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EFF Reviews the Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Deal 162

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the yeah-that's-still-happening dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The EFF has written an analysis of the Net Neutrality deal brokered between Verizon and Google. While the EFF agrees with substantial portions of it, such as giving the FCC only enough authority to investigate complaints, rather than giving them a blank check to create regulations, there are a number of troubling issues with the agreement. In particular, they're concerned that what constitutes 'reasonable' network management is in the eye of the beholder and they don't like giving a free pass to anyone who claims they're attempting to block unlawful content, even when doing so in such a way that they interfere with lawful activities. On balance, while there are some good ideas about how to get Net Neutrality with minimal government involvement, there are serious flaws in the agreement that would allow ISPs to interfere with any service they wanted to because there is no algorithm that can correctly determine which numbers are currently illegal."
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EFF Reviews the Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Deal

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @09:50AM (#33227518) Homepage

    ...how's that "let companies police themselves" stance on net neutrality working out for you?

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @09:56AM (#33227590) Homepage

    "let companies police themselves"

    Almost as well as letting banks and investment companies police themselves.

    Or oil companies policing themselves.

    Or government contractors with automatic weapons police themselves.

    And the deregulated airline industry has done wonders for air travel.

    Government bad, corporate self-regulation good. Just stick to that line and ignore any evidence to the contrary.

  • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Thursday August 12, 2010 @10:01AM (#33227634) Homepage Journal

    If Verizon owns the bandwidth lines leading to your community (or to the specific site you're attempting to access), it doesn't matter who your end ISP winds up being.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2010 @10:04AM (#33227662)

    Up until now it has actually worked fairly well. Think about that for a min... There is no regulation right now. In fact I would say some regulation has hindered us such as build out rules and line sharing rules. Which let single providers monopolize huge areas.

    The reason regulation idea has started popping up is because a few have decided the gentleman agreements that have held in the past are no longer helping them. There be gold in dem der hills, they yell. What they do not realize is that the very hills they want to strip mine we are living on and is how they run their business.

    Going forward I think no regulation is not going to work. What the net neutral people want is a codifying of the 'gentleman agreement' that has worked up until now. The problem is some have decided to take advantage of the changes to position themselves better.

    Be careful what you ask for you may just get it. Then 'it' may be worse than what you have now as there are other players in there who want some mega cash thrown their way.

  • by Brootal (571331) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @10:05AM (#33227674)

    "let companies police themselves"

    Almost as well as letting banks and investment companies police themselves.

    Or oil companies policing themselves.

    Or government contractors with automatic weapons police themselves.

    And the deregulated airline industry has done wonders for air travel.

    Government bad, corporate self-regulation good. Just stick to that line and ignore any evidence to the contrary.

    Or letting Internet users police themselves. This just part of the process of finding an UNhappy balance between freedom and control. Myriad, mutually exclusive motives guarantee that any reasonable solution must leave the fringes deeply unsatisfied.

  • by cjonslashdot (904508) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @10:15AM (#33227782)

    And the agreement states that "lawful" content will not be interfered with.

    But who decides what is "lawful"?

    Is this an invitation for the ISPs to take on a police role?

    Is it a way for big telco and the media companies they have merged with to decide that someone's content might be unlawful, because it is politically subversive - only because it questions government policies that the telco and media companies support?

    ISPs should not be in the business of deciding what is lawful content and what is not. I hope the agreement does not presume that they will be in that business. That is a job for the police and the courts. ISPs should only act on legitimate police requests (i.e., those with warrants or some other transparent or traceable due process) and court orders.

  • by BarryJacobsen (526926) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @10:22AM (#33227840) Homepage

    Pretty well seeing as I can just switch to someone who isn't Verizon if I don't like it. That's a lot easier than trying to pick a new government.

    Really? I takes you four years to get a new government, and it seems like it'll be a cold day in hell before I can choose between more than the one broadband provider in my area.

  • Anyone else? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeckRuler (1369601) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @10:39AM (#33228004)
    Anyone else think it's odd that we're reading an article about a group of lawyers commenting about two companies coming together to broker a deal about what the government should be allowed to do?
    Isn't that a little backwards? I mean, I like the EFF. But the idea that we need lawyers to tell us what's good and what's bad seems odd.
    And having two giants acting like they can simply write legislature is balls to the walls wrong. The FCC can do whatever the laws says they can do, Google and Verizon be damned. Who writes those laws? Those that We The People (tm) put in power.
  • by Kaboom13 (235759) <kaboom108&bellsouth,net> on Thursday August 12, 2010 @10:39AM (#33228006)

    Deep packet inspection of large amounts of traffic was not possible until fairly recently. The technology did not exist to allow ISP's to treat traffic differently. The peering agreements between providers were born out of the difficulty of accurately accounting and billing for traffic. It was cheaper for everyone with roughly similar amounts of traffic to agree to pass each others traffic for free then to spend millions on systems to try to figure out who was owed what. The only reason this hasn't been an issue until now is purely technical in nature. Because of the huge investment to enter the market, plus the network effect and economies of scale inherent, plus the corruption of politicians, make the telecom industry a natural oligopoly, if not a natural monopoly. WIthout regulation, they will abuse their customers to the maximum extent possible, because their customers have little if any choice. Choosing an ISP is like choosing between getting in a cage with a hungry lion or a hungry bear, either way the outcome is unpleasant, just in slightly different ways. There is no avoiding it in the current environment, every business in this situation is going to act this way. The only solution is to either artificially break them up into small pieces, or to artificially regulate their behavior. I'm willing to bet the companies involved would prefer the latter to the former.

  • Re:Anyone else? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by esocid (946821) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:09AM (#33228438) Journal

    Anyone else think it's odd that we're reading an article about a group of lawyers commenting about two companies coming together to broker a deal about what the government should be allowed to do? Isn't that a little backwards? I mean, I like the EFF. But the idea that we need lawyers to tell us what's good and what's bad seems odd. And having two giants acting like they can simply write legislature is balls to the walls wrong. The FCC can do whatever the laws says they can do, Google and Verizon be damned. Who writes those laws? Those that We The People (tm) put in power.

    I have to admit, I read the stories about the deal. First the NYT one that got it completely wrong, then the Engadget one, then several others that flowed out, and the EFF put it more succinctly than I could have understood. Previously, all I got out of it was, we want industry rules to remain neutral, but VZW wants some wiggle room on wireless/mobile traffic.

    But surely you don't think our legislative bodies are informed enough to write laws/regulation about stuff like this? Imagine if Ted "the tubes" Stevens had been around to have a hand in NN legislation. These two parties are, but of course you have to single out what they say that will directly benefit them (screw consumers over), and see exactly what will benefit consumers.

  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:09AM (#33228442)
    We've always had network neutrality. At least to a certain extent. There was peering and a "gentleman's agreement", back when there was more then a handful of gentlemen. Now single providers HAVE ALREADY monopolized huge areas. What you fear has already happened. And guess what? Now that they have power over regions, they're starting to break down the time-honored rules of a neutral internet. And they're doing so to make a buck. Fuck 'em. Regulate them. Or bust them up.

    But seriously people, stop modding up cowards who are probably verizon astroturfers.
  • Re:Anyone else? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jim_v2000 (818799) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:09AM (#33228444)
    >And having two giants acting like they can simply write legislature is balls to the walls wron

    They didn't write any legislation. They wrote up some suggestions that the FCC and the Congress are free to use or discard. They have every right to do that.
  • by chowdahhead (1618447) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:10AM (#33228462)
    Net neutrality is not the same as government censorship. In fact, it's sort of the opposite of that--net neutrality at its core is simply the prevention of traffic discrimination. Internet access should simply mean access to the internet, and one's access to content shouldn't depend on the ISP carrying the data. Online anonymity is a different issue and separate from net neutrality, unless we have an Internet Overhaul Bill, which is entirely possible.
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:10AM (#33228466)

    For example, if a web site advocates the blatant overthrow of the United States Government

    cue to just a bit over 200 yrs ago. we, OURSELVES, overthrew a corrupt and unjust government. we were 'rebels' back then going against an established (very much so) kingdom.

    how is today any different? if you EVER get a government you can't stand (we're basically at that point, now, right?) you do have the 'right' to overthrow it.

    now, the ones in power will try to reverse this; just like jolly old england did 200+ yrs ago. we forced the issue and did 'illegal things' (according to the king).

    history judged us as 'right'.

    but why is this old-and-trusted concept now verbotton?

    seems the new king isn't very different from the old king, when it comes right down to it.

    look at the US constitution; all over it implies and outright states that no government can be trusted and that the balance of power must ALWAYS be on an edge to keep both parties honest.

    remove the ability to 're-align the government' or even get a new one and you're right back to where we were 200+ yrs ago. they say 'jump' and we have no guns or powers left to say 'no!'.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:19AM (#33228580) Journal

    It doesn't matter if you use cellular or satellite your data is still extremely likely to run over their networks.

    Actually, in this day and age the Tier 1 networks aren't as important as they used to be. The bulk of my traffic on Roadrunner comes in on Time Warner's own (tbone) backbone. They have peering arrangements with most of the major content distribution networks. The only time I've seen traffic traceroute onto Level 3 is for oddball connections (torrents to European hosts and the like)

  • by butlerm (3112) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @12:06PM (#33229116)

    You are making a mountain out of a mole hill. "Lawful" means "not illegal". ISPs have no desire to police what is lawful or not, it just creates more work for them. ISPs do have an obligation not to aid and abet illegal activity if they have actual knowledge of the same.

    This obligation applies primarily to hosting providers. ISPs are not held legally accountable if traffic pertaining to illegal activity traverses their networks, for the same reason that common carriers like telephone companies are not held accountable if two people discuss a bank robbery over the phone.

    "Lawful" arises in the context of net neutrality merely by stating that _end users_ should have the right to engage in lawful communications with anyone they want, without ISPs blocking or purposely degrading communication with some sites in a discriminatory manner (i.e. for economic advantage).

    ISPs (and common carriers in general) are not _required_ to pass traffic generated by illegal activity. They just have no incentive to even attempt to make that determination, especially since if treated like common carriers the may find themselves at the end of a lawsuit if they make that determination incorrectly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2010 @12:26PM (#33229348)

    That's just not true. I don't have any lines to my house and I use satellite. Don't have line of site? Use a cellular connection. There are options.

    Dude, if you don't have cable, DSL or satellite, you sure as heck aren't going to have 3G cellular. Might as well say "Hey, they can still use dial-up, so what's the problem?".

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:28PM (#33230670) Journal

    But if Congress gives itself power to regulate net neutrality, then it also gives itself power to remove nudity from the web, and to require licenses to publish blogs. Like they did with TV and Radio. That too started as a way to prevent multiple stations from interfering with one another, but quickly expanded to restrict the actual content.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:37PM (#33230752)

    Enough with the copypasta [slashdot.org], Troll64.

    This now marks the fourth time that you've chosen to ignore [slashdot.org] actual [slashdot.org] references [slashdot.org] denouncing your bullshit for what it is.

    While it pleases me to no end that others are finally seeing you for what you are and downmodding you appropriately, you really should just give it up already before you further embarrass yourself.

    Note to others, those three links all reference the same info in different posts. I'm just linking it three times because Troll64 has ignored it each and every time.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:36PM (#33233352) Homepage Journal

    That's not even remotely the case, what actually was and still is happening is that government provides telcos with various tax breaks, rights to lay cable through all properties, public and private without paying property taxes without incurring any costs associated with using public and even private property. The entire network of cables was subsidized, there were various ways the government did it after the government decided that it's going to nationalize the telco industry.

    Additionally, without government intervention the patents or copyrights wouldn't have existed as a concept and this also killed plenty of competition.

  • by Golddess (1361003) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:40PM (#33233404)

    Also I find it odd you would compare an *accident* in a coal mine, to the government's willful extermination of its own citizens

    We aren't. HeckRuler, I believe, was comparing deaths that occurred because there were no government regulations against government executions.

    You, on the other hand, are comparing deaths from accidents that occurred despite government regulation with executions that that same government carried out. That doesn't even make sense. It's like you're trying to say "without government, those >100,000,000 would not have been killed, and the mining death toll would remain the same", completely forgetting just a paragraph before, you'd admitted that without government, the mining death toll would be much higher.

    People who stay behind and CHOOSE to do dangerous work [...] chose that fate and the consequences.

    It's a dirty and dangerous job for sure, but somebody has to do it. And I for one have much respect for the men and women who risk their lives to do the jobs that keep society functioning (no, I'm not Mike Rowe :P). But that has absolutely nothing to do with the current discussion. I'm not 100% certain I want to take this angle, but society benefits from their labor, so mining deaths most certainly do factor in here.

    I'm also real curious where you're getting that >100,000,000 number from. I cannot find a good source for an actual total executions across the entire US for anything further back than 1976, but Texas is supposed to be the most execution-happy state, right? So lets go with the count of executions there since 1819, 1213 [wikipedia.org], and just multiply that by 50. That gives us 60,650, no where near the >100,000,000 you're claiming.

    Or wait.. you must be attacking the concept of government rather than a specific implementation Yeah, 40 million.. 50 million.. 15 million... yeah that must be how you got the >100,000,000 number. But then that means you are arguing that lack of government is better than government. Which just makes your post make even less sense.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:43PM (#33233420) Homepage

    Isn't this what people are talking about trying to prevent from happening?

    No. That's not network neutrality.

    If someone wants to setup servers near New York and San Francisco to give those areas better service, that's just great. If they want to pay someone else to setup the server and host it for them, they can do that too. Shipping companies place hubs in busy areas. Supermarkets pay more money for real estate on busy roads. Gas stations try to get intersections. This is all fine.

    Akamai is not an ISP. What we are trying to prevent is ISPs from filtering, delaying, or modifying traffic. Using my supermarket analogy: it's fine for Super Fresh to build a supermarket on a busy road. But it isn't fine if roads have special high-speed lanes for Super Fresh customers. ISPs are in the position of being able to create dedicated lanes on the internet, or to add stop signs that only apply to some people. If you make the roads, you must let all traffic pass equally. If you make telephone wires, you must pass all traffic equally.

  • by Lundse (1036754) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:53AM (#33239942)

    Precisely. The "free market" simply means "power to the citizen".

    ...And "power to every corporation, even to the degree that such corporations will hold much more influence than the combined citizenry, but still enjoy zero accountability".

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