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Passions in Poetry

Net neutrality

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Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
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0 posted 05-13-2010 10:13 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch



In another post it was suggested that the concept of net neutrality was tantamount to censorship, understanding a little bit about the subject I objected to the claim. In fact I think itís pretty obvious that maintaining net neutrality is the exact opposite of censorship so I thought it would be a good idea to open a new thread to discuss it.

To get the ball rolling itís probably worth laying down a little history and explaining the argument from both sides. Iíll try to do that in a non-partisan fashion and avoid all those nerdy terms and the penchant  for geek-speak that seems to be the order of the day whenever the subject is discussed online. Hopefully itíll be informative for both the technical minded and not so technically minded readers but if I veer too far into one way or the other just shout and Iíll try to amend the delivery.

So what is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is basically what we have now, the internet is open to all traffic, the good the bad and the ugly, and no restrictions are placed on what flows over the internet or at what rate or speed the content is delivered. Itís an uncensored, unregulated free for all medium.

So why is net neutrality an issue?

Access to the internet is a finite resource, if you think of internet links as a series of interconnecting pipes with various diameters, similar to water pipes, you wonít be far off. The amount of traffic you can get down those pipes is restricted by the size of the pipe and the total number of people sharing the output.  If youíve got a small diameter water pipe shared by three houses and someone turns a facet on full blast the amount of water delivered to the other properties drops. The internet is similar, only a finite amount of traffic can be delivered and someone downloading large amounts of data can reduce the speed for other users sharing the delivery pipe. Internet providers want to deliver a fast service so theyíd like to restrict the data flow for certain types of content. Thatís not the only reason though, internet providers also want the ability to make money off allowing a faster delivery to the content providers who pay for the privilege. To do that they first need to be able to throttle back the content delivery speed to the end user, an example and prime target would be Google. If a page loads in one second and the internet provider had the ability to slow it down so that it took five seconds they could go to Google and offer them a four second speed increase Ė at a cost of course. Googleís market share is largely based on speed and they spend a whole heap of money to cut fractions of a second off their delivery times, the resultant loss of users because of a slow service would force Google to stump up the money or lose market position.

Thatís not the only driving force though, some internet providers would like to cut, or censor, certain types of traffic altogether. There are various reasons for that, some providers might want to ban access to competitors content, others might want to cut access by content type. If a service provider can double the speed of a business connection by banning video access that might be attractive to a business based customer market. Another, far more cynical reason, has played out in Germany already, T-mobile has begun to block all Skype voice traffic on its network, an obvious attempt to kill the internet phone system which would benefit its own telecoms business.

Those are some of the driving forces behind the move to remove net neutrality but whoís for and whoís against it?

Well the internet service providers are obviously in favour and the content providers are overwhelmingly opposed, end users are split. Some see the sense in restricting some of the stuff that slows their connection while others think the price of censorship is too big a price to pay Ė theyíd prefer it if the providers increased the size of the pipes and left the choice of what they can and canít access up to the end users themselves. Me? Iím slap bang in the middle, I think the internet providers should be able to censor the stuff that needs to be censored, stuff nobody wants Ė viruses etc. but legitimate content should be left well alone.

Should the government be regulating the Internet?

This is a bit of a misleading question when you look at the laws that are being proposed, opponents are quick to jump on this claiming that the government shouldnít be restricting what content the end user can and canít receive. Sounds ominous doesnít it, the government trying to restrict what you can access Ė unfortunately that isnít what the government is trying to do Ė the government is trying to keep net neutrality. They want legislation to outlaw censorship and ensure that the internet providers canít dictate what you can and canít access on the internet.

My question is, given the above, exactly how can a claim be made that net neutrality is tantamount to censorship?

.
threadbear
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1 posted 05-13-2010 11:22 AM       View Profile for threadbear   Email threadbear   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for threadbear

Grinch, thanks for the well thought out posting.

I am 'resetting' my position to one of neutrality while learning more about this legislation.  Seems like finding the motivation for any law, is tantamount to understanding the implications of said law.

I'll get back to you on this thread after researching more.  Much obliged for your 'take' on this confusing issue.
Jeff
Ron
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2 posted 05-13-2010 01:46 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Me? Iím slap bang in the middle, I think the internet providers should be able to censor the stuff that needs to be censored, stuff nobody wants Ė viruses etc. but legitimate content should be left well alone.

In the middle? LOL. You've sure got a lot of company there.

It seems like everyone wants to "censor the stuff that needs to be censored." The disagreement is over whose stuff goes on which side of the line.
Grinch
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3 posted 05-13-2010 03:42 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Thatís true enough Ron.



I should have said that I think that they should block all the stuff that nobody wants to download.

.
threadbear
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4 posted 05-13-2010 04:01 PM       View Profile for threadbear   Email threadbear   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for threadbear

ok, Ron-ster:
since you brought it up: spill!
What do you think
SHOULD
be censored from your standpoint?
Balladeer
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5 posted 05-13-2010 08:30 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

So who determines what people don't want to download....and how long should it remain there before of the powers that will be will be able to deterrmine it is not popular enough to download?


....and who appoints those powers that will be?
Sunshine
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6 posted 05-13-2010 09:31 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

...And who can't click the "off" button?

Censorship comes in the form of what is best for all of the public; and what is limited to age limits [rather like what we have here at PiP]

If the world were to be administered by the likes of a PiP world...what do you suppose might happen?

Balladeer
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7 posted 05-13-2010 09:45 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ron Carnell would be President????
Ron
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8 posted 05-13-2010 10:33 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
ok, Ron-ster:
since you brought it up: spill!
What do you think
SHOULD
be censored from your standpoint?

It's not a matter of what gets censored; it's a matter of who gets to do which censoring.

The government? Not a damn thing. A ten-year-old's mother? Anything she wants. And, of course, there are infinite variations between those two extremes. Depending not on what, but on whom.
rwood
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9 posted 05-14-2010 08:31 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

I'm the only one with a computer on the hill, currently, where I live. My lovely, but elderly, neighbors still think surfing is something one does in the ocean.

My son was disappointed when he visited from Germany because no one was trying to "tap in" to my network. LOL.

My son's an uber hacker, for lack of better words to describe his particular set of skills.

I wasn't able to block him from the pc when he was 10 years old, he'd still get on, somehow, unless I just simply unplugged the keyboard and put it in the trunk of my car. When that didn't work anymore, I had to trunk the pc. Unfortunately, I couldn't trunk the whole neighborhood's pc's. If his surf-play was definitely monitored by outside sources? omg. I hate to think how he'd been hauled in for questioning most of his youth, and he'd missed the one class that actually took with him: German. Haha.

But he does have some issues with the German Gov. about content monitoring, privacy, law, etc. Some things he cannot even talk about. That sends the imagination spinning into Tron-mode!!

So, there are those who have great jobs at that security stuff, of which I don't have a clue about. Other than he gets paid to rid computers of viruses and to secure/monitor/track/catch those who are tapping in/hacking/attacking you with a virus. And there are those who track/catch pedophiles and illegal child-porn traffickers, etc.

and that tiered stuff to control said pipeline? I just shake my head. Because people like my son will probably figure out a way to plague or bi-pass or pirate it, none of which would be legal, and nothing of which people like me could figure out.

One would need a censorial degree in censorship that would integrate online integrity and network performance, and a market of consumers who are willing to pay to play with freedom. Would they not??

nice topic, btw.
Grinch
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10 posted 05-14-2010 02:10 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
So who determines what people don't want to download....


You do Mike, along with everyone else.

I donít know of anyone who wants to download a virus or a Trojan, or any of the malware I get asked to remove from PC's on a daily basis. Do you want to download any of that stuff Mike? Can you think of anyone who does?

Thatís the stuff that Iíd like to see the internet providers block Ė the stuff nobody wants to download.

Unfortunately the government donít agree with me, theyíre fighting to outlaw censorship of any type whatsoever Ė they are, in effect, proposing to block diddly squat . On the other hand, the internet service providers are fighting to block the stuff people actually do want to download Ė so they can charge them a premium for the privilege or squeeze out their competitors.

So who can do the blocking?

The only people who can physically implement censorship on the internet are the internet service providers. Remember the water pipe analogy Mike, well the internet service providers own the pumping stations throughout the internet pipe network and like the water companies that can put filters in the pumping stations to remove all the stuff they donít want us to drink they can filter out the packets of data they donít want us to download.

Could the American government force the internet service providers to block certain content?

Sure they could, itís what happens in China. All theyíd need to do is stop pushing for legislation to protect net neutrality and introduce legislation that sanctioned state controlled censorship. Personally I canít see that ever happening but if it does Iíll give you a shout.


Essorant
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11 posted 05-14-2010 05:14 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't think there is a problem with both, as long as we make sure that both continue to be available (not just one).  Maybe some people don't care for having everything that a Net Neutral provider might give, and by having less could pay less where otherwise they might pay more.  Having the option may not be a bad thing, as long as it may be an option, not forced on providers or on customers.

Grinch
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12 posted 05-14-2010 06:06 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Ess,

The idea of having both, while appealing, isnít a real option. Going back to the water pipe analogy if the filters are fitted on the largest diameter water main the owners of the smaller pipes and pumps, and consequently all downstream end users, donít have a choice, they just donít get any filtered content.

If the big three or four owners of the internet backbone decide to block Skype itíll cease to work on almost every computer thatís not on a private WAN segment. Why? For your Skype transmission to reach my computer it almost invariably has to travel across one of the backbone pipes, if there are filters in place on those key pipes the chances are that itíll never get through.

Hereís a good representation of the backbone connections in the US that will illustrate my point.
http://advice.cio.com/themes/CIO.com/cache/Internet_map_labels_0.pdf
Balladeer
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13 posted 05-14-2010 06:50 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thatís the stuff that Iíd like to see the internet providers block Ė the stuff nobody wants to download. SO you refer to trojans and malware? Fine with me. I'm sure everyone would like to see those blocked. If the providers could, I'm sure they would. Obviously they can't, completely.

When Obama referred to bad information on the net, I really don't think he was referring to trojans.
threadbear
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14 posted 05-15-2010 11:08 PM       View Profile for threadbear   Email threadbear   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for threadbear

I've been researching Net Neutrality a bit, found this YouTube video.
I must have watched 20 of them on Net-Neut, but this one really impressed me,
especially this young announcer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HutgiFkYvc

It's a 7 minute video, but please watch the first 3 minutes of it.
The amazing part of this testimony is that this Scott Cunningham
does it all ad-lib, unscripted.   Website's only been up 2 weeks,
but this kid is talented.

On the other side, here is a really good short video
on why the Internet is in danger, and how to protect it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9jHOn0EW8U

You see, this all boils down to why things can never remain: "Neutral"
Eventually a situation calls for the "Neutral Thing" to have to commit to one side or another.
On this issue, a person either falls upon the Support Big Internet Providers sword
or falls upon the "Let the Government Regulate the Internet by Calling it a Utility" lance.

Whenever this situation occurs, I look for one answer:

How did it work in the past when the government regulated utilities?

ummmm....almost forgot to balance the above question:
and, if left UNregulated, will the utilities try to take advantage of that and prioritize in order to capitalize on the situation?

Grinch
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Posts 2710
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15 posted 05-16-2010 12:01 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
It's a 7 minute video, but please watch the first 3 minutes of it.
The amazing part of this testimony is that this Scott Cunningham
does it all ad-lib, unscripted.   Website's only been up 2 weeks,
but this kid is talented.


Heís also barking up the wrong tree and either a tad confused or intentionally trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

ďThe government is going to regulate the Internet.Ē

Sure they are Ė the government wants to introduce regulation to stop the internet service providers from censoring the internet. Scott hears ďregulationĒ and ďgovernmentĒ in the same sentence and naturally presumes the worst. I donít blame him though because the people in favour of censorship are screaming that the government want to regulate the internet, theyíre hoping that everyone will rise up to oppose the legislation so that their internet access can be censored by the ISPís.

The government donít want to regulate the internet, they want to regulate the ISPís who want to regulate the internet. If you donít want anyone telling you what you can and canít access on the internet you should be 100% in favour of net neutrality.

All this ďutilityĒ stuff?

The FCC has been told that it canít stop the ISPís from censoring the Internet because the ISPís own the equipment and the segment of the internet where theyíll be doing the censoring. The legal argument is that they can do whatever they like on their own property. The FCC are boxing clever, theyíve decided that if the internet is a utility they can force the ISPís to stop censoring. To understand that go back to the water pipe analogy Ė the government canít stop a water company from removing iron from the water in their own pipe network but they can stop them if water that enters the utility main by setting a filtration level on the utility supply.

The reality is that this move by the FCC is probably a bluff, but if it isnít the ISPís have a real dilemma on their hands, if they insist on censoring the data on their network they could up losing access to the internet altogether.

.
 
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