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Google & Verizon's Real Net Neutrality Proposal

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the ending-rumors dept.

Google 254

langelgjm writes "Announced this afternoon in a joint conference call held by CEOs Eric Schmidt and Ivan Seidenberg, Google and Verizon have released a joint net neutrality proposal in the form of a 'suggested legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers.' This comes on the heels of last week's assertion (and subsequent denial) that Google and Verizon were close to concluding talks that would permit Verizon to prioritize certain content in exchange for pay. A look at the actual text of the framework shows some positive net neutrality principles, but there is also some more curious content: 'Wireless broadband' is singled out for exclusion from most of the agreement, and providers would be permitted to prioritize 'additional online services... distinguishable in scope and purpose.' Public Knowledge, a watchdog group based in Washington, has criticized the agreement for these provisions."

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254 comments

Lesser of two evils? (5, Insightful)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193002)

We either get Big Corporate or Big Government deciding on what, when, how, and how fast... I am not sure I want either, and consider it the end of the Internet as we know it.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193104)

Big Government is probably better since there's no profit involved, but BG has its own evils. Like the earlier idea I heard about "internet licenses" (you need to ask permission to publish a blog). Oh and eliminating porn from the net.

If you don't have one control freak (Verizon) then you have another control freak (Congress).

At least with Verizon I can say "fuck you" and cancel my service.
I don't know how to do that with Congress.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (3, Funny)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193336)

I don't know how to do that with Congress.

Simple - Just vote! right?

Re:Lesser of two evils? (3, Insightful)

JustinKSU (517405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193678)

I don't know how to do that with Congress.

Simple - Just vote! right?

When is the last time you voted for a member of the FCC board?

"The People" only have indirect influence on these kinds of organizations. All you can do is shout really loud and hope you can be heard over the deafening tone of corporate controlled media.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193816)

Write your congressmen and those on the committees.... I agree it seems hopeless at times. but more of that take action, the more change can be made. I don't mean to sound like a blind optimist - I understand the pessimism.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194410)

>>>I agree it seems hopeless at times.

More like futile. Almost 80% were against the Bush Bailout bill of 2008, and 70% were against Pelosicare of 2009 (according to national polls), but Congress ignored the voice of the people and rammed through those bills anyway. Because of these actions, I've made-up my mind to vote against the incumbent Congressman every chance I get. These people no longer deserve the privilege of service, since they no longer act as representatives.

Unfortunately most people are dumb, and they just vote for whichever name they recognize. It's why the incumbent wins over 90% of the time

Re:Lesser of two evils? (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193460)

At least with Verizon I can say "fuck you" and cancel my service.
I don't know how to do that with Congress.

But of course if you say FU to verizon, in most places that means you go with an equally bad alternative. Kind of like how in most places you can choose between one of two equally bad candidates for congress.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (2, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193670)

Yeah, pretty much.

In my area (urban NJ), I get to choose between Verizon DSL (no FiOS in my building--not worth Verizon's investment), Comcast, or one of the wireless broadband providers (all of which are capped at 5GB per month.)

Verizon is the least of the evils, and I still don't like them very much.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194502)

>>>in most places that means you go with an equally bad alternative

True. That's why I think State Governments need to eliminate these monopolies/duopolies and replace them with government-owned 50-fiber bundles under the city streets (and eventually suburban streets too). Then if a company like Comcast or Verizon or Google or Apple or Cox or Virgin or Time-warner wants to provide service, they can lease one of the fibers.

Customers will at last have real choice (between multiple companies).

Re:Lesser of two evils? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193690)

At least with Verizon I can say "fuck you" and cancel my service.

Unfortunately, Verizon can also say "fuck you" and deny you service.
At least with the government we have some protections from arbitrary decisions like that.
Of course the government CAN make those decisions, but at least we're generally afforded some sort of due process.

This is one of the main things that worries me about this country... The people supposedly pursuing "freedom" are merely trying to take government power and give it to corporations. While those who 50 years ago would be rebelling against government authority are now desperate to ensure that the government remains in control.

I don't even know which is more likely to cause me harm, a CEO seeking profit, or a government official seeking power. But at least with the government we're given the illusion of regulation and due process.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194710)

At least with the government we have some protections from arbitrary decisions like that.

Ever tried to apply for a concealed carry license in a may-issue jurisdiction?

Re:Lesser of two evils? (-1, Flamebait)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193742)

Big Government is probably better since there's no profit involved

REALLY? REALLY? Name one service the government does better than private industry. Just one! Trying to make a profit creates what customers want in an open market. Broadband is not an open market because of the government in the first place. More monopolies (especially government ones) will not make things better. And yes, you're right, there is no way to cancel government services. Why can I not "opt out" of social security, medicare, and all the other crap I pay for out of my paycheck?

Re:Lesser of two evils? (2, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194044)

Well, let's start with standards, like the 60hz electricity we use. Don't ask about oil drilling standards for offshore rigs.

Then there are roads. I think Interstate highways are underbuilt to keep road construction companies in business, but overall, they're pretty nice.

And I like public parks, like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and so on. But they're chronically underfunded. I like the US Defense Department, but they're often over-funded. Then there are those great TSA guys that keep me feeling safe at airports, take nice pictures of me, and smoke cigarettes outside the terminals.

Cancelling government services, to return to reality, are simple: you cut off their funding and they wither on the vine. Despite our seeming hatred of government, the US Government is far better than many others. And someone needs to keep the foxes out of the henhouse.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194444)

Standards creation does not have to be a government mandate, but it DOES regulate interstate commerce in that way, and is thus a power it has as allowed by the constitution. In fact, most government mandates are that industries follow their own standards, such as API (for petroleum companies), they produce standards and the government requires compliance.

Roads are a good example, look at the Indiana Turnpike. Since being leased to a private company (for profit), the road conditions and toll speeds have improved. It's not practical for all roads to be toll roads, but it would certainly create better roads for less cost.

Oh, public parks are a good one, but what about private parks? I'd rather go to Cedar Point than any national park. Not to mention the government does a horrible job of managing them (look at how they try to control wildlife populations in what is supposed to be natural).

The defense department is nice, but if you needed protection and cost was an issue, you'd use a private security firm.

And as for the other reply, go to the post office, and then go to a UPS store and tell me which one has better service for sending a package (to send a letter is once again a government granted monopoly).

Finally, I completely agree, if you cut off funding government services will wither. Unfortunately, with the exception of NASA, I can't really think of any government service that ever has a funding cut. Generally government funding always has a positive slope, regardless of performance.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

Nite_Hawk (1304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194066)

I'm extremely happy with our public fire protection, garbage, and water service. Our police service is mixed. Local department of transportation is crappy but I'm pretty happy with US highway infrastructure and would *hate* to see that go private.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

DoctorFrog (556179) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194476)

Protecting the environment. Providing police protection to people without money.. hell, providing damn near anything to people without money. Providing impartial justice - the government doesn't always do it well, but better than private enterprise. Managing large systems like the interstate highways, whose scope is beyond what any individual private enterprise has an interest in supporting, but which nevertheless support the common good. Overseeing dangers to public heath - organizations like the FDA, USDA, MMS and so forth simply would not exist if government didn't, and the degree to which they work is in inverse proportion to the amount of influence private profit-seeking entities have over them. Providing universal standards and accreditations. Preventing private monopolies, which are a natural outcome of uncontrolled markets.
.

Actually, there is a way to cancel government services. It involves getting enough people to agree they aren't needed, and supporting candidates for office who will cancel those services. You simply can't do it on an individual basis, because a properly designed democratic government serves the people, not persons. There have been services provided by government in the past which no longer are.

If you want to see what a country looks like without a government, I understand Somalia is pretty close to being an example of just that.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

MatthewCCNA (1405885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194056)

At least with Verizon I can say "fuck you" and cancel my service.I don't know how to do that with Congress.

Like this [wikihow.com]

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194576)

>>>Leave the US.

So I trade one monopoly (Congress) for another monopoly of equal shittytude (Canadian Parliament, EU Parliament, et cetera). Rather than trade one tyranny for another tyranny, I'd sooner stay here and improve the home situation with a better government. Like the American Founders did.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194204)

If all businesses follow Verizon then you can say fuck you but you have no alternative. At least with the government you can vote people out. Shame more people don't take politics seriously and wisely exercise their rights.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193174)

We should start our own network, [wikipedia.org] sort of like the old BBSes but using wifi.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (3, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193392)

I see "mesh networking" as a misspelling of "mess networking" because it's so damn inefficient it's not even funny. Wireless networking is for point-to-point connections like my TV to my headphones. Broadcasting packets with the hope it'll get where you want it going requires too many repeats, and that's just not good networking. Forget it.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33194544)

I'm gonna bet you've never heard of APRS, or at least never had the occasion to use it from somewhere in the boonies where there's no cellular service at all. Mesh networking is pretty damn handy there, especially if you've got a radio in your truck (with a decent antenna to get out on) and an HT or backpack rig when you're out on foot.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193634)

I think you meant like Packet Radio (ax.25 Amateur Radio) but using wifi. The old BBSes used FidoNet which was for forwarding mail during non-peak usage hours.

I may be wrong and you're referring to another BBS network.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

Rigrig (922033) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194654)

We should start our own network

With blackjack, and hookers. In fact, forget the network!

Re:Lesser of two evils? (5, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193544)

Funny the internet that I knew the longest was operated by big government.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193664)

Good point actually... so why change now? Also, Did such said Big Government really give a hoot as they do now? Since the Patriot Act? Since the web actually grew beyond our own borders? What's changed?

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194370)

What's changed?

People actually started using it. This gave corporations an incentive to "privatize" the net to their advantage, and governments the fear that maybe too much freedom is being allowed.

Re:Lesser of two evils? (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194330)

Yea, totally agree. To bad THAT Internet isn't THIS Internet. What this proposal really should say is, based off the scrib press release: Google and Verizon have decided to pre-legislate an open Internet that prohibits discrimination of traffic and services on PORT 80 or 8080. But you know, feel free to discriminate all you want on any other "lawful content or services," 'cuz we don't want none of those guys hosting e-mail or something that compets with our Gmail and Docs. And, please go ahead and bundle some other services with your package, and damn anyone who tries to create some kind of competing IP TV service that may make your silly FIOS or DirecTV partnership a little less lucrative.

Seriously, the problem is the merging of all our typical Internet services with the Web. Now everybody thinks e-mail = Internet Explorer, file storage = Internet Explorer, shopping = Internet Explorer, and now world processing = Internet Explorer. These guys don't want us to have a system of dumb pipes that carries the traffic, but rather want the pipes to be "smart," and only carry the traffic they want.

As of this moment, I've banned Google from my business, straight up. Right now, I'm the only guy with access in the office. Everyone else is redicrected to Yahoo, may change that later. Maybe I'm just a small with 30 employees, but I'll be damn sure to let every other owner in my community know about this, possible ramifications, and alternatives.

I seriously hope Schmidt remembers that little company called AltaVista. Can't wait for the pendulum to swing.

Lied to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193008)

Feels awesome. Doesn't it?

Net Neutrality, with conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193010)

Google: Yay, net neutrality! Verizon: As long as it's not on our wireless network...then fine!

Re:Net Neutrality, with conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193264)

The only thing is that mobile networks haven't necessarily reached a point at which throttling of connections isn't necessary for the stability of the network, whereas land-based consumer and business networking solutions have.

no exceptions for wireless! (2, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193068)

this tips their hat. something evil is up, you can be sure of it.

mobile is going to be far more of a growth market (they both are betting, it seems). this is a distraction to be 'good' toward the wired folks but sneak in bad shit for wireless users. creating exception creates the impression (in lawmakers' eyes) that the media matters. it should not matter! we don't want locked-down wireless in any way shape or form!

people, please oppose this!

(and I'm sorry, I don't trust google anymore. if that even needed to be said.)

Re:no exceptions for wireless! (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193222)

this tips their hat. something evil is up, you can be sure of it.

Why? If you're going to come to that conclusion based on the evidence given, you probably had already jumped to that conclusion. If you don't trust Google because of this, you probably didn't trust Google to begin with.

There are dozens of potential reasons why there would be an exception for wireless. Most likely Verizon wasn't willing to allow any application run over wireless because they know their network couldn't handle it. Or possibly because Verizon wants to be able to dictate what devices can run on their wireless network (we know this is true). To choose one explanation without a reason is confirmation bias.

Here is what Google said were their guiding priorities in suggesting the legislation:

1. Users should choose what content, applications, or devices they use, since openness has been central to the explosive innovation that has made the Internet a transformative medium.

2. America must continue to encourage both investment and innovation to support the underlying broadband infrastructure; it is imperative for our global competitiveness.

Given that both these goals align naturally with Google's own self-centered interests, I see no reason to believe they are misrepresenting themselves.

Re:no exceptions for wireless! (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193762)

There are dozens of potential reasons why there would be an exception for wireless.

Yeah, but none that aren't monopolistic, totalitarian, asinine, or flat-out bullshit.

Most likely Verizon wasn't willing to allow any application run over wireless because they know their network couldn't handle it.

So? That just means Verizon needs to increase the damn network capacity!

Or possibly because Verizon wants to be able to dictate what devices can run on their wireless network (we know this is true).

So? Verizon shouldn't be allowed to do that!

To choose one explanation without a reason is confirmation bias.

No it's not; all possible explanations for wanting an exception for wireless networks are evil!

All telecommunications providers should be Common Carriers, with all the restrictions implied therein. Period.

Re:no exceptions for wireless! (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194644)

monopolistic

Wrong. In wired Internets, there's frequently a government granted monopoly. In wireless *anyone* can get a license at put up a wimax tower. You can get towers as cheap as $26,000 and a license for just a couple thousand. You too can compete with verizon if you want to deliver some Internets to a couple small neighborhoods here and there.

And with respect to national networks, there are actually quite a few choices. Stop using verizon.

Sure there's problems with these carriers, but unlike the ILECs, these guys really do have real competition.

Re:no exceptions for wireless! (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193766)

There are dozens of potential reasons why there would be an exception for wireless. Most likely Verizon wasn't willing to allow any application run over wireless because they know their network couldn't handle it. Or possibly because Verizon wants to be able to dictate what devices can run on their wireless network (we know this is true). To choose one explanation without a reason is confirmation bias.

No, there really is only one reason wireless gets special treatment - it's because the wireless carriers in the USA have a much greater stranglehold on that segment than they do on the rest of the internet and they aren't about to give that up without the mother of all fights. You see it in everything they do from carrier-locked phones with deliberately crippled firmware to lawsuits against any town that wants to deploy their own public utility wireless network.

The only way I could get behind a proposal that throws wireless to the dogs like this is if competition in the wireless provider market were opened up far beyond the current FCC bidding system which has produced the current defacto oligopoly.

Re:no exceptions for wireless! (4, Insightful)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194150)

Umm, here's my take on this:

The reason they're doing this is because like you said, wireless is a huge growth sector. But the majority of Verizon's wired infrastructure (i.e. FiOS) can handle a HUGE amount of data - they've already invested in it. Wireless on the other hand, is a restricted data flow pipeline.

The bandwidth available for wireless transmission is determined by the range of frequencies available, divided by the number of users on that band. It's a FIXED amount. The FCC's not going to widen it just because, there are too many considerations for it.

You can only achieve a given data speed over wifi. We've improved it over time. But there is a physical limit for reliability of the signal, and that's why wireless is a different story. With wired (or land-based into wifi hotspots) you can just lay more lines in parallel, add a separate color laser to your fiber, etc. which makes it feasible to upgrade and widen the bandwidth. When you have an easily maintainable infrastructure, you don't mind letting it be used freely without priority restrictions.

Now pictures this: if wireless providers went all net neutral as per your calls, then a phone call would have the same priority as an app downloading updates in the background. Do you know you're going to always have good enough reception to guarantee call quality? Or are OS/firmware updates not more important than that stupid youtube of a dog who can't get up?

The point is that for wireless, there is a need to prioritize bandwidth, and because it's a fixed bandwidth, if you want priority over something else, you can't just claim it like you do on a landline network. The whole point here is that they're making an argument that you pay to use a cellphone, and instead of having a monthly data cap like you would with european providers (they have rates of $0.5 per Mbit after you exceed your allowance of 125, 250 or 500 MB), they're making it such that certain traffic will always work. Like maybe accessing your bank website. Or your Verizon account website to pay bills. If they'd adhered to net neutrality on wireless, it would end up in a huge problem because of LIMITED BANDWIDTH.

I'm a net neutrality supporter, big time. But there's no way to make it work on a wireless device practically to begin with. What other restrictions they impose on it afterwards remain to be seen. But I couldn't care less for browsing the web on a screen so small my fingers cover a third of what I'm trying to read/work on.

Re:no exceptions for wireless! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193410)

But but but... "The air doesn't discriminate"
Verizon said so! [We]"Rule the Air"

Re:no exceptions for wireless! (2, Insightful)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194146)

Well, do you or do you not want to prioritize VOIP, and 911 calls? Or would you like to have bad-quality calls due to a torrenter on the same tower? If so, then you need a deal like this one that was cut. I'm hoping that as specifics leak out, it's essentially Net Neutrality + Provisions to ensure cell network still operates well for calls.

Anything else is worth getting worked up over.

why the fuck are these people deciding? (3, Interesting)

MasterOfUniverse (812371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193078)

forget about whether its evil/not evil, why in the world these two mega corps about public policy? Who the fuck gave them the right to provide a "legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers."?

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (3, Funny)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193098)

i could simply answer your question with an image link to a dollar bill, but i assume your query was rhetorical.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (5, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193128)

This is equivalent to writing your representative and saying "This is how I think this issue should be handled". I'd rather see companies doing this and trying to put forward workable compromises than throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into lobbyists.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193196)

Except most citizens can't also offer the politician they're lobbying a free vacation on a private jet, or funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to their campaign fund. And thanks to the recent SC decision, they can now throw money at political campaigns with no restrictions.

You make the mistake of assuming they aren't lobbying for this.

you're a fucking retard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193292)

I'd rather you eat a big nigger dick and choke on your own vomit than listen to you express your opinion that corporations should have any say-so in American citizens freedom.

To the google/verizon employee who upvoted you, may they also suffocate on massive nigger dongs.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Informative)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193594)

I'd rather see companies doing this and trying to put forward workable compromises

Certainly works for landmine manufacturers in the US.

The Ottawa Treaty [wikipedia.org] (hint: the US has not agreed to the treaty)

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194178)

This is equivalent to writing your representative and saying "This is how I think this issue should be handled". I'd rather see companies doing this and trying to put forward workable compromises than throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into lobbyists.

Um, whether or not they are selling things you would find to be "workable compromises", the people employed by companies like Google and Verizon to sell their public policy ideas to policymakers are, in fact, lobbyists.

If you had the money to hire people to do that for you instead of just writing a letter to your representative on your own, that person would be lobbying on your behalf, too.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Informative)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194256)

What do you think lobbyists do when they wine and dine your representative?

This is the same thing without the wining and dining--that we know of. For all we know, they could put forth this document, and then the lobbyists would only have to point back to it while they wine and dine.

My point is that the two things are orthogonal. This proposal is about what Verizon and Google wants to do. The role of the lobbyist is to convince elected representatives to support this proposal.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193180)

Woah, calm down there mister. It's simply a suggested legislative framework that would still have to go through the rigmarole of getting voted in (one would assume). The reason these two companies get to do so is because they took the effort to writeup a solution to an existing problem. Similarly, other groups can do the same. Though, admittedly they have less clout to actually get it considered. However, I don't see the problem in actually proposing something to be voted on. That's kinda how democracy should work, even if you don't agree with the opposing side.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193216)

This is America. We have a long tradition of corporations writing public policy. Dick Cheney even gave them their own task force [wikipedia.org] , so they could write the U.S. energy policy directly, with no need to even bother bribing a Congressman.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (1)

djdbass (1037730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193286)

They're not deciding. They're proposing.
There is still plenty of time to point out the bad in the proposal.
And that is what Public Knowledge is doing.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193300)

The first amendment gave them the right to provide a 'legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers'. Seriously, this is just plain old lobbying, and is on the more legitimate side of lobbying since they're not bribing anyone. Google still has the same rights as anyone else and they're doing absolutely nothing wrong here.

correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193854)

The first amendment gave them the right to provide a 'legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers'.

Last I checked, the first amendment was for people, not corporations.

Re:correction (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194190)

In the US, corporations have the same rights as a person, except for taxes. It's one of the most screwed up things in the legal system, but it's there nonetheless.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193366)

Any entity can propose a "legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers", corporation or otherwise.
You can do it by mailing a letter to your congressperson. Of course, your letter probably won't be given as much consideration, but it will at least be read by someone in their office.

It's hard to argue that Verizon and Google aren't more qualified to pen such a proposal then your average member of congress.
I agree that anything they write is going to be biased towards their own interests, but that's their reward for spending the time and money on writing the "framework".

I just wish we could get the word out that "net neutrality" is a fairly simple concept, and one that is no more controversial than laws regulating how the postal service treats our mail. It boggles my mind that people in their right mind can argue against it. Can you imagine if Walmart could pay the USPS to delay arrival of Best Buy's flyers by a few days?

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194046)

You can pay the postal service extra to have your packages arrive quicker. And while we seem to be afraid of Google paying Verizon to delay playback on Vimeo files, online providers seem to want a cut of Google's profits on Youtube videos in exchange for a high speed lane for their content. And you do have to start building up exceptions for pure net neutrality: torrents and suspected illegal downloads should be lower in the priority queue than raw HTTP, VOIP should get special access, streaming video can be squeezed up to a point, then shouldn't be squeezed at all, etc. ESPN already charges your ISP to have access to ESPN3. Should Vontage get priority over Skype, being a more pure VOIP?

It's not rocket science, but it's not a one-line fix.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193486)

People form corporations, corporations can't vote but can suggest that government do things in a way that benefit them. All these three-letter regulatory agencies basically tell corporations what to do, but accept input from those that they regulate so they're better informed. If you want to interfere as a person, just send something in during a comment period you're interested in.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193494)

Who the fuck gave them the right to provide a "legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers."?

The free speech bit, just as many slashdotters offer their own legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers who happen to be browsing slashdot. If it gets passed, I'd ask who gave the legislators the idea to accept what corporations recommend.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (4, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193712)

Easy! The Supreme Court.

Look up "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission"

It happened in January 2010 and gave corporations first amendment rights.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193748)

Who the fuck gave them the right to provide a "legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers."?

Noone gave them the right, and they don't need the right to provide soemthing to lawmakers, just as private citizens don't, either. They're not making law; they're showing lawmakers, "Here's how it could be done." This is not the outrage you're looking for.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (1)

Kineticabstract (814395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193844)

The U.S. Constitution.

What? They don't have the right to make suggestions to Congress because they're organized into a business?

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (2, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193882)

Who the fuck gave them the right to provide a "legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers."?

Everyone has the right to provide legislative frameworks for consideration by lawmakers. It's an open democracy with reasonably free speech. The consideration given by lawmakers is frequently just "no" or possibly "No!"

Google and Verizon are big, and as such lawmakers might pay more attention than, say, some random plumber in Mississippi. But they're not deciding anything, just putting their opinion out there.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194138)

forget about whether its evil/not evil, why in the world these two mega corps about public policy?

As corporations are creatures of law that are products of public policy, whose behavior is constrained by public policy, and whose relationships to other entities (shareholders, employees, customers), etc., are all bound up in public policy, I can't imagine anything a corporation would be more concerned about.

Who the fuck gave them the right to provide a "legislative framework for consideration by lawmakers."?

Everyone in the U.S. has such a right, whether their interest is motivated by business interest or otherwise. This is expressly guaranteed by the first Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Re:why the fuck are these people deciding? (1)

tronkel (1128393) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194258)

Well, yes - who exactly gave them any such right to suggest anything? Who do they speak for? - you? me?

The original idea of the open internet was to promote communication between peer academic institutions for the dissemination of research data.
All the other nodes simply plugged in to this network and it expanded from there.

It all makes me wonder if Google really even has the right to impose its own end-user Terms and Conditions on any user.
Terms and Conditions? Is this anything to to with egalitarian democracy? What gives Google the right to suggest any policy to the government? Who has given them, or anyone else for that matter, (corporate or political entity) - any such mandate?

Why no wireless rules? (3, Insightful)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193094)

Putting aside the lack of clarity about how this proposal would actually work in practice (especially since it seems to require the cooperation of the FCC, who are understandably pissed at both Verizon and Google at the moment), what's up with the wholesale exclusion of wireless networks?

In the age of 4G providers like Clear that are readying themselves to feast upon the marketshare of the DSL and cable broadband providers, does anyone really think the future of the internet lies in burying more landline cable in more rural areas? While it's true that backbone fiber isn't exactly going out of style, a cell tower is certainly a much more elegant solution for the "last mile" problem that's plagued wired broadband providers for years. Now that the price of wireless chipsets has dropped substantially, the only real obstacle is building more towers.

To put it another way, Verizon Wireless is a $50 billion company, while it's (55%) parent Verizon Communications is a $100 billion company. So the proposal is excluding anywhere from a quarter to nearly half (depending on how you count) of "Verizon", before you even account for future growth.

Re:Why no wireless rules? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194034)

Putting aside the lack of clarity about how this proposal would actually work in practice

How it would actually work in practice is called "regulatory capture". No matter how well motivated the regulaion, it's a generation away from doing little except protecting the entrenched players.

So Verizon and Google now evil over lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33193148)

In slashdot fashion, I would vote Verizon and Google as the new evil over lord. I mean what the f**k do these companies think? Everyone should stand behind an open internet and fight the idiotic carriers.

Re:So Verizon and Google now evil over lord (2, Interesting)

metageek (466836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193466)

Companies don't think. They have the same rights as citizens and none of their responsibilities. Any "rich" person can tell you that they are really only rich because they passed all their assets to a company that they own. Companies pay a lot less tax, they have no morality, and surely they do not think.

The constitution should be updated to start "We, the corporations, ..."; people are just modern slaves owned by the corporations.

three bad VAGUE things (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193154)

from the text:

(1) sending and receiving lawful content of their choice;

(2) running lawful applications and using lawful services of their choice; and

(3) connecting their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network or
service, facilitate theft of service, or harm other users of the service

LAWFUL? what the fuck is that all about? now, we have to have layer8, the LAWFUL INSPECTION layer, before we can send the PDU?

this is stoopid. lawful this, legal that. lets just insert a truly literal (cough) policing layer in the IP stuck. sure, why not. its now 'in the spec' (so to speak).

and point 3 is a nice gotcha: if you are using up 'too much' b/w you can be classified as 'doing harm'. if you ping to discover, you could be seen as 'doing harm'.

nice. or, should I say, nice try, assholes.

Re:three bad VAGUE things (1, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193548)

(2) running lawful applications and using lawful services of their choice; and

LAWFUL? what the fuck is that all about? now, we have to have layer8, the LAWFUL INSPECTION layer, before we can send the PDU?

No, you're just not allowed to use Chaotic or Neutral programs. /dev/urandom / %RANDOM% are to be replaced with predictable pseudo random generators, all seeded with the same number. You can use them for good or evil, but they have to be predictable.

if you ping to discover, you could be seen as 'doing harm'.

My ISP disabled ICMP in and out; I can't ping or traceroute anything from home. They did this immediately after I used traceroute to diagnose a network problem that took them a month to fix. And no, I can't switch.

Re:three bad VAGUE things (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193792)

I don't think you are entirely correct in your interpertation. They have to use the word 'lawful' in the document, or else the first comment against will be: "What?!? CNN and childporn.com both get equal access? I vote against Net Neutrality!". By adding the word 'lawful' they assure the legistators that child porn and other illegal content will be blocked, while CNN, Playboy and Disney all get the same terms.
I don't think they meant that they will implement a 'policing layer', just that if the service provider is notified of an illegal site, it will be blocked (just as they do now).
About 'doing harm'? I think they were talking about spammers and botnets, not about bandwidth hogs (just my conclusion from the rest of the sentence). But, maybe they should be more precise in their wording.

Re:three bad VAGUE things (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193898)

Given some of the issues Google has experienced related to illegally posted content, I'm not surprised at these qualifiers.

Point 3 is also unsurprising from the service provider perspective. They need to preserve quality of service and enable handling of botnets, etc.

If I were a botnet operator, I might find these provisions upsetting, but as it is, it actually sounds pretty reasonable for these two major players.

Re:three bad VAGUE things (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194118)

The biggest thing you can do for the health of your network is de-prioritizing torrent traffic. And while bittorrent is an amazing protocol that is capable of being a very efficient distribution platform for legal content, nearly all of the actual traffic out there is illegal. This would also let you filter spammers and other problem users.

Good, with undercurrents of Evil (4, Insightful)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193166)

From TFA, I am seeing a strange trend. They are making some outright statements that fit in with what the /. crowd has been discussing, often enforcing the view that the net should be neutral. Their words however, seem to hide subversive tactics. for example: "This means that for the first time, wireline broadband providers would not be able to discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition. Meaning that centralized agencies can shut down - or degrade access - to "unlawful" (defined by US government) content such as wikileaks, etc. (taken from comment section from TFA) So, while this looks good on the surface, even surprisingly so, my gut is to not trust either of these entities. Cautious skepticism is the name of the game here.

Re:Good, with undercurrents of Evil (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193724)

Holding out for a provision to protect unlawful data is like shitting in the Grand Canyon.

I'm troubled by the wireless exception, the other one seems less troubling although not ideal. It sounds to me like it would allow them to set aside an area for their own traffic, like cable television. Not ideal, but not necessarily a deal breaker.

Ideally, I think that infrastructure and content should be separated by legislation and regulation.

Re:Good, with undercurrents of Evil (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194334)

I think by "lawful" they're really aiming to comply with anti child pornography and other "think of the children" type of legislation currently in the US which ISPs are already blocking when they find out about it.

Also, net neutrality doesn't mean you can't set bandwidth quotas for a service. If your service is to watch the web, you pay for a certain bandwidth. If they decide to provide you with more bandwidth to pass through your TV service, and set your data quota to what you pay for, where's the problem, right?

For wireless access, the problem I think has more to do with being able to provide better service for critical instances. Like trying to dial 911 would have priority over some software download or other...

Re:Good, with undercurrents of Evil (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194482)

This means that for the first time, wireline broadband providers would not be able to discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition. Meaning that centralized agencies can shut down - or degrade access - to "unlawful" (defined by US government) content such as wikileaks, etc.

Um, but the "bad" side of this isn't new. ISPs, government agencies, and all kinds of players can already shut down, degrade access to, disconnect service to people providing, arrest people for providing or accessing, etc., "unlawful" content.

The only change in the "lawful" content plank is that with it, ISPs and backbone providers can't -- as they can now -- discriminate against (or kick you off their service for) hosting legal content, attaching legal devices, or using legal software that transmits over the connection.

Interesting proposal; just might work (2, Interesting)

davide marney (231845) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193258)

Here's the full proposal [scribd.com] of the deal. Cringley called it correctly; Google has found a cake-and-eat-it-too compromise: a parallel internet. One internet layer will run more or less openly, with data type prioritization allowed, but no sender prioritization. The other layer can be sender prioritized.

Actually, it's not a bad compromise. The immediate problem I see is how does one keep the Commercial Channel from taking bandwidth away from the Open Channel, so consumers are forced to buy the Commercial Channel just to get decent throughput? If it works like public television does now, with no diminution of the channel capacity or quality, then that would work just fine, I think.

Re:Interesting proposal; just might work (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193824)

Actually, it's not a bad compromise.

I disagree. I'll have to take the approach (similar to the NRA's method of lobbying) which is to consider any partitioning off network traffic as a slippery slope that will eventually lead to no net neutrality.

Seriously the cable companies will not be happy until we go back to the days of Compuserve, Prodigy, and AOL where you stayed within their network and only had limited access to the Internet.

Re:Interesting proposal; just might work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33194640)

Actually, it's not a bad compromise.

Why compromise your services that you already have full control over? Why are we letting "Channels" becomes the new moniker for Internet Access?

When you're tired of hiring one, become one. (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193294)

Really, with all the Net Neutrality FUD aside, Google's getting fed up with all of the ISPs, so they're threatening to start their own. Google clearly wants to fiber-up some lucky community with dreams of proving it's profitable and allowing them to fiber the whole nation.

Why pay a backbone provider to serve Google/YouTube content when Google has the dark fiber and up/down traffic to be considered a peer by the other ISPs. This isn't a tiered Internet situation, it's simply Google saying they'd rather provide their own line into the major networks rather than paying somebody else to do it for them. Yes, this does mean Google's going to get faster delivery at their own expense, but it's unclogging the backbone exchanges so everything else will go faster too.

Why is anybody opposed to this?

Re:When you're tired of hiring one, become one. (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193470)

Google wants the Internet to be free as in speech.

They don't want to be required to set up their own ISP type service unless they absolutely have to, because it would cost them a great deal of money. Also, if everyone started censoring and blocking things out, it would make it really easy for the government to cherry pick what they want people to see and not see. This puts a huge strain on search engines like Google.

"If an ISP can block CP, why can't you just not list them in your search results? Also de-list wikileaks. Oh and you're going to have to remove certain cities from Google Maps because they contain government buildings. WHILE YOU'RE AT IT we want backdoor access to your servers so we can track people's searching in real time and pay them a visit if they search for anything unwholesome."

Re:When you're tired of hiring one, become one. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193534)

You must be new here. Google is spending massive amounts of money on bandwidth as it sits now, and is always looking for a better way to get content out. Connecting to a backbone provider to get to Verizon costs money, connecting to Verizon as a peer costs less.

Re:When you're tired of hiring one, become one. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193602)

it's simply Google saying they'd rather provide their own line into the major networks rather than paying somebody else to do it for them.

They've already been doing that for quite a while now. They have peering agreements with the other major ISPs.

Google could nearly buy Verizon (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193752)

Verizon's Market Cap is 84B. Google's got $30B in cash, and $48B in "assets", not to mention plenty of profits. Issue stock for the rest and they could BUY verizon if that's the business they wanted to be in.

Does Google really care? (4, Informative)

DCheesi (150068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193430)

The Register has an interesting piece on Net Neutrality and Google's co-location deals. El Reg posits that Google is trying to eat its cake and have it too: appearing to be the good-guy by supporting Net Neutrality, while knowing that its own private backbone network and ISP server co-location will give it a de-facto advantage regardless:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/09/neutrality_new_net_hypergiants/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Does Google really care? (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193576)

This is one of the unsolved flaws in the Net-Neutral network design... whomever has the best connection to a "fair" network will win the race every time. To give everyone an equal connection requires regulation....

Re:Does Google really care? (1)

rayan (960383) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194432)

The Register article exposes the disadvantage to smaller content providers being created by the private arrangements between large content providers and large ISPs, but the equally important strategic consideration is the disadvantage to smaller ISPs being created by the proposed net neutrality rules (as I understand them), namely that the smaller ISPs *have to* carry all traffic presented which means that a) they need a lot of bandwidth up front, which is not a problem for existing large facilities based ISPs like Verizon and friends, but is definitely a big problem for new entrants, and b) they will not be allowed to skim the cream of the traffic if they get into the retail game. Both ways, this creates barriers to entry on the ISP side as well, which is of course the whole point of it from Verizon's perspective. So basically they are building a cartel/club/whatever to make it extremely difficult for someone else to grow big.

Why all the hate? (0)

danaris (525051) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193682)

The tone of so much of what I've been seeing about this announcement is remarkably negative, and I don't really see that being justified.

Remember, right now, there's no net neutrality legislation. And until today, so far as I know, none of the major players in the ISP field has shown even the slightest inkling of support for any such legislation.

So now Verizon—bloody Verizon—comes out with a proposal that's actually a strong endorsement of real, enforceable net neutrality legislation that would make a huge difference, and Slashdot, Ars Technica, Public Knowledge, and God knows who else comes down on it like a ton of bricks because it doesn't completely lock out all possibility of the ISPs ever doing anything shady.

Good grief, people, get some perspective. This is a hugely good thing. If legislation like they propose could actually pass, it would be a remarkable step toward full net neutrality. It wouldn't be complete, no, and it would leave wireless pretty much the way it is today—but even there, they want a group (the GAO, I think) to watch the situation carefully and make a yearly report on whether the current laws are protecting consumers enough. That's a hell of a lot more than we get now!

So for Cthulhu's sake, look on the bright side for a change, Slashdot!

Dan Aris

In other words... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193868)

Except that their proposed legislation is effectively:

We hereby bar all those old fogies from punching you in the face. We, the young fogies, reserve the right to kick you in the nuts.

-Rick

The irony about invoking the first amendment here (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193718)

Blogger, WordPress.com and TypePad make up the majority of small media hosting. If you have something to say online, typically you sign up for an account with one of those. All three of them are owned by private companies who have far more incentive, on paper, to regulate what you say than Verizon does. Verizon doesn't give a shit if you are birther, truther, armed opponent of the Zionist Occupation Government, hate the Blue-Eyed Devil or worship the love child of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Puff the Magic Dragon. Your data looks about the same to them as CNN.com or FoxNews.com. It's Google, WordPress and SixApart who have to look at the content and say "do we really want this on our machines?"

The fact is that in terms of censorship, you know real censorship like "no one sees your content because it is proscribed," the hosting service is 10x the threat that the ISPs are. They are the ones who people pressure to shut down content they don't like, they're the ones who decide your content is bad for their reputation and they're the ones that dumb your data into the ether if you become too much of a rabble rouser.

If a pressure group goes to Verizon and wants them to censor your content, they'll just say "f#$% off, jackass, we're not going to build filters into our pipes." That's why those guys go after the hosts.

From a different perspective... (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193810)

Lets look at the mobile broadband agreement differently, shall we? Verizon is a mobile phone carrier, correct? As of right now, their main focus is mobile communications. Bandwidth for data that isn't a phone call is very high, correct? They need to keep their quality as a communications company up, and to do that, they would have to make sure that phone calls are prioritized. How is this so bad? If I sign up for something like Comcast or AT&T for my house's internet connection, they would still be required to let me handle my own QoS settings. On a mobile network, where the main thing being sold is phone access, it makes sense to prioritize this type of data.

As for the "Lawful" types of data transfer, this could only exclude types of data that are illegal to transfer. Peer-to-peer networks aren't (at the moment, at least) illegal because, just like any other form of data transfer, it can be used for legal and illegal transfer. I just hope the government realizes that... or we could be in trouble.

Oblig Car Analogy (1)

FrozenTousen (1874546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33193962)

It's like Verizon makes a car, and then gives that car to a politician in exchange for their vote to create a second separate internet that isn't neutral, while still discriminating against "unlawful" activity on "regular" internet.

Values Clarification (2, Interesting)

SomePoorSchmuck (183775) | more than 3 years ago | (#33194252)

*Who owns the network infrastructure and the right to regulate the traffic on that owned infrastructure?

*What is (or what should be) the difference between public space/resources which are finite and tangible, such as City Hall, national parks, street rights-of-way, public roads, rivers, the air, etc., and resources which are practically intangible and theoretically infinite such as Network Access and Storage and Bandwidth?

*Which is the most important principle, private property ownership rights or the Public Good?

*It would appear that the USA is moving towards a belief that people have an individual right to healthcare, to access to healthcare. Do/should people in the USA have an individual right to Internet access?

*What would be the effect of formally declaring the Internet to be a public, communal resource? Would that essentially make the government everyone's single-payer ISP?

*If access/bandwidth are not public resources, what is the reason companies which own backbone infrastructure shouldn't be able to operate that infrastructure in whatever way they see fit?

Sounds like more monthly expenses for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33194626)

There proposal sounds to me like they want to charge me for a premium internet connection in addition to the open internet that I have been paying for. Oh I just can't wait. Double my internet bill please.

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