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Poll Says No Voter Support for Net Neutrality

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the who-wants-what-they-don't-know-about dept.

337

Giants2.0 writes "A survey conducted by the Commerce Committee says that Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it. Ars Technica reports that only 7% of respondents had ever heard of net neutrality, but the report questions the fairness of the survey, which was crafted by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to assess support for the current version of the Telecommunications Act of 2006. The survey suggested to respondents that net neutrality would prevent ISPs from selling faster service or security products, both of which are not true." From the article: "The very brief net neutrality description used by the pollsters is somewhat misleading insofar as it suggests that net neutrality would bar Internet Service Providers from selling faster service than is available today. Strict net neutrality does not concern itself with ultimate transfer speeds available to subscribers, but instead focuses on how different kinds of Internet traffic could be shaped by ISPs for anti-competitive purposes. For instance, strict net neutrality would not prevent an ISP from selling extremely fast 35Mbps connections, but it would prevent ISPs from privileging traffic for their own services for competitive advantage, or degrading the traffic of competing services."

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I don't know what it is either (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138414)

But I'd rather use the power of my wallet to walk away from an ISP than turn the internet into an even bigger federal disaster area. Our wild west wonderland is being turned into a political wasteland by the feds. Any net neutrality bill will probably empower net nannies, do-gooders, and moralizers to get their agendas and probably fund a bridge in Alaska.

Re:I don't know what it is either (1)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138443)

The problem is that in most places, you can't just turn into the arms of a competitor, because there might not be any.

Re:I don't know what it is either (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138523)

No, the problem is that it doesn't really matter if you switch ISPs if your packets still have to travel through networks owned by other ISPs that alter policies based on packet source.

In other words, you are on the west coast with ISP A.
The server you want to talk to is on the east cost with ISP B.
Backbone provider C sits in the middle, and your packets want to cross over their network.
C decides that B hasn't payed them enough money, and thus slows down packets to and from B that cross over C.

From your end, it looks like service is degraded and your ISP sucks. What do you do? Switch ISPs? It won't help if you still have to cross C to get to B. So there's really no way to "vote with your dollars" in this case -- as if that would work anyway, because like I said you won't know the root cause.

Network neutrality is a basic part of the net's design. So basic nobody thought to codify it until it became clear that certain money grubbers want to eliminate it. Sorry GP, but regulation is the only way to fix this problem.

Re:I don't know what it is either (3, Insightful)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138791)

How about waiting to see if there actually is a problem? Right now there is nothing to fix. Nobody has implemented tiered service yet. Nobody has targeted packets to slow them down yet. I say at least let the market try first (may or may not work), then if an actual problem arises, try regulation. Once regulation starts, it's only going to get more pervasive. There is a good chance that regulation will be worse than the problems that may arise without it.

Re:I don't know what it is either (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138836)

If the policy is strictly based on destination and not on content, a traceroute or tracepath would probably show what's going on. Especially if several users from several ISPs compared their findings (as they certainly would).

So if some sort of packet prioritizing is enabled by the providers, it's likely that most users will quickly hear of it through the grapevine. Whether they will be able to do anything about it besides whining remains to be seen though.

Re:I don't know what it is either (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138558)

Damn you, thalidomide!

Re:I don't know what it is either (4, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138790)

And you know why there aren't any? Government monopolies!

You can't block Net Neutrality on the grounds that it introduces government regulation to the net, when the very existence of the infrastructure on which the net runs is due to a whole raft of government-granted monopolies, government claims of eminent domain, etc.

The day I can start charging Verizon rent for the lines they keep on my property, instead of just giving them those rights for free because the government tells me to, is the day I'll buy the "no government regulation of the net" argument against Net Neutrality.

Flame... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138555)

American's don't know their arse from their elbow, either. I bet they still benefit from the difference between them, though...

Why you should want net neutrality regulation: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138688)

The net will be regulated. The net is too important to too many people to stay off the political radar. If we don't support the regulatory process to work in the people's favor, the companies will certainly not abstain from making it work for them. The market is powerful, but it cannot work in the presence of rules which explicitly turn market forces off, like zoning laws. If you can only get your broadband internet access from one phone operator and one cable operator, and nobody else can bury cable to bring the internet to you, then there is no market to speak of. Network neutrality is a kludge, but a necessary one.

Even for a capitalist, regulation isn't all bad. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138761)

I'm generally as cynical about the government as anybody else here on Slashdot, but I think there are certain situations where it makes sense for the goverment to intervene.

Those cases mostly arise when the market either has already, or threatens to create a situation that prevents future competition in the market. For this reason, you have anti-trust laws and lots of other regulations; the goal of them is to create a basically level playing field on which various firms can compete for business. This is how the system is supposed to work. Let the market work when it can, but when it won't produce the desired outcome on its own (where the desired outcome is determined through the democratic process), then there's a place for regulation to step in and create the environment where it will.

Now I think we can all agree that the outcome that most users want is not one where there is nothing but a series of regional monopolies, dispensing to users your telephone, cable TV, and internet, and charging exorbitant rates to do so, far in excess of what other people in other parts of the world pay. Therefore, if this seems to be the likely result of noninterference, then the government has a mandate to inject itself and regulate.

Although the government does have a history of mucking things up where it's not needed, history does show that there are times when regulation by some sort of governing body is both necessary and in the long run, beneficial. (E.g., securities markets.*) Also, governments have been engaging in infrastructure-development projects since probably the beginning of recorded history, and in the 21st century, the Internet is as much an important economic thoroughfare as the Interstate Highways are. Allowing a small number of companies to control and manipulate our electronic "tubes," would be akin to handing over control of the highways to Ford, GM, and Chrysler in 1955, so that they could prohibit Japanese cars from driving on them.

* - For a pro-capitalist analysis of the development of the U.S. securities markets prior to regulation, I recommend reading The Scarlet Woman of Wall Street; I think most people who advocate complete deregulation aren't quite appreciative of how rough things were prior to its introduction.

Your wallet is worthless. (4, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138800)

Lets say you want to get to Google.

You dial into (or are connected to) Ma and Pa ISP
Ma and Pa ISP connects to some local back bone
local back bone connects to a national back bone
national back bone connects to major ISP
major ISP connects to Google

Now, let's say that the national back bone ditches out on NN. That national back bone sends Google a bill saying "pay this much or your service will be degraded." So, if Google pays them, great. Except then the Major ISP is going to tell Google that if they want premium service on their side, they'll have to pay them more as well. No biggie, at this point Google is just shelling out a few extra checks a month. But then it hits the local back bones. Networks all over the world demand that Google pay them directly to get non-degraded service. And then it comes to Ma and Pa, they get the best of both worlds, they can bill you an extra fee for "preferred services" and the can bill Google for it's traffic.

Even if you switch from Ma and Pa to another ISP, you'll still hit non-neutral traffic in between you and Google.

The infrastructure industry is demanding more money. Fair enough, there are two ways of getting it: The NN way, increase your bill rates. Or the non-NN way, bill the providers and users an extra fee.

Using the NN way, the implementation process is simple, you increase your bill rates. No new technology to implement, no new personnel, no new sales, etc.

Using the non-NN way, the implementation process is incredibly complex. You need to first implement new hardware over the network to take advantage of the performance. Then you need to establish a billing system for the new services. You need to increase your staff to manage the new billing and sales requirements. You need to advertise and educate. You need to spend a whole lot more money to get the extra income. Which means it is significantly less efficient.

NN or non-NN, either way the infrastructure will get the money they need/want. The question is how much will it cost the customers (consumers and businesses). And from what I've seen, implementing a non-NN solution is going to have significantly more overhead, costs, and problems than just raising the rates.

Not to mention the inevitable use of unfair practices to leverage business opportunities. Imagine if AT&T choked all VOIP traffic to a snails pace. Just by disrupting VOIP on their back bones they could literally crush the VOIP industry overnight.

-Rick

Re:I don't know what it is either (1)

John Biggabooty (591838) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138847)

The public has a knee jerk reaction when asked if they are for or against something they have never heard of. "Against" wins every time. This reaction can always be relied upon for "push polls" and other kinds of false statistics.

Commercials (4, Informative)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138415)

Just last night I saw a commercial on TV urging viewers to vote No on a proposition about Net Neutrality. It was trying to say that it would cost consumers more, or at least allow ISP's to charge more. This was in the St. Louis area. Has anyone else seen or heard of anything like this in non-internet media lately?

Re:Commercials (4, Informative)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138438)

It's here in Ohio as well. As far as I can tell, Time Warner is running it everywhere in the US that they supply service. Other providers are probably doing so as well.

St Louis huh? It's been a while since I was there. Have a soda at Fitz's for me =]

Re:Commercials (3, Insightful)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138446)

Here in Georgia too..

Re:Commercials (5, Informative)

Klowner (145731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138643)

Perhaps this is the video you speak of?

http://www.ncta.com/ContentView.aspx?ContentID=352 6 [ncta.com]

transcript: Are you google-eyed with confusion over net neutrality? No wonder, it's all just clever mumbo jumbo. Net neutrality is nothing more than a scheme by the multi-billion dollar silicon valley tech companies, to get you, the consumer to pay more for their services. Forget all their mumbo jumbo, net neutrality simple means, you pay.

Paid for by The National Cable & Telecom Assn.

Biggest crock of s**t I've ever heard. http://www.ncta.com/ContentView.aspx?ContentID=352 6 [ncta.com]

Re:Commercials (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138705)

I wonder if that can be taken to court for some truth in advertising violation.

ISPs can charge the users whatever they want to. The problem is that they don't want to raise prices on their customers, they want to charge the other end of the line regardless of whose customer that end is, and how much they are already paying their provider.

Re:Commercials (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138760)

Lucikly I just get broadcast. So the only messages I get are anti cable such as the one I've seen flogging the cable companies for trying to charge outragious amounts for local HD signals.

Push poll (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138420)

Holy Crap, talk about a push poll:
When pollsters introduced the concept to poll takers, they described it solely as "enhancing Internet neutrality by barring high speed internet providers from offering specialized services like faster speed and increased security for a fee."

The only question I have (for the committee members touting these results) is, "Senator, when did you stop beating your wife?"

Don't know what it is, don't want it? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138424)

A survey conducted by the Commerce Committee says that Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it.

Gee, that's amazing. I wonder if that could be because almost all the media in the US is owned by ten megacorporations, and they don't report on things that they don't want us to hear about?

If this subject interests you, I suggest watching Orwell Rolls in his Grave [hyperlogos.org] . (ObDisclaimer: link to a review on my website, amazon referral link if you clicky from there. You know what to do if you want to find it somewhere else. I do not sell ads, I don't get money for page views.)

Don 't know what Common Carriage is either (5, Insightful)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138542)

They don't know what Common Carriage is either, but benefit greatly from it. Net Neutrality is basically trying to re-frame Common Carriage as something new, unnecessary and unproven rather than old, essential to business, and time tested. It was what allowed all the small ISPs and software companies to flourish in the last two decades: it prevented newer business and services from being locked out by more established ones, it prevented ISPs and hosting companies for being liable for the content produced by their customers.

Now that a handful of megacorps have crushed or absorbed all of the small ones, and it's really hard for these to crush or absorb each other using the same methods. Going back to the pathetic crumbly, balkanized patchwork of non-interoperable, 1960-style proprietary networks seems to be what these want to try again. It gives exponential advantage to larger market share. Common Carriage is preventing these megacorps from balkanizing the net. So far...

How about a poll phrasing it this way:
"Are you in favor of equal access to the net or would you prefer to allow groups and businesses to be closed out by the big players and to allow ISPs to give you slower service unless you pay extra?"

ABUSE OF MODERATION, thankyou. (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138645)

Exactly how is this a troll? I have been deliberately downvoted to bury my comment, possibly because of my link? Although I did provide full disclosure, so clearly someone has their panties in a wad.

Anyone who doesn't believe that ten companies own nearly all the media in the US is quite simply ignorant. Anyone who doesn't believe that those ten companies control the news such that their outlets don't report on news unfavorable to them is incredibly naive.

Re:ABUSE OF MODERATION, thankyou. (1)

Alphax.au (913011) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138736)

Anyone who doesn't believe that ten companies own nearly all the media in the US is quite simply ignorant. Anyone who doesn't believe that those ten companies control the news such that their outlets don't report on news unfavorable to them is incredibly naive.

I'm afraid you've been misinformed. There's only one media company in the US.

Shock and Horror... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138427)

As usual, the communications company-funded "polls" return the desired result. Is anyone surprised that they would stoop to giving people a loaded question?

More Accurate Headline: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138432)

"Poll Shows That People Can Be Tricked By Biased Pollsters"

Re:More Accurate Headline: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138608)

"Tricked" would imply that there was some sneaky sleight of hand going on here. To the contrary, this is just good old-fashioned human engineering at work. You don't need to be tricky to do this type of thing, you just have to be consistent in your message and make sure that what you're saying isn't so outlandish that it falls into the realm of "common things people know about the world"

For example, if you tell somebody that putting a teaspoon of motor oil in their gas tank every time they fill up will help lubricate internal engine parts better, and you're consistent in your message, you can convince most people you're right when, in fact, you're horribly, horribly wrong (fyi, if somebody comes in and swears by this, they're lying to you, or they've been lied to... it's an astonighingly bad idea).

That's the trick though, it has to sound plausible. Even if you get a skeptic now and then, you'll convince most of them after awhile if you keep telling the same lie often enough.

Let me get this straight (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138434)

>Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it
How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?

Re:Let me get this straight (5, Insightful)

Cappadonna (737133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138483)

">Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?"

That doesn't stop creationist ministers who don't study biophysics, self-righteous atheists who attack religous people, race-baiting anti-immigrant types who don't full understand NAFTA and GATT or people jumping the anti-welfare bandwagon without knowing anything about how public assistance works.

Its usually the least informed who have the most to say.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138580)

That was rather long-winded, wasn't it?

I kid, I kid!

Re:Let me get this straight (2, Insightful)

Thats_Pipe (837838) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138803)

So, kind of like Jack Thompson when it comes to video games?

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138548)

Because this is being generated/spewed by the government, and with all the shit that our government has done lately anything they push for or promote is most likely something that you don't want. Unfortunately, "What is the catch?" or "Where is the fine print?" seems to be what people (including myself) think of first lately. (My first slashdot post, I hope I fit in. ;) )

-AC

Re:Let me get this straight (2, Funny)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138560)

How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?
I don't know, but i'm all for it.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138631)

Welcome to America, Home of the Free and Ignorant!

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138663)

"Welcome to America, Home of the Free and Ignorant!"

That should be Freely Ignorant.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

Klowner (145731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138665)

It's all in clever labeling, if they had called it Network Traffic Prioritization and Bias Act, people would still be against it.. except, they'd be for the Net Neutrality act, because it's a double negative, or something.

That's easy (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138676)

Because their leaders tell them so.

It's the core principle of advertising.

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138714)

Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and everyone thinks that everyone else's stinks.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138728)

The subject or their opinion?

A great number of people in this world have an opinion on any subject you ask them about even if they have never heard of it before. Logic and common sense are not a prevelent as they should be.

Let me get this straight-er. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138745)

"How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?"

Basically explain it's having the freedom to decide if you're going to be using a toll road today, or the interstate. What some are proposing is a toll road, and you don't get to decide, except to give up driving.

See an example that everyone can relate to.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

CommandNotFound (571326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138814)

How can anyone have an opinion on something if they don't know what it is?

Well, most people probably assume they are being sold something, so if you don't know what something is, the safest answer to 'do you want $FOO' is No.

A more obvious conclusion (0, Flamebait)

omeg (907329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138439)

A more obvious conclusion is that once again, America's population has been lied to by its own leadership. Not just during the polling, but also in the presentation of the results, there is untruth.

Re:A more obvious conclusion (1)

Locution Commando (1001166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138787)

(I'm just glad the above comment inexplicably is at a +2, as someone might actually end up reading this)

A more obvious conclusion is that once again, America's population has been lied to by its own leadership

Yes Yes Yes. Obvious. Duh. Why doesn't X see how obvious it is. They must be stupid. Let me explain how it is, stupid heads.

Somehow, George Bush has found a way to steal Al Gore's internet back away from the people and turn it into oil somehow, And further, its all just a plot by the Liberal media megacompanies to make it look like its a plot from the right to maintain preferencial access to their lobbiest group constituents.... ad nauseum

Allow me(Mod -3 Flame, Troll, Sarcasm), as obsurdity rarely is pointed out to allow constructive behavior to flourish.

You know about net neutrality. I know about net neutrality. I know a friend who knows about net neutrality. My friend might be a republican. You might be opposed to republicans. I might be Microsoft.
You both might hate Microsoft.
All three of us might be in favor of Net neurality.
Guess what's going to happen if we waste our lungs bitching at each other over none issues like party leaders tend to?

Guess whats going to happen if each of us agrees to go out and honestly inform people about net neutrality, with out tying a bunch of other unrelated selfish political crap to the issue?

Please read my sig, its very applicable. Feel free to use it.

Here is something for all of us 'Creationist' laughers to take a bite out of and chew:
(from Wikipedia, bold added http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality [wikipedia.org] "

Network neutrality regulations are supported by large Internet content companies such as Google, Yahoo, and EBay, consumer rights groups such as Consumers Union, liberal blogs, and the Democratic Party, as well as some elements of the religious right

I hope and pray that people are going to be able realize the point I'm making - please send me a P.M. if you don't - I would be happy (and its my duty as a U.S. citizen) to explain. Here's a hint: the ideas I'm advocating here don't apply strictly to the isolated instance.

Yarr!

Did telecoms design the survey? (4, Insightful)

HatchedEggs (1002127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138448)

I mean, really.. that is a completely inaccurate description of Net Neutrality. Not only is it deceiving in its results, but it also misrepresents net neutrality to those that potentially have never heard of it before. What bothers me is that if this is the first instance of some of these people learning about net neutrality, then the poll not only came to the wrong conclusions but also might negatively affect these people's future feelings on the manner.

It seems to me that it is extremely unethical for a committee to try and shape public opinion through the misuse of untrue information on their survey.

Re:Did telecoms design the survey? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138723)

Good thing nobody in the survey industry thinks like you or they would never have grown to be the huge million raking scam they are now... ;)

Interesting to see cunning use of questions (4, Informative)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138450)

Reminds me of the UK poll to see if people wanted ID cards. I can't remember the exact numbers but it was something like:
Do you want an ID card? 85%
Do you want an ID card if you have to pay for it? 7%
So the govt reports 85% support and that will cost you GBP150 pounds each please.

Re:Interesting to see cunning use of questions (4, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138621)

Sort of like here in the US in the last election. The polls said that most people wanted to increase taxes on the rich. Then they were informed that the definition of rich was people making $35k or more per year. Guess what. Suddenly most of those people were against increasing taxes on the rich. It always goes back to, whose ox is being gored. Sure as hell better not be mine.

Re:Interesting to see cunning use of questions (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138661)

Are those really poll results? How can you not have to pay for a government issued ID card?

Re:Interesting to see cunning use of questions (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138749)

You could invade another country and get *them* to pay :)

You always have to pay for it of course, but paying for it through your taxes is much less painful than having to pay up front. In France the ID card is free as well. It's not much use though...

Re:Interesting to see cunning use of questions (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138703)

150 pounds? Thats outragous!

But seriously who is going to say they want a government mandates thing they have to pay for. But 150? Thats like a US nickle.

HAHA Sorry couldn't resist :) (Its actually 281 dollars at todays rates).

Democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138452)

This is why America is not a democracy. We don't have to know these things. We pay specialists to study and vote on these issues. That is what republics are all about. The only problem with that is that the specialists are more interested in finding ways to keep their jobs than they are in finding ways to do their jobs right.

Re:Democracy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138653)

That's because they are systematically blocking any objective measures for reporting what they are doing so that we could vote them out when they don't do it right. There is no penalty for classifying documents that should be public, there is no penalty for having secret meetings, there is no penalty for issuing no-bid contracts. All of these should be illegal in a representative government.

Net Neutral = Fair (4, Insightful)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138455)

The ISPs already have a structural advantage in that it is far easier to push high speeds from their servers to my home than from a random spot in the Internet (less hops, they contol all of them) so I don't believe that requiring them to play fair would completely remove their advantage in providing content to me, but if despite this advantage I request data from some other service, I expect my ISP to not throttle that connection. There are bottlenecks enough in the net without artificially constricting flows to give your own services an advantage.

Re:Net Neutral = Fair (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138647)

Not only that, but it's a company that you're already dealing with. You'll have one fewer bill to keep track of, one fewer account to remember, one fewer tech support line to call, and that alone, all other things being equal, will give them an advantage. Plus they can offer bundling deals, like a lot of cable companies are trying to do now with TV, Internet, VOIP.

Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138457)

If you were in the Death Row, would you be for the death penalty or against against against?
If you were a fetus in the verge of being aborted, would you be for abortion or against against against?

It all depends on how you ask the question (4, Insightful)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138468)

By phrasing the question the right way, you can imply that net neutrality would limit services and download speed. In that scenario, you'll get an overwhelming response (from those who don't know what net neutrality is) that net neutrality is a bad thing. Phrased another way, you can imply that without net neutrality, Comcast and the baby Bells would be able to make web sites harder to reach. In that second scenario, most respondants would favor net neutrality.

For comparison, Cato [cato.org] has similar things to say about polling for support of school vouchers. When you imply in the question that other countries are doing it with great success, people are in favor. When you imply that it would hurt the public schools, people are against it. Shocking.

Re:It all depends on how you ask the question (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138506)

That's a great point. When you bring up how vouchers would draw students away from public schools, show them to be inferior, and then make people's property values drop because they bought their house specifically to be in a good school district (which no longer matters), they'll start to oppose vouchers.

Great fuckin' point there. We should all oppose vouchers for that reason.

Re:It all depends on how you ask the question (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138601)

When you bring up how vouchers would draw students away from public schools

So what? That's probably a good thing as many schools are having problems with overcrowding.

show them to be inferior

What exactly is inferior? The private schools? Vouchers? The public schools?

and then make people's property values drop because they bought their house specifically to be in a good school district (which no longer matters)

Good. My proprety value going down means I have to pay less in taxes. Besides, the school still has to be a reasonable distance away. I would think having a choice of three good schools instead of one would RAISE the value of your house.

You only care about the value of your house when you're selling it. Otherwise, you should WANT a lower value for your home.

Great fuckin' point there. We should all oppose vouchers for that reason.

Actually they sound like good reasons for vouchers.

Re:It all depends on how you ask the question (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138738)

I've never heard this logic. But its pretty insane as most voucher programs only affect low preforming schools. Even if it was an option in high preforming schools vouchers wouldn't draw many away if the school was preforming well enough.

Re:It all depends on how you ask the question (1)

Stormshadow (41368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138529)

Which is precisely why a definition should be included with some proposed effects... but good luck getting the voters to read it all. :(

Key insight about polls (2, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138574)

Even if a survey has a genuinely random sample, you _can't_ be sure how much it means until you know the exact wording of the questions.

That's a separate issue from "push polls", which are meant to change what people think as opposed to simply getting the desired answer. An example push poll was a telephone "survey" in the 2000 South Carolina primary asking "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?" [sourcewatch.org] .

Some Perspective (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138469)

Only 13% of young americans surveyed could find Iraq [cnn.com] , but you still went to war there. I was under the impression that neither public knowladge or approval were prerequitites for American laws.

Re:Some Perspective (3, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138634)

It doesn't matter whether the public supports Net Neutrality or not. This is a battle between Google et al. and ISPs et al. The American public has no say in this.

Re:Some Perspective (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138812)

Well, that's just a bit inflammatory. Apart from arguing that the poll does not appear to have been well-constructed (apparently polling about 33 people in the US to achieve this result), I'd argue that your statement true of your country, whatever it is, as well. In fact, that's one of the reasons that representative governments exist -- to allow some people to specialize in policy-making while others specialize in other things. I happen to know a lot about Net Neutrality, but not much about farm subsidies, port security, what helicopters the army needs or highway construction.

In any case, knowing something's exact location is often not critically necessary to supporting or opposing a related policy. Take international restrictions on Pacific whaling -- how many people around the world feel one way or another about the subject when they have no idea where in the Pacific the whaling happens?

Ignorance kills (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138837)

Democracy dies when voters get their non-news from television instead of researching sites like Vote Smart [vote-smart.org] , when voters leave school without a basic education and never get it later.

How can US voters make wise decisions if they don't know who borders whom, or the difference between Sunni and Shi'a [washingtonpost.com] (read to near the end)? /. readers in the US, help your country: use Google and go find things out.
I keep six faithful serving men
Who teach me well and true
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who. -- Rudyard Kipling

Probably not malice (3, Insightful)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138477)

I'm currently studying political science and public opinion, and 7% strikes me as very impressive. I'd be even more suprised if 7% of representatives that have a say in the issue understand it any better than the way it was outlined in the report. That being said, I am more than a little troubled.

The problem with democracy (4, Insightful)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138494)

The public good doesn't have a lobbying firm.

Re:The problem with democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138669)

My representatives are supposed to be my lobbying firm. Maybe it's time to get a new firm.

Layman's rundown of Net Neutrality (1)

wwiiol_toofless (991717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138498)

It's a series of Neutralized Tubes that contain much pr0...er information....Vote AOL in 2008!

The correct polling question is: (1)

pscottdv (676889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138502)

"Do you want to decide which web sites you can surf, or should your ISP make that decision for you?"

Question 1 (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138504)

  • Do you think that Ma Bell should be forced to give paedophiles and terrorists full and unfetted access to the AOLnet, so that they can swap their depraved upskirt images of your children, and instructions on how to blow them up?

And that's how you skew a poll. Funny or insightful, I'll take either.

+1 Sad But True on the MQR standard (2, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138564)

  • * Do you think that Ma Bell should be forced to give paedophiles and terrorists full and unfetted access to the AOLnet, so that they can swap their depraved upskirt images of your children, and instructions on how to blow them up?

And that's how you skew a poll. Funny or insightful, I'll take either.

I'd give you both, but I don't have either at the moment, so I'll have to offer one of my home-brew mods, a +1 Sad But True.

At the rate we are going I would not be surprised to see that level of push polling being done in the next few years. If it hasn't started already.

--MarkusQ

Re:+1 Sad But True on the MQR standard (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138786)

Well we all heard about the anti McCain push polling a while back. So its not unheard of.

I wonder if there were any "Given that Sen Lieberman could rape your children and kill your pets, will you vote for him in the Primaries." Last month.

And???? (1)

JL-b8 (862188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138509)

How does this not suprise me? The majority of net neutrality information was distributed on sites (like this one, which most people don't read because it doesn't offer coupons for the gap) or by shitty emo youtube videos(which no one takes seriously). I'm sure the issues been catered to look pointless in the eyes of printed media so thier pappy coroporations can get a heads up from the ISPS to make sure you get an extra DRM'd lassie in 240 by 320 for your video portable.

New poll (4, Funny)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138515)

Nice poll. I believe it should be verified with a second one. I propose a proved question type:

Do you support net neutrality or do you support terrorism and child pornography?

Re:New poll (2, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138581)

Do you support net neutrality or do you support terrorism and child pornography?

Can I choose the CowboyNeal option?

I can confirm the statistics firsthand... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138527)

What a timely article...just finished a lecture with my class where we talked about net neutrality and how a tiered Internet system would most likely result in "haves" and "have nots" based upon the ability and willingness to pay. When I asked my class of 25 how many had ever heard of "net neutrality," not a single hand went up.

Typical. They had never heard of ICANN, either.

Um. (1)

pb (1020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138539)

Americans don't know what net neutrality is, and they don't want it
You can't have it both ways. At least, not honestly.

Call me old.. (2, Insightful)

Voltas (222666) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138541)

Its seems like just a few years ago that I say a web address in an advertisement for the first time. The internet has changed so much over the past few years. The one thing I've always appriciated about it was how open and vast it was.

Now I just feel this being segmented, sliced up, analized, commercialize, and legalized. Don't get me wrong, some of it has been good. Would have never gotten outta dial up days if nothing happened to it but the face of the internet in another 10 years scares me.

Am I gonna need a passport to go to a website in another country?
Will I have to log into more then one "Internet" depending on who I am and where I want to go?

I think, the price of the internet should eventualy move to nothing, with the right commercalization wouldn't commerce want to you log on to the net like they want you to turn on your TV?

Inherent Flaw? (2, Insightful)

markwalling (863035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138562)

isn't there an inherent flaw in net neutrality? my isp (road runner) offers trailers of the movies they have on the on-demand chanel. if i wanted those same trailers off imdb for example, it is slower then downloading them off the road runner servers. under this law, wouldn't road runner be required to throtle bandwidth to their own server to match the speed to imdb? or am i just way off.

Re:Inherent Flaw? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138672)

No, from my understanding Road Runner would, being the ISP, have the choice to throtle things. So if they didn't want IMDB to load quickily at all, they could make it so it would take you 10 minutes to load IMDB's trailer while it is there immediately from them.

Re:Inherent Flaw? (4, Informative)

RpiMatty (834853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138783)

No you are way way way off.
Its more like your ISP would be able to contact imdb and say "Hey your users like to download movies, pay us and we will make sure to send the packets as fast as we can, if you don't pay us, we will throttle the connection for your users."

The end user would have no idea why imdb is slower than the roadrunner site.

world is upside down (0, Offtopic)

hunky-d (851885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138584)

A new poll shows Pres. Bush has gained in popularity. I feel my feet becoming disconnected from the ground - my head is spinning. How is any of this possible? Why are we so stupid?

why is the government funding this poll? (0, Flamebait)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138587)

Why is the government funding a poll on an issue with lobbying constiuents on both sides, seemingly in favor of big business donors? Is this really an appropriate use of our tax dollars? Reminds me of the taxpayer monies spent to back the No Child Left Behind act. Who lost their job for misappropriating government funds in that scandal? Ummmm, no one.

Where's the outrage from the hypocrites on the right about wasteful government spending? I don't think Republicans stand for anything except their tee time these days.

What do you expect? (0, Flamebait)

jhylkema (545853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138592)

Americans are stupid, ignorant jackasses who only care about the next idiotic "reality" TV show or who wore what to the Oscars. These are the same fucknuts who were duped into electing Bush twice despite a record of utter and abject failure. Hell, most of 'em probably can't even spell "net neutrality."

Not intended as a troll or a flame, just an expression of frustration. Jesus, Canada is looking better and better by the day.

Points to the uselessness of surveys... (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138603)

...at least this sort of survey. Asking the general uninformed population about an issue they know nothing abount and can formulate the questions in anyway that makes your conclusion valid is improper. If they had asked the same question of informed internet aware users, such as visitors to Slashdot, arstechnica, anandtecg, toms, dslreports, etc...the results would be different than what they wanted them to be no matter how babdly and twistedly they formulated the questions.

Net Neutrality needs to happen its good for everyone, the ISPs must not make the rules, the people using the internet must.

Yikes (2, Insightful)

The Dalex (996138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138604)

How can so many people know so little about something that they all use every day, and is vital to our economy and way of life? Do we need to tell them that their ISP will slow down their MySpace if net neutrality isn't regulated?

What's in a name? (2, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138610)

I know it may seem stupid, but the term "Net Neutrality" may be a stumbling block to the average American. When was the last time anyone but the Swiss got really worked up about neutrality?

Maybe we can call it "Not being sodomized by the bastards" or "Not paying extra for crap service" or "Leave my Skype alone!"

Where is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138646)

Martin Prince when you need him ?

Bad for the ISPs to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138655)

ISPs that prioritise bandwidth will get a reputation like AOL has managed to achieve through continually being badmouthed by those who understand the technology. Any ISP considering this should be aware of the backlash from their customers, and the technical people who ultimately have the most influence in choosing bandwidth products.

Well WE know what it is (3, Informative)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138657)

How many of us have gotten off our asses to communicate that to Congress? There's more to gauging an issue than polls, and incoming comments to Senatorial offices can have a big impact. As few as a couple hundred well-worded letters or phone calls can swing a Senator's vote one way or the other, especially on more "niche" or technical issues.

Start here:
http://www.savetheinternet.com/=senatetally [savetheinternet.com]

Most Senators are not on record and so are more likely to be open to influence from their constituents. Your best bet to describe, in simple terms, why it is important and why it is a major voting issue to you. It does not have to be a magnum opus, just a short e-mail, letter, fax, or phone call.

And if you one of those who don't understand or care, I invite you to read this:
http://www.savetheinternet.com/=faq [savetheinternet.com]

I hope (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138664)

they added a disclaimer on the bottom which said "In a survey conducted of Ted stevens close and personal family. In the same survey they also said that they would like lead tubes abolished as it sends out radiation from their monitors"

What's this, biased political surveys?! (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138677)

Sorry for the redundancy in my subject line.

Net Neutrality. Legislating the status quo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16138709)

It was my understanding that we already have the situation of network neutrality on The Internet. It is, at present, not legislated. Instead, it is created by how we currently operate our networks (standard operation). In other words, a new law in favor of network neutrality is in favor of what we already have today. This basically means that carriers still provide the same services, but are now not legally allowed to traffic shape (throttle up/down) information based on favoritism. The telecoms are interested in killing this proposal, the legislation, because they are interested in surcharging content providers like Google to "ride" their intermediary bandwidth trunks like a toll road. In essense, like any corporation, they are trying to find ways to cash in on all that capital they invest in infrastructure. I doubt that this is really an interest of the Tier I ISPs, such as cable internet access providers. This is more of an interest to LECs such as AT&T et. al. They have the monopoly, and are just waiting until they can turn the "toll machine" on and start reaping in more cash-o-la. The standard argument against net neutrality is that content providers already pay for their bandwidth, and most likely that money trickles down to the LECs (or intermediary carriers) in some form or another. This is simply posturing by the LECs (or should I say LEC singularily?).

My 2cp.
--COWARD OUT

ANOTHER INVISIBLE ISSUE!?!?!?!?! (1)

pfz (965654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138727)

No voter support? BIG SUPRISE! There's no voter support for anything that gets press here on slashdot. Where are the voters who support guys like Larry Lessig and Richard Stallman? Republicans and Democrats are guilty of ignoring corporate rule over technology for too long! Support EFF, CreativeCommons, FSF, Knowmore.org, FreeCulture.org... and all the other folks who want to see innovation and invention survive and not be swallowed by companies who put greed above all else, threaten democracy, and pollute the political process.

Check out http://alternativefreedom.org/ [alternativefreedom.org]

Features DangerMouse from Gnarls Barkley, Lawrence Lessig, Richard Stallman, Bunnie "X-Box Hacker" Huang, DOSEONE and EFF Superstar Jason Schultz.

It's been said before: Write your Senator! (2, Informative)

wbean (222522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138748)

The most useful thing we can do here is to write to our Senators [senate.gov] . If enough people write, they pay attention. Besides, you'll probably get a nice glossy photograph in the mail.

Democracy at its finest (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138778)

Democracy is great! At least it was until the marketing and lobbying set in.

Just how much more blatant can you get with "buying" votes? Unfortunately, people don't want to be informed, they want to be led. They want someone to tell them "That's the way it is, swallow it!", and they even get away with it.

Is free press really that bad? In countries where censorship is running rampart, people distrust government and press, and they try to find the truth. Often with their life at stake should they be discovered as "dissenters" who want to know the other side as well.

Why don't we? Why do we believe every lie fed to us?

Why are we happy when someone tells us how it's supposed to be? Because we're (still) free?

Why are people so complacent and lazy and delegate thinking to someone else?

This just in... (1)

kvn (64836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138789)

...the unwashed masses are ignorant.

And this is news?

The people have spoken... (1)

moracity (925736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138848)

and they don't care about the internet. For most people, there much more important things to worry about than a series of invisible tubes.

Bias unclear (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16138849)

"The very brief net neutrality description used by the pollsters is somewhat misleading insofar as it suggests that net neutrality would bar Internet Service Providers from selling faster service than is available today."


Well, not to take sides here, but that is exactly how S.2917 [gpo.gov] proposes net neutrality should be defined: A prohibition against offering tiered Internet services.

The problem here is that there is no one definition of "net neutrality" that is accepted by either side of the issue. Spin is put on the definition depending upon one's perspective. Given the context of this one specific bill, the poll question as stated is not misleading.

To argue that this poll (or any other) is biased is futile, unless both sides agree to the rules of the game.
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