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How Washington Will Shape the Internet

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the new-sheriff-in-town dept.

373

WebHostingGuy writes "As reported by MSNBC, 'The most potent force shaping the future of the Internet is neither Mountain View's Googleplex nor the Microsoft campus in Redmond. It's rather a small army of Gucci-shod lobbyists on Washington's K Street and the powerful legislators whose favor they curry.' The article examines several pieces of legislation and lobbying initiatives which are poised to affect you and your rights online. Topics covered include Net Neutrality, fiber to the home, the Universal Service Fund, codecs, and WiFi bandwidth usage." From the article: "After years of benign neglect, the Federal government is finally involved in the Internet — big time. And the decisions being made over the next few months will impact not just the future of the Web, but that of mass media and consumer electronics as well. Yet it's safe to say that far more Americans have heard about flag burning than the laws that may soon reshape cyberspace."

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373 comments

Let me hazard a wild wild guess... (5, Insightful)

botzi (673768) | about 8 years ago | (#15700037)

.....we won't see ONE permissive regulation. We'll see MANY restrictive regulations. If lawmaking comes to the internet, I for one am looking forward to the next big thing.

Some already manipulate the Internet. Bully tactic (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700092)

I *really* *hate* CoSs.

The WalMart down the street was selling Mini Church of Scientology Trolls (CoSTrolls) for 2 cents a piece. That was even less than the 5 cents a piece I paid for those monkeys ... so I figured "What have I got to lose?"

So I bought 250 CoSTrolls for $5.00. I mean, what's 5 bucks, right? What could possibly go wrong?

I took my 250 CoSTrolls home. I have a big car. One of them insisted on driving. Its name was L. Ron Hubbard. It was retarded, even for a troll. In fact, none of them were really bright, and now that I had them outside in the daylight, it was obvious that they were all "more than a few bricks short of a full load." They kept punching themselves in their genitals, saying something about removing "body thetans," whatever those are. I laughed. Then they tried to remove my body thetans. I stopped laughing.

I herded them into the basement. They didn't adapt very well to their new environment. They stopped punching themselves, and started to screech, hurl themselves off of boxes at high speeds and slam into the wall. Although humorous at first, the spectacle lost its novelty halfway into its third hour. Then they began pulling the hair out of each other. It quickly became a mess. Oh, and nobody told me that CoSTrolls aren't toilet trained. I googled and yahoo'd for "toilet training CoSTrolls", but all that came back was "never been done" and "C0S iz t3h 5ux0rz."

The novelty of having 250 CoSTrolls had worn off.

The CoSTrolls got out of the basement and kept trying to use my computers, even though everyone knows that CoSTrolls can't use real technology. They kept on, though, and started filing lawsuits against everyone who didn't like CoSTrolls. So my ISP cut me off. I hate CoSTrolls.

I had to find another ISP. And the stupid CoSTrolls used the connection to steal IRS documents. I got kicked off that one, too. I went from high-speed cable to ADSL to dialup to - well, lets just say that TCP/IP over a clothesline really sucks. I can only post when my neighbors are doing their laundry. I feel SO low having to steal bandwidth through the McPhersons' underwear flapping in the breeze!

And speaking of my neighbors, one of them came over. Her name was Lisa. Two CoSTrolls named McCabe and Minkoff attacked her. They bit her like hungry cockroaches. She left bruised and exhausted. Now the neighbors use the laundromat to dry their clothes.

Did I mention that I hate CoSTrolls?

At least by now I knew why the CoSTrolls were so cheap - nobody would want one. All they do is sit around and make rambling random noise and emit noxious vapours, and excrete stuff that even the dogs don't want to sniff ... and dogs will eat their own puke!

I didn't know what to do - I was at wits end. So I went out to the local Home Depot and bought some muriatic acid, the stuff you use on concrete. I took one of the CoSTrolls and dipped it into the muriatic acid. The acid turned into goo. I poored some on the sidewalk outside, and it quickly melted the ice. Unfortunately, it also completely removed the top inch of concrete. The city had to replace the sidewalk. I got the bill last week. I hate CoSTrolls.

I decided to kill them all and throw them in the garbage. Do you have any idea how HARD it is to kill a CoSTroll? They're worse than Microsoft! You can drop a load of bricks on them, squish them flatter than a penny after the train's gone over it, and next morning they're back at it again, spitting, being mean, and just looking butt-ugly as usual.

So I tried to have a garage sale. I TRIED to make them look half-way decent, but CoSTrolls are like SCO stock - no amount of lipstick will make that pig look good. Not only did I not sell a single CoSTroll; the police gave me a fine for disturbing the peace. All the kids in the neighborhood are having nightmares, and the school has to have a psychologist (at least until the CoSTrolls ran her out of town) on staff full-time to deal with all the trauma that being exposed to a whole herd of CoSTrolls can cause in young minds. I hate CoSTrolls.

I tried to flush one down the toilet. It didn't work. It's still there. Then I had one wet gibbering CoSTroll, 1 acid-stained CoSTroll, and 248 dry CoSTrolls, and one blocked toilet. The CoSTroll won't come out of the toilet. I don't mean it's stuck in it - it REFUSES to come out. I tried for over an hour to pull it out, but it likes it there. Yesterday, we had a big rainstorm and the toilet backed up, and 3 more CoSTrolls jumped in. Now I have 4 gross stinky wet CoSTrolls and 245 gross stinky dry CoSTrolls, and 1 acid-stained CoSTroll. The plumbers just laugh when I call them. I guess they hate CoSTrolls too.

I tried burying one in the back yard. That didn't work. A raccoon dug it up, and a skunk sprayed it. Well, at least now it doesn't smell as bad as the other CoSTrolls. But now I also have a date in court for burying toxic refuse. I hate CoSTrolls.

I had to pee but the toilet had 4 CoSTrolls in it. So I went out to the hedge but before I finished, the police came again and fined me for public indecency. I really hate CoSTrolls.

I tried burning some of them with the leaves. The neighbors accused me of burning tires. Another $300 fine. So now I have 1 filthy skunk-stinky CoSTroll, 4 wet stinky CoSTrolls, a dozen singed burnt-hair-stinky CoSTrolls, 1 acid-stained-stinky CoSTroll, and 232 regular stinky CoSTrolls.

Now when I want some fresh air, I go to the municipal landfill or the sewer treatment plant. Anything's better than the stench of CoSTrolls.

I tried to lighten the stench by freezing them. Unfortunately there was only enough room for two CoSTrolls at a time so I had to change them every 30 seconds. I also had to eat all the food in the freezer so it didn't all go bad.

I tried to hide them in the garbage (they LIKE playing in the garbage). Unfortunately, the garbageman caught on (one of the CoSTrolls bit him in the ankle when he lifted the bag). They can't take CoSTrolls, and since the CoSTrolls can't/won't be removed from the garbage, they had to tip their whole load into my driveway. The end result is my car is under 10 tons of coffee grinds, used diapers, sanitary napkins, and empty pizza boxes. Oh, and I got another fine from the city for the garbage. And a bill for the doctor's visit for the garbageman. And now the garbage truck stops by every week, to MAKE DELIVERIES! I hate CoSTrolls!

I finally came up with a solution. It was expensive, but not as expensive as the bills the CoSTrolls have been running up. I put them all in FedEx boxes, marked "Duke Nukem Forever Special Preview Edition", and sent them to all the tech sites and gaming magazines for review. With Infinium Labs as the return address. I figure the CoSTrolls won't be as much of a disappointment as DNF will, so they should be grateful. I just hope Zonk doesn't mind getting punched in the genitals.

I really, really, hate CoSTrolls.

Re:Some already manipulate the Internet. Bully tac (1)

iced_773 (857608) | about 8 years ago | (#15700329)


Not offtopic, mods. That was not only a hilarious take on "I like monkeys", but also made a point about how Scientology has abused the justice system to limit free speech against it on the internet. Like when an AC posted a Scientology document that could be found anywhere a few years ago and the CoS lawyers bullied CmdrTaco into deleting the thread.

More information on this topic can be found at the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Let me hazard a wild wild guess... (1)

mrxak (727974) | about 8 years ago | (#15700095)

I disagree. A change in video franchising law will permit additional competition in the marketplace.

Re:Let me hazard a wild wild guess... (1)

botzi (673768) | about 8 years ago | (#15700129)

Probably, however that's not quiet an internet issue unless I'm missing your point? Also, AFAIK, video franchising is a federal jurisdiction.

Re:Let me hazard a wild wild guess... (3, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | about 8 years ago | (#15700227)

Video franchising is relevant because those that would benefit from a change in the law would be laying down fiber optic lines that also provide internet at speeds much higher than most people are used to getting at home. There's already an "internet gap" between the USA and many other industrialized nations, anything to speed up the process of getting companies to lay down fiber optics is good for the consumer.

Currently video franchising is done through local municipalities, except in the few states that have recently passed state-wide video franchises (Texas was the first, but there have been others). That means that in most places, a company like Verizon has to go to each county or town to get a franchise, an expensive and time-consuming process. Ultimately that means that fiber to the home is still many months (if not years) away from getting to a lot of people. And meanwhile cable companies are enjoying their nice virtual monopolies on paid TV services.

First (3, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about 8 years ago | (#15700357)

This type of issue, requires a lot more creative touch in my opinion, than simply coming up with old ideas. We need revolutionary ideas to save the internet, and if you do not have them, then dedicate your brain power into creating the next internet. I do not think video franchising is the kind of idea that is revolutionary. Open Source was a revolutionary idea, maybe we should contact Richard Stallman and see what he has to say. Maybe we need a new set of internet protocols? The wiring is not the issue here, the issue here is an issue of how the internet is modeled.

The next internet for sure won't be modeled anything like this one. The client server model is what lead to this. When you model the internet in a slave/master type of frame work, the result you get is a top down internet hierarchy. Beyond the protocols, the technology itself is also top down. I think all of this will change eventually when the technology adapts and becomes smaller, but this issue is a lot more complicated than simply, legal. In fact, legalese language is meaningless in the long term. It's always about design.

If you do want to think of legal language, the language itself has to be strategicially designed. The invention of the internet will go down in history as being as important as the invention of the constitution or the bill of rights. Of course it was not going to last forever, but you have to put the internet itself into historical context.

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700487)

A free, unregulated internet based on a wireless mesh networking approach by consumers using open source software and, to truly complete the utopia, open source hardware. Given enough people, it can be done.. let's not forget about those 100 mile wifi records. One large pool of connected devices using IPv6 :D

On a less serious note, perhaps we should just become borg-like and create our unimatrix. If only because unimatrix sounds way cooler than 'internet'. ;)

Re:First (2, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | about 8 years ago | (#15700592)

Well I'd argue that the wiring is the issue. Your typical cable service will max out at 30ish downstream, and has relatively very little upstream. And currently, no cable provider is giving out that kind of service (best is Cablevision at 15/2Mbps). DOCSIS 2.0 and 3.0 will help with that, but people really aren't going to see those for a while.

Copper really can't stand up to fiber optics, especially in the long term. Even the cable companies are starting to use fiber optics to a certain extent in their network architecture, but none of them are bringing fiber straight to the home.

Video franchising is by no means revolutionary. The kinds of interactive services you'll get from fiber optic TV could be. And you won't get those any time soon the way things currently are. And you're probably not going to get 30/5Mbps in your home either.

Re:Let me hazard a wild wild guess... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 8 years ago | (#15700515)

Its not far off for me, I'll have fiber to the home by end of this year, give or take a few weeks.

No, not from the crappy telco or cable company, from the city [burlingtontelecom.net] itself. I for one welcome my city own fiber optic networking overlords.

Slashdot focuses too much on national poltiics. (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about 8 years ago | (#15700291)

Discussing politics is fine, but whats the point in discussing national politics? All of these issues are local, REALLY local.

If you don't want big federal government, why did you vote for it? This goes for Democrats and Republicans. Federal government is big under EITHER party. Most of us internet geeks seem to be libertarians, and as a result we can't feel comfortable in either party.

In the Democratic party of old ideas, we hear them discussing going back to the days of FDR, and that is completely unrealistic. The Republican party always talks about tax cuts, and smaller government, but somehow government is bigger than ever?

I think we need to drastically cut taxes, maybe go with just the sales tax, or even the negative income tax. There are a lot of ways to reform the tax system that will make EVERYONE happy. Once the tax system is reformed, and you can get more of your own money, that is how we all benefit. Social programs are a thing of the past, they worked when the population was smaller globally and nationally, they worked when we werent consuming this much, but time is running out and some changes have to be made.

You and I may never live to see social security, so why fight to save it if by the time we get it the world isnt going to exist and none of us will be here? I'd rather recieve the tax cuts and invest it.

Re:Slashdot focuses too much on national poltiics. (1)

Billosaur (927319) | about 8 years ago | (#15700410)

Discussing politics is fine, but whats the point in discussing national politics? All of these issues are local, REALLY local.

Politics is truly local in scope, but the Internet is global in scope. Of course, you know what they say about global variables... [programming reference thrown in for obfuscatory purposes only]

I don't think the solution to Internet regulation is inherently a local issue, exept maybe where access is concerned. It will take local groups uniting to apply sufficient pressure to Congress to cause any meaningful regulation, and even then deep pockets may keep the issue from being resolved equitably.

Here comes the internet license. (5, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about 8 years ago | (#15700246)

Soon, the internet will be rendered a privilage in which you need a license to access. We've seen it happen with roads, its only a matter of time before it happens to the net. Also prepare for internet taxes.

Honestly, I don't understand how a conservative government can increase the size of government this much, and ask for internet regulations, I mean it does not follow the philosophy at all. Am I the only libertarian here?

When law making comes to the internet, another internet will be invented, just not anytime soon. My advice is, start the planning stages for the next internet, and then when there is the will to bring it forward, bring it forward. Let's just admit once and for all that it must have been Al Gore who gave us the internet, he did not invent it, but he handed it so us. Before that, the masses didnt know what the internet is, and the masses won't know what the next internet us when us geeks invent or find it, hey we mmight already have it.

Re:Here comes the internet license. (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 8 years ago | (#15700398)

That's the problem with a libertarian philosophy.

The richer, more powerful libertarians get to decide policy. Big companies have more resources than almost any human will ever have and they protect their interests.

I was a libertarian until I realized the philosophy breaks down in the face of concentrated wealth and power. If we had lots of people with ten million dollars it would probably work. When we have a few hundred "people" (some human, some corporate) with billions of dollars, it doesn't work.

You can't even have a fair court system when the power/money becomes too unequal. One person gets the public defender who is falling asleep in court while the other side gets a team of top-notch, well connected lawyers backed up by a firm of bright assistants.

Re:Here comes the internet license. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700482)

Actually, in this case _some_ legislation is needed: the telcos have a government created monopoly on telecommunications, and they need to be held to Net Neutrality. Anything less leaves us at the mercy of telcos and with no power to fix things.

However, with respect to other things like unenforcable legislation utterly contrary to international law over internet gambling, etc., they need to get a damn clue, or they will screw things up.

I know that I personally have left the Republican party over the idiotic crap they've been pulling for the last eight years or so. They've made it abundantly clear that the law doesn't apply to them, that they're more than willing to rush blindly ahead when sensible people have doubts, and that they're willing to help screw up things like the internet that they have absolutely no understanding of.

Re:Here comes the internet license. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 8 years ago | (#15700532)

Next internet: Freenet mebbe?
But the problem then becomes, it runs on top of the existing internet...and that's not good. That makes it controllable, even if it can't be spied on...

Isn't just the nature of legislation? (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 8 years ago | (#15700586)

By default you have a right to do practically anything as long as it does not infringe on another's right. To have permissive regulation is self-defeating, as the Internet is already in a state of virtual (HAH!) anarchy. The only thing laws can effectively do IS restrict your freedom.

FIST SPORT! (1)

ringbarer (545020) | about 8 years ago | (#15700046)

The best way to shape the Internet as a tool for societal change is to administer the Death Penalty for spammers and forum trolls.

Re:FIST SPORT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700454)

Like the parent troll?

Clarify the headline! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700051)

If by "shape" you mean "fuck up," then you're on to something.

Re:Clarify the headline! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700404)

I'm trying to picture this in my mind. What shape would that be?

Re:Clarify the headline! (1)

NoOnesMessiah (442788) | about 8 years ago | (#15700470)

"Shape the internet" ...Retarded is not a shape. And the cranial rectitis imposed by the dumb-asses in DC can only help to line the pockets of Big Businesses and their lobbyists. See also; The CAN-SPAM Act.

Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (3, Funny)

kclittle (625128) | about 8 years ago | (#15700052)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is subject to Bigguv'ment trying to screw it up.

Re:Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (2, Insightful)

quokkapox (847798) | about 8 years ago | (#15700074)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is subject to Bigguv'ment trying to screw it up.

Any technology vulnerable to governmental and corporate interference is insufficiently advanced.

Re:Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (4, Interesting)

botzi (673768) | about 8 years ago | (#15700119)

Any technology vulnerable to governmental and corporate interference is insufficiently advanced.

Can you please give me an example of a technology NOT vulnerable to governmental interference? It's nice to drop out one liners like that, except when they have no cover whatsoever. If government wants to get involved and regulate a tech field, chance are it will. On my side, I'd rather see a split internet then face regulations imposed by the US on a global network.

Re:Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (1)

Kesch (943326) | about 8 years ago | (#15700280)

Can you please give me an example of a technology NOT vulnerable to governmental interference?


Tinker Toys.

Re:Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (1)

Astrobirdr (560760) | about 8 years ago | (#15700310)

Sorry, Tinker Toys are regulated by Child Safety laws, so they are actually being "interfered with" by government :-).

Re:Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (1)

HiredMan (5546) | about 8 years ago | (#15700526)

Tinker Toys.

Yeah, that's what Logs thought too until that damn meddling Lincoln came around....

=tkk

Re:Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 8 years ago | (#15700501)

Tor comes close. It provides not only the ability to anonymously access services, but also the ability to anonymously offer them. A VOIP design built on top of it, for example, could allow two people to contact each other without either party or any observer knowing who the two people are. Add port hopping to the protocol to prevent port blocks and you have yourselves a very, very good start at a networking technology that isn't vulnerable to governmental interference.

Re:Corollary #14 to Clarke's Law (1)

Instine (963303) | about 8 years ago | (#15700568)

Can you please give me an example of a technology NOT vulnerable to governmental interference?

Influence/interferance is different to absolute or even majority control. In the UK the Government has most of the guns, and thereby majority control of guns in the UK. I still think thats actually a good thing. They don't control them all. But most of them. In America, the Police influence who has a gun, but do not control the majority. Neither government controls the majority of all guns.

The Interweb is no different. No one government will control the majority of the internet. If ICANN and Washington try to take control of the internet away from the WORLD'S masses, then the world will invent a new one, that is not controllable via those means used.

Flag Burning (4, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | about 8 years ago | (#15700063)

Yet it's safe to say that far more Americans have heard about flag burning than the laws that may soon reshape cyberspace.

I don't think it's too cynical to say that's probably intentional. Flag burning seems to be one of those hot-button issues that conservative politicians trot out when they want to (a) drum up votes or (b) distract people from other issues. (Liberals have their own hot-button issues, though these days the conservatives seem to be punching them just fine from the other side.)

Re:Flag Burning (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#15700173)

Yep, flag-burning is a wedge issue. The purpose is not only to distract, but to create a meaningless* issue that can will unify (a majority of) people into an us-vs-them voting bloc.

"Family Values" comes to mind... as does embryonic stem-cell research, etc.

*Meaningless as in politically meaningless -- I don't mean to deride the value of a lot of these issues on a personal or even local level. When the nuts and bolts are counted, these wedge issues mean nothing in the big picture of what it is that Congress/POTUS actually does.

Re:Flag Burning (2, Insightful)

Zhe Mappel (607548) | about 8 years ago | (#15700253)

Agreed, and it's not only conservatives who trot out the flag burning crisis. It's also opportunists fishing for right wing votes: there's Hillary Clinton, for instance, bravely defending Old Glory from imminent destruction.

To bring this back OT, let's not forget it was President Clinton who signed CIPA into law imposing on libraries and schools the duty to block "obscene material," which for some years helped fuel widespread use of censorware. The idea of a free Net has much to fear from all American politicians, particularly in our pandering age.

Re:Flag Burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700384)

Ah yes, the old 'look what Clinton did' argument. When do you think Clinton will cease to be the source of all evil, perhaps 100 years?

Intarwebs (1, Offtopic)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#15700067)

It's interesting that now that the Internet is becoming a credible alternative to mass media for news and commerce that the government is regulating it big time [google.com] .

Re:Intarwebs (2, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | about 8 years ago | (#15700448)

Well, the government can't allow just anyone to use the Internet's "tubes" now can they? They might put yucky things like real news and detailed information about the behind-the-scenes fleecing of American citizens by Congress in the "tubes" and then where would we be?

Hate to break it to you... (5, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | about 8 years ago | (#15700075)

but the US implying laws on internet usage will not completely change the internet. The rest of the world won't just follow along, and you'll find hi-tech companies moving to companies that are more forgiving to their line of business.

Re:Hate to break it to you... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | about 8 years ago | (#15700387)

yea that was what I was thinking too. What goes on in China in regards to the Internet is terrible, but appears to have no real effect on the rest of the world.

Re:Hate to break it to you... (1, Insightful)

bhmit1 (2270) | about 8 years ago | (#15700395)

Companies are already moving things out of the US, only right now it's for cheaper labor and getting closer to natural resources in a few cases. But the more legislation there is, and the more we isolate ourselves, the more the rest of the world will simply surpass the US. The US grew to where it was because of competition with little regulation, and with a few exceptions (things like cell phones without GSM) that's worked in our favor. But the more we block immigrants, restrict the internet, minimum wage, and so forth, the quicker companies will move the jobs elsewhere. The only other option is to get every country to adopt our same standards and restrictions, or to be a worse place to do business, but that's becoming less and less the case. Pretty depressing really.

The rest of the world has no choice. (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about 8 years ago | (#15700456)

If you had any idea how this world works, you'd see that the economy is global, and when the economy is global, what is happening in the US is happening everywhere. The new laws get tested on the US population first, and then exported to our trading partners. The countries which don't accept our rules, well we know what happens to them. So I don't see your point.

I'm not saying the world population will go along with it, but the decision makers are all on the same team, and all profit together. Do you really think that lawmakers in the US are going to pass laws that the world leaders do not accept? The laws that get passed are precisely the laws that world leaders want passed.

Global opinion is not the same as Global leadership or Global decision making, or Global economics. The global economy is somewhat planned out in advance, the rules are decided on, there is a world bank, a world trade organization, and economic leaders meet to discuss these topics. So if we are discussing it now, they discussed it months or years ago and made decisions on it already.

Re:The rest of the world has no choice. (3, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | about 8 years ago | (#15700545)

Wow, I think you should have a look at the rest of the world and realize that we don't "import" laws from the US. Most of Europe and Canada are Socialist countries... you don't see us adapting US education and healthcare do you?

The Canadian Privacy Commissioner is currently reviewing cross-border data flow because Canadians' privacy is being compromised by the Patriot Act. If anything, we're seperating ourselves from the US, not the other way around.

Inside perspective (4, Interesting)

andrewman327 (635952) | about 8 years ago | (#15700083)

I interned for a congressman last year. My former boss is in charge of a lot of the tech stuff coming out, but I can tell you that most congressmen could not care less about most tech. For example, I heard a congressman ranting about how consumers don't have a right to choice in telco providers. I have also seen that many policies are nothing more than clunky attempts to maintain the status quo of regulation in an era of never before seen change. It is nice to see government trying hard to catch up with the times, but the minority of uber-users, hackers, and /.ers need to watch out to maintain what we love doing. I do not see any major problems (like China's level of Internet control) coming, but there are issues that could prove quite annoying at least. The most important thing that we can do is vote. Early and often. :)

Re:Inside perspective (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | about 8 years ago | (#15700193)

While I'll agree that a lot of things will be more annoyances than most, I think it's not a good idea to call Net Neutrality minor. As it is right now, ISP's really don't let people do web hosting from home, and specifically sell their products in a way to stifle this. This is why you can get a 300mbit downstream and 128kbit upstream on your cable connection. Up until now, most people haven't noticed this big problem but over time I think more and more people will become net savvy and will want to run their own server. It could be some day that buying a web server is ubiquitous as buying an iPod or Tivo now. However, allowing the telcos to charge for larger pipes will restrict this to the point where the barrier to entry is extremely high. As it is, if left alone it is more possible that the upstream might be widened due to consumer demand. I think any restrictions will definitely limit that possibility.

Re:Inside perspective (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | about 8 years ago | (#15700336)

Because of the current trend in blogs and other "Web 2.0" (I hate that phrase) endevours, I see people publishing original content on other people's servers. Look at /. for example. We are not using our own servers right now, regardless of how many of us have one at home. And like you said, ISPs are restricting home servers in the status quo without net nutrality or other government interference.

Re:Inside perspective (1)

Perren (164318) | about 8 years ago | (#15700523)

Vote for WHO? As you say, most congresscritters (and the candidates who will oppose them) could not care less about these issues. When both sides of our two-party system are just going to be bought by lobbyists, what's the difference in choosing one over the other?

I'll vote for a rational 3rd-party candidate if I can, but who's to say that will be a choice either?

And, this is from a person who votes in EVERY election, writes letters to congress, etc, but I'm beginning to become very disillusioned, especially on these issues.

Consumers only have a right to consume. (4, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about 8 years ago | (#15700588)

You can vote as much as you want, I'll tell you this. If you are a consumer, you only have the right to consume. Thus the label consumer, because you consume and consume. Your opinions do not matter, if your opinions mattered the politicians would be meeting with you and asking you for your opinions.

If you really worked for a politician like you say, you'd know that the average voter has little to no influence on what deals are made between leaders. If you want in, then get in, join the club, work for the company, invest! If you want, start an investment club.

Just talking about politics will change absolutely nothing. Politicians do not care about our opinions. The have experts to tell them what to care about, they have pollsters to tell them what our opinions are, and they can shape our opinions when they don't like what our opinions are. In the end, it's ultimately just about money. You can buy influence, you can buy politicians, you can buy just about any favor. It's about favors.

Teleco companies are VERY VERY powerful, they have infinite leverage over any politician. The telecos know everything, and had these abilities before the whole NSA wiretap scandal, so what politician is going to challenge the big telcos, or big oil? I wouldnt, you wouldnt, and a politician wouldnt for the same reasons we wont.

The best thing you can do is work with these big powerful corporate entities, and try to make policies which in a give and take fashion, where you make deals. If you expect to be a politician, it's a dirty business, it's a VERY dirty business, but ultimately it is a business, and the way to be successful is to do business with big business.

If you actually think you can be involved in politics, and that Google has more influence than telephone and oil companies, you are insane. The hardware companies have more influence than the software companies. The phone companies have more influence than the hardware companies. The energy companies have influence over ALL companies.

If you were smart, take an economics class and see how society is organized.

Down the Tubes (3, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#15700085)

Your Republican Congress wants to remix the Internet [alternet.org] .

Washington's K Street?? (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 8 years ago | (#15700087)

But I thought the place to be if you wanted to make a difference in Internet legislation was out in San Francisco?

That's what the EFF told me...

Hey, wait a minute! Didn't the EFF *used* to be based in DC, but then moved to the west coast? That can't be right, makes no sense, I must be confused...

Anways, I guess we're all lucky these guys [cdt.org] stayed behind.

You have to remember... (1)

RagingFuryBlack (956453) | about 8 years ago | (#15700107)

... The US has utlimate control seeing as Al Gore invented that new fangled contraption called the intraweb...

In all seriousness, we think the great wall of china is bad... we haven't seen anything yet

Re:You have to remember... (1)

Kelson (129150) | about 8 years ago | (#15700145)

new fangled contraption called the intraweb...

Wait, was that inartweb or intraweb? I know one has pictures of cats and Amazons, and the other is what you log into at work, but I always get them confused...

Re:You have to remember... (1)

RagingFuryBlack (956453) | about 8 years ago | (#15700324)

I don't know... i know theres this one called the internet... ...thats the pr0n one.

They hate us for our freedom. (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#15700120)

So we got rid of our freedom.

But they also hate us for our Internets.

"The ministry of communication is duty-bound to make the use of the Internet impossible."
- Taliban official [totalobscurity.com] , less than three weeks before 9/11.

Hey, be thankful that Congress doesn't exactly turn on a dime. We got to keep sending Internets to each other for another 5 years before they pulled the plug.

Broadcasting over Fibre... (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 8 years ago | (#15700124)

I despise Verizon, I hate Comcast, those are my only options for landline based services. Now, If verizon is allowed to start sending media down that fibre line, I think it should be fair that any other Company or Startup (new Media Broadcaster??) should be allowed to do the same to complete, unlike cable, who like to hoard their lines and not allow anyone else access to them. Also, last I checked, doesn't the gov subsidise the majority of the costs to lay the initial infrastructure, so the telcos should not be whining about incuring such major costs. I could be wrong on that last point though.

Re:Broadcasting over Fibre... (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15700175)

Now, If verizon is allowed to start sending media down that fibre line, I think it should be fair that any other Company or Startup (new Media Broadcaster??) should be allowed to do the same to complete

Theoretically that is the case now. It is one of the things that they are trying hard to change. Realistically, unless you have big bucks to fight it out in court, the phone company will refuse to comply with smaller businesses requests to use the lines. After much work I had the provider I chose for DSL tell me that they just could not get access and I'd have to go with the local monopoly if I really needed a DSL.

Also, last I checked, doesn't the gov subsidise the majority of the costs to lay the initial infrastructure, so the telcos should not be whining about incuring such major costs.

Yes, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to date.

Re:Broadcasting over Fibre... (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 8 years ago | (#15700204)

Yes, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to date.Not just direct subsidization... government also subsidizes them by granting them monopoly rights. This allows the telcos to charge more to the consumer than we'd likely have to pay in a competitive market.

It's one thing to pay for the infrastructure out of tax dollars. It's quite another to then have no choice of who uses that publically-financed infrastructure.

Re:Broadcasting over Fibre... (1)

mrxak (727974) | about 8 years ago | (#15700484)

I really don't understand where all this paranoia is coming from all of a sudden. ISPs are service providers, not content providers. In the cases where they actually provide content, such as New England Cable News (Comcast), they haven't suddenly stopped serving up other local news (your ABCs, NBCs, etc.). As for the internet, well sure, each one of these ISPs seems to have their own web portal, but they haven't blocked access to yahoo or even the websites of other ISPs. Why the heck does everybody think that:

1) ISPs are going to suddenly reverse everything they've ever done before and start blocking competing sites.
2) More companies entering the market (telcos getting into TV) will somehow cause Google Video to stop working.
3) People in the federal government that have no knowledge whatsoever of the technology should be passing net neutrality bills.

Flag burning (-1, Troll)

wrast (870263) | about 8 years ago | (#15700134)

Yet it's safe to say that far more Americans have heard about flag burning than the laws that may soon reshape cyberspace.

Yeah, we wouldn't want people to care about something as stupid as flag burning.

Shallow (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15700135)

This article was broad, but shallow. It buys into and repeats a whole lot of common misconceptions. For example, it phrases the net neutrality debate as wanting to charge different prices for "complex" and "simple" data, using VoIP and e-mail as examples. This is completely wrong. This is about charging money to people who are not your network peers for not intentionally slowing down traffic from particular, wealthy, people, groups, or organizations despite the fact that that traffic is otherwise identical to other traffic. Networks 5 peers away want to extort money from google for not intentionally crippling traffic to them and not to MSN search or Yahoo.

They also parrot the whole DRM as an anti-piracy measure. Everyone knows it fails miserably in that area. It is a content access control, so they can use differential pricing using regions and so they can charge you for the same content for different locations and devices. Anyone can point a camcorder at a TV screen and then upload it to the Web or make DVDs. Then, the masses can download it or buy it. What they can't do is easily move music they paid for from their Creative player to their iPod, car stereo, and CD player.

It is pretty sad that marketing dollars can speak loudly enough that even supposed technically competent reporters just spew out the same crap that they have heard over and over again. What ever happened to critical thinking and investigation?

Re:Shallow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700210)

I so wish I had mod points. This is the best summary of the situation that I've ever heard.

Re:Shallow (1)

Gadzinka (256729) | about 8 years ago | (#15700478)

It is pretty sad that marketing dollars can speak loudly enough that even supposed technically competent reporters just spew out the same crap that they have heard over and over again. What ever happened to critical thinking and investigation?

It's pretty simple, journalists are being lobbied the same as congresscritters. Some of them begin to repeat sensationalist claims about hundreds of billions of lost dollars (from the industry that barely gets 10b a year in total) or starving artists robbed by thieving p2p users. Some are so stupefied that they completely miss the point. But all of them are so completely drowned in misinfomation, which they pass on to their readers, that no one but some specialists from one field or another can see through the lies.

Unfortunatelly, 99% of any society are people who rely on the papers, magazines, tv to explain things to them. Hence the lobbying of journalists, and pressuring of their publishers/editors to tone down the few and far between who "get it".

Youp, we're screwed...

Robert

Let me be the first to say... (4, Funny)

Ludedude (948645) | about 8 years ago | (#15700136)

All your base are belong to U.S.

"After years of benign neglect, the Federal government is finally involved in the Internet -- big time."

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15700247)

Well, maybe that's the reason why somebody set you up the bomb.

Question... (3, Insightful)

a_karbon_devel_005 (733886) | about 8 years ago | (#15700141)

On "Net Neutrality:"
It pits network owners such as Verizon and AT&T against the companies who buy their bandwidth, such as Google and Amazon, and it hinges on whether the network owners can charge extra to deliver certain kinds of bits -- bill more for streaming video, for example, than simpler data like text e-mail.
...If the Googles of the world win, the network owners will undoubtedly figure out some other way to raise prices. No matter which way it goes, it means a new element of government regulation. And as far as who pays to build out the networks -- in the end, one way or another, most of the costs will still be passed on to the consumer.


My question is this, if it's simply about building and upgrading networks and the costs will be ultimately be passed on to the customer, why not just raise rates to those that purchase bandwidth accross the board? Why add the overhead of lobbying Congress to COMPLICATE the process of selling bandwidth?

Re:Question... (1)

Trouvist (958280) | about 8 years ago | (#15700268)

The more complicated the process is, the easier it is to charge extra fees that A) you have an excuse to charge and B) the consumer won't understand.

Re:Question... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15700281)

My question is this, if it's simply about building and upgrading networks and the costs will be ultimately be passed on to the customer, why not just raise rates to those that purchase bandwidth accross the board?

The network market has two components. The core is a free market with a lot of competition, although heavily government subsidized. The edge is government enforced local monopolies and in no way a free market. The edge does not really compete so they charge very high rates compared to their costs. The core players are successfully removing legislation to keep them from utilizing that edge monopoly to gouge end users as well, thus raising the already high rates, possibly beyond what the market will bear, but only for certain, rich end users.

Dissappointment (1)

some_yahoo (686674) | about 8 years ago | (#15700147)

The Internet is already the most dissappointing thing to come along since cable TV. Excessive monitoring, taxation, and regulation will just cause people to find other things to do with their time. Maybe regulation can be a good thing after all...

Perrilous time... (4, Insightful)

doormat (63648) | about 8 years ago | (#15700148)

Its a very worrying time (as someone who makes his lving doing web-related stuff) when it comes to the net and government regulation. Its frought on all sides with peril - government letting corporations do whatever they want can be just as dangerous as governments coming in and dictating what goes on. There is a narrow path on which government can walk and not hurt innovation and consumers. I dont think they'll be able to pull it off.

What astounds me is how bad google, MS, etc. are at lobbying. It seems like google and MS should be winning and not losing (as my current perception leads me to believe).

Re:Perrilous time... (1)

botzi (673768) | about 8 years ago | (#15700294)

I dunno if you're serious, but I'd be damn surprised if google & MS are the losers of eventual internet laws.....WE, those who USE will lose. Not those who offer.

Re:Perrilous time... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 8 years ago | (#15700418)

What astounds me is how bad google, MS, etc. are at lobbying. It seems like google and MS should be winning and not losing (as my current perception leads me to believe).

True dat! This very thought has been disturbing me for a while now. Exactly how messed up does the government have to be if the bald, pigheaded ignorance of a guy like Senator Ted Stevens seems do be winning out over the piles and piles of money of the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft combined?

I am only half joking here. A lot of people like to assume that any politician can be bought. But if they can't -- at least, not on the surface -- then maybe that's even scarier. What could possibly be motivating Stevens if it's not the money?

Re:Perrilous time... (1)

doormat (63648) | about 8 years ago | (#15700528)

What could possibly be motivating Stevens if it's not the money?

A cushy consultant job with the telecos after he retires from the Senate?

Re:Perrilous time... (1)

Trepalium (109107) | about 8 years ago | (#15700561)

How many Microsofts, Googles and Amazons do you think Alaska has? On the other hand, how many telecom workers do you think they have? There is more than one way to buy a politician, and employment for his constituents is one of them. Being a friend to local industry is often more important than receiving campaign contributions from outside sources.

This is the part where....... (1, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | about 8 years ago | (#15700167)

...... Someone says "I for one welcome our new overlords," but I guess they've been around since 9/11 haven't they and this is just an extension of that.

Un huh (5, Interesting)

finkployd (12902) | about 8 years ago | (#15700169)

Yet it's safe to say that far more Americans have heard about flag burning than the laws that may soon reshape cyberspace.

Congratulations, this is the single most useless comment in a /. writup this week. It is truly shocking that more Americans have heard about an issue that has existed many times longer longer than the word "cyberspace" than the recent goings on in congress related to the latter.

Yes, more people should be aware of and care about this, but this is a ridiculous way to word it. Also in the news, more people have opinions on school choice than IPv6 adoption. Shocking!

Back to the issue at hand. Let's not delude ourselves into thinking that our elected representatives will have a say in this any more than any other issue. The reshaping of the internet will be done SOLELY by Microsoft, AT&T/SBC, Verizon, Google, Cisco, Amazon, Hollywood, and the usual suspects. They will be writing the laws and casting the votes. There is no reason to even pretend otherwise anymore. Sure they will be be doing this via proxy with the elected representatives, but those reps (almost without exception) have no clue what they are talking about and just repeat the talking points given to them by their corporate masters. These issues will be determined exclusively by how money and favors are allocated.

I know as Americans it feels better to pretend that corruption and corporate ownership are the exceptions in government, but to do so hurts as a nation. EVERY person currently in congress has been bought and sold to a special interest or company (no expections, don't even try to parade your favorite one out and claim them to be virtuous and pure, you are wrong). When it comes down to it, they will ALL vote they way they are told and the opinion of the voters matters not one bit.

Finkployd

Re:Un huh (2, Insightful)

Trouvist (958280) | about 8 years ago | (#15700317)

I know as Americans it feels better to pretend that corruption and corporate ownership are the exceptions in government, but to do so hurts as a nation. EVERY person currently in congress has been bought and sold to a special interest or company (no expections, don't even try to parade your favorite one out and claim them to be virtuous and pure, you are wrong). When it comes down to it, they will ALL vote they way they are told and the opinion of the voters matters not one bit.
Welcome to America... the country founded as a republic but turned into a democracy. The only thing that makes democracy easier to stomach than communism is that the corruption is openly talked about.

Internet Regulation? (2, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 8 years ago | (#15700178)

Dear Legislator/Senator/Governor/President/Court Memeber/.....,

PLEASE LEAVE THE INTERNET ALONE. You will only screw it up, if you start messing with it.

Thanks,

Archangel Michael (on behalf of most of the Slashdot crowd)

Re:Internet Regulation? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 8 years ago | (#15700430)

Dear Republicans in Congress,

I am a Republican and I stand by your ideals when it comes to most things. You respect religion, you respect life, and you are not afraid to stand up to dictators when foreign matters come to a head. However I find myself questioning your understanding of the Internet.

So here is a little guide to what will actually benefit "we the people":
Net Neutrality: The Internet infrastructure in the US needs to have the doctrine of Net Neutrality in order to survive. If you do not act now the monopolies of telephone companies and cable providers will start changing the Internet from a free market into a land mine where only the telco/cable providers and ISP's gain through extortionary tactics. It is not a question of if they will do it but when. You need to act now and enact Net Neutrality.

Online Gambeling: Here is a simple rule for you to judge legislation on the Internet by. If it is about regulating content then leave it alone (or prevent the regulation). Banning Online Gambeling is a dumb idea that will never work. The Internet is an international market place and you will never be able to enforce a ban on gambeling. Other methods of payment originating from other countries and using US currency will arise. So just leave it alone.

Information Gathering: It is fine if there is a warrant. In fact some information gathering can happen without a warrant. But please do not make the company providing you with the info pay for the means to gather it. It is not thier problem. The government should pay if it wants to inspect every packet coming from a suspects computer.

If there is anything else you need to know ask the people at /. We are always available for comment.

Signed,

Concerned Republican

AN URGENT TELEGRAM: (1)

mi (197448) | about 8 years ago | (#15700183)

WORRY. DETAILS IN LETTER

Or so the introduction appears. The Gucci-clad evil people our out to steal the Internet (and Christmas).

"Reshape the Internet" sounds much like the recent "Great Internet plug-pulling by Congress" and the not so recent "Vote or Die!" attempts at fear-mongering.

Civilization Marches On (3, Insightful)

E++99 (880734) | about 8 years ago | (#15700188)

It's all part of God's plan to move all successful business to India.

We need more competition (1)

intrico (100334) | about 8 years ago | (#15700200)

Aggressive telecom lobbying is the main reason that the consumer broadband market is not competitive right now. Most places in America have at most two choices for broadband. After seven years of having broadband (A LONG TIME when talking tech) prices, performance and choice have yet to improve significantly, with the exception of "special introductory rates" that revert back to the same high prices when the introductory period is over.

Telcos are pushing hard (1, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 8 years ago | (#15700217)

To try and get their sweetheart legislation through before their sweethearts get the bum's rush out of office. The K Street project bearing fruit for all the millions Bellsouth and friends have sunk into the Republican party.

And don't try to blame the Democrats. This is bought and paid for with large cash donations, the vast bulk of which go to Republican lawmakers, who close the loop by hiring K Street lobbyists as staff. You can try to deflect blame by suggesting that if Dems were in power they'd be getting the millions, but that ignores the reality that they're not, and Republicans are the ones ramming sweetheart legislation through Congress for Bellsouth. Republican corruption in action.

Mod parent up. (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 8 years ago | (#15700510)

He speaks the truth.

Armies of lobbyists and lawyers go into the Rayburn building and across the hill to cow legislators. It's not a partisan issue-- it's a Jack Welch/We're Big And Here's Our Army To Prove It posture.

Look at where the lobbying dollars and perks are spent, and by whom. Then mod the parent up as he/she's absolutely on target. This isn't about common sense, this is about re-writing the Telecom Act of 1935 (as amended) and pulling back decades of consumer-focused legal decisions and legislation to one specific end:

THE TELCOs. IT's THE MONEY, STUPID. FOLLOW IT AND FIND THE ABYSS OF YOUR ONCE FRIENDLY GOVERNMENT.

Congress...peh.. (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | about 8 years ago | (#15700219)

Once again we have a bunch of clueless fools that may destroy something wonderful we've created.
The solution is to remove them from the picture. Vote them out.
If they won't let themselves be voted out, kill them.
You think I'm kidding, what do YOU call someone who won't leave power?
A tyrant

Re:Congress...peh.. (4, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 8 years ago | (#15700355)

You don't vote someone out. You vote someone else in.

So, who do we have to vote in? (That are actually any better, that is.)

Is it techically possbly . . . (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15700233)

. . . to route the entire internet around the USA? I am not knowledgeable on the details of the functioning of the internet, so I ask. Basically, I am just wondering if it is possible.

Universal Service Fund (-1, Offtopic)

NeuroAcid (806498) | about 8 years ago | (#15700240)

As far as the USF is concerned, I say get rid of it for rural areas, leave it for schools and libraries. If you want to support urban sprawl and live in the middle of nowhere, fine, but don't ask me to pay for your communication access. If a company wants to do it for you and charge you a lot and you bitch about the cost to you and only you, too bad, move someplace you can afford. I think the way the USF is written now, people in urban areas like NYC are paying for some log cabin in the middle of nowhere Alaska to have internet connection.

You can prepare yourself now (1)

suitepotato (863945) | about 8 years ago | (#15700255)

through force of numbers. Adopt strong encryption whenever and wherever you can, hide and obfuscate to maintain privacy at all times, jealously guard what you do. Insist on maintaining your right to privacy and communication, your right to speech at all times. And as a helper, stop being frigging schmucks (you KNOW who you are) and abusing your speech by being purposely nasty and provocative for the sake of attention. SAVE IT for the real issues that actually matter and do not squander your credibility before the public. If we the Internet connected are going to withstand government diddling, we better be able to lay out our positions, intents, beliefs, and methods clearly and make it clear as well that we will not back down and will not roll over.

Or we can go play RPGs all day and let them do whatever they feel like. Given that each side of the political spectrum are equally suspect and likely to screw us over (leftists in the name of political correctness and orthodoxy, rightists in the name of their view of morality and patriotism) and both will sell us out to whoever will pay money to their campaigns, merely voting people in or out won't cut it. Getting out and telling them what we believe and what we will stand for or not is what we have to do and we cannot back down.

Different opinions, different priorities (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15700259)

Burn flags as you please, but touch my net and DIE!

Unfortunately, as long as there are more flag-wavers than geeks, the world will continue to spin the way it does.

REALITY: The Net Will Reroute (3, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 years ago | (#15700278)

to avoid damaged segments, such as any US restrictions.

In an interconnected world where China has more Net users than the US, and so does the EU, one country standing in defiance of the Net is like a small earthen dam trying to constrain the massive tsunami that will either go around it, go over it, or crush it beneath its massive weight of inevitability.

Re:REALITY: The Net Will Reroute (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 8 years ago | (#15700383)

mod parent up, good analogy :)

The Will of the People. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700279)

Unfortunately, most people aren't going to care about the Internet so long as they can still access their favorite sites, which are often very mainstream. As long as they can access those sites - and the less they pay the better in their eyes - then most of them are going to want to go down that path as well, and Congress will be happy to oblige.

Only One Kind of Regulation/Enforcement Is Needed (2, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | about 8 years ago | (#15700284)

Only one kind of regulation and enforcement is needed out of the Fed: Combating online fraud (spam and phish, primarily). Everything else is pretty much working as it's supposed to.

Oh, look. Online fraud is the only thing they're not planning on strangling in the crib. Shock, surprise...

Schwab

Name me one representative or senator with a clue. (2)

pashdown (124942) | about 8 years ago | (#15700328)

This is why we need people who understand technology to run for office. This is one reason I am running and I hope you either run yourself or support a candidate who does have a clue. Don't leave these decisions to the people who think the Internet is a "series of tubes" [peteashdown.org] .

You've got to be kidding me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700339)

The most potent force shaping the future of the Internet is neither Mountain View's Googleplex nor the Microsoft campus in Redmond.
...
Topics covered include Net Neutrality, fiber to the home, the Universal Service Fund, codecs, and WiFi bandwidth useage.

Codecs and WiFi bandwidth usage are more of a shaping force than Microsoft and Google? Please tell me this is some sort of twisted joke. Net neutrality is obviously an important issue, but the "most potent forces" behind the Internet today are still the companies that drive it.

FUD!!!!!

The Internet's New Shape (1)

Billosaur (927319) | about 8 years ago | (#15700361)

One word: pretzel

Crap attempt to change the world. "No Limit" Label (2, Interesting)

avirrey (972127) | about 8 years ago | (#15700391)

Here's my attempt to rock the universe although the idea may not be original, I'm trying to universify it. It's called the "No Limit" label. Just take the GNU license and port it over to everything else. Music Record Label: No Limit Sounds, Co. - Specializing in letting you buy and copy as much as you damn please. Movie Studio: No Limit Moving Picture, Co. - Specializing in letting you distribute 'fantastic' independent films across the globe. Technology: Freedasonic, Co. - HD-NL (Hi-Def No Limit player) Let's you play HI-DEF audio and video without requiring a central server to be pinged. Hell, it records too, so you can play on yout LHD-NL (Linux HD-NL). Technology: noLipod - play all that music published by No Limit Sounds, Co. If you invent technology with 'no limits' on what you can do, and easily uses and ports 'no limit' media of any type, or if you are an artist, or are funding your own independent film... throw your "No Limit" label indicating your work can be freely put everywhere without fear of fines or imprisonment. I will not buy Blu-Ray or HD-DVD... I'm waiting for my "No Limit" player recorder that will play "No Limit" HD content. I will not buy BMG, Universal, etc... only "No Limit" music. I will take every great song ever written, strip the lyrics, and put my own in... and call it my own ;) I will not vote for any politician until he can come on TV and say, "You know, I don't know the answer to that question. Let me do the appropriate research, and I'll get back with you." INSTEAD OF MAKING UP A LIE. That's it, I'm fed up with corporations. I'm moving to Cambodia.

Show me the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700403)

The most potent force shaping the future of the Internet is neither Mountain View's Googleplex nor the Microsoft campus in Redmond. It's rather a small army of Gucci-shod lobbyists on Washington's K Street

Because none of the K Street lobbyists are funded by the Google-plex or the Redmond money machine.

Wrong Title. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15700411)

It should read "How Washington is Selling out the internet"

But since Washington only sells out the general public these days to the whores, opps I mean corporations, this title it probably redundant.

Smell this coming for years now (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | about 8 years ago | (#15700485)

Really...the anything goes wild wild west anarchy internet is a *complete total threat to governments all over the planet and large corporations*. Everything about the current and past model is a threat to them. It's a threat to their rule, (they call it governing but it really is rule-technofuedalism) a threat to their money(your money is their money by default), the way they want power over you politically or economically, etc. All of it. So..apply occam's razor and some extrapolation-what do you think will happen? What this article says-and more.

  It is about inevitable they will slice it up into something that looks like a combo of your cellphone bill and cable TV bill. You'll be seeing a large number of "nets" and be forced into "subscribing" to one or another-think a lot of different closed up walled garden type AOL experiences. And be paying through the nose to go outside that area-or be denied totally. And they'll be completely happy if 95% get herded into their control more, they'll pick off the other 5% at their leisure and when it suits their purposes. No one is completely leet enough to avoid it if they get a notion to mess up your day. No one.

So what's the next wild frontier? (0, Troll)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 8 years ago | (#15700577)

Once the internet was a freedom loving community of like minded, responsible researchers and educators with an ingrained sense of 'nettiquete'. Then Al Gore and company turned it into a business superhighway, from which it quickly deteriorated into a wretched hive of scum and villany. Now, soon the Marines are going to invade and impose marshall law, punishing the innocent along with the phishers and spammers.

Where shall we flee to find our next Shangri La, nestled hidden in an uncharted valley in Colorado where John Galt and talented friends can persue their happiness free from the choking stranglehold of the inept hoards and their socialist politicians?

Do the telcos want legislation from the bench? (3, Insightful)

tlabetti (304480) | about 8 years ago | (#15700612)

The telcos seem to be setting themselves up for lawsuits down the road. Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president for public affairs, said today in a press release that all of this is about "hypothetical business plans" and thus shouldn't be addressed now.

If Net Neutrality isn't addressed proactively then we will see it end up in the courts where some activist judge could potentially really mess up the internet.

The best thing that could happen at this point would be for the telcos to come out and openly debate the merits of their Tiering plans instead of using front groups and lobbyist, short of that the next best thing might be some form of legislation.

But the worst thing to do would be to do nothing and wait for lawsuits.
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