×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Rushkoff Proposes We Fork the Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the left-or-right dept.

The Internet 487

Shareable writes "Douglas Rushkoff: 'The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network — its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation — is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them — that network loses its power to effect change. The mere fact that lawmakers and lobbyists now control the future of the net should be enough to turn us elsewhere.' And he goes on to suggest citizens fork the Internet & makes a call for ideas how to do that."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

487 comments

I think (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759640)

I think all you need is one of those cable splitter things.

Re:I think (5, Funny)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759768)

Make sure you get the Monster Cable version, we want nice strong clean signal!

Re:Hamster cable is better -- Platinum (1)

ceCA (675081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759992)

Yes they are made in a cage by hamsters in my apt with Platinum plated connectors. U can't get better than this And no outsourcing or child hamster labor is used.

Re:I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760036)

Definitely. We wouldn't want to get any low quality 0s or 1s.

I have a suggestion... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759652)

DON'T.

He's right (5, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759668)

Both the physical infrastructure and the logical underpinnings need to be forked. The current Internet is both insecure and not private enough. The physical infrastructure is easily controlled by a few central entities. It's all broken.

We should be building our own physical infrastructure and put fences in contracts that keep any entity from ever owning a significant part of that infrastructure. We should be adopting protocols that are secure, always encrypted and make it easy to be largely anonymous.

When its built, businesses will come, because that's where we are. But they will never, ever build it themselves. At least not big ones.

It took about 15 years to find some fairly effective control handles. This time, lets make sure it's at least 30 or 40 years before it can be figured out.

Re:He's right (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759726)

But the Internet was always "in the hands of policymakers". They funded its creation and have regulated its development.
Don't let the fact that the telcos have gotten away with so much convince you that the Internet has hitherto been some kind of golden age Wild West of freedom.
This is just more anti-net neutrality FUD.

Re:He's right (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759952)

Don't be stupid, we shouldn't give the Internet to policymakers, who are, after all, just tools of the rich. We should cut out the middleman and give it right to the rich.

As with all debates about regulations, the rich and powerful would like us to think that we have two choices: regulations they will control and thus get what they want, or no regulations, which means they get what they want. They want us to think we can't win. They want us to feel that our best weapon for controlling their abuses, government regulation (otherwise known as "the rule of law"), is a tool they control. But they only control it if we let them. Regulations are like guns, useful and morally neutral tools, but dangerous in the hands of the uninformed or evil. Well, the rich and powerful can pry regulations from my cold, dead hands.

To mix a metaphor, I am not going to throw the rich into the briar patch of deregulation, that is exactly what they want.

Re:He's right (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760078)

But the Internet was always "in the hands of policymakers". They funded its creation and have regulated its development.

Not really. Before the mid 1990s, "policymakers" was mostly Jon Postel (a single person "ran" the Internet more efficiently than ICANN and its bureaucracy). Getting routable addresses was just a matter of asking for them, and anyone with sufficient competency was able to get a SLIP line up and running on a reasonable budget. The only "regulated" central point of failure was name resolution, and that's a service that runs on top of the Internet, not part of the Internet. There really was a "golden age Wild West of freedom"; just because you didn't experience it doesn't make it any less real to those of us who had "internet" before you were born.

If you think the government will somehow make the Internet more "fair", then you are a fool. The very fact that they acquired regulatory power illegally (without any legal Constitutional or legislative authority to do so) demonstrates despotism on their part. At least with private corporations, you can choose a competitor.

The best parts of the Internet exist in spite of government, not because of it. The best that can be hoped for its future is benign neglect. The power of the FCC should be limited to open air RF propagation. It is already a tyrannical organization that oversteps its power and limits freedom in a variety of ways, and there is nothing about its recent actions that suggest any goals otherwise. This is nothing but a power grab in the name of a mythical "net neutrality" that has never been and can never be.

Re:He's right (2)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759732)

and who will pay that?

Re:He's right (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759784)

Again, the average household has the resources to run the IPv6 name servers - use the backup port assignments at first, since those are usually enabled.

Literally, just the average city apartment building has more computing power than the country of Botswana does.

Re:He's right (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759790)

More to the point, if it still runs on the same copper, fiber, wireless infrastructure, satellites and so forth that the current Internet does, then it's still just as vulnerable. You can do some things like create a large-scale VPN of some kind, but at the end of the day you're still going to be vulnerable to at least liberal of QoS traffic shaping, not to mention that you'll still have to have some sort of certificate authorities that are centralized.

Re:He's right (4, Interesting)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760114)

plus you have to trust that a coalition of nodes on your non-internet doesn't form and start to control the direction of the network. And the likelihood of avoiding that is somewhere between 0 and never. At worst, the corporations would band together and make their own nodes, and make so many of them that the network became dependent on them. Or they'd just bribe the people who ran the nodes to run them the way the corporations want.

As long as humans are in control of a system in any way, those humans can be corrupted to bend the system to a large entity's will. That means that logically, the only way we can have a global information network that remains free and open is to have it designed, built, and run, entirely by machines.

Re:He's right (2)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759804)

You can, right now, today. How much would it cost you to string up a cable to your neighbor's house or set up a wireless link? How much would it cost them to do the same? Once you have a few hundred houses, you'll need someone to spend some time configuring it all.

It can be done piece by piece, person by person. It should be done that way.

Re:He's right (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759882)

How much would it cost you to string up a cable to your neighbor's house or set up a wireless link? ... It can be done piece by piece, person by person. It should be done that way.

There's a lot of empty space between New York and Los Angeles: Cleveland, for example. Also, how are you going to hop the ponds? I needs my Doctor Who, and my buddy needs his anime.

Re:He's right (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760142)

Works great, until 10 of the houses in the middle get together and decide to start charging you for sending data across their wires. You either pay, or you don't have your little network anymore.

Re:He's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759884)

I will gladly pay half the price for connecting my home to all surrounding homes, and then some. Unfortunately I live in a place where most people would fall for the "this, Jen, is the internet" line, so if the grass-roots internet is going to take off, I will have to move or it will take off without me.

Re:He's right (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759886)

Never underestimate the power of *Law*, or the overthrow of it. Creating a forked Internet either from the existing one, or from the ground up will do you no good if law has been legislated to address the citizen directly.

In other words, if governments around the world preemptively legislate that under no circumstances may a private inter-connecting network between two people or organizations be established without prior legal authorizations...well, kiss that idea good bye.

If you want your forked internet free from regulation, get ready to break the future law and live a rebel underground. Good luck with that!

Re:He's right (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760086)

In other words, if governments around the world preemptively legislate that under no circumstances may a private inter-connecting network between two people or organizations be established without prior legal authorizations...well, kiss that idea good bye.

Here in the U.S., we have the 9th and 10th amendments [usconstitution.net]. I have yet to hear of anyone using those two for anything other than toilet paper, however.

Re:He's right (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760046)

My vision is something to the effect of filesharing P2P networks, only expanded to include hypertext front-ends with Diaspora-style independent connectivity and simple, effective redundancy. Integration with the existing web would be essential, which is both a plus and a minus.

Unfair competition (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760062)

How many stories do I have to find where municipalities decided they had waited long enough and started to roll out their own fiber-to-the-home networks, only to be hit by a lawsuit from one of the Big Companies citing unfair competition? You have to be a Business (written with a capital) in order to do anything that a Business Might Ever Do or else it's unfair competition.

Re:He's right (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760074)

Actually, we should be aiming at no physical infrastructure at all. RF, light - those should be the "infrastructure." Think just how ridiculous it is that they shoehorned all these wifi radios into our homes, and these units can't talk to each other, or make a decent network. It's appalling, really.

If this - making a new infrastructure - were taken seriously, we'd best use it to get out from under the hands of those with money right up front. Use radios and light and go *around* them. As soon as it costs a zillion bucks to lay a required cable, you're in their hands and you can't get out.

I'm not saying it's easy, or that there wouldn't be serious obstacles, but I *am* saying there is no other way to reach the desired goal - a truly free network.

No account for reality.... (5, Insightful)

KiwiGod (724799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759670)

This might (slim chance, mind you) approach the realm of sane if we assumed that people actually wanted to learn how to do something, instead of the popular approach of "I just want it to work." There appears to be no concept of costs, the eventual degrade of such a system due to human nature, etc. No matter how you start a system like this, you're going to end up with a governing body at some point. People want order, they want to be told what to do, and there's always people that are willing... and on rare occasion capable of doing such.

Re:No account for reality.... (5, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759756)

No matter how you start a system like this, you're going to end up with a governing body at some point. People want order, they want to be told what to do, and there's always people that are willing... and on rare occasion capable of doing such.

You underestimate people. First, the 'sheep' argument, even in the veiled form you give it, is a cynical and lazy cop-out. Out there, somewhere, is likely a group of people who similarly think you're a sheep because you don't question some choice you make that they think is bad. But you aren't. If you learned about it, you might agree or disagree with them, but it's just a matter of learning about it.

Secondly, most people don't actually like being told what to do. They may not always understand how they're following orders, but they usually get pretty upset once they realize they're doing it. You talk to most people, and most of them are generally irritated by the various ways in which they feel they're supposed to be 'following orders'. Perceptions of those orders and their source varies widely, but almost nobody likes to think they just follow them blindly.

So, as I said, I think you severely underestimate people. And I think you're doing it because you don't want to do the hard work you would feel compelled to do if you didn't have such a negative and pessimistic opinion. Pessimists are right much more frequently than optimists, and that's because pessimism is a fundamentally lazy outlook.

Don't overestimate people (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759994)

You are wrong on most of your arguments. Take the xray scanners at the airports. They "randomly" send people to get xrayed, doing them no good, yet, 95%+ just go along with it. They don't care how they work. They don't care how much damage those devices are causing or could be causing. They don't care that their risk of dying from the scanner is higher than from a terrorist blowing up the plane (based on government's own numbers!). They don't care....

So I say, do not overestimate people.

Re:No account for reality.... (1)

Dan Dankleton (1898312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760004)

A system like the internet needs some sort of order and authority simply to be useful.

Let's assume that in our forked internet we want the ability to view web pages in a similar way to how we do currently - by typing an easily remembered name into a browser.

These names can either be unique - in which case there MUST be some form of authority to ensure their uniqueness - or there is no authority, therefore no guarantee of uniqueness and no way to tell if the Slashdot you are trying to visit is the Slashdot you want to visit.
The same goes for IP addresses (or whatever the equivalent we use in our forked internet) and anything else where co-operation is required in order to keep things working correctly.

I'm happy to be told I'm wrong, but I can't see any technical way around the requirement to have certain parts of any network governed by a central authority.

Outstanding points, Omni... (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760070)

...and an excellent posted article, as well.

I would like to add that GlobalJak is in holding pattern. So for now, iis.se, nominet.org.uk, and switch.ch are sacrosanct (until the extradition becomes active, then GlobalJak is underway).

Re:No account for reality.... (1)

ceCA (675081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760118)

Interesting I never thought of pessimists as lazy. My experience has been that most jaded/pessimistic people seem to realize what is going on while optimists seem almost stupid or outright stupid. Most optimists that I have met seem to tun their lives by soundbites: simplistic aphorisms that can't possibly be true. But I have to admit that perhaps pessimists are lazy and perhaps just complain and never do anything. Sad perhaps if true. Unfortunately I have to admit u might be right. .

Re:No account for reality.... (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760148)

You are speaking in generalities. Look at what has actually happened on the Internet over time: usenet was driven out by moderated web boards. Home pages were driven out by Facebook. Decentralized email is being driven out by a small handful of huge webmail providers. Now, even the idea of general-purpose computing is being driven out by handhelds and tablets that only run software from a manufacturer-approved "app store."

In Soviet Russia, Internet Forks You (4, Insightful)

NitzJaaron (733621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759676)

I agree with the idea, in theory, but it's not like we can just up and start a "new internet" from scratch easily. The infrastructure would be a massive undertaking... decisions about whether to reuse old protocols or create new ones would have to be decided... hardware support would need to be dealt with... And at some point, because it's bound to happen, some government(s) are going to want to step in and ruin the work all over again. I'm hopeful about the future of net neutrality by a simple line from Serenity: "You can't stop the signal, Mal."

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759728)

oh bull. we ran ARPA*NET on telephone wires and 110 baud modems with RAM and disk that make your iPods look HUGE.

What infrastructure do you mean?

The average household in America or the EU has more computing power than all the servers and workstations and mainframes we had when HTTP first became important.

You're just lazy.

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (2)

NitzJaaron (733621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759766)

Ad hominem ignored, when I said infrastructure I meant everything. Pipes, computers, nodes, the whole thing. ARPA didn't have to deal with millions and millions of devices. It had hundreds, if even that. Technology was a lot less refined then. We learned great lessons from it and a lot of what created it was put directly into what the internet is today.

You're comparing a bag of rocks to the Burj Dubai.

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759816)

You don't have to run it on the primary ports, you can use the backup port assignments. You can specifically disallow commercial devices (like all those toasters and fridges and cars wasting IP resources) on Net2.

Load balancing is nice - but actually putting up the Name servers and running them worldwide on the backup ports is the first step.

Then lease some sat space and some trunk line space.

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (1)

NitzJaaron (733621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759874)

I get the distinct impression that when Rushkoff said "fork the internet" he really meant the entire thing, including backbone and infrastructure. I'm not saying you're wrong - you're completely right in what you're saying technologically. I'm just saying that if we're going to take Rushkoff literally, we'd have to start from scratch.

I'd also say it's worth taking note that if we want to ensure that the internet doesn't become the mobile phone provider that it so wants to be (in relation to the business models of Comcast/Verizon/Cox/et al) that perhaps starting fresh with new backbone hardware and protocols - that try to prevent what is threatening net neutrality - would be a boon for making things better in the future.

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759914)

To run a twin clean Net - build the backbone.

That's all we had originally.

We added all that other stuff later.

Let people who care about those other things add those things later - just bind the contracts to make it clean - that will keep out most of the cruft right there.

I remember CERN beamtime being a big thing, and that damned coke machine and coffee pot. People ADDED those. People ADDED webcams.

Don't let the Perfect get in the way of the Future. You just need a backbone architecture that's clean and grow it from there.

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760002)

You've just described walling ourselves off into a tiny techie ghetto. Who do you suppose will use your Net2, as you describe it? How will your proposal actually help anything?

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760138)

No, I said most machines can host 2 net cards or 2 ports - run the clean version on the unused IPv6 stack that is in most OS and use it before they pollute it with commercial upregulation to higher priority for "valued customers".

All your old stuff will keep working until you switch it over.

How is that not technically feasible?

Do you think they'll GIVE you a nice clean twin Internet? Of course they won't. You have to build it and run clean on it.

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759852)

Forget the computers for a second. That's not a problem. Remove your television cables, satellite dishes, phone lines, wireless devices, cellphones from your house. Now ask everyone to do the same to build another internet.

Not so simple anymore.

Re:In Soviet America, Internet Forks You (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759950)

Nobody asked you to remove anything.

We just need to get a clean Net2 running on IPv6 and then slowly add back all those things.

Have you never wired your own place?

Did we see the same movie? (1)

jeko (179919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760156)

You can't stop the signal? Did we see the same cut of "Serenity?" They stopped it for years. It took a multimillion-dollar geek outpost, a Reaver invasion, a dead pilot, a moved nerve cluster and a minor superhero to get the signal out.

BTW, the signal has already been stopped. Have you tried to run a mail server or a web server from your home lately?

Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (5, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759678)

It's not that difficult.

Just have NGOs run IPv6 stack Net2 servers that blacklist any upregulated commercial traffic and run them worldwide.

But you don't have the guts to do that.

All talk, no action.

In my day, ARPA*NET was clean and free of spam.

And then you sold us out for cash.

Re:Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759736)

Shit, you're still here spewing bullshit. Some things never change.

Re:Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759752)

You asked how to do it.

The average machine in a lab has 4 to 8 cores nowadays.

It's not hard to twin the net cards. You could even run it off of Apple Mac Minis - and those are single processors, not multi-core.

Re:Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759892)

The Mac mini has been dual-core since early 2006 [wikipedia.org].

Re:Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759980)

I know. But mine is older.

In some ways, we should probably require a second port/net capability, as many people will probably run dual stacks.

Right now IPv6 is default enabled. We could task that to a second net card, use the backup port, and run full encryption with at most a modified stack protocol that disables priority escalations.

Stop thinking about how hard it is and just do it.

Re:Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760000)

Yes, but that's the easy part. How are you proposing that these servers talk to each other? Because if it's over the currently existing net, you have a problem there. And if it isn't, you've got a problem there. A network doesn't really exist if the nodes can't talk to each other, and a small network encompassing a block, isn't particularly interesting without the ability to talk across the state at least. Otherwise what you've done is invent the BBS.

Re:Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (2)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759770)

In my day, ARPA*NET was clean and free of spam.

To be fair, it was mostly free of users, too, relative to today, where the number is on the order of a billion.

Re:Just host IPv6 Net2 host servers (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759876)

who said a new clean Net2 needs to have all those billions of lusers?

I mean, seriously, don't let commercial devices like toasters and fridges and cars use the Net2 until you get enough infrastructure - they can use the old Internet, since they're paying to be run on it.

Stop trying to TWIN what we have. Build what you NEED, not what you may eventually WANT. Let others add that cruft.

Otherwise this will take a decade. Just do it and stop whining that it doesn't have X Y and Z. You can add that later.

N00bs (4, Funny)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759684)

I've been telling people to fork off the internet for years

Re:N00bs (1)

elloGov (1217998) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759802)

I've been thinking about this very same task for the past month. When formulating wild imaginative ideas in my head, I can't help but run into the physical threat: being targeted as a criminal by plutocratic law for using something 'they' can't control.

Re:N00bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760008)

Fork off.

I have an idea... (3, Interesting)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759686)

Let's have the internet operated by people working in autonomous groups of varying sizes, working to build group-to-group connections that work independently, and are controlled by terms totally independent of administrative and policymaker regulation.

Oh wait...

Newsflash: The Internet is a series of (mostly) privately-owned and privately-operated tubes. Keep your regulations off my tubes. If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

Re:I have an idea... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759772)

If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

90% or more of us live in areas where other providers are not an option.
Even if there were multiple providers, I doubt you could find one who wasn't forced to prioritize traffic.

Re:I have an idea... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759830)

I doubt you could find one who wasn't forced to prioritize traffic

Of course. Because people's usage patterns force them to. A tiny fraction of users push and pull traffic way out of proportion to their numbers, and it's often traffic that doesn't travel the routes the ISPs work the hardest to keep up and fast for their largest numbers of users. Preventing the ISPs from shaping traffic in order to keep the vast majority of their customers happy is absurd.

Re:I have an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760056)

It's just that biz thinks about these things all wrong, instead of investing in the technology to expand bandwidth, they spend money on writing programs to throttle traffic. Their instincts are bad...

Re:I have an idea... (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760066)

Shaping traffic has never been the problem. I suspect any die-hard net-neutral advocate who really understands, also agrees that shaping is necessary.

The problem is prioritizing, judging, and shaping packets by the $$$ they carry or represent. I won't even argue about Comcast's right to split the provisioning of their network, giving their traffic one treatment and the internet another. It is, after all, their network. I object to their prioritizing internet traffic based on how squeezably soft the packet sources/sinks are.

And yes, it is their network - sort of. But remember:
This isn't CompuServe.
This isn't GEnie.
This isn't Prodigy.
This isn't TheSource.
This isn't AOL.

This is the internet, and it is what it is, and it has become so successful simply because it is none of the above.
Yet every business that gets their fingers into it wants to turn it back into the bad old days, in this mistaken sense of "entitlement" that they can tax the packets.

Here's a fix... Congress could fix this. They could pull IETF out of the public domain - direct a body to patent the whole lot. License it all out for free - with terms and conditions - called Net Neutrality. After all, it was once ARPANet, paid for with your tax dollars and mine.

Re:I have an idea... (5, Informative)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759828)

Oh wait...

Newsflash: The Internet is a series of (mostly) privately-owned and privately-operated tubes. Keep your regulations off my tubes. If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

The problem is when that's the ONLY Internet you can realistically get. And given the monopolistic nature of Internet access, that's the likely outcome here.

Re:I have an idea... (5, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759910)

Newsflash:
1. not everyone has a choice between providers.
2. even with different providers, sometimes they themselves have to go through one of the big one, which filters even those connections.

Re:I have an idea... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759918)

No one's telling you not to purchase anything. Never have been. You can have all the truly awful Xfinity streaming service you want. But the thing is, without last-mile competition, the last-mile provider sure will start to suck, just as surely if it were a government run monopoly. Create competition, and net neutrality will stop being so important, because people will prefer providers that don't filter. But absent real competition, with low barriers to entry and some restrictions on anti-competitive tactics by the existing mega-ISPs, we're fucked.

I've seen the Comcast-controlled internet, and it is Xfinity all the way down.

Re:I have an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759926)

You want to go back to the TV age? Where broadcasting information was possible only for a small group of people?

Re:I have an idea... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759962)

Newsflash: The Internet is a series of (mostly) privately-owned and privately-operated tubes. Keep your regulations off my tubes. If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

Because then I might have to pay more to get an unprioritized Internet connection, as the market for it would be smaller. I might even have to get something satellite-based. This is a violation of my rights, quite simply.

Re:I have an idea... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760010)

If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

To echo the sentiment of your other responders. What if I DON'T want to purchase internet services from such a provider? Why the heck should I HAVE to? In the best cases there are only 5 providers, and 3 of them just resell services from the first 2, and those 2 both have traffic shaping you have no control over. In the worst case, you have one provider and you take it or leave it.

Nothing in the spectrum gives me the choice to choose a provider that prioritizes traffic in a way that I like.

To be fair though, I -agree- with protocol QoS such as prioritizing streaming video over torrent traffic. - interactive / real time traffic should take precedence over bulk download. And therefore I strongly disagree with prioritizing youtube while bumping netflix down below torrent traffic... especially if its based on the ISP extorting money from content providers while holding their own customers who are actually paying you for the bandwidth to connect them to the content they want as hostages/pawns.

Regulation? Hell yes.... (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760106)

Newsflash: The Internet is a series of (mostly) privately-owned and privately-operated tubes.

...that run over public land. Sounds like a utility to me. They better get use to some regulations and rules governing how they operate if they want to run their damn cables all over our commons.

Re:I have an idea... (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760120)

If I want to purchase services from a provider available to me that prioritizes YouTube and Netflix over Torrent traffic, why the heck shouldn't I be able to?

What happens when the only provider in your area is one who prioritizes Torrent Traffic over Netflix and Youtube?

Try to see it from everyone elses perspective - when you've only got 1 or 2 choices, there is no real choice. If both of them choose to prioritize traffic, against your interests, you are left with no alternatives. Too bad, so sad, a neutral net was fun while it lasted? Why are we having such trouble keeping it that way?

If you are going to retort with some statement proclaiming the positives of Capitalism, this is one situation where a Free Market doesn't apply: it is virtually impossible for anyone to produce a competing product: They've monopolized the net. They own the wires. Which wasn't even built by them, it was built with taxpayer money. They paid a pultry sum, assumed control, and avoid spending any money to upgrade it and instead gouge customers.

No really, do you think this would be an issue if everything worked the way you are envisioning it through your rose coloured glasses? If I could just start up an ISP with no traffic shaping, shifting, blocking, prioritizing, etc etc - I would make a TON of money from all the people willing to buy that service, more than half of Slashdot viewers I'm sure.

The problem is - that's not possible. Even if I went and managed to set up this giant multinational organization with buildings all across the globe housing tons of servers, I can't just "plug myself into" the net. I'd still have to run through the backbones of giants like Comcast and their rules will always apply to their equipment.

How about NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759706)

Forking would only empower the mega-corps to invest in the locked down interwebs, while letting the free internet rot away into nothingness.
The effect would be the same, the locked down internet will be given priority while the free internet will be given "best effort" status.

Re:How about NO (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759872)

Forking would only empower the mega-corps to invest in the locked down interwebs, while letting the free internet rot away into nothingness.

That depends upon what one means by forking. Several projects (like theconnective.net) aim to replace the last mile of the internet with community and cooperatively owned networks and allow those networks to interoperate and bargain collectively with core network operators. That is to say, if instead of Comcast or AT&T as your choices for home high speed internet, you could go with the city or county or community run mesh network which, in turn, buys a big pipe or two from whoever offers them not only the best price but also the least limitation, then there is little ability to mess with net neutrality, especially if a large number of these start making demands as a group or boycotting your service. It would be like trying to dictate to Comcast now.

The hard part is threefold, getting enough momentum behind it, overcoming the halo effects of TV and wires phone service, and keeping it from being outlawed by crooked politicians. I'm already part of one of the largest community wireless mesh projects in the country, but it needs to go a lot further. It needs organizers and people to show communities how to do it, technologically and politically, and to help organize.

Let the umm surfer unite?

I hate to say it but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759734)

I hate to say it but I found the linked article to be mostly just a "sensationalist" report with no real backing. Sure the internet as we know it is very much regulated today, and disorganized: hell the thing is equivalent to a tree fort constructed with toothpicks and duct-tape...but unless this author had something new to present, some original idea, this article is just the author complaining. (I am sure he is not the first individual to consider the implications of Fidonet...) Honestly I will maintain my voice for net neutrality and not fear Mr. Big Mean Corporations all the time.

forking airport security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759776)

That is the proposal I have. Have a line for those who love security, and an opening for those that could care less. Of course, secure control of the plane in both cases. But, let the passengers who don't care about security avoid long lines and groping by government perverts. Perhaps 20% of flights can be scheduled as "Speedy Flights".

Local networks? (1)

saikou (211301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759780)

I know in some other countries "local/communal" networks are still doing quite well, and usually instead of everyone buying an internet access individually, whole building (condo/apartments/whatever) has a network that is plugged into an ISP via somewhat thicker and more economical connection.

Given that some networks grow to a large size, you get multiple buildings connected together, up to several city blocks. And then you get peering between communal networks, local gaming servers etc.

Biggest issue is, of course, that users still need to connect to "real" internet, so full fork is not possible. The second biggest issue, is that you need a substantial degree of participation. If out of whole subdivision only three/four houses want to fork, while everyone else is happy enough with their current connection, there's no chance of making a dent in ISP's policies or creating an alternative to "normal" connection.

There's no content beyond what's provided via proxy. And I doubt that Blizzard would allow local network to run local servers without paying a large amount of money (which also kills the whole idea -- if you have lots of money, you're okay with non-neutral Internet, cause you can afford it). So, other than local file sharing, which in most cases would be just a pile of pirated stuff, there's nothing to attract regular users.

Maybe Google will actually decide to provide an alternative to telcos, but given their recent alliance with Verizon and overall "don't poke the hornet's nest" attitude (gigabit project is still up in the air, phone services from Gizmo are non-existent, Google Voice doesn't do SMS etc) I kinda doubt it.

So, start connecting to your nerdy neighbors, but forget about becoming an Internet Alternative for a looooong time.

Fork what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759824)

> it is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them
So why not fork the policy makers [wikipedia.org]? In the end, it serves a much higher purpose.

I love his old school mentality... but (5, Interesting)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759858)

His solution is to bring back FidoNet (popular on the Amiga!) and other BBS solutions (I just KNEW UUCP wasn't dead!) or overlap WiMax or some part of the spectrum and put something akin to IPv4 or 6 on top of it.

Good fucking luck with that.

If you want to create something revolutionary, create a store and forward message system that can run on mobile devices and can transfer messages via bluetooth. It's akin to carrier pigeon, but it might actually work.

What we are doing now is tunneling INSIDE the corporate controlled networks to evade detection. Tor, old IPSEC tricks, encrypted BT - all these are methods of moving data around while avoiding the perception to the sniffing devices that data is being moved around, or at least what the data is. The idea that somehow there will be again some network of the people by the people is just a little too HAM radio modemish for me, despite the fact it can work technically.

will never work (1)

rritterson (588983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759878)

As soon as someone connects our fork to the existing fork of the internet, we'll be reduced to a connected network and not a true fork. You could decide that anyone who connects to the old internet will be blacklisted, but then we'll be reduced to controllers in the same form as those we currently deride. It's a beautiful irony built in to the design of the internet in the first place.

This seems like an issue for which representative democracy was created. We get the laws we ask for, and the reason we're having a debate is because the telecom companies are currently much louder than we are. It's because your average person doesn't give two shits about net neutrality right now, they just want a broadband connection good enough to do what they're used to doing. But, anyone I sit down for 30 minutes and to whom I explain what the underlying debate is out always comes out pissed we haven't forced net neutrality down the throats of all involved already.

Radio network. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759888)

they can easily control the physical cable networks, but, if people start setting up wireless networks with powerful in-home devices, then it would become a real network that could live dynamically. add on top of that concepts like freenet, dns-p2p and so on, then you have a really free internet which has its own life.

Republicans (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759908)

Wasn't that what some of the Republicans were saying? Government control of the internet won't necessarily protect the internet, it might ruin it.

And shouldn't the existing common carrier laws that were designed for phone companies come into play?

Freenet (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759942)

My two cents would be a re-implementation of Freenet.

People who want to use it set up an access point that patches into a wireless p2p network, and lets the machines interconnect, strictly via the freenet protocol, which is sandboxed in the client-server (to keep unwanted attacks out). For longer distance connection, at the expense of speed, a regular phone line could be used, with modems at both ends.
The server runs a directory of logically (therefore geographically) neighboring nodes, and replicates a global directory, showing which site is available on which nodes, as well as replicating part of the content to ensure redundancy.
The client looks up the nodes serving the requested content from the directory, and pulls in the content from as many nodes as possible (to avoid overloading any given link in the network).

This should form a fully connected graph, which also makes it highly redundant, as a downed access point can be simply routed around as long as there's another one in range, and the content is distributed in the entire cloud along with routing information, making it as decentralized as possible, ensuring that no single entity can control the network.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a network engineer, but I take full responsibility for any errors/flaws/fallacies in the description given above. Tear it apart, Slashdot!

As soon as...what, again? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759968)

'The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network — its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation — is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them — that network loses its power to effect change.

The fate of the Internet was in the government's hands the whole time it was ARPAnet, and it went directly from their into the hands of the corporations who, in Rushkoff's view, fund policymakers. All of this was well before the "net neutrality" debate began, and much of it was before the term "the Internet" for the particular batch of systems was even coined.

If we were to accept Rushkoff's premise, then, the Internet was doomed before it even existed and we should have all just ignored it and made our own, with neither corporate nor government involvement, using neither public nor corporate infrastructure (I'm not sure if Rushkoff's idea of "corporations" includes for-profit businesses operated under forms other than the corporate form -- e.g., sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, etc.; if it doesn't, its not clear what the meaningful distinction of the corporate form is, if it does, I'm not sure how you avoid "corporations" having disproportionate influence over it even if you do keep government out of it, since the people with the most incentive to put money into the infrastructure will be those who have a profit-earning business that uses the network in one way or another, and the owners of the infrastructure or going to have absolute control if the government is kept completely out.)

Really, Rushkoff's analysis seems to be entirely disconnected from the history (and technical architecture in his suggestion that FidoNet is somehow decentralized in a way that the internet is not) of the Internet in assessing the problem, and as a result his solution is "let's just surrender the existing Internet to corporate control with no governance, and build a new one just like it, with no governance plan, and hope that magic fairies keep it free."

It its unregulated and commercially useful, corporate control will follow.

No. If they are the problem, fork the politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759990)

And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

If this guy is right, then net neutrality is only a small part of a bigger problem that deserves more attention from everyone (money has far too much influence on politicians). Fix that and the benefits will be far more extensive than "only" the Internet.

Community Wireless Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760012)

There are other internets out there such as community wireless networks. Ones that are popular and cover a whole city are quite resourceful. Direct peer to peer networking is free and more like a hobby.

Other than that its all older tech like dialup/BBS, or amateur/CB radio where you have the power to communicate how you want to where you want without the commercial/government middle man.

His hearts in the right place, but he's nuts. (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760022)

Soooo, yeah, Freenet [wikipedia.org]. And funnily enough, both Rushkoff and Freenet completely ignore the PHYSICAL TRANSPORTATION MEDIUM.
Freenet assumes you have an Internet connection. It runs on the Internet. Rushkoff, on the other hand, provided an "super simple" example where he relied entirely on phone lines. Like that's somehow better.

Now... he DOES offer some alternatives, like HAM radio, Wi-max, that jazz. And an ad-hoc mesh network of everyone's wireless router WOULD be super neat. But such a thing can't compete with physical lines going across the continent and across the ocean. And that's really expensive.

No my friend, we will not bulldoze the city so we can build a utopia on an open field. And this is one of the biggest reasons that I really don't want the Internet to be fucked up; it's going to exist that way for a very long time.

Fairly simple solution (1)

ryanw (131814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760048)

I don't think that "forking the internet" is all that bad of an idea if we want to keep it "open".

The way to fork the internet, while maintaining accessibility is through tunnels.

Basically a specific open-source secure tunnel bridge application should be created which can connect to various different portals into the "new internet", and the list of "tunnel portals" should be maintained via some peer-to-peer/signed method much like BGP but with an authoritative signature.

This way servers and websites can join the "new network" exclusively, and have a web plugin which would be able to know how to use this "new internet" and connect to sites through these portals until they're able to join this network by choice through their provider.

I would think it would help create something from the ground up on IPV6, and at the same time I would implement a new form of "sendmail protocol" which leverages encryption and a public / private key system to not allow people to send you spam unless you've added their public key to your email program. People can put their public keys on websites so if you want to send them an email you can grab their key, but unless they've added your public key to their local settings they can't get email to you.

Sure, lots of people want to be able to receive email from ANY source, to attract new business or whatever, but that's where form mail on websites is handy and also having a phone handy. You can call someone and say, "i met you at CES and want to send you an email, can you add my key?" And if they want to talk to you, they can enter your email address and grab your public key from your website. If you dont want to ever talk to anyone or have them talk to you to get emails, use a form email system on your website.

Create a new layer over existing networks (1)

asoaso (902268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760094)

It's pretty hard to create an alternative physical network. I suggest we just rebrand the web (e.g. OpenWeb), enforce encryption everywhere, utilise existing networks and decentralise the root DNS servers.

Ad-hoc wifi with community DNS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760122)

Put a couple gateways to the old nasty internet so you still have legacy download access and bada-boom. Anyone wanna go ad-hoc with me in San Diego?

First, you need your own network (1)

joh (27088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760150)

Like using smartphones for a mesh/P2P network without involving the carriers at all. It would be a very spotty and dynamic "Internet" with totally different contraints, but it would be unregulated and totally grassroots. Physical distance would be expensive for data to travel (at least for large bandwidth), but this would make any centrally controlled resources very hard to implement, which would be good.

Of course you don't have enough control over the radios in smartphones to do that. Or do you?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...