Net Neutrality

network-neutrality

This post is something that is close to my heart.  That is the future of the internet is at stake.  Tomorrow October 22, Congress will be voting on a new provision that amounts to regulation of the internet.

What is the greatest thing about the internet? One word sums it up FREEDOM.  The growth of the internet has been extremely fast, most of the rapid growth can be attributed to a lack of restrictions.  This lack of restrictions has allowed brilliant minds to try new an innovative things.  These innovations have had a large impact on the day to day life of many people around the world.  The internet has become something that most people 25 and under simply cannot live without. The beauty of the internet is that anybody can visit any site and seek out any content they desire.

First off let me say that as a computer forensics graduate student, most if not all law makers, have no idea how the internet works.  All they know is what people have told them.  I don’t believe that congress is capable of creating a bill to specifically address the problems they want to address.  Some of the language I  have seen is extremely vague and open to interpretation.  Yea……..Judges know even less about the internet……I would not like them making interpretations on vague language.

Okay, lets get down to some of the specifics.  Net neutrality is basically a concept that says that all information traveling across the internet should be treated equally.  The problem with this idea is that the internet faces congestion or bottle necks in certain pipes.  In the most recent years, many sites have started streaming HD video, and many users play MMO’s.  These activities result in large areas of traffic.  If all content is supposed to be treated equally, should these sites be subject to extra fees?  Sites like Google and Yahoo have massive traffic.  Why? because they are the best at what they do.  Should we now punish their innovation and make them pay more for their traffic because they use up more bandwith than Joe Blow’s blog page?

If speed is regulated it would have some consequences.  If  Joe Blow here doesn’t have enough money to pay for this extra speed, going to his website would now take longer.  Every website you visit would have a different load time depending on the regulated speed that it has paid for.  Who wins in an environment like this?  Those providing the internet connections that’s who.  Now they can collect payments from major internet companies in addition to their normal consumers.

Some point to Comcast which has already started bandwith metering.  Comcast has imposed a limit of 250GB monthly cap on broadband usage.  Comcast it seems is forcing its subscribers to move more towards streaming their media rather than downloading it. Now I might mention that net neutrality will have an effect on piracy, and many are hoping that such a law will crack down on illegal file sharing across p2p networks, but I beg to differ.  The hacker is always 10 steps ahead of the law makers.  Where there is a will there is a way, and with the collective population of the internet, the way usually presents itself rather quickly.  Example……new CD protection making it impossible to put the songs from the CD on your computer was cracked in less than a day……..haha.  What we need are trained law enforcement like myself to patrol the waters and crack down on internet crime.  Enforcing the laws that already exist is the best way.

Proponents use the term “net neutrality” to refer to a rigid regulatory regime that could allow the US government to get in the way of innovation and new technology.  Ultimately net neutrality will limit the choices of consumers, tie the hands of innovators, and the price tag will be passed on to consumers.  Regulation of the internet will be a large mistake.  More regulation is always bad.

Don’t be deceived, the king always appears as a harmless beggar who later overthrows those who underestimate him.  Just as Odysseus reclaimed his domain in the Odyssey.  We must be wary of the harmless beggar, in this case “net neutrality”.

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