

    Another paper by the libertarian-leaning CATO institute also said this: Banks, financial lenders, and mortgage providers "work better" if they are responsible and provide only secure financial investments, and are therefore not likely to enter a worldwide financial meltdown. For that reason, financial oversight legislation is neither necessary nor desirable. QED.

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      Read that quote again, the statement makes sense to me.

      The assumption is that they will be responsible and only provide secure financial investment. ie low risk loans

      The problem is that most bank didn't and they provided too many bad loans.
      • by ClassMyAss (976281) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:53PM (#25836393) Homepage

        The assumption is that they will be responsible and only provide secure financial investment. ie low risk loans

        The problem is that most bank didn't and they provided too many bad loans.

        ...hence the initial assumption that we should trust the banks to look after themselves failed, and the idea that they are better off with zero regulation is ridiculous.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Progoth (98669)

          Or, more likely.....

          These very same banks were required, by regulation, to provide bad loans.

          And also....

          These loans were mostly all bought by Freddie and Fannie, with the assumption that no matter how bad their decisions were, the government would spend any amount of taxpayer money to keep these quasi-private companies alive. Funny how that works. Perhaps the government shouldn't be in the mortgage business.

          • Re:In Other News... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:15PM (#25836735)
            Or, more likely..... These very same banks were required, by regulation, to provide bad loans.

            It was called the Community Reinvestment Act, enacted under Carter. It was intended to stop the practice of redlining. You know, redlining, where banks would refuse to make loans into certain neighborhoods that had a high percentage of bad loans and ineligible borrowers.

            The CRA forced them to make bad loans so they could stay in business. Clinton increased the regulations so they had to make more. And Bush the Recent tried several times to re-regulate the system to reduce the requirement to make bad loans, every time opposed by Franks and Obama et.al. "We don't need regulation, there is no problem", sang the Dems.

            • You made up the part about "certain neighborhoods ... had a high percentage of bad loans". Pure fiction. And you forgot to mention that borrowers were "ineligible" because of the color of their skin.

              The CRA did not force any bank to make a bad loan; the CRA simply forced banks to stop discriminating based on race. They were still completely free to use creditworthiness part of their decision to write a loan.

          • Re:In Other News... (Score:5, Informative)

            by UdoKeir (239957) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:42PM (#25837161)
            These very same banks were required, by regulation, to provide bad loans.

            Except that they weren't. Stop repeating these republican blogosphere lies.
          • These very same banks were required, by regulation, to provide bad loans.

            Whether that's the case or not, the banks had a financial motive that made them take on a lot of them, and it's called "making oodles of money." Which, if you'll recall, is at the heart of capitalism.

            A hiccup in the default rate was a catalyst for this, to be sure, but it only changed by a few percent, not even close to enough to dent our economy. Except for the fact that that few percent was leveraged forty to one through the sw

          • Or, more likely.....

            These very same banks were required, by regulation, to provide bad loans.

            There you go again. More right-wing nonsense. 19 of the top 20 originators of sub-prime loans were not subject to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, so you repeat untruths, told to you by untrustworthy sources.

            And Fannie and Freddie came late to the mortgage slice-and-dice party. The very definition of "sub-prime" was loans that were not good enough to be backed by Fannie or Freddie. That changed in 2004.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by quanticle (843097)

            The banks were not forced to provide such loans. The Community Reinvestment Act can only be blamed for a very tiny percentage of the subprime loan market. What really sparked the boom was the realization on the part of banks and other mortgage originators that very few buyers of mortgage securities actually scrutinized the mortgages that are in the tranches. As long as the default rate stayed underneath the modeled default rate, no one cared that the fundamentals were unsound.

            As for Fannie Mae and Freddi

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hansamurai (907719)

          Banks were not under zero regulation, they were being highly regulated by the government and if you honestly believe that the free market caused this collapse, then you are sorely mistaken. Just because the federal government's solution to this debacle is more regulation and bailouts doesn't mean there were zero before.

    • by readin (838620) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:06PM (#25836583)
      Another paper by the libertarian-leaning CATO institute also said this: Banks, financial lenders, and mortgage providers "work better" if they are responsible and provide only secure financial investments, and are therefore not likely to enter a worldwide financial meltdown. For that reason, financial oversight legislation is neither necessary nor desirable. QED.

      Our recent meltdown is due to regulations that encouraged bad loans. Our future meltdowns will be due to the assumptions by banks that they don't need to be responsible because the government will step in with billions of dollars to bail them out if anything goes wrong.

      It's silly to blame the current mess on lack of regulation when the banks, financial lenders, and mortgage provides were regulated.
      • that's insane (Score:3, Insightful)

        the meltdown is due to human psychology. i did not know you needed regulations to create panic and fear. i suppose if we had no regulations, the very concepts of panic and fear would disappear?

        fact: an unregulated market is subject to times of irrational exuberance, and times of panic and fear. there is absolutely no prerequisite to these truths, and no escaping them. the only way to save ourselves form the excesses of irrational excitement or hysteria is regulation

        if you don't believe or understand that, y

      • Our recent meltdown is due to regulations that encouraged bad loans. Our future meltdowns will be due to the assumptions by banks that they don't need to be responsible because the government will step in with billions of dollars to bail them out if anything goes wrong.

        I totally agree that a bailout sends a terrible message to banks, that you merely need to be "too big to fail" and then your bad bets will just be taken on by the taxpayer.

        But I keep hearing the line that the government encouraged bad lo

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kalidasa (577403)
        Our recent meltdown was due to credit default swaps that were all dependent upon AIG in a system analogous to a star-topology network. You've been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh.
    • And yet, the bailout and so forth was actually foreseen by some, INCLUDING free marketeers such as (yes, him) Ron Paul...

      http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul128.html [lewrockwell.com]

      Now, I have no idea whether his reasoning is sound, so give it your best shot. But that does seem, to me at least, pretty impressive...

  • The companies in charge of access to the internet DON'T want it to work better. They would rather induce scarcity in order to scare servers like Amazon, Google, iTunes and so on into paying for their "packet protection service". Pure profit, no investment needed.

    And no, as Bell Canada has just shown, thinking that competition is going to fix it is wishful thinking. Unless someone comes up with the trillions of dollars to rewire the entire internet at once and lock the behemoths out of the loop, you could

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by booch (4157) *

      But the Internet is a two-way street, with clients and servers. If the client-side ISPs decide to start throttling, then the server-side providers can decide to start throttling those ISPs as well.

      Do you really think that people will stick with an ISP that has slowed-down access to Google? I think Google is in a good position to threaten ISPs into maintaining net neutrality. Imagine going to Google and seeing a note telling you that your ISP has caused your access to Google to be throttled, and suggesting t

  • Oh, wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak AT eircom DOT net> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:46PM (#25836289) Homepage Journal

    In it, Lee argues that because a neutral network works better than a non-neutral one, the Internet's open-ended architecture is not likely to vanish, despite the fears of net neutrality proponents,

    $traceroute slashdot.org
    traceroute to slashdot.org (216.34.181.45), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
      1 10.100.56.1 (10.100.56.1) 17.348 ms 17.801 ms 18.228 ms
      2 10.220.17.1 (10.220.17.1) 3.171 ms 3.270 ms 5.564 ms
      3 * * *
      4 * * *
      5 * * *

    .....

    28 * * *
    29 * * *
    30 * * *

  • The gist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClassMyAss (976281) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:50PM (#25836351) Homepage
    For anyone that doesn't have the effort to slog through 36 pages of Internet history that more or less tells us what we already know (that up until now, the internet has been pretty open), the gist of the conclusion is "We shouldn't bother with network neutrality regulation or worry about those in charge abusing their local near-monopoly status, because hey, the market will work it out!"

    There's also a nice helping of "The government is the worst monopoly of all, and we should never allow them to pass laws to restrain the actions of near-monopolies, because hey, the market will work it out!"

    In other words, we should trust that despite the massive amount of money and energy the companies controlling our "tubes" are putting into fighting network neutrality legislation, they won't ever abuse the privilege to screw us if we just leave things the way they are. But if they are not allowed to screw us, that's when we have to worry about monopolistic behavior!

    Color me unimpressed by the overwhelming force of logic there...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I agree with a good bit of libertarian philosophy - like the portions about the government shouldn't be able to tell you what you can and can't put in your body or what you can and can't do in the privacy of your home. I don't agree with a near-complete defanging of the government.

      The government is supposed to be (in my eyes) an organization to protect us from things that can screw the individual over (other large organizations, like corporations) as well as provide for the common defense and needs of the p

    • by Rinisari (521266) *

      Coming soon, ISPs which sell their service as "unfiltered".

  • I'm doubtful. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:53PM (#25836389) Journal
    The idea that neutral networks work better seems plausible enough; but that doesn't imply that neutral networks are what the market will achieve. If I can improve my position by building a walled garden and sucking everybody inside dry, that will impose considerable externalities, and probably represent a net loss in efficiency; but I'll do it anyway because I get the gains, and other people suffer the losses. Unless this paper has an atypically good reason for why externalities will be internalized in this market, I am wholly uncomforted by the fact that neutral networks are more efficient.
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:54PM (#25836399) Homepage
    Here in Ontario, I can get high-speed internet from:
    • Rogers (cable), which blocks ports, throttles BitTorrent, VPN, and any encrypted traffic. Rogers also has some stupid "web search on typo" system which breaks DNS.
    • Bell (DSL), which throttles BitTorrent [slashdot.org].
    • Many small third party DSL providers, which don't throttle, but Bell controls the last mile for all DSL, and throttles for them.

    So, it's a nice theory, but Ontario (and most of eastern Canada) disproves it nicely.

    • You're telling me that, with a third-party DSL ISP, Bell will peek into the ATM cells passing between your equipment and the ISP's in order to detect which are associated with BitTorrent and throttle those cells accordingly?

      Forgive my skepticism.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:54PM (#25836403)

    "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience. The law embodies the story of a nation's development...it cannot be dealt with as if it contained the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    It is for this reason that the internet will continually be subject to attack. It is a public resource and history has taught us that public resources must be managed, regulated, rationed, and controlled. People here on slashdot and in the technical community believe that the internet is different, that it should not be subjected to the same restrictions that are placed on other public utilities like the roads, electricity, or other infrastructure. But our community is ignoring hundreds, arguably thousands, of years of human history which has inevitably converged towards the same result -- Public resources must be managed resources.

    This is an unpleasant truth, and an unpopular one. We're terrified, in many cases rightly so, of the government coming in. But witness what the lack of government regulation has done. When the internet was first opened to the public, there was no commercial interest, but as commercial interests moved in there was no central governing authority. And so a myriad of organizational nightmares have evolved in every aspect. The DNS system has factured, with lawsuits and international pressure abounding. Peering agreements between large ISPs have become power battles that have sometimes resulted in significant fractions of the network being inaccessible to the whole, or degrading performance. We have governments erecting giant firewalls, and the thousand cultures of the world now battle for control over what goes in to their part of the network. Everybody has their own ideas, and it is now little more than anarchy. And none of these battles is concerned about performance, democracy, or the other ideals that net neutrality activists advocate.

    We were so scared of the government that we let corporations come in and seize control of the infrastructure. Now the future of the internet is a question of economics, not idealism, and corporations are battling and lobbying to become the largest and most powerful. Consolidation is happening in the ISP market in every country in the world. And as that consolidation continues to occur, and fewer players are in the market, it will bias ever more heavily towards control and regulation... But it will be a control based on economics favorable to the corporate interests, not the users, not the private citizens.

    It's time to admit that we need government involvement. It's time to sit down at the negotiating table and decide what the fairest way to ration and regulate this resource is. That's the only consideration of the law, and it's best we do it soon before these corporations become so entrenched that only the most desperate of solutions will bring relief. And once we decide what we, as a country, want to do with this resource, then we need to set about making treaties with other countries to bring some level of regulation to a global level.

    This is going to happen. It has to happen. The only consideration now is how to guide this process toward a fair outcome.

  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:56PM (#25836421) Homepage Journal

    Surveying the wreckage of the credit crisis, Alan Greenspan says he made one very big mistake.

    The free-market cheerleader and former maestro of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board conceded yesterday that he wrongly thought banks had an inherent interest in shielding their institutions and their shareholders from risk.

    That assumption turned out to have been dead wrong as financial institutions brought the banking system to the brink of failure in recent months after loading up on exotic mortgages and risky derivative products such as credit default swaps.

    "I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms," Mr. Greenspan bluntly told a U.S. congressional committee exploring the role of regulators in the financial crisis.

    "Something which looked to be a very solid edifice and, indeed, a critical pillar to market competition and free markets did break down.

    "And I think that ... shocked me. I still do not fully understand why it happened."

    The staunch belief that banks could manage their own tolerance for risk underpinned Mr. Greenspan's aversion to heavy-handed banking regulation during his record 18-year tenure at the helm of the Fed.

    Mr. Greenspan was an early devotee of author Ayn Rand, whose 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged inspired a generation of libertarian thinkers who believe in the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cornwallis (1188489)
      "Mr. Greenspan was an early devotee of author Ayn Rand, whose 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged inspired a generation of libertarian thinkers who believe in the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest." But not at the expense of others.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maxume (22995)

      There is a caveat -- given the presence of an interventionist government, corporations have shown that they cannot self regulate.

      I don't think the world would be better without government regulation, but the current crisis is as much a result of poor government regulation as it is a result of poor self regulation, and it doesn't really say anything about an unregulated marketplace. Call not for more regulation, but for better regulation. Judge results, not page counts.

      (Two major things are that without the

    • Mr. Greenspan was an early devotee of author Ayn Rand, whose 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged inspired a generation of libertarian thinkers who believe in the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest.

      And that is so wrong, why? Since you reference Atlas Shrugged, I would hope that you're actually familiar with it. Consider this quote from it:

      I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

      A man should live in his own interest, otherwise he's simply become an altruistic slave to the looters. All right, so that was a bit Rand heavy, but is there something inherently wrong with self interest? I don't achieve it by stepping on someone else or prohibiting their own self interest.

      • by Luyseyal (3154)

        A man should live in his own interest, otherwise he's simply become an altruistic slave to the looters. All right, so that was a bit Rand heavy, but is there something inherently wrong with self interest? I don't achieve it by stepping on someone else or prohibiting their own self interest.

        Reread the comment. The point of the comment is not criticism of self-interest but that banks were incapable of sustaining themselves, despite their logical self-interest to do so.

        Anywhere humans and money intersect, logic goes out the window. This is why the Austrian school is wrong and the econophysicists are right.

        $0.02USD,
        -l

    • by megamerican (1073936) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:35PM (#25837057)

      Greenspan was one of the people responsible for changing regulations that led to this crisis. Once he became FED chairman in the 1980's he started circumventing the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/weill/demise.html [pbs.org]

      In 1933, Senator Carter Glass (D-Va.) and Congressman Henry Steagall (D-Ala.) introduce the historic legislation that bears their name, seeking to limit the conflicts of interest created when commercial banks are permitted to underwrite stocks or bonds. In the early part of the century, individual investors were seriously hurt by banks whose overriding interest was promoting stocks of interest and benefit to the banks, rather than to individual investors. The new law bans commercial banks from underwriting securities, forcing banks to choose between being a simple lender or an underwriter (brokerage).

      In August 1987, Alan Greenspan -- formerly a director of J.P. Morgan and a proponent of banking deregulation -- becomes chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. One reason Greenspan favors greater deregulation is to help U.S. banks compete with big foreign institutions.

      In December 1996, with the support of Chairman Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Board issues a precedent-shattering decision permitting bank holding companies to own investment bank affiliates with up to 25 percent of their business in securities underwriting (up from 10 percent).

      Late 1999:

      After 12 attempts in 25 years, Congress finally repeals Glass-Steagall, rewarding financial companies for more than 20 years and $300 million worth of lobbying efforts. Supporters hail the change as the long-overdue demise of a Depression-era relic.

      Just days after the administration (including the Treasury Department) agrees to support the repeal, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the former co-chairman of a major Wall Street investment bank, Goldman Sachs, raises eyebrows by accepting a top job at Citigroup as Weill's chief lieutenant. The previous year, Weill had called Secretary Rubin to give him advance notice of the upcoming merger announcement. When Weill told Rubin he had some important news, the secretary reportedly quipped, "You're buying the government?"

      Greenspan was the major player in repealling the legislation which would have kept this mess from ever happening. It is very doubtful that Greenspan didn't know why Glass Steagall was enacted in the first place.

      Of course he is going to plead ignorance. He doesn't want to get put behind bars and flogged by the masses by admitting he is a criminal.

    • The idea of an unregulated market (which we have never seen in North America, BTW) is that corporations do not have to be trusted to regulate themselves because consumers will punish companies that sell poor products / services by voting with their wallets. How can you blame free market for the current mess when when the general public has always depended on the government to ban products that are "bad for them" and hold corporations accountable so that they don't have to do it themselves ?

      In other words, h

    • Is it just me or has there been a strong resurgence of libertarianism, most notably of the Ayn Rand type? I understand that there is a reaction against the one-and-a-half party system in the US, but for the love of Christ, do that many people really think that a totally unfettered form of capitalism will really benefit the greatest number of people?

      I always figured that most people were in favor of a mixed economy involving some amount of freedoms and some amount of government controls, with the battle b
  • Proponents of self regulation don't get that the scale is too small for it to work, even planet-wide.

  • I call BS... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nweaver (113078) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:04PM (#25836545) Homepage

    There are enough cases, eg, NebuAdd, NX-domain wildcarding, P2P traffic disruption, where the ISP gains a large net benefit from behaving in a non-neutral manner, and as high-bandwidth ISPs are a duopoly at best for most individuals, unless you can reveal their practices AND the threat of regulation & marketplace rebellion, the net becomes unneutral.

    Remember, the "market will take care of itself" was also promulgated by CATO in respect to Wall Street, and we know how well that worked out.

    • Remember, the "market will take care of itself" was also promulgated by CATO in respect to Wall Street, and we know how well that worked out.

      Really? When was Wall Street given the opportunity to "take care of itself"? The government has intervened to significantly contribute to creating problems on Wall Street and then used those problems as an excuse to intervene even further.

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:15PM (#25836727)

    The article is just full of utter nonsense that should be clear to anyone knowing anything about the internet. The ONLY way to gaurantee that ISPs will not censor the net is to gaurantee that they dont, in the only truly enforceable way, with law. It is all too easy for the ISPs to implement hardware and software that will restrict access to or impede access to certain content. The consumers, given the near monopoly position of the ISPs, would have little other choice than to put up with this. It could also be that only exorbitantly priced service tiers would offer unrestricted access to the internet, meaning access to the full internet would only be available to a small, wealthier segment of the population. Furthermore, even though an uncensored common carrier, whether it is postal or electronic, is essential to free speech, I am unsure if enough consumers would realise the great importance of this to take demand a change of their ISPs behaviour. ISPs of course can just reject that request and leave consumers without recourse.

    Net neutrality can only be assured, adn free speech therefore, with it being required by law and ISPs being recognised for what they, as common carriers and that they should be required to carry all information over their networks unmodified. To allow otherwise is to open the door to censorship, and to make these corporations the functional equivalent of the Chinese government, blocking whichever sites which suit them. This would have an effect exactly equivalent to government censorship that it should be considered the same as government censorship.

    Net nuetrality is also unnecessary for the ISP. They claim it is needed to raise revenue to maintain the network. This is utterly incorrect as they can use bandwidth tiers to do this. Speed and performance levels should apply without discrimination to all content flowing over the network.

    Net neutrality is to protect consumers rights and free speech rights, by assuring every person can access all information made avialable on the internet and publish their own content which can be accessed to anyone else, without it being blocked.

    We can expect conservative organisations to be prejudiced against the interests of free speech and the people and to be high biased towards large corporate interest whom they represent and who finances them. They are highly ideologically biased to an approach which endangers individuals freedoms in favour of large corporations, by dismantling the voice of the people, our democracy, and removing all restrictions from corporations which turns them into an unelected plutocracy which takes the functional role of a totalitarian government. I oppose totalitarianism in the form of corporation or government, often either which are different in name only, and therefore I oppose censorship of the internet by corporations or government, and I support Net Neutrality laws passed by our democratic government to assure that ISPs are not permitted to block access to content.

    • Net neutrality is to protect consumers rights and free speech rights, by assuring every person can access all information made avialable on the internet and publish their own content which can be accessed to anyone else, without it being blocked.

      Your crazy if you think that is what the government will actually do. Look at the direction those same governments have gone so far with respect to civil liberties and freedom of speech. You want to hand the keys to the entire communication infrastructure over to them and say, "promise to do the right thing, okay". You will be delivering censorship on a silver platter, in a more augmented and frightening way. Large corporations can become corrupt, that's inherent in human nature, but there are steps you c

      • I think you missed the point. Net Neutrality protections will keep government AND corporations out of meddling by censorship of the internet. The Net Neutrality law asserts and reaffirms our right to free speech. It would actually not allow the government you are concerned about to censor and will prevent the corporations from censoring. It would protect our freedom and our liberty to free speech as it should be. Law should be used as a tool in this case to protect the rights of the individual to free speec

    • by a whoabot (706122)

      So I gather my funds and start up an ISP. My idea for the ISP is that I will block Bittorrent and other P2P transfers and supply all other services without throttling for a cheap rate. I get a number of customers because they don't care about P2P and they just want a connection for checking email and reading the news at a cheap rate.

      Your net neutrality laws would force me to close down this operation in the name of "free speech" and my customers would be worse off because they would have to go over to the

  • Even granted the premise that a neutral net works better, this does not mean that ISPs will tend toward neutrality - people do NOT act rationally, which is one of the many problems with libertarianism.

    Much more likely the owners of networks will feel that there is a profit to be made by throttling services and then charging.. even though everything works more poorly and even though they might even make less money in the long run. That's irrelevant: what business leaders, like anyone, act upon is their PERCE

  • The second major point of the original article which is not mentioned in the summary above is that any government agency created to regulate net neutrality would be subject to regulatory capture [wikipedia.org].

    It would be interesting to hear a rebuttal of that point here by any advocates of net neutrality.

  • I certainly didn't real 44 pages of ramblings. What I _did_ read was examples all based on an environment of enormous competition where anyone could provide a solution. Does anyone really think this is the case with ISPs? For the physical lines coming into my house I have two options. The telco or the CableCo. If you're lucky you get to choose your ISP, but even that doesn't seem to guarantee you neutrality if the Bell Canada story summaries are correct.

    The point being, when competition doesn't exist,

  • It's getting easy to pigeon-hole libertarian rhetoric that seeks to divide politicians and government in general from the people they represent.

    The argument that "we should do nothing, because we suck at it" (where "we" means us and our government by the people) just doesn't pull weight for me anymore. It's not as if we have more influence over commercial network operators through any other means.

    Sure, market fundies are always telling us that we can exert influence within a robust, competitive marketplace.

  • The CATO Institute [wikipedia.org] is "libertarian" the way that "libertarian" is "corporate anarchist". They oppose people creating governments to protect their rights, because those governments get in the way of corporate power to exploit those people.

  • For whom? The people who provide the service and need to limit the use to limit their required investment in hardware, or the people who use the service who want things to go everywhere as fast as they can all the time?

    Unfortunately, neutrality makes the net work better for the latter, and the latter don't provide the service or define the terms.

  • the 'free market' was supposed to ensure fair competition and fair share in television and radio broadcasting, and printed media too.

    did it deliver?

    no.

    in all countries, more than half of the publications and broadcasts belong to 1-2 cartels, which are generally aligned with a particular political party, and they ensure that the persons who will support their own ends will get elected.

    the 'free market' was going to assure fair competition in finance world and would regulate it itself, according t
  • the more such organizations post crap like this, the lesser my respect for that political viewpoint becomes.

    it appears that libertarian view is becoming a refuge for the shysters that screwed entire world through the 'let everything be' preaching of holistic economists, since republican party is down in fortunes these days.

    DONT accept them into your view. they will screw not only you, but entire world, again, if you let them.

When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"

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