Internet Freedom Under Fire - Act Now
January 24, 2006 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Internet: Freedom or Privilege? David Isenberg: "Just as Freedom of Speech means that, with very few limitations, nobody has the right to tell somebody else what to say, so should Internet freedom mean that gatekeepers should not control Internet applications or content. This is essential not just as a matter of freedom, but also as a matter of commerce, because the Internet’s success is directly due to its content-blindness. If the United States fails to understand this, U.S. Internet leadership will follow U.S. leadership in agriculture, in steel, in autos, and in consumer electronics to other countries that do."
posted by sswiller (14 comments total)
I won't be reading this right now but tenkyu!!
posted by longsleeves at 7:46 PM on January 24, 2006

Keep an eye on the Sultanate of Kinakuta....
posted by pompomtom at 7:48 PM on January 24, 2006

just xrcizn teh rites
posted by longsleeves at 7:50 PM on January 24, 2006

*beez nice.
posted by longsleeves at 7:56 PM on January 24, 2006

posted by aerify at 7:57 PM on January 24, 2006

Is there any way we can revoke the whole "free speech" thing? At least on Mefi? Who cares about this guy or his blog. The whole blog thing is going to kill itself out and go the way of the dinosaurs. There's a blog for every pimple on every highschool kid's pimply face. I'm sick of blogs. I started my own once and quit knowing that, even if I was the greatest writer on earth, the last place I would want my voice heard is on some fucking BLOG.
posted by snsranch at 8:42 PM on January 24, 2006

Yeah, cause there are absolutely no gatekeepers on television, or the radio, or newspapers....

- Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?

- Sure, but not in our dreams! Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, in movies, in ball games and on busses, and... milk cartons, and T-shirts, and bananas, and written in the sky. But not in our dreams! No, Siree!

posted by furtive at 8:56 PM on January 24, 2006

This could have been a good post about the network neutrality rule.
posted by dhartung at 9:19 PM on January 24, 2006

Important topic. Pity it's only some guy's blog. Here in South Africa, we have Telkom insanely regulating bandwidth as well as content. They don't want to compete with Skype. Telkom has a monopoly. So they prioritize traffic.

As it is, it has been shown that here, if you want to download a few CDs worth of data, it is cheaper to fly to Hong Kong to get them physically, than to download the data. Telkom presumes to say "Anyone using more than x GB a month (don't remember the number) is abusing it."

Of course, since this is about regulatory efforts in Congress, in the current climate, it is most likely to be decided in favor of the biggest contributor to the Republican party.
posted by Goofyy at 9:37 PM on January 24, 2006

Agree with dhartung...this topic is far too important to be considering mediocre blogs as a discussion point.
posted by MillMan at 10:16 PM on January 24, 2006

The outcome of this will probably be another sad indication of the Republicans betraying their own free-market ideology because they fear biting the hand that feeds them.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:36 AM on January 25, 2006

"only some guy's blog"

Yeah, just some guy who's a PhD, former Bell Labs guru, author of a number of well-regarded papers and articles on the topics of telephony and its associated regulation, and is presently a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

Those of you who have dismissed this because he doesn't have a groovy looking blog really need to look a little more closely.
posted by briank at 5:17 AM on January 25, 2006

What about broadband over powerline? Everyone with a computer has some sort of power line to the place they use the computer, right? This is already an alternative network, it bypasses the telcom companies to some extent (at least locally - but the network must be tied in to the net backbone somewhere, not sure where this occurs). So if Comcast sues to keep competing broadband cable companies out of my area, my local power company can offer broadband over powerline. They're a community-owned power company, so this is a good thing and promises lower prices. Right?

Wrong. Case study for my locality is here. Long story short, Comcast is doing everything they can to block any alternatives, my city is trying to negotiate a new contract as it's 30 year old cable supplier contract expires, and Comcast isn't budging: which means my rates will go up, and I'm unlikely to see any appreciable increase in service speed. They will likely try to stifle any atempt at getting broadband over powerline or allowing the competing SBC DSL any new inroads. Thanks, Comcast.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:12 AM on January 25, 2006

Though not as extreme as Isenbergs example, "Gatekeeping" is nothing new over here in R.I as far as Cox is concerned. The company offers two options for broadband internet, a normal "preferred" service that allows 5Mbp DL and a "premium" that permits 15Mb DL.

And though it's not enforced very well, they also have limitations about number of users and connections per household.

So essentially Cox does cap their bandwith with certain customers, and rewards those who wish to pay more. Is this right? Not really. I agree, people should be able to get the bandwith they need for free or at a reasonable charge, but the reality is that the Internet is still a privilege, meaning no matter what, someone has to pay for you to have access to it. It isn't yet something any American can make use of for zero charge, or is given to them at birth like Freedom of Speech is.
posted by slip81 at 6:52 AM on January 25, 2006

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