29 December 2010

Net neutrality

Some notes I had taken a week back:

Compromise On Net Neutrality from WNYC with Tim Wu commenting, at around the 6:30 mark:

I was in the FCC and I said why don't we just extend [Net Neutrality rules] to wireless, and they said "that's great, but AT&T will never agree to that. And I said "AT&T doesn't have a vote on this commission." They said "yeah, but they got 60 Congressmen. They can make our life miserable."

Al Franken has been a long-time supporter. The video from his petition to save net neutrality:

In it, he asks: How long do you think it will take for these [media] monoliths to buy enough elections so that they effectively have veto power over anything Congress tries to do to regulate them. Succinct.

Recently, I had serendipitously read Richard Stallman's essay in The Guardian titled The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control.

In the physical world, we have the right to print and sell books. Anyone trying to stop us would need to go to court. ... However, to set up a website we need the co-operation of a domain name company, an ISP, and often a hosting company, any of which can be pressured to cut us off.

We need more extremists like him.

Ars Technica reviewed recent books on the subject, one by Tim Wu, in their article Four takes on why net neutrality matters. The reviewer gets to the heart of the heart of the matter:

The deeper problem is that the First Amendment is empirically blind. It is oblivious to speech and information bottlenecks. It is not in fact a "free speech" guarantee, but a limitation on government. The Supreme Court focuses more on the "no law" than the "freedom of speech" parts of "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech." [emphasis mine] While "no law's" concern about state censorship is certainly well-taken, it is only half the story. It hobbles any government attempt to act against private censorship. (Indeed, corporations have discovered the First Amendment as a useful argument against many types of government regulation, from consumer disclosures to campaign finance.) In an ironic turn of events, the First Amendment is used against speech.

Finally, and related, we have David Frost interviewing Julian Assange on Al Jazeera via Reddit:

I'll repeat: David Frost has a show on Al Jazeera.

[ posted by sstrader on 29 December 2010 at 2:01:50 PM in Internet | tagged net neutrality, wikileaks ]