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Deaf Advocacy Groups To Verizon: Don't Kill Net Neutrality On Our Behalf 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-on-your-behalf dept.
Dega704 sends this quote from Ars: No company has lobbied more fiercely against network neutrality than Verizon, which filed the lawsuit that overturned the FCC's rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking and discriminating against Web content. But the absence of net neutrality rules isn't just good for Verizon—it's also good for the blind, deaf, and disabled, Verizon claims. That's what Verizon lobbyists said in talks with congressional staffers, according to a Mother Jones report last month. "Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea," the report said. With "fast lanes," Web services—including those designed for the blind, deaf, and disabled—could be prioritized in exchange for payment. Now, advocacy groups for deaf people have filed comments with the FCC saying they don't agree with Verizon's position."
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Deaf Advocacy Groups To Verizon: Don't Kill Net Neutrality On Our Behalf

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  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:32PM (#47512639) Homepage Journal

    We don't give a shit.

    (This should have been the Verizon ad all along.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The modern World Wide Web is itself in a state of disability. Long gone are the days when World Wide Web pages were lean and loaded quickly. Today we get monstrous web pages that include megabyte after megabyte of useless privacy-destroying user tracking JavaScript, unnecessarily large and pointless images, and massive CSS stylesheets necessary to give that truly hipster flair.

    Then there are modern World Wide Web browsers. Chome, IE, Firefox and even Opera all now have UIs that have been dumbed down to the

  • Closed Captioning (Score:5, Informative)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:38PM (#47512673) Homepage
    My hearing is bad enough that I need to use hearing aids, although I can get along to some extent without them. When I watch TV, I always have the Closed Captioning turned on and have, in fact abandoned shows that stopped providing it. Yes, providing it at need uses up a little more bandwidth, but very, very little. We don't need to throw out Net Neutrality to get closed captioning, especially when you consider the fact that most people won't ever need it.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:40PM (#47512679) Journal
    I'm not surprised, alleging that the telegenic interests of assorted groups just so happen to be aligned with your bottom line is an old strategy; but this is pretty incoherent even by the low standards of the genre.

    Yes, if there were a fast lane, one could theoretically put special-deaf-packets in it (or just as easily shove them into the slow lane, if they can't afford to pay); but this ignores the more pressing question of "What, pray tell, is currently suffering for want of special bandwidth and how demanding must it be if your existing service can't cope?".

    I can imagine that certain disabilities might drive modestly higher bandwidth demands (the deaf, presumably, don't get much use out of VOIP, which is lower bandwidth than video good enough to make lip reading or signing an option; but last I checked uploading and downloading video wasn't exactly a niche case, even if it is one where Verizon can't seem to get Netflix working...); but nothing that exceeds the current or near-term demands of most internet users.

    They obviously won't prefer this interpretation; but just how awful is Verizon planning to make the non-fast lane if these special disabled services will need to be fast-laned to work? Anyone?
    • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @06:30AM (#47514293) Homepage

      Yes, if there were a fast lane, one could theoretically put special-deaf-packets in it (or just as easily shove them into the slow lane, if they can't afford to pay); but this ignores the more pressing question of "What, pray tell, is currently suffering for want of special bandwidth and how demanding must it be if your existing service can't cope?".

      When people can't hear well youtube, netflix, etc. have to send more data for the sound to make it louder. Similarly, people with vision problems get a really really huge movie to watch, meaning they need even more data (measured in bites) than the deaf folks. Someone like Helen Keller would need a dedicated OC-48 - possibly even an OC-49 or something like that - to handle her needs.

      I tell you, Verizon's great concern for the handicapped folks just brings a tear to my eye and makes me want to use their services all the more, especially with that fast lane for handicapped people. They probably even get their own parking spot at Verizon headquarters, one for deaf drivers and one for blind drivers.

  • Pretty low (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sg_oneill (159032) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:42PM (#47512689)

    Exploiting the technical ignorance of elderly congressmen by lying about the technical needs of deaf folks.

    Its pretty scummy tactic. Unfortunately for Verison disabilities activists can be INCREDIBLY noisy when they are shat upon, so I doubt our deaf friends are going to tolerate this guff at all.

    Go deaf dudes!

    • Re:Pretty low (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jd2112 (1535857) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:57PM (#47512775)

      Exploiting the technical ignorance of elderly congressmen by lying about the technical needs of deaf folks.

      Its pretty scummy tactic. Unfortunately for Verison disabilities activists can be INCREDIBLY noisy when they are shat upon, so I doubt our deaf friends are going to tolerate this guff at all.

      Go deaf dudes!

      Tomorrow Verizon will claim that orphans, puppies, and disabled war veterans will be harmed by net neutrality. And if the net is neutral, THE TERRORISTS WIN!

      • by camg188 (932324)
        You forgot "Think of the kids"
        • by Anonymous Coward

          You think Verizon will say that a net neutrality will make downloading child porn as easy as downloading other porn? And that the network should not be neutral for child porn?

    • . Unfortunately for Verison disabilities activists can be INCREDIBLY noisy when they are shat upon, so I doubt our deaf friends are going to tolerate this guff at all.

      But how would they know?

      Go deaf dudes!

      Hear, hear! <-- What I actually wrote before I figured out it was ironic, which would be fine, and probably insensitive, which is not. But I will echo your sentiment: Go dead dudes!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is a tactic they've been using for a while. [vice.com]

    The telecoms offer cash grants to various groups who really don't know anything about the issue of net neutrality but if they want the money they have to sign off on it, often in the fine print somewhere. The telecoms get to pretend to be good guys for helping out needy non-profit groups and they get to put those groups on a list to wave in front of congressmen. In the past there wasn't enough publicity for those groups to even find out how their good names

  • Hm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aevan (903814) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @09:49PM (#47512731)
    Is Verizon's argument that Net Neutrality is bad because they cannot ransom special groups? "allow ISPs to create Internet "fast lanes" for companies that can afford to pay for speedier service" [Emphasis mine]
    • Verizon is not ransoming special groups.

      No, this is Racketeering [wikipedia.org] if I've ever seen it!
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They pull no punches on that one. Regarding video chat - which is useful for communicating using ASL:

      Accordingly, we are concerned about the Commission’s proposal to permit
      broadband providers to degrade applications to a “minimum level of access” in lieu of a
      full-throated no-blocking rule. A “minimum level of access” rule would open the door to
      a two-tiered Internet, placing users who are deaf or hard of hearing that depend on
      performance-intensive video and other applications to

  • by spitzak (4019)

    The chances that this "fast lane" will be used to service the deaf or blind is zero. This is the most ludicrous idea I have ever heard.
     

  • I'm deaf... (Score:5, Informative)

    by evil_aaronm (671521) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @10:09PM (#47512841)
    And I have never needed, used, or even been aware of any service provided to deaf people by Verizon. I honestly have no clue what they're talking about, and it's one of the lamest, skeeziest attempts to wheedle money I've seen in a while. Fuck you, Verizon.
    • They probably have some amount of TRS stuff quietly rotting in a back room somewhere; but the idea that they actually care about those services seems implausible at best.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Aww, poor little disabled you. Sure we'll help you out.
    You get to pay extra!
    Yes, yes, you're quite welcome.

    Stupid world.

  • There is really only one answer to Verizon. They need to be broken up. Is the government wont do it, we should do it.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @11:37PM (#47513177)

    I have a hand sign I'd like to show you. But don't worry - you don't need to know ASL to understand the meaning of this sign.

  • Hey, let's pick a minority group of people living with a misfortune through no fault of their own... what's something that will make it easy to play the sympathy card? Y'know, like it'll make everyone *else* look like the bad guys for opposing it? Wait... I got it... let's exploit the disabled!

    Verizon has long been the poster child of corporate fuck-all-y'all evil, but I believe Satan just reserved a special place them in hell, probably as his right hand, to one day ascend to the fiery throne and command

  • Verizon making misleading (and shall we say "tone deaf") statements on behalf of deaf people, that deaf people don't agree with.
  • Against the ADA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immostlyharmless (1311531) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @12:42AM (#47513339)
    Not sure, but I'm fairly certain that making deaf/blind/etc pay more for specific fast lanes to ensure content that is easier for them to use MIGHT be against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I'm not sure Verizon was thinking this one through. The ADA has some serious teeth.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not sure, but I'm fairly certain that making deaf/blind/etc pay more for specific fast lanes to ensure content that is easier for them to use MIGHT be against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I'm not sure Verizon was thinking this one through. The ADA has some serious teeth.

      This is pretty SOP for negotiating with congress. Next they will cut a deal where "deaf channels" are provided "for free" in exchange for being able to charge everyone else extra for non-crippled services. The fact that the d

  • by letherial (1302031) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @12:44AM (#47513345)

    Its pointless, everyone knows its pointless....there is only one thing that matters, did the check clear?

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @01:13AM (#47513419)

    I was already determined not to do business with them. Now I'm really glad I've had that policy. They're scum.

    • I was already determined not to do business with them. Now I'm really glad I've had that policy. They're scum.

      Hey, no offense intended but did you just figure that out now?

  • ... why should the Democratic Party be the only ones who can exploit telegenic groups to further their interests?
  • Is this an admission by Verizon that normally their service is the slow lane and they will make everybody's service even slower to enable a small few to have a 'fast lane'.

    Why don't they just put in the infrastructure needed for peoples internet to work like what they paid for already. Are they going to give refunds for not supplying the service they sold?

    • by dissy (172727)

      Why don't they just put in the infrastructure needed for peoples internet to work like what they paid for already. Are they going to give refunds for not supplying the service they sold?

      No no, it's all a matter of internal accounts you see.

      The money used to purchase bandwidth throttling equipment was taken from the subscriber payments account, so you are only due a refund if they failed to slow your connection to a standstill.

      The money to upgrade infrastructure was taken from us all by force by convincing the government to tax us each and every year for the past decade and a half, and the government isn't likely to ask for a refund from their overlords, nor would we see it refunded to us e

  • by Roskolnikov (68772) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @07:17AM (#47514487)

    So if groups with disabilities pay up they can have 'fast' service? Next up, every day net neutrality exists a kitten dies tactic?

  • ... if we kill it, we won't have to use a silencer.

  • In 2014 alone, Internet service providers have spent close to $19 million lobbying on net neutrality

    Imagine how much more fiber optic cable you could have deployed for $19000000.. and that's just this year and we're just barely halfway through the year!

    Internet is a public utility, and a monopoly. ISPs need to be regulated accordingly, end of story.

  • Looks like a big swing and a miss for Verizon.

    They should have advocated on behalf of children instead

    "Net neutrality is bad for children! Won't somebody think of the children?!?"


  • Because children can't fight back when their voice is co-opted.

    Luckily blind, deaf and disabled adults are able to.

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