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04/25/2006 11:05:54 AM · #1
Congress is voting April 26 on whether telecoms and other corporations can control users access to the internet. This may have the effect of limiting or eliminating access to websites that either do not pay these companies large fees, or that they feel are not in their own best interest. Access to DPChallenge, as well as numerous other sites may be affected. Please take a moment to read about this issue, as it will likely effect your access to information through the internet.

Get your voice heard!

//www.tpmcafe.com/node/29086
//www.savetheinternet.com/

Here's what they (telecoms) have done so far, even without this legislation:

- In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned //www.dearaol.com — an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.
- In 2005, Canada's telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a labor dispute.
- In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.
04/25/2006 11:09:51 AM · #2
Is this part of the Web2.0 I've heard a bit about - bascially yo upay to get to be tier 1 (broadband type speeds) and if you don't pay then you get 'off broadway' status shall we say and good luck on your site being found.
04/25/2006 11:13:55 AM · #3
Snopes hasn't finished its investigation of this claim yet, but I await their research:

//www.snopes.com/politics/business/neutrality.asp

In the 20 years I've been using e-mail, I've seen these alarmist calls a number of times, and so far, 100% have been false.

Not to say we shouldn't keep an eye on this one.
04/25/2006 11:19:01 AM · #4
Well, in all fairness, I reserve the right to FIRE my ISP. And, I won't hesitate to use that right.

As far as the vote in Congress, I feel confident that it's an issue that is coming in front of Congress as a measure to prevent what AOL and others have been doing.

Next, will be the class action lawsuits.
04/25/2006 11:21:16 AM · #5
Originally posted by photomikey:

Snopes hasn't finished its investigation of this claim yet, but I await their research:

//www.snopes.com/politics/business/neutrality.asp

In the 20 years I've been using e-mail, I've seen these alarmist calls a number of times, and so far, 100% have been false.

Not to say we shouldn't keep an eye on this one.


I've been using email for almost as long and I've heard the same thing numerous times.

Considering that the vote is scheduled for April 26 and it's not in the headlines (that I've heard anyway), I suspect it's another hoax.
04/25/2006 11:27:39 AM · #6
do you guys realize how hard it is to get a bill passed through congress, 1 out of 10 bills make it through congress if that,
it is extremly hard to get a bill through both houses

Message edited by author 2006-04-25 11:28:03.
04/25/2006 11:33:23 AM · #7
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Well, in all fairness, I reserve the right to FIRE my ISP. And, I won't hesitate to use that right.


Yeah, So given my one choice of broadband, what choice do I reaily have (I have plenty of dial up options) :-/ It's also unlikely they would not move in lock-step IMO.

Message edited by author 2006-04-25 11:33:41.
04/25/2006 11:46:33 AM · #8
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Is this part of the Web2.0 I've heard a bit about -


This has nothing to do with Web 2.0.
04/25/2006 11:50:17 AM · #9
Well, it seems like an actual issue.

//energycommerce.house.gov/108/Markups/04252006markup1848.htm

I may have been mistaken that the 'vote' in on the 26. I don't fully understand how legislation operates.

Message edited by author 2006-04-25 11:51:14.
04/25/2006 12:12:06 PM · #10
ISP's are already controlling what we can see through IP filtering and in purposely filtering packets of data in use by file sharing networks and VOIP services.

not sure about this april 26th vote, but i stay up to date by reading:

boingboing.net

//www.ipaction.org/

//www.eff.org/

//thisweekintech.com/
04/25/2006 12:33:06 PM · #11
The issue does exist (i.e. it is not simply an urban myth). For example, see this CIO article on Internet neutrality.

It seems a bit irrational to me... after all, my understanding (although I am willing to be corrected here) is that everyone pays their upstream carrier to carry traffic. I pay my ISP to connect to them, my ISP uses some of that money to pay larger carriers to carry my traffic out from my ISP, the larger carriers pay whoever has the pipes to get traffic out of Australia to the US (mostly) or SE Asia, and so on. So the people at the top shouldn't really be giving away a service (carrying traffic for free), they should already be getting paid for it. So the argument that the content providers like Google are getting something for nothing are erroneous... after all, Google is paying their ISP for the traffic it uses.

However, we all know that law and lawmaking isn't neccessarily rational. Regardless (and acknowledging that all predictions are dangerous, especially when they concern the future :) I don't think this will be "the end of the world as we know it". If the ferryman charges too much, then people will walk further to use the bridge. If the major carriers in question try to abuse their power, then organisations will find someone else to play bat and ball with. There may be temporary blips, but I don't forsee a meltdown on the Net.
04/25/2006 12:51:48 PM · #12
Originally posted by WhatAreYouLookingAt:



- In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned //www.dearaol.com — an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.
- In 2005, Canada's telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a labor dispute.
- In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.


So lets think about this. Your ISP is AOL. They block you from going to a certain domain... big deal, go use your friends ISP which might be Earthlink and you access the site. I work in an IT Department that use to own an ISP and I will tell you that we could block domains all day long if we wanted but that does not keep someone from using another ISP to access the site. ISP's do not share their list of blocked domains. The only lists that are widely used by ISP's are the e-mail black lists and white lists. Even then it is up to the ISP if they want to check against the e-mail domain black list before sending an e-mail.

My guess is you are going to find out this is a hoax in the very near future.
04/25/2006 01:03:58 PM · #13
just playing devils advocate...

If they are not allowed to block sites, will that disable any pop up or spam blockers?
04/25/2006 01:11:19 PM · #14
Originally posted by Nitrox:


So lets think about this. Your ISP is AOL. They block you from going to a certain domain...


Well, as I read that info, I think it's actually saying it blocked emails from reaching AOL customers if that email contained "dearaol.com." So you would never even know it was blocked. How are you to know what your ISP will deem counter to their interests?

But yes, I think it could extend to visiting sites. Do I really want to go find a friend that uses a different ISP everytime I can't access a site myself? And what about sites that deal with topics the telecoms don't like? Would you be blocked entirely from seeing that?

Originally posted by Nitrox:


My guess is you are going to find out this is a hoax in the very near future.


Check here... It's an actual bill, not a hoax.
[url]//energycommerce.house.gov/108/Markups/04252006markup1848.htm [/url]
04/25/2006 01:12:00 PM · #15
If you are curious about pending legislation you can visit this site: //www.house.gov/
Click on "Find a Bill or Law"
In the Library of Congress "Thomas" window perform a search:
I'll use "internet telecommunications"
In the results page I see a reference to:

Internet and Universal Service Act of 2006 (Introduced in Senate)

Now I can read it all for myself...of course, I'll read the summary first:

"Title: A bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to ensure the availability to all Americans of high-quality, advanced telecommunications and broadband services, technologies, and networks at just, reasonable, and affordable rates, and to establish a permanent mechanism to guarantee specific, sufficient, and predictable support for the preservation and advancement of universal service, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Burns, Conrad R. [MT] (introduced 2/8/2006) Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 2/8/2006 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation."

In addition to what it's about this tells me who introduced it and what has happened to it. Lots of good reasearch lies ahead...might even go see what press-releases the good Senator Burns from Montana has published on the topic...

(Just thought I'd share.)

Adding: Conrad Burns Issues Statements (Gotta love those Montanans!)

Adding:
And then there's Common Cause With lovely links at the bottom of the page.

Message edited by author 2006-04-25 13:20:35.
04/25/2006 01:25:20 PM · #16
...and finally I find information about the bill of most relevance:
Common Cause on the COPE Act

Edit: It's an "act" not a bill....hasn't been formerly introduced as a bill....yet.

Message edited by author 2006-04-25 13:26:01.
04/25/2006 01:31:42 PM · #17
Originally posted by KaDi:

...and finally I find information about the bill of most relevance:
Common Cause on the COPE Act

Edit: It's an "act" not a bill....hasn't been formerly introduced as a bill....yet.


Thanks for the Linky! I sent my email to my representative saying NO on the COPE act!
04/25/2006 03:44:55 PM · #18
AFIK, the term "universal service" is a specific term that relates to the fact that everyone can get affordable telephone service.

AFIK, this bill favors telecom providers because it will allow them to block VoIP and also favors cable because the cable guys can block downloads of video. In other words, it allows the broadband providers to reduce competition.

IMO, the act won't be used agianst sites like DPChallenge, as it doesn't compete with telco and cable offerings. This site does add value and adds a reason for consumers to buy the (more expensive) broadband offerings.
04/25/2006 03:52:13 PM · #19
There was recently an article in the New Yorker about this, with an interesting analogy:

"In the first decades of the twentieth century, as a national telephone network spread across the United States, A.T. & T. adopted a policy of "tiered access" for businesses. Companies that paid an extra fee got better service: their customers' calls went through immediately, were rarely disconnected, and sounded crystal-clear. Those who didn't pony up had a harder time making calls out, and people calling them sometimes got an "all circuits busy" response. Over time, customers gravitated toward the higher-tier companies and away from the ones that were more difficult to reach. In effect, A.T. & T.'s policy turned it into a corporate kingmaker.

If you've never heard about this bit of business history, there's a good reason: it never happened. Instead, A.T. & T. had to abide by a "common carriage" rule: it provided the same quality of service to all, and could not favor one customer over another. But, while "tiered access" never influenced the spread of the telephone network, it is becoming a major issue in the evolution of the Internet.

Until recently, companies that provided Internet access followed a de-facto commoncarriage rule, usually called "network neutrality," which meant that all Web sites got equal treatment. Network neutrality was considered so fundamental to the success of the Net that Michael Powell, when he was chairman of the F.C.C., described it as one of the basic rules of "Internet freedom." In the past few months, though, companies like A.T. & T. and BellSouth have been trying to scuttle it. In the future, Web sites that pay extra to providers could receive what BellSouth recently called "special treatment," and those that don't could end up in the slow lane. One day, BellSouth customers may find that, say, NBC.com loads a lot faster than YouTube.com, and that the sites BellSouth favors just seem to run more smoothly. Tiered access will turn the providers into Internet gatekeepers."

According to those who oppose the bill, the following will be affected:

If Congress abandons Network Neutrality, who will be affected?

* Advocacy groups like MoveOn—Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their websites and online features to work correctly.
* Nonprofits—A charity's website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can't pay dominant Internet providers for access to "the fast lane" of Internet service.
* Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
* Innovators with the "next big idea"—Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the "slow lane" with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
* Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
* Online purchasers—Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices—distorting your choice as a consumer.
* Small businesses and tele-commuters—When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won't be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
* Parents and retirees—Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
* Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

Just info I have dug up... The New Yorker analogy hits home for me, the other stuff I am just "reporting" without expressing an opinion pro or con... The situation does worry me though.

Robt.
04/25/2006 04:08:08 PM · #20
Well, whatever Bill is on the agenda to try and censor access, here is a Bill on the agenda that has been read twice and sent to Committee (last step before a vote) that protects against service providers censoring information. It went to Committee early in March, so could be coming up for vote about now.

Internet Non-Discrimination Act of 2006 (Introduced in Senate)

Section 2 (essentially preamble, Findings)

(7) As more and more Americans get high-speed access to the Internet without having much choice of who their provider will be, it is important that Congress protect the freedom on the Internet to ensure its continued success.

Section 4:

SEC. 4. OBLIGATIONS OF NETWORK OPERATORS.

(a) In General- A network operator shall--

(1) not interfere with, block, degrade, alter, modify, impair, or change any bits, content, application or service transmitted over the network of such operator;

(2) not discriminate in favor of itself or any other person, including any affiliate or company with which such operator has a business relationship in--

(A) allocating bandwidth; and

(B) transmitting content or applications or services to or from a subscriber in the provision of a communications;

(3) not assess a charge to any application or service provider not on the network of such operator for the delivery of traffic to any subscriber to the network of such operator;

(4) offer communications such that a subscriber can access, and a content provider can offer, unaffiliated content or applications or services in the same manner that content of the network operator is accessed and offered, without interference or surcharges;

(5) allow the attachment of any device, if such device is in compliance with part 68 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, without restricting any application or service that may be offered or provided using such a device;

(6) treat all data traveling over or on communications in a non-discriminatory way;

(7) offer just, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates, terms, and conditions on the offering or provision of any service by another person using the transmission component of communications;

(8) provide non-discriminatory access and service to each subscriber; and

(9) post and make available for public inspection, in electronic form and in a manner that is transparent and easily understandable, all rates, terms, and conditions for the provision of any communications.

You can find this at www.house.gov and search "internet provider".

Message edited by author 2006-04-25 16:11:12.
04/25/2006 04:15:02 PM · #21
* Nonprofits—A charity's website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can't pay dominant Internet providers for access to "the fast lane" of Internet service.

This is the one that hits closest to home for me....your public library is a non-profit (most likely). So, when you go to find information about a book or want to use your library's web page to access an encyclopedia you might just get frustrated and go to a "paid" site (if Net Neutrality is not upheld, that is.)

Overall, my problem with a tiered system is answering the question "Who owns the internet, anyway?" ...and are we ready to privatize it?
04/27/2006 02:27:40 AM · #22
Net Neutrality was officially shot down
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