Friday, October 23, 2009

Net Neutrality
My open letter to my Senators and Congressmen

Here is the text of an email I just sent to my Congressman, and my two US Senators....please, take a moment, and do the same...this is one of those small, slightly boring and VERY IMPORTANT issues that can fly in under the radar unless people show they are paying attention.

Dear Congressman Walz.

I was proud to knock on doors for you in 2008 and will be proud to do so again next time.

Today, Senator John McCain issued a press release announcing his "Internet Freedom Act of 2009". It's purpose is to prevent government efforts to uphold net neutrality. With out net neutrality, there is no guarantee that Americans will be able to download content they want, or use the internet to easily do business with whom they want. Without net neutrality rules, internet service providers can use their position as gate keepers to block access to certain websites and services.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see where this might lead. A large business could use their power to enter into an arrangement with an internet service provider to block, or slow, access to the commerce sites of small rivals. Access to opinion sites, such as blogs, or podcasts, could also be inhibited.

We need to make sure that access to the net stays neutral, both for the sake of free speech AND a free market.

I urge you take, or support, action in the house to counter moves by Senator McCain and his allies to block our freedom in the name of Freedom.


Alex Ball

What is Net Neutrality All About?
Watch this:


Anonymous said...

Great article as for me. It would be great to read more concerning this topic. The only thing your blog misses is a few pictures of some gizmos.
Kate Flouee
Cell phone jammer

Rene said...

Hey Alex,

I've been watching this debate about net neutrality with mixed opinions about it. One the one hand, I support the freedom of folks to do what they want with their own stuff. If it's the telco's network, they should be able to run it as they like. This only works well for the consumers as long as there's competition so I'm willing to let the government interfere with that freedom in cases where the government has also shut out any other competition. Telco's and cable TV companies being the relevant examples for this discussion.

Do I think Comcast, et. al. should be able to degrade performance of BitTorrent in order to preserve my websurfing speed? Sure, but it's a slippery slope from there to degrading Vonage vs their own VOIP solution.

At this point, I think the best solution is to slip in a slight change to the DMCA. clause about common carrier status. Currently 'common carriers' are not held liable for criminal acts carried out using their services. i.e. If I ship you some pot using FedEx, then FedEx cannot be held sued for my actions. They agreed to move a box from point A to point B. Since they don't look in the box, they're not liable for what's inside the box. Same thing applies for Internet access companies. They cannot be held liable for copyright violations, child pornography, etc. because they don't run those website, they just transmit the bits from point A to point B.

If they are NOT net neutral, then you can make the claim that they have "looked in the box" because they are treating some boxes differently than others. So let them have the freedom to manage their networks as they please. But if they start mucking with it, then they have to deal with ALL the complexities of enforcing the laws, etc. If they want to leave it alone, then they're exempt from those laws. I'll bet that most of their legal staff will quickly tell them that most any contract to favor one type of Internet traffic over another won't pay for the hassles involved.