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Amazon, Mozilla, Kickstarter, and Reddit Are Staging a Net Neutrality Online Protest (washingtonpost.com) 70

An anonymous reader shares a report: Some of the Internet's biggest names are banding together for a "day of action" to oppose the Federal Communications Commission (alternative source), which is working to undo regulations for Internet providers that it passed during the Obama administration. Among the participants are Etsy, Kickstarter and Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox Web browser. Also joining the day of protest will be Reddit, the start-up incubator Y Combinator, and Amazon. On July 12, the companies and organizations are expected to change their websites to raise awareness of the FCC effort, which is aimed at deregulating the telecom and cable industries. Mozilla, for example, will change what users see on their screens when they open a new browser window. Other participants include Demand Progress, Etsy, Vimeo, Private Internet Access, Fight for the Future, EFF, DreamHost, Creative Commons, BitTorrent, American Library Association, ACLU, GreenPeace, Open Media, and Patreon. Find more details here.
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Amazon, Mozilla, Kickstarter, and Reddit Are Staging a Net Neutrality Online Protest

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  • by brianerst ( 549609 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @11:13AM (#54560629) Homepage

    "Mozilla should be spending 100% of its time working on its browser! Why are they wasting time doing anything other than rolling back the GUI to the one in Firefox 4.0? I hate the new Chrome look so damned much I switched to Chrome and never looked back."

  • by slipped_bit ( 2842229 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @11:17AM (#54560665)
    Shouldn't that be "the *once* popular Firefox Web browser"? (Not a hater; it's my main browser, although the things it has done over the last few years has annoyed me and is starting to push me away.)
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Firefox is still the heavyweight in open source browsing, but Chrome has pulled heavily from the "I want performance" and "I want compatibility" pools, while Firefox and Chromium spinoffs have pulled to a degree from the "I want open source" pools. Firefox can fight on performance, has lost the war for compatibility, and probably has lost some trust from the "I want open source" pool that isn't coming back (but could still win back a lot of that with actions- but probably won't).

  • by Topwiz ( 1470979 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @11:21AM (#54560705)
    I wouldn't call 6.55% US market share and dropping popular.
  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @11:43AM (#54560895)

    It's nice to see a bunch of special interest groups work towards a goal that generally benefits the American citizens of the net (and certain corporations, at the expense of certain other corporations). Watching the right twist hard on this issue has been yet another source of bitter amusement for me over this last year (and believe me, I've had sources of bitter amusement from ALL political sides over the last year or two).

    Here's the lowdown: net neutrality used to enjoy a broad coalition of pretty much everyone- the idea that carriers can't charge based on certain qualifications is a pretty appealing one. Some libertarians like it because the carriers are themselves a kind of monopoly (and therefore shouldn't be allowed the same power over their wires as if it was a free market), most liberals like it because it prevents corporations from screwing over the little guy, and some conservatives like it because it prevents conservative speech from being branded separately or upcharged ("CNN is free, Fox News costs extra!" or somesuch). This changed recently and rapidly: in addition to the more strict market libertarians (who were formerly pretty much the only natural philosophical opponents of net neutrality), the broad base of conservatism, led by Trump, are now opposed to net neutrality. Now it's meddlesome government, and (somehow!) the ability to censor data.

    The conservative switch on this is not ENTIRELY surprising, given that the most recent action on net neutrality happened under Obama, but why would conservatives not be in favor of common carrier status? Certainly they don't want to pay more for electricity depending on its use (nor would they be ok with the power company monitoring everything in their house to ensure that they pay the correct rate for "television electricity" versus "microwave electricity"), so why the odd position?

    The answer appears to be depressingly top-down. This coalition of dudes listed in the summary is pretty much all liberals (I'm not aware of any that even gave Trump credit for smashing the TPP, which they were opposed to), and they pretty much universally supported the losing Hillary Clinton in the election. Meanwhile, those who stand to benefit from the repeal of net neutrality didn't use their bully pulpit to denounce Trump for two years straight, and are broadly more Republican donors. That part I guess is part and parcel of our vaguely corporate Republic, but it is darkly amusing to watch the needs of the donors DRAG THE PHILOSOPHY IN REAL TIME. Just nuts.

    • by Scarred Intellect ( 1648867 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @11:58AM (#54561045) Homepage Journal

      Certainly they don't want to pay more for electricity depending on its use...

      I don't disagree with anything you said, but wanted to lend some more data to your viewpoint. Here, we DO pay more for electricity depending on its use: https://www.bbec.org/wp-conten... [bbec.org]. Aside from different service charges, the rates are different for each use. For example, Residential is $0.6/kWh while irrigation is $0.03/kWh...for part of the year. I'm sure there are reasons and justifications for all this, but thought you'd find it interesting nonetheless.

      On an unrelated note, I'm not happy getting electricity from coal when I could (should) be getting it from hydro where I'm at...

      • Certainly they don't want to pay more for electricity depending on its use...

        I don't disagree with anything you said, but wanted to lend some more data to your viewpoint. Here, we DO pay more for electricity depending on its use

        And here we actually pay more for electricity depending on its SOURCE. We have the option of signing up for "green energy" from a couple of different companies, both of which cost more than the electricity from the normal hydro-based electric company. Nobody I know of complains about this as being a lack of "electric neutrality", even though there is a very strong incentive to buy the electrons from the power company and not from the specialized "content" sources.

        My parents also paid different amounts for

    • by zaphod ( 2284 )

      When do we get road neutrality? I'm tired of paying tolls on roads that are deemed "more important". I'm also tired of being told I can't drive in certain lanes due to the contents of my car (HOV lanes for those that don't understand the reference).

      Are roads not considered to be a utility? Lack of road neutrality increases the costs for individual people driving as well as the costs of goods sold shipped over the roads.

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )
        If you build your own dedicated road, like a toll road, you can charge for it. Go put fiber in the ground, then call up the major carriers and offer to charge for it's use. That's how that works. What you cannot do is charge more to Bob than Larry to drive over that toll road. "HOV lanes" can be constructed whenever carriers see fit, this happens all the time. They lease additional capacity from another carrier and use this for excess traffic or periods of peak activity because while expensive, it's ch
        • What you cannot do is charge more to Bob than Larry to drive over that toll road.

          Really? Bob, who drives an 18-wheeler, always pays more to drive on the local toll roads than does Larry, who drives a motorcycle. Kind of like being charged more for more bandwidth.

          • That's fine. We're already good with that. If Bob and Larry are getting charged different rates because of the time of day / color of car / manufacturer / etc. (while both vehicles fall into the same class and go the same distance) , that's what people are up in arms about.
            • (while both vehicles fall into the same class and go the same distance) , that's what people are up in arms about.

              And yet, that isn't what often happens. Netflix traffic crosses at least one border gateway into Comcast's network; Comcast's video services use a non-Internet delivery system and are almost always delivered from the local headend, for example. Very different distances and classes. T-Mobile's zero-rated video streaming is done at 480p and uses a lot less bandwidth than arbitrary video streaming from a non-participating content provider. Different.

              In any case, the statement I replied to was that we cannot c

          • by jon3k ( 691256 )
            This is where the analogy falls apart. Packets are all the same size (MTU/MSS) when the traverse a carrier's network. Even bandwidth isn't an adequate analogy here because that would be charger more if you wanted to transport lots of cars (packets).
  • by PMuse ( 320639 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @12:10PM (#54561179)

    Whither NetFlix?

    • by davecb ( 6526 )
      Some large companies have been rolling out CDN-like services to deliver active, not just static, content on ISP networks with lots of customers. I'm no longer in that corner of the business, but that could be as little as a financial deal to guarantee excellent SLAs to the end-user. Think of it as a workaround for net neutrality and/or anti-trust accusations.
    • Yeah, that was my question too. This seems entirely aligned with their interests, and they have joined efforts like this before.
    • I just contacted them lamenting their change of stance/current apathy.

      Hopefully enough people will do this that the suits will at least notice. Not keeping my fingers crossed or anything...
    • like davecb said, they've already solved that problem for themselves.

      Solving it for everyone would:
      * be a huge headache for them
      * reduce their competitive advantage

  • Start demanding $20/day from IP addresses originating in D.C. to get more than 5KB/s transfers. Shouldn't have any complaints about that, should they?
  • This is a non-starter protest. And I think Netflix CEO Reed Hasting's opinion on Net Neutrality "We're big enough not to care" is likely shared by the others, they just won't say it. Now that Yahoo is owned by Verizon, even they won't be part of the 'opposition'. Cards are falling into place very nicely for our corporate information overlords. Kudos to you Bezos and Amazon. You might be the last tech titan with actual principles.
    • by jmccue ( 834797 )

      Wish I had mod points, I agree with this sentiment, most people here know the issues, but without Facebook and Netflix it will be tough. Amazon is in the list, so that should help out a bit, but I think many people using Amazon will at least heard of Net neutrality.

      You need to get the 'crazy' masses on Facebook riled up and get them posting :) Without Facebook most people will not know what is going on.

  • Mozilla, for example, will change what users see on their screens when they open a new browser window.

    I get tired of Google popping up the notice that I can make Google my default search engine (when it already is) and I can make Google my home page (which it will never be.) Imagine if Mozilla somehow hijacks the "about:blank" home page I have configured so I start seeing crap from Mozilla.org instead of a blank page.

    Oh, wait, Firefox ALREADY ignores my home page setting on a regular basis, depositing me at a CentOS welcome, even after being configured to a blank home. And when you first start it up, it au

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      > And when you first start it up, it automatically runs home to momma and reports the installation details before you have any option of telling it not to.

      I mean, you can down the interface ahead of time. But that shouldn't be default behavior.

  • ISPs are able to selectively throttle Internet traffic to/from certain websites because they enjoy a government-granted monopoly. Customers can't switch to a different ISP even when they know throttling is going on.

    Why can't websites create a pseudo-monopoly of their own? What if all the websites concerned about net neutrality joined a net neutrality pact? If any member of the pact detected that an ISP was throttling traffic to their site, all pact members would throttle their traffic to that ISP. So
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Good idea, but difficult to organize and pretty easy to blockbust. A few years ago this was used to put the squeeze on Netflix. Nowadays it will help Netflix not deal with competitors. Any members of your theoretical coalition not driven by perfectly long term self interest and fairness could get bent over.

    • ISPs are able to selectively throttle Internet traffic to/from certain websites because they enjoy a government-granted monopoly.

      Not in the US. Where do you live that this happens? (Yes, I am once again pointing out that the government-granted CABLE monopolies that no longer exist do not apply to ISP service and never have. Please stop spreading this misinformation.)

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