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Ask HN: How can we stop the plan to end net neutrality?
248 points by Dangeranger on Nov 21, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 194 comments
In the following week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to roll out their plan to end net neutrality.

It appears that the public at large and even some internet stalwarts have become apathetic to the coming changes, which threaten to alter the internet as we know it going forward.

If this happens without massive public outrage it may indicate to other democratic nations that treating all traffic equally is no longer the norm, and they are free to enact their own "play-to-play" schemes in addition to those imposed by the U.S.

What can be done to reverse this course of action?




First: Call your congress person. Right now. https://callyourrep.co/

----- Some students from Gonzaga Uni are trying to build something to help.

Right now we're trying to build a site that will let folks send a physical letter to your congress person. Letters in bulk may be effective alongside calls.

Demo here: http://savethenet.today/

# We need help!

Github here: https://github.com/gu-app-club/save-the-net

## Programmers

There's a few bugs need to be sorted Built in React/Nextjs

## Designers

We would love a design review <3 Please please please, all criticism and PR's are welcome.

## Non-profits and Biz folks

We're trying to launch this week, (hopefully tomorrow) but in order to take money with Stripe (to pay for postage), we need a EIN. That means we'll either need to register as a non-profit or partner with one. Expediting seems to cost a fair amount of money that we don't have. (We're just uni students) So we're looking to partner. If this is something you could help us with, please please please reach out (@flaqueeau on twitter): https://twitter.com/flaqueeau

(Also, if we're doing the non-profit thing wrong, please let us know)


Honest question: is it worth calling my Congress person if they are already vehemently against repealing the current net neutrality rules? Does it count for anything?


Yes. You don't know what kind of discussions are going on behind the scenes. It could be that they say "I am for this" in public, but in private they are one policy concession away from voting no. Also, it takes like 5 minutes. It is literally no skin off your back, and it is better than nothing, even if the chances of it mattering are remote.


Yes. If nothing else, it removes their political capital. Politicians are weighing which unpopular things they can do while still maintaining their donor base.

Make this cost them. Even if they vote for it. Even if they've supported it all along.

Make this cost them.


And encourage all your family and friends to call, too. The tipping point for getting a representative to change their mind might be smaller than you think, just like how lobbying dollars required to get a vote for a law are smaller than you may think.

I don’t have numbers for how many calls might be needed to flip a vote though. Does anyone have experience with this?


Exactly... most pro-proposal folks are not going to call in asking them to support (since it benefits industry). So as many anti-proposal folks that can call in, the better. Also document their response for the next election cycle - pro Trump, pro cable company, anti internet freedom, etc.

If a scenario is possible under the new proposal, point that out =>

"Soon, your cable company can intentionally make your Youtube/Pinterest/Facebook slow. Ask your congress man/woman why they are willing to support this? <Congress contact info> <Website to protest>"

or

"Are you ready for slower Youtube? You can upgrade for $X to make it normal again. Your friendly ISP/Cable company. Ask your congress man/woman why they are willing to support this? <Congress Contact Info> <Website to protest>"

You have to use simple language in terms people understand, and provide a number to call.


I'd argue this might only be helpful in an area where the margin between the two parties is slim and hotly contested. That's an exception. For the most part you'll get some canned response to make you feel like they heard you, and things will proceed however their big time donors wish.


Representative democracy is still a thing -- they still only get their one vote.


PA checking in. Comcast HQ is here. I suspect that vote outweighs mine by about 6 orders of magnitude.


I love this project! Have some quick feedback:

—I had no idea how much this was going to cost. Consider adding the price near to the CC field.

—I had no idea where this money was going. I assume to send the letter, but what company? How will this appear on my CC bill?

—Non-SSL form for CC info. I know this is still a work in progress, but will be a concern for some.

—Next button was on the left. When going through the process, I would expect the primary action to be on the right.

Best of luck!


https://resistbot.io exists now - how will your creation be different?


Resist bot sends faxes or messages them through the congressional messaging system. We do letters explicitly.

It lets people be more explicit in their communication, that's really it.


Congress staffers also give more weight to written, mailed communication.


I got a "Payment failed" error.


Fixed <3 (at least hopefully)


A small counter suggestion. I know we all tend to be introverted but...go visit your reps. Visit them in DC, visit them in their offices in your area. Most will be home this week for thanksgiving and almost all will be home over the holiday break. Email them to schedule a meeting or call. Make them explain this to your face.

I tried this and after five emails have meetings with my rep and both my senators scheduled less than a week out.


I had no idea this was possible. Good for you. That's awesome.


This is a great idea. I wasn't able to easily find scheduling contact information for John Cornyn, but my representative and other senator, Cruz, have an email published to get scheduled. I'll dig more for Cornyn tomorrow.

If I do get on their calendars, I hope I can articulate my reasoning well. I doubt I'll be given much time.


I've read that Cruz only takes meetings with representatives of formal groups.


I'll find out soon enough!


This actually gives me a lot more faith in system than I previously had. That’s really good to know!


The fact that you actually did this is really inspiring!


thanks. After wandering about capital hill all day I am completely exhausted.


What's going now with Net neutrality is a symptom of a bigger problem. We need to repeal Citizens United[1] and make the government less corrupted to prevent cases like this.

But in narrower scope, the best way is to support the inevitable court case against FCC that will follow their expected decision. That will prompt politicians who are backed by ISP monopolists to propose a "solution", i.e. legislation that will supposedly address Net neutrality.

That's where the real fight will begin. They'll try to push a fake law that won't protect anything but will make it even harder to ever change things for the better. The public will have to put a lot of pressure on their representatives to voice interest in a proper law.

Another part of the solution would be pushing for more municipal networks and for ending of the obnoxious monopolistic grip of Comcast and Co. That also requires repealing a lot of anti-competitive state laws (so again, put pressure on your representatives if you live in one). Real (not fake) competition will naturally prevent many of the issues that Net neutrality tries to address.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC


> What's going now with Net neutrality is a symptom of a bigger problem. We need to repeal Citizens United[1] and make the government less corrupted to prevent cases like this.

Your error is in assuming that this is due to corruption, rather than due to Republicans' philosophical belief that minimal regulation and free markets are better [1]. The Republican position on net neutrality is consistent with, and entirely predictable from, their positions on internet and telecommunications regulations going back long before Citizens United.

> But in narrower scope, the best way is to support the inevitable court case against FCC that will follow their expected decision.

Will there actually be a serious court case? There were court cases when the FCC made net neutrality rules, in both 2010 and 2015, but making a rule requires exercising authority, and so the question of whether or not they exceeded their authority can arise, and be litigated.

In the case of repealing one of their prior rules, instead of making a rule, is there really a plausible litigable issue? Since there is nothing that requires them to have a net neutrality regulation, it is hard to see how they could be exceeding their authority by dropping their net neutrality rules.

As long as they don't make a procedural mistake, it is hard to see what grounds they can be challenged on.

[1] Yes, I know that ISP markets are usually not competitive, which is one of the requirements for a free market to work well, but that's not relevant since I'm not saying that Republicans are right that minimal regulation and markets will protect the internet. I'm just saying that this is what they believe.


  You error is in assuming that this is due to corruption,
  rather than due to Republicans' philosophical belief that
  minimal regulation and free markets are better [1].
I think people find this hard to believe, as it requires one of two things; either (a) they are aware of the impacts of giving monopolies expanded powers to extract economic rent without productive action, but they believe repealing net neutrality will be good for the country; or (b) they have somehow got elected to public office without knowledge of that impact, despite the fact I've seen it taught to first-year undergraduates in economics, politics and history courses; and they will have received briefs and letters informing them about it.


"Yes, I know that ISP markets are usually not competitive, which is one of the requirements for a free market to work well,"

In my comment on this proceeding I made the point that, in fact, a competitive market would achieve the desired outcome and that we know this to be the case because it worked with DSL circa 2000. The key at that time was that phone companies were required to allow competing services to use their infrastructure (line sharing rules), so in major cities there were dozens of competing DSL services. I could actually support Pai's proposal if it included reinstating line sharing rules, but clearly he never stopped working for Verizon...


>philosophical belief that minimal regulation and free markets are better [1]. The Republican position on net neutrality is consistent with, and entirely predictable from, their positions on internet and telecommunications regulations going back long before Citizens United.

As you point out yourself, this doesn't make any sense if it achieves the opposite goal i.e. less market freedom because of monopolization. Let's assume they aren't that stupid as not to understand all that. Then corruption is the most likely reason for supporting monopolies. And I'm not sure if the other alternative (stupid politicians) is less damaging.

> Will there actually be a serious court case?

There will be. The case will argue that FCC ignored massive feedback about real issues. That's why it's important to actually submit public comments.

> In the case of repealing one of their prior rules, instead of making a rule, is there really a plausible litigable issue?

Yes, the issue would be that they repealed the rule that was solving real problems. I.e. that itself started causing same problems again.


> Will there actually be a serious court case? ... In the case of repealing one of their prior rules, instead of making a rule, is there really a plausible litigable issue?

Yes - just like creating a regulation, repealing an existing regulation has to be based on a logical conclusion from factually demonstrable conditions. I found article https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/22/opinion/courts-net-neutra... to be a good overview of this situation.


Citizen's United was a court decision, it can't be repealed. It can be eliminated with legislation, though.


Since the restriction is based on the First Amendment, isn't it pretty much untouchable by legislation?


Not (exactly) true. There are many good ideas being floated that would allow the ruling to stand, while eliminating the negative consequences. Eghttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Equality_Act_of_2017


Correct. It would require a Constitutional Amendment. Or it would require a reverse decision by the Supreme Court in a similar case. The later is unlikely to happen for at least another 6 or more years.


Yeah, that's what I meant.


[flagged]


I truly don't understand the content of that video, perhaps I'm ignorant of the way the US system works.

I see the donation/lobbying system as something wealthy individuals/groups can use to amplify their voices in political discussion. Equating limiting the amplification factor with censorship seems like a real stretch.

If policy makers are incentivised to make policy which benefits certain groups for reasons other than what best serves their constituents (i.e. to secure party donations) that to me is the essence of corruption.


Anonymous account, 2 weeks old, no significant activity. I'm going to call this either a bot or a Russian account. Even HN is not immune to them.


If "more freedom" == "those who have more money are buying politicians", it doesn't sound like more freedom at all, no?

See how well it works in the context of monopolistic ISPs which basically pay off state legislatures to write laws that ban competition. Who in their right mind would write such awful laws? Only totally clueless or corrupted puppets.


> In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. - Anatole France

Citizens United allows citizens both rich and poor the freedom to buy politicians.


Hah, I'm not a bleeding heart or anything but that quote is both hilarious and (sadly) accurate.


Sadly, neither Right Wing Watch nor Media Bias has an entry for PragerU, although the former does have some interesting entries for its founders. Regardless, Wikipedia helps here:

> Prager University (often stylized as PragerU) is a 501(c)3 non-profit conservative digital media organization.

I'm all for good ideas, but given what the word conservative has come to mean in the context of American politics, I am going to call BS on this one and not bother wasting my time watching some right wing "intellectual" spin lies in the form of "common-sense".


Ignorance is bliss


Who is "we" in that construction?


I have a recommendation, and it's going to sound scary at first so please read all the way through.

We should convince the firearms industry that Net Neutrality is in their interest. They benefit heavily from an internet presence, and recent actions on Youtube related to demonitizing firearms content have already affected the community.

Firearms related content is absolutely an easy target for ISPs to block and censor.

And if there's anything the firearms industry is good at in the US, it's fighting tooth and nail and using their reps to get things done.

I realize it's an uncomfortable and unlikely alliance, but it could be a powerful one.


The NRA would be all behind this the first time someone reports a 'suboptimal experience' when trying to access their site to become a member, or order ammo from some random M&P gun shop.


I don't usually like to be political, but it has become quite evident that the US government is a true oligarchy. Even if the entirety of the US population were to petition against this, Mr. Pai would do the bidding of those he serves, which is, hint, not the general US population.


He's looking forward to his cushy job at some telecom after his term is over.

It's an odd bird these types of positions when they are handled like this. To Illustrate how odd they are, imagine you apply for a job which a friend helped discover for you, then that friend recommends you to his manager. You get hired but instead of taking orders from your managers you ignore them, and you work for your friends instead.


Except that by definition his role is to serve the greater good of the population, not special interest groups. The FCC is a government agency, not a private corporation in which case your argument might apply. Their entire mission is provide reliable, fair, reasonably-priced access to all forms of communication, including broadband. Their own mission statement for broadband states "Regulatory policies must promote technological neutrality". How sadly corrupt our government must be if an entire agency can't fulfill its own basic mission because of ridiculous nonsense like this.


Trump decided to appoint the guy who is pushing this to the head of the FCC. The FCC as an institution didn't decide this. The administration did.


Vote out your Republican rep and vote for Democrats that vocally support Net Neutrality.

That is literally the only thing that can be done. This would not be happening if Hillary Clinton was President.


As far as I am concerned, this is the only answer to the question. The Republican party has always supported ending net neutrality, and they have acted on it every chance they get. Democrats, for all their follies, defend it.

It drives me nuts that a lot of techies don't understand this. Abstaining, or side stepping, from politics because of some misguided sense of ideological purity does not help.


Neoliberals like Clinton aren't looking out for the consumer either.


They were very invested in the status quo of net neutrality, regardless of what you think about their sincerity.


It didn't help, since Republicans made it a point to oppose it out of spite. Overall it became a partisan issue, instead of a normal common cause.


"a normal common cause"

For better or worse, those no longer exist. Everything is politics now.


Which is why we have such dysfunctional results.


Not sure if current two party system is geared towards solving such issues altogether. Where is the Pirate Party for example?


The US election system not geared towards accommodating 3rd (or more) parties in Congress in any kind of numbers that would make a difference.

First-past-the-post voting basically ensures a two party result. Might not be the same two parties forever, but 2 parties nonetheless.

But really, for this issue it is fairly simple: Republicans are generally against net neutrality, Democrats are for it. There is no way in hell someone like Ajit Pai would have been confirmed as FCC Chairman if Democrats controlled Congress.


> First-past-the-post voting basically ensures a two party result.

Yeah, it would be better if each party got percentage based on percentage of votes.


I wrote my congressman and senators about this issue, both "libertarians". Here were their responses: 1) Its not the executive branch's job to legislate. 2) The ISP's know whats best for innovation and serving their customers.

Number one is like saying "I see the iceberg ahead, someone else on board steered the ship away, but its my job to steer the ship so I'm putting it back on course for the iceberg".

Number two is just laughable given the lack of competition in my area.

I do not believe either of them will change their stance, so I asked a friend that works in politics to do. He recommended: - Write an op-ed in the local papers. These are surprisingly effective because it reaches senior citizens as well as the politician in the form of daily briefings. - Get involved in voter participation initiatives. In my area turnout is super low, and we need a more diverse viewpoint voting to potentially unseat officials that do not serve the public interest.


> 1) Its not the executive branch's job to legislate. 2) The ISP's know whats best for innovation and serving their customers.

Ran that through congressman/senator double speak to english translator and got this:

1) You're unable to offer us election funding and/or a high paying job after we leave office so we're not going to do anything. 2) The ISP's know whats best for themselves and screwing their customers.


I understand that libertarians believe the free market should determine winners and losers, and like any viewpoint, there's truth in it when not taken as an unwavering silver bullet with no exceptions.

What bothers me so much about this is that net neutrality should be a no brainer when it comes to "maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, individual judgment and self-ownership." (wikipedia). Why is corporate control of our daily lives so acceptable but government control opposed indiscriminately?


I all for the free market at the ISP level if and only if the last mile is run by neutral third party with equal access to all ISPs.

As for corporate control is so acceptable and government control isn't is because the corps control the media and the government. Anytime someone in the government tries to control the corps there's a big media backlash against it.


If net neutrality was ended, would ISPs actually charge incrementally for website access?

Websites like savetheinternet.com seem to argue that if net neutrality is ended, only major websites will be offered. They say "And without Net Neutrality, millions of small businesses owned by people of color wouldn’t be able to compete against larger corporations online, which would deepen economic disparities."

Why are ISPs going to targets people of color? I don't understand..

How will ISPs decide what websites I can not visit? Will they have a whitelist/blacklist?

Will there be ISPs that offer packages that we have now? (I.E bandwidth only restriction)

I've seen good arguments both for and against net neutrality and I really don't know which would be better.




Worth pointing out that the one in the parent post is a real thing that is being marketed right now in Portugal where net neutrality doesn't exist.


Also worth pointing out that those are for mobile data, not home internet. I don't believe Portuguese ISPs have the same kind of clustering into packages for home internet, even without net neutrality.

In reality, we aren't going to see a dramatic and immediate cable-ization of internet post-Title II. The more insidious threat is the slow war of attrition against non-cable-owned streaming and other services that tilts the playing field against certain kinds of startups.


Techdirt combines this thread in one article [0]

[0]: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171030/12364538513/portu...


They won't, because they've seen what happens when they do that. People are leaving cable TV because it is a selected menu of channels. No choice. ISPs who attempt to limit choice will find themselves without subscribers. If Comcast decided I can't access Netflix on my internet plan, I'm gone.


Many people have no choice in their broadband provider[1]--of those that do, their choices are often between corporations that also have significant interest in TV and cable TV (even moreso if the AT&T/Time Warner deal goes through).

Without net neutrality and with effective monopolies or duopolies in many high speed markets, these companies would have both the ability and the direct incentive to limit or restrict access to any form of competition--it would be bad business for them NOT to do everything they can to shut down Netflix, Hulu, et al and redirect people to their own distribution platforms.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/us-br...


FCC is complicit here as well. They measure "competition" by checking to see if one or more broadband provider exists in the same census tract. So basically there is "competition" in so much that you can move to a new residence if you want different service.


Except where I live, I do not have any other ISPs besides Comcast.


This is the crux of the issue. Without consumer choice, an ISP can target whatever local regions it wants with specific, anti-consumer plans. Unless there is an regulation to keep them in check..


Providers should be forced to lease line access wholesale the way carriers have / had been forced to do so to MVNOs.


"If Comcast decided I can't access Netflix on my internet plan, I'm gone."

Where are you going to go to?


Me? No where. I'd probably figure out how to live life without the internet, by and large. I know for many people that isn't an option, but personally I've lived without the internet for a good chunk of my life, and I can do it again. I'd probably be happier anyway. I'd probably read more books, get out into the community more, maybe learn a new instrument. My parents live without the internet and they're getting through life fine in 2017.


My banks are virtual (one, literally, and the other has 2 branches around me, each only an hour away). My bills are virtual. I like to remote into work instead of driving there to fix random build failures. Video games are almost unworkable without an internet connection. The internet is the only source for new software that I've used in at least 5 years (and the only source for Linux software I've ever had).

A little over half my life, I didn't have internet access, but that doesn't describe my situation now. It's like imagining life without a car. I'd survive, but life wouldn't be the same, and I'm not convinced it would be better.


You and I are in the same boat, virtual bank and all. I'm actually a little more tethered to the Internet, because I work remotely. But I feel like my vote is meaningless these days. I feel powerless. The only real vote that anyone listens to anymore is a vote with your wallet, and if it comes to that, I'm damn well ready to make that vote. Drastic times call for drastic measures and all that. I know not everyone can do that, but I can and I will. It won't be just Comcast losing my money, but my bank, Netflix, Hulu Amazon, eBay, Newegg... All of it.

I'll tell you one thing, if corporations thought the response to ending net neutrality would be along the lines I propose en masse, they wouldn't even be thinking about it. Problem is, they're 100% right people will just suck it up and go along with it.

Honestly, as more time passes I'm becoming more convinced this whole Internet thing is going a bit too far. When it was new, I saw a bright future for it but this? This is on track to becoming very dystopian in the near future. Actually there's a pretty good argument that we're already in a nightmare scenario.


> The only real vote that anyone listens to anymore is a vote with your wallet, and if it comes to that, I'm damn well ready to make that vote

https://supporters.eff.org/donate https://contribute.itstarts.today//2018 https://indivisible435.org/


The FCC Chairman assures us that there is a robust and competitive marketplace for internet services.


>assures

yeah, but how?


There is no alternative to comcast, so what do I do for Internet since Comcast has basically a monopoly in my apartment building?


The world of cable TV is exactly what they're dying to bring back. Those 30 years of monopolized cable were very good to the telecos.


They will, because in many places they are monopolists. If the law doesn't restrict them, the user has already lost.


So what is everyone worried about?

Even if the ISPs did that, I'm sure at least one would advertise "We offer all websites unrestricted, no limits!!" and everyone would subscribe to them.


Getting a new ISP started is a pain. Witness the legal troubles Google and their partner cities went through when the cities passed "one touch make ready" laws to simplify the process of Google and other new ISPs stringing new lines. [1]

ISPs are going through a consolidation process in the USA, so we're all ending up with less choice, not more.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Touch_Make_Ready#Legal_Cha...


They will probably start by favouring some services over others. For example, they might ban VOIP and allow you to video call only through their proprietary service.


> Will there be ISPs that offer packages that we have now? (I.E bandwidth only restriction)

Cynically? Market segmentation. Segment the market into sub-communities along demographic lines as well as producers and consumers. Figure out how to charge both small businesses trying to start a shopify store and the consumers who're likely to visit them.

> How will ISPs decide what websites I can not visit? Will they have a whitelist/blacklist?

If they don't have to treat all traffic passing through their lines equally, then they can choose to downgrade traffic from say Google unless El Goog pays up the fee. And, probably, ask you to pay up too.

> Will there be ISPs that offer packages that we have now? (I.E bandwidth only restriction)

To quote myself;

What makes you think they won't take full advantage of the power that you've given them? Once you give them that power, do you think they won't use it to make more and more? To squeeze every last dime from your pockets?

That's what they've done in the past. They've carved up territory like drug gangs to maximise profit. (Look at the maps - notice how they don't overlap? https://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/04/01/16998/us-internet... ). At the same time, they've often colluded to pass legislation that locks out competitors (https://www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8530403/chattanooga-comcas...). And they've gotten so good at it that even the almighty El Goog couldn't break into their territory - I mean, market.

What makes you think that these rent seekers won't extract their pound of flesh and then some from you and your customers?

After all, past behavior is indeed predictive of future results.

> I've seen good arguments both for and against net neutrality and I really don't know which would be better.

When all else fails, go with enlightened self interest. Do you really want to pay some "ISP-fee" in the future to start your startup? Do you think consumers will be able to find your company or bother to do so if they have to pay $5 extra for the privilege of seeing your website?

It's in everyone's enlightened self interest over here to oppose this, because in the long run it will kill the consumer internet as we know it.


> Why are ISPs going to targets people of color?

That's not what the term blacklist means.


Net Neutrality proponents have really gone off the deep end. I'd love to see how they react if the only user-visible changes end up being lower monthly bills.


How ending net neutrality can lower my bills?


1. Net neutrality places severe binding restrictions on how internet service is provided, and by extension who can provide it. (It's expensive to serve up Netflix if you're banned from offering Netflix privileged pipeline status. It's harder to start a new ISP when any internet service has to follow strict neutrality regulation.)

2. Once it is cheaper and easier to provide internet service, you can expect to see costs fall as the market becomes more competitive as new players enter the market and established players invest in optimizing their infrastructure.

This is the basic argument offered by Pai and other deregulation proponents. And the market doesn't have to be perfectly competitive for this to work out. I have three cable ISP options where I live so I'm not worried.


Would it not be better to replace the current regulations with ones that protect internet users while at the same time allow more choice?

Surely there's a better solution than complete deregulation.


Top ten stupidest comments I've seen on Hacker News. Which, admittedly, is a pretty good site.


I love the bandwagon hatred of anyone who suggests ending net neutrality isn't the end of the world! Check out my comment to Jankiel and respond to that instead of screaming that I'm stupid.


Not sure that the comment really rises to the level of "hate" or "screaming." This would be screaming:

YOUR COMMENT WAS STUPID!


Donate money to causes that support Net Neutrality:

https://indivisible435.org/ https://supporters.eff.org/donate https://contribute.itstarts.today//2018

And make a point to try to either call or directly visit your representative.


I hate how everyone on hn and reddit just accepts "nn is good" unconditionally.Beleive it or not, if it were such an open-and-shut case, it would not be an issue. You don't see anybody trying to legalize murder, do you?

So at the risk of repeating myself, I want to know what is the problem with the current internet that nn will solve, and why do you consider it to be such a world-ending issue, above things like "hundreds of people being regularly murdered by some random gun-toting lunatic".

I present to you my arguments why nn is bad, just as a thought exercise.

1. The company that builds and operates the network has a right to charge for it as it sees fit.

2. If competition is limited in the ISP space, that is due to over-regulation like granting monopolies. Instead of piling on more regulation, we should solve the root cause and do things that promote more competition. NN doesn't do that in the least.

3. Internet infrastructure is expensive to build and operate, especially wireless networks. And bandwidth and capacity is not unlimited. If Verizon thinks they can provide a better service by limiting 4k streaming over LTE, let them. If you don't like it, switch to an operator who provides a better service for you.

I would prefer to see arguments for NN, not responses to my arguments. My arguments may be poorly thought out, but my main point is we need solid discussion on this topic and I have only seen vague bullshit till now.


I know that you asked for arguments pro nn, but I'll try to tackle your 3 points at once...

No, they don't have the right, their infrastructure covers physical space and is in the same category as power grids and sewers, you cannot have a "free market" because the world has space limitations, I would hate to live in a street with a thousand energy cables, ten different providers of sanitation systems and in a permanent construction zone.

Since there's no feasible way to guarantee a real free market, they need to be regulated to avoid the exploitation of consumers that don't have other choices.

And even if we have the choice of multiple ISPs providing the last mile, we will need to keep some regulation on companies that sell the bandwidth to the ISPs.

Physical infrastructure is a different beast than digital goods, companies shouldn't have the right to exploit consumers just because there's no feasible way to provide more competition.


Hi, I'm your ISP. Now that I'm not limited by net neutrality over-regulation, life is going to be better for you.

Hacker news and those other niche new sites you visit are niche sites and as such have a lower routing priority. If you would like to prioritize them with full enhanced speed, please upgrade to niche news site plan. An additional $9.99 per month. Sorry, they're so slow right now.

You've noticed all your https traffic is slow now? Easy fix: install this software which proxies all your HTTPS traffic through our fast and secure gateway. This lets us add "supercookies" to all your web requests. We then sell your name and address to operators of sites you visit.

And what's great is that this software also allows us to insert our own advertisements into the websites you visit. Now we can finally take revenue from Google and Facebook and become our own advertising empire. We've wanted Google-money for a long time, but we've never had a way to force ads on users because we don't offer compelling services.

With the recent increases in Netflix and YouTube prices, we recommend you subscribe to ISPFlix. It's an additional $24.99 per month which is half the price of Netflix. We've wanted Netflix money for a long time, but we've never had a way to force users to use our services over Netflix. Now we love cord cutters.

Oh, you've noticed the decreased traffic to the website you operate? That might be due to your site being so much slower for users. If you'd like your site to be fast again, please pay an additional expedited content service fee. It's an additional $299 per month.

Oh, it looks like you have a smart thermostat installed. That's an extra $9.99 per month for the home automation service plan. We'll block packets that look like they're from your thermostat for now. We should let you know we offer a full home automation and security product. It's a terrible product that is not competitive.

See? Regulation to make sure we won't block or slow down sites or alter your traffic just doesn't make sense. It's totally not important to anyone, but we are going to promise we won't block or slow down sites. Our terms and conditions may change at any time.


These are, frankly, crap arguments because they flat out ignore one major factor - we're already paying for access to the internet. So is Google, Netflix, and every other company out there. None of this is, in a NN world, free in the first place; nobody is getting a free ride on someone else's network.

> I have only seen vague bullshit till now.

Then you haven't been paying attention. Sorry, that's rude, but it's the truth. There have been plenty of well thought out and presented arguments created by the EFF and by a number of pundants across the internet. Even Google supported NN before they decided they can afford the double dipping in exchange for a higher barrier to competition.

Do more than berate people on a forum for being angry about the very foundations of a free (as in speech) internet being torn asunder; do some basic research for yourself and you'll find them.

Alternatively, just look at the rest of the world for a view of a non-NN future. ISPs have already demonstrated that they will use the lack of enforced neutrality to promote their own services in an unfair way, such as applying artificial limits on Netflix but not their own on-demand video services. They raise the prices of internet services while simultaneously removing our options. How is that in any way good for consumers?


I agree with all your points, but:

1. ...but why give them ability to charge based on what you're doing with access they give you? It's like your electric power provider would charge you more if you have a blacklisted freezer...

2. ...but maybe let's start by lowering the bar for new ISPs and getting rid of monopolies instead of giving them more means to squeeze more money? How getting rid of NN helps with that? Google couldn't get into that market.

3. ...but what if my provider throttles wired network, not wireless, and not 4k, but full HD? What if they throttle my twitch, because they got a deal with google to serve unlimited access to Youtube Gaming at the cost of limiting access to twitch? Sure, change IPS! Whoops, there's no competition in my area. What now?


> 1. ...but why give them ability to charge based on what you're doing with access they give you? It's like your electric power provider would charge you more if you have a blacklisted freezer...

The electricity analogy doesn't work because the electricity company literally cannot figure out what brand of appliance you're using. Again, if you enter into a contract with your electricity company locking you into only running apple chargers, that's on you. No regulation needed.

> 2. ...but maybe let's start by lowering the bar for new ISPs and getting rid of monopolies instead of giving them more means to squeeze more money? How getting rid of NN helps with that? Google couldn't get into that market.

Makes sense. Except nobody's getting rid of nn. They are trying to prevent nn from being introduced. Till now, there hasn't been a concept of nn enforced by the regulatory authority. So no change in status quo, as far as nn is concerned. And Google did get into the market without over-reaching regulation like nn. It seems logical to me to continue the current state, it has allowed much innovation to occur.

> 3. ...but what if my provider throttles wired network, not wireless, and not 4k, but full HD? What if they throttle my twitch, because they got a deal with google to serve unlimited access to Youtube Gaming at the cost of limiting access to twitch? Sure, change IPS! Whoops, there's no competition in my area. What now?

Fully agree. This indicates the actual problem with ISPs today. They are operating as monopolies or duopolies or I'd even say cartels. This monopolistic behavior must be tackled. But enforcing nn will be like throwing the baby out with the bath-water.

As I said earlier, my points are not very well thought out. I really want to hear about problems that will get solved by enforcing nn. Thanks for responding, and not just downvoting.


> electricity company literally cannot figure out what brand of appliance you're using

That's a technological limitation; I know various companies that have half-working solutions for discriminating what kind of appliance you're using from a smart meter, based on its consumption profile and noise profile. Nobody's yet attempted plug-level DRM but it's not technologically impossible ...

Really what America needs is "local loop unbundling" in addition to net neutrality. But we're in the realms of what's politically achievable.


> Really what America needs is "local loop unbundling" in addition to net neutrality.

If we have local loop unbundling, NN will come on the backs of meaningful competition it would ensue (as opposed to Pai competition).


bingo - stuff like twitch is the reason why people here are afraid. and your full HD transmission is getting more expensive - oh, cry me a river - well, no HD for you. then again why would anybody be interested in making HD video less available? I really don't see that.

And if your freezer is blacklisted b/c it wastes 50% more energy than comparable freezers ... thinking about it is very likely that something like this might come to improve efficiency of the electricity supply. Wouldn't even be that bad.


>if your freezer is blacklisted b/c it wastes 50% more energy than comparable freezers

What if it's not because it wastes more energy? What if it's because it has a certain brand that didn't pay the energy company? If it wastes energy, then they should just charge you 50% more (or whatever their scheme is for the person that uses 50% more energy).


> "You don't see anybody trying to legalize murder, do you?"

You must've never been to Texas, home of stand-your-ground laws and the death penalty.


I agree - all the talk about "this is the end of the internet as we know it" makes it really hard to understand what is _really_ going on. I get the sense a lot of the rhetoric I see on reddit and hn are people reading blog posts or other people's opinions on those sites and simply rehashing them.

To be clear, I get everyone's concern and if what everyone is saying is true, I agree 100% this seems bad. However, all the hysteria makes it hard to get a grip on the facts


I am sorry you get downvoted so much.

Just to be clear, I think net neutrality is a Good Thing(tm), but your comment is certainly thought-provoking.

Having a discussion with reasonable people even - no! especially! - if I do not agree with them is part of what I like about this community so much.


Your points have all been soundly refuted elsewhere in the thread as they should, but

>You don't see anybody trying to legalize murder, do you?

Actually, you do. Many Republican state congresses are trying to make it legal to murder protesters by e.g. ramming them with your car. Net Neutrality is pretty much as cut and dried as this: there are people who oppose it, but that position is indefensible. "People defend it therefore there must be good arguments in favor of it" just isn't always true.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/08/the-charlottesvi...


> If competition is limited in the ISP space, that is due to over-regulation like granting monopolies. Instead of piling on more regulation, we should solve the root cause and do things that promote more competition. NN doesn't do that in the least.

Buying land for fiber lines, and building out all of the necessary infrastructure to make that happen is not something just anyone can do. Even Google backed out of that race! How much competition can there actually be with ISPs?


I don't think nn is good, but I think the current situation in the US drives people towards solutions like nn. Here are some reasons why you would want nn over the previous status quo:

- The company that builds and operates the network has been granted substantial subsidy; the government subsidizing it has a right to make demands to the quality and pricing of the product.

- The company is interested in maximizing profits from the product; the government is interested in providing the service to the maximum number of people. This includes places where laying infrastructure is not cost-effective, i.e. sparsely populated rural areas far from the current network. The company would not be willing to build infrastructure for them, so the government subsidizes it, but expects a certain measure of quality in return(back to argument 1)

- The de-facto situation is a monopoly, and the Telco Act is designed to deal with such a situation. While you say "just fix the root cause", it's not obvious how to do that. Assuming that new ISPs will pop up, there will still be a painful transition period. During this period, what are people supposed to do? NN shifts the "harm" from the users to the companies, which is a short and medium-term net-positive for the users. And what if no ISPs pop up? You're throwing people's livelihood in jeopardy on a gamble. This is essentially the "internet is a public good" argument.

For these reasons you want some measure of regulation where you can provide internet connectivity to the maximum number of people. This is very reminiscent to phones, so it's natural to reach for the Telco Act.

I think NN is a painful compromise for the current situation the US is in.

I think the only obvious endgame of NN is essentially nationalizing ISPs - what are you going to do in the long term when they refuse to provide better internet because they can't justify the cost? NN will be a fairly powerful tool for them to eliminate any possible competition, or as a MAD weapon to enforce their turfs(look at the clauses about compliance - they are regulated on a local level, guess where ISPs have the most lobbying power?).

On the other hand, the situation in the US "as-is" is pretty shit, and people want some kind of assurance for the future of their internet access. That assurance can only realistically come from the government. I am not sure whether I would vote for or against NN if I had to, even though I opposite it on principle(I don't think it's a good solution).

Luckily, I don't have to deal with such a problem. In our country, the nationalized phone company builds internet lines, and leases them to competing ISPs(they are also allowed to build their own). This has worked so far, but the situation is vastly different from the US.


[flagged]


> Found the ISP shill.

WTF! I'm literally trying to have a logical discussion about it. You're the one who isn't able to defend her position.


Could you please take a look at the guidelines, which ask you not to do this?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Fair enough. The first four words of my post do violate the policy, but the following words, which make up 95% of the content, do add to the discussion and make an important point.


Notice which four words were quoted in the only follow-up comment! These things punch way above their weight, which is why they need to be excluded.


Contact your congressional representatives. Resistbot makes this easy:

https://resistbot.io

It's free, and will fax/write your House rep / Senators on your behalf with your own message. Call them, too. It takes just a few minutes to tell the staffer that answers that you want your congressperson to protect net neutrality. Just your name and, usually, zip code (to confirm that you're a part of their constituency) gets your quick opinion tallied.


Congressional staffers don't pay any attention to faxes any longer. The likelihood that your member of Congress pays attention to your contact is proportional to the amount of work you put into it. Faxes used to be good, but Resistbot changed the dynamic due to making sending one frictionless.

Source: A Senate staffer I had drinks with a few months ago.


It's a good question. As tech folks, we're first in line to see this wonderful dream we have crumble, both from government and private actions. (I'm looking at you, Facebook)

In my opinion the only hope we have is to eliminate anything looking like a Democratic or Republican talking point from our language. We live in an age of people forming up into these two groups and yelling at the other one. If we play that game, then it's much more profitable for the politicians to keep the debate alive than settle it.

Our model should be the temprance movement which ended up outlawing alcohol in the early 1900s. They didn't care which political party you were in, as long as you voted the same way on a very simple proposition: should alcohol be banned or not. (Making it simple prevented politicians from playing weasel-word games)

They were effective. Politicians feared them.

I don't see this happening with tech issues, sadly. Instead, I see the big tech players setting up lobbying firms and the troops all rallying around one party or the other. That's a strategy for a long, losing battle, not a winning one.


>In my opinion the only hope we have is to eliminate anything looking like a Democratic or Republican talking point from our language. We live in an age of people forming up into these two groups and yelling at the other one. If we play that game, then it's much more profitable for the politicians to keep the debate alive than settle it.

I disagree fundamentally with this. Political parties are trying to win elections, and they decide what they're going to fight for based on what gets them votes. If supporting NN doesn't get Democrats votes, they're not going to fight for it as hard, or maybe just drop the issue. Likewise, if Republicans can keep calling NN "Obamacare for the internet" and winning, then they'll see no reason to stop.


I don't think it can be simplified enough for that approach to work. There's also limited room for single issue votes - you can't be a single issue voter on multiple issues! And a big part of American politics is people being single issue voters on guns or abortion regardless of how corrupt the candidate is otherwise (see Alabama).

Maciej ("idlewords" on HN) has started https://techsolidarity.org/ as one possible solution.


I'm not a single-issue guy myself, but the question was something along the lines of "How can we make this happen?" and the answer is "focus". Otherwise you're just going to be another special interest group in a vast sea of special interest groups. The American political system has an entire machine dedicated to folks like that. I don't see that as being worthwhile.

But admittedly, I'm just random-internet-dude. If somebody can start something I think has a chance, I'm happy to help out in any way I can. It's an important (critical) issue.


Why is it considered a foregone conclusion that removing net neutrality will change anything in the first place? I mean, we’re talking about rolling back the clock to the situation as of ~2 years ago. Which was just fine. I would prefer net neutrality to stay in place, but it’s intellectually dishonest to make claims about the internet as we know it coming to an end within minutes of the repeal.


No, the FCC has been trying to pass NN rules for many years. The courts kept striking down their common-carrier-lite rules so they finally acknowledged reality.

Prior to that many people were still on dialup and the fight was to get people to sign up for broadband. Now the market is saturated so it’s time to seek as much rent as possible.

They successfully squeezed Netflix. You don’t think they see dollar signs?


See it the same way - but NN is bad for business - and HN is 50% about business - so you get downvoted for your heresy.


How hard is it to build a non-profit Internet infrastructure?

We can already do last mile ISPs quite easily. How about we start connecting them together?

Of course this is not a short term solution but this is what we need to accomplish in the long run. Infrastructure should not be in private hands because of reasons like this. They will never stop trying, because of the innate perverse incentives.


Muni/Public broadband has already been limited in 20 states.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/02/isp-lobby-has-al...


this episode of Radiolab More Perfect actually convinced me the court decided that case correctly (as much as Radiolab clearly tried to push to opposite opinion)

I don't like the results but the solution has to be something else IMO

http://www.wnyc.org/story/citizens-united/


Part of the problem is how little people understand or think about the basics of the relevant body of law. "Corporate personhood", for example, makes perfect sense when you consider that generally we want people to be able to start businesses, and the business needs to be able to, say, own property or enter into contracts (and potentially use the courts to have them enforced). It means nothing more than granting corporations some of the rights of humans, in order for corporations as legal entities to be able to fulfill their function.

The issue then is not things like "corporations are people" versus "no they're not"; it's to what extent the rights of a corporation should mirror the rights of a human. And generally, the argument people should make to fight Citizens United is one of granting only those rights which are necessary for a corporation -- an artificial, legally-created "person" -- to fulfill its designed function, and avoiding those which are problematic.

Once you reframe the argument that way, you get to talk about how it's useful to have some corporate speech rights for purposes of advertising, but political speech isn't necessary or useful, and may even be self-contradictory. Consider that unlimited corporate political speech also opens the door for forced corporate political speech: if a shareholder can make an argument that, say, Candidate A's positions will increase shareholder value while Candidate B's positions will decrease it, then the shareholder now also has an argument to force the corporation to "speak" on behalf of A and against B as part of the corporation's responsibility to shareholders. So granting "free speech" to corporations could well lead to compelled speech. And it's probably not in the interest of public policy to clog up courts with those kinds of arguments, which then gives you the way in to restricting corporate political speech.


>how it's useful to have some corporate speech rights for purposes of advertising, but political speech isn't necessary or useful, and may even be self-contradictory.

Most mass media speech is corporate. Banning corporate speech would mean shutting down every for-profit news paper and tv station in the country.

Is the Washington Post putting out a story any different than Amazon putting out a story?


You seem to think it's impossible to craft a ruling that allows, say, a newspaper to exist at all without also having exactly the current system we have. It's not impossible.


the actual case arguments of citizens unitied came down to pointing out that the supressing a corporations free speech rights would effectively lead to banning books. That was actually brought up in the arguments made by the side against Citizens United and a least according to that Radiolab episode was the point that decided the case.

It can effectively be boiled down to something like you write a book critical of Trump. You try to release it during the next election cycle. Because the book is published by a corporation and because it would arguably be political speech it would be banned. Banning books is generally frowned on by many people and the government deciding which books are political and which are not sounds like a very slippery slope.

In the actual case an example was given - you write a 200 page book about global warming - at the end you put one sentence - "therefore don't vote for candidate x" - the side arguing against Citizens United confirmed that book could have been banned


Except Citizens United wasn't about an individual human writing a book, and a ruling on corporate speech can easily be crafted that doesn't affect individual humans in any way.


how so? why does citizen A get to publsih a book but citizen B does not? Who decides if citizen B's book is political ? Why is citizen A's book against global warming ok but citizen B's book against homeschooling not ok?

Publishing generally goes through a publisher even if that publisher is only Amazon Kindle. Corporations (even 1 person corporations) are involved almost without exception


What I'm saying is simply that while John Q. Citizen has the unlimited right to publish his opinions, I do not think Acme Corp. should have the unlimited right to publish its opinions. So a book authored by John Q. Citizen could not legally have its publication restricted, but a book authored by Acme Corp. could, if a legislative body chose to do so.

Similarly, John Q. Citizen is absolutely free to engage in political activism, but Acme Corp. should not be.

Also, the gloom-and-doom death-of-individual-speech scenarios people like to propose in response to this did not occur during periods when corporate speech was restricted by law, which is a telling counterpoint.


John q citizen will almost necesssarkly use a Corp to publish. As brought up in the radiolab episode Citizen’s United’s movie was in response to Michael Moore’s anti Bush movie. when asked why it was not banned the government said “because he’s media”. nothing to do with corporations. His movie was published by a corporation (Sony). Instead the government found itself in the position of saying who is allowed to publish. Sony yes , other Corp no.

maybe you think the solution would have been to ban Moore’s movie. But in that case the government now has to decide what is and isn’t a political movie. Every movie projects some sort of world view and people who disagree with that view see those movies as political propaganda


See, I think you and I are not understanding each other. I tend to believe that an entity founded for the purpose of pooling capital to generate profit should be restricted to doing those things which are necessary to its purpose. Engaging in political activism isn't one of those things. If the particular field of endeavor of that entity is publishing books or movies, then that's perfectly all right, but I'd argue there's a right on the part of the government to, for example, police it for signs of really being a political-action organization rather than a profit-making one, and to regulate its actions accordingly.

Nothing about that does away with publishers. Nothing about it even does away with the ability of publishers to publish the political opinions of individuals. Most publishing houses do this and do it with little or no care as to what the opinions are, because even political opinions the publisher's executive disagrees with can be very lucrative to publish, and the executive is charged with making money rather than with enforcing some sort of political opinion.

And any and every counterexample that tries to muddy the waters by arguing that an individual's ability to publish would be impacted is going to fail in a similar way. Please, stop trying to make some counterexamples.


Here is the number for the congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Googling your reps by zip code is also helpful (direct lines).

Call them and let them know you want legislation passed to guarantee title ii (2) net neutrality. Title 2 is the "internet as a utility" provision.

Title 2 is important because opponents are claiming they are for "net neutrality" too. Title 2 is the "treat it like a utility" neutrality that has been in place since 2015.

If you're making less than $75k you may want to mention that you don't want your taxes to go up while you're at it.


> Title 2 is important because opponents are claiming they are for "net neutrality" too.

The opponents on the FCC (well, the 2 of the 3 that were on the FCC then) voted against the most recent proposal under Title I that preceded the current Title II reclassification. Insofar as they claim to support net neutrality, they oppose any regulation, regardless of basis, that would enforce it.

> If you're making less than $75k you may want to mention that you don't want your taxes to go up while you're at it.

From my experience in a legislative office, for anything short of an in person meeting with someone you have an established relationship with, you want to keep any contact to a single subject: if you want to address two issues, make two separate contacts.


Today? You can try calling your congress person. In ops terms, this is like 'service httpd restart'. It may or may not help, but you'll feel like you did something.

Long-term? You need to vote in every election, for every human candidate position. Study the candidates in your local election and vote for one in every category that is not loony and disconnected from reality. It'll take hours of work. Like choosing a vendor, only you don't get paid. If you want to save your friends time, post the results of your research on Facebook and talk them down or unfriend them if they're mean instead of curious/rational about discussing it.

(Actually, you would get paid, long-term, because all the access fees for "HD video" would be made illegal, because you took the time to speak up for your interests and statistically that works out at scale.)

Also if you're rich, donate money. Use lobbying in plain view, and say that you're doing so after you do it. It only takes a million bucks to buy a senator for a year. If you're going up against Big Telecom, you might need ten million bucks. Consider it angel investing in the nation's infrastructure.


The best way would be to destroy Comcast with community networks. Get fiber and provide free wifi to your neighborhood. Drive them bankrupt.


In several states, lobbyists from Comcast and Verizon are working to make it illegal for community owned ISPs. Their claim is that this is essentially the government participating in free trade and that it gives those communities an unfair advantage.


For one, this doesn't need to be provided by the government. We have community wifi in Prague run by hobbyists and volunteers. For two, isn't the freedom of democracy (aka, the freedom of the people to have their government do what they want, such as provide community wifi) even more fundamental than net neutrality? Doesn't it make sense to fight the monopoly than to regulate it?


That works in a large hub like Prague, where fiber is present. In the US, NYC Mesh would be one. The issue is that for many communities within the United States, fiber is not available at all. There is a single ISP, usually Comcast or Verizon, and they have implemented data caps. The cost of running fiber would be prohibitively expensive even for a group of people, and you can be sure Comcast would use every legal tactic to fight, like they did with Google Fiber.

Your latter sentence is a great idea, except that in the US, we had a court decision known as Citizens United (notorious Republican double speak) that essentially made money into speech. Many of these issues now pit small communities with limited funds versus large internal companies with nigh limitless resources.


If you really want to stop it I think we’re all going to have to call our reps and become single issue voters.


In addition to contacting your gov representatives, apply economic pressure on the companies who seek to profit from this bass-ackwards legislation, namely Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.

If you are a Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T subscriber contact your respective provider and tell them you will cancel your service (or if under contract, not renew) if they continue to support the FCC's plan. Find friends and family who might also be current customers and ask them to file complaints with customer service.

Appealing to heads and hearts is certainly worthy, but when we grab them by the financial balls we will have their undivided attention.


I feel like we need a permanent solution to this so that we don't have to panic and raise awareness every year. If we create a fund to protect Net Neutrality and "out-lobby" the ISPs in Washington would be great. If we just donate 10% of our internet bill every month we can definitely become a force they can't out-lobby without going bankrupt.


Use cryptography to solve problems not legislation. Net Neutrality means nothing on Tor because nobody can be identified via their link connection.


If lots of ordinary people started using Tor, then perhaps this would solve something. Until then, ISPs will just throttle "unidentified" connections along with anything not coming from Netflix, Amazon etc... .


Properly configured Tor connections look like regular HTTPS connections on port 443 otherwise most who need it couldn't use it without getting thrown into "re-education camps"

Also I'm not talking about using Tor to connect to "regular HTTPS" sites like Amazon or Netflix where they see you as some special citizen of the Internet (one they don't like) I'm talking about things like Hidden Services where there is no external gap between networks being exploited.


I wonder if one or both of us is missing the point here.

The concern is that ISPs will throttle all traffic which they don't recognise as being served from a big-name domain (Netflix, Amazon, Facebook...).

In such a situation, if I use an ordinary https connection to watch my favourite Netflix shows, then they won't throttle me. But if I do anything through Tor, then they will.


My point is that on a network with onion routing you have nothing to block. You are mixing the two networks that's a separate issue.


Based on this and your other comments, it sounds like you're suggesting running the entire Internet on a cryptographic protocol like onion-routing. Am I right?

This still isn't a practical solution to the problem at hand. Most people want to watch a lot of streamed video, which isn't doable over a Tor-like network in the foreseeable future. Also, it would be impossible to get the support of the internet giants, without which I don't know how you could do this. They've invested a lot into being able to see and analyse almost everyone that's using their service.


On Tor, everything is slow. And quite a lot of sites ban you because the anonymity tends to be used to cause trouble.


Tor websites (hidden services) cannot ban you because they cannot identify you via your link connection (this was the point of my original comment)

Just because the current Internet was built with IP addresses etc. for the 1970's doesn't mean it has to stay that way and Tor has proven you can at least solve the NN problem with onion routing.


They’ll just slow all Tor connections, unless you pay $50 for the “Tor+ bundle”


My comment is describing how an Internet that works more like Tor and uses onion-routing is immune to censorship because you cannot identify the link address - aka no IP address to identify.

You cannot "just slow all Tor connections" when everything is a Tor connection is my point.


Wont this create a massive demand for VPN services? How can they stop/throttle VPN'ed access?


your vpn is not on the whitelist of ips that they allow large bandwidth for because you paid extra. Throttled.

That's one way and there will be variants on it, other methods, bait and switch etc. etc.


I can't see ISPs doing whitelists (that would almost certainly become a public court document). I can't see just banning vpns (due to work etc), I could see them charging for a VPN line. At that point they have accomplished nothing?


> that would almost certainly become a public court document

Why?

> I can't see just banning vpns (due to work etc), I could see them charging for a VPN line. At that point they have accomplished nothing?

They've accomplished quite a lot: getting you to pay extra for a service that was previously included.

There are also technological solutions that detect video streaming within a VPN (by size and frequency of packet), so you might find that you still can't watch Netflix unless you pay the extra Netflix ransom to the ISP.


> that [ip white list] would almost certainly become a public court document >> Why?

If a medium sized company and was excluded, I imagine a law suite would be filed within hours. Any internet company not on the list would be in court just to survive. The first document in question would be the white ip list. That white ip list would never leave the courtroom (international headaches, federal districts courts, county courts then all the one offs: schools, .govs, .mils! -- ugh what a mess). This isn't a plan.

> They've accomplished quite a lot: getting you to pay extra for a service that was previously included.

Really? They win an extra fee of $10 on 0.5% of users? They can't do that now - just raise it now $10? Sure make it $20? I guess they can try to tell if you use a video source over a VPN - and haggle customers over video usage. Have millions of false positives. Ugh. ISPs shudder when you say "add more call centers." SO --- Hiring expensive tech fluent english customer service teams to hunt down VPNs (at $10 a pop) - sounds like a plan a board will almost certainly ditch. A call to my mother about her VPN using video traffic would take 17 phone calls and over 200 man hours. I don't think any of this is a money maker plan.

Yeah when you logically break down the parts, I don't see ISPs gaining a thing but headache. But I do see ISP losing almost all their influence to VPN services.


On what grounds would you litigate? We're not talking about a ban here, it's just that if you're not part of the ISP "partner programme" you wouldn't be included on low-tier subscriptions and connections to your website would be either unreliable or get an ISP upsell banner.

> haggle customers over video usage

Just degrade it, enough to stop working. Have the connection dribble to a halt. All automated. Tech already built for China's Great Firewall. And obviously you don't call the customers, you have them call you, at which point you upsell them.


> "On what grounds would you litigate?"

Thousands of companies couldn't do business and no lawsuit? I don't see this happening. I could see everything from freedom of speech issues (newpapers, churches, private schools.. ), to freedom of commerce, Antitrust issues (my competitors blocked internet to), to political parties worried about their sites service, -- I would really need 10 white boards and 4 lawyers to map out thousands reasons.

"The Antitrust Movement".[i]

A more interesting current issue related(ish): [ii]

[i] http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-16-2-b-...

[ii] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-microsoft-linkedin-ruling...

> Just degrade it, enough to stop working.

Ok let's say we go as far as 'China's Great Firewall'. I worked with may chinese crews they just use VPNs through "ok'ed" lines just furthering my point.


Most VPN traffic is very obviously not normal HTTP/HTTPS traffic. It will always be a cat & mouse game, but a motivated ISP could make it very difficult for most people.


Can DNSSEC ensure net neutrality? Seems to me if an ISP can’t see what domain you’re visiting, they can’t stop you from visiting it. Is this correct?


I’ve wondered about this sort of thing too, but I figure that their response will be “if we can’t see what domain you’re visiting, we’ll just stop you from visiting it”. Ditto with vpn traffic. They’ll whitelist paying traffic and slow everything else.


Does DNSSEC provide encrypted queries / answers?

I was under the impression it only provides authenticity and integrity for answers. (I am by no means an expert, though!)


> Does DNSSEC provide encrypted queries / answers?

No, it doesn't.


In retrospect, I could have just asked Wikipedia or a search engine of my choice instead of asking dumb questions. ;-)

Thank you very much!


They can still unavoidably see which host you're visiting, and will divide their traffic into "paid priority" and "everything else".


No, they can still see the IP address of the site you visit.


From the official Republican Platform adopted in 2016 [1]

    The survival of the internet as we know it is at
    risk. Its gravest peril originates in the White
    House, the current occupant of which has launched a
    campaign, both at home and internationally, to
    subjugate it to agents of government. The President
    ordered the chair of the supposedly independent
    Federal Communications Commission to impose upon the
    internet rules devised in the 1930s for the
    telephone monopoly.
This was the position of almost every contender for the Presidential nomination during the primaries in 2016, it is the position of the one who won that nomination and went on the win the Presidency, and it is the position of almost every Republican in Congress.

Most of them openly promised during their campaigns to repeal the Open Internet Order of 2015. Before that, they had openly fought the earlier Open Internet Order of 2010 (the FCC's first net neutrality rule--the one that was struck down by the DC circuit due to a lawsuit from Verizon, which is what lead to the 2015 order to reinstate net neutrality in a way compatible with the court's ruling).

Since Republicans won with this as part of their platform, and openly campaigned on it, they take winning the Presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress as a sign that the voters agree with them on this.

Making noise now is probably not going to change their minds. They see that as just the usual whining from people whose side was rejected by the voters. The noise that will matter is the gentle scratching of a #2 pencil filling in an oval [2] next to a candidate who is in favor of net neutrality in 2018 and 2020.

(It also doesn't help that many of the people making noise to save net neutrality are making exaggerated arguments that undermine their creditibility. I've seen many that are predicting that repeal of the 2015 order will almost be an extinction event for the internet as we know it...yet all this will be doing is taking is back to what the rules were at the start of 2010, and the internet worked quite well in 2010, and so it is hard to take these people seriously).

As a practical matter, at this time, that probably means saving net neutrality requires voting in Democrats. A lot of Democrats.

This could be a problem for those who support net neutrality, but on other issues support Republicans. For example, if you are strongly against gun control, and against abortion, but in favor of net neutrality, you will probably find voting for Democrats unacceptable because you probable think those first two issues are more important.

If voting for a Democrat is not acceptable, then consider getting active in Republican primaries and caucuses. There ARE Republican candidates who support net neutrality, but they usually lose in the caucuses or primaries because the kind of moderate Republicans who would support them are not as active in the primaries and caucuses as are the far right Republicans.

[1] https://prod-cdn-static.gop.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FIN...

[2] or whatever noise the voting mechanism makes in your district...


I have a question on this subject that I've been wondering about for a little while now. The following could fairly be argued to be a a crazy theory, and there may indeed be conclusive proof that debunks it, which I wouldn't mind hearing. This is basically a "what if..." borne of lack of information, and I recognize this as potentially a bit "out there".

I live in Australia. I'm admittedly completely ignorant of the laws here, but I don't think we have anything resembling net neutrality locally. This has not really had a impact, but it did allow mobile operators to structure their offerings in specific ways. I'm not sure if the way everything worked here was done similarly in the US.

Back in 2006-2007 when I had a phone with '3' (I stopped in ~2008 for variety of unrelated reasons), I could open the web browser on my feature phone (an SE K608i) for free but by default it would only allow me to access an extremely limited range of websites. By buying a "data pack" for $5/mo I would be given a fixed data cap to use to access the general Internet. To do this I'd need to switch the phone's APN (Access Point Name) from "3services" to "3netaccess".

There were other data packs available; the "news pack" would let me get access to pre-curated news segment recordings (as cute-bitrate .3gp files :P) and the like, for example. I'd need to be on the 3services APN to be able to access this.

Generally speaking, what US ISPs want to do nowadays is honestly not toooo much different from what I experienced literally 10 years ago. An ISP does a deal with Netflix, then I install today's equivalent of the "movie pack" and I can stream as much Netflix as I want. Cool; that honestly doesn't seem that radical. The practical advantages make a lot of sense to me technically and I see the whole thing as pretty benign as I've experienced it and I'm still alive to tell the story. Hollywood loves big fat contracts so they'll likely always play the game this way.

Here's the "....?!" that I'm getting at.

What if, this whole Net Neutrality scare is actually a careful act of social engineering?

What if, someone carefully started up hype about everything being the end of the world - being able to restrict access to websites unless we pay, etc - ?

Bam, you kill two birds with one stone: you've gotten legal approval that ultimately just allows you to shift bandwidth costs around a bit, but you've convinced the people that this has also given you permission to do a lot more. So when it comes time for those extra things to be convenient, you've already dealt with the resistance/backlash that would have come up anyway.

_IF_ I'm right, that turns the "support" of net neutrality into a giant conspiracy ring instead of a freedom-fighter sort of thing.

This is an idea that popped into my head after I remembered my days of having a cellphone years ago, when I stumbled on an imgur post highlighting a recent ad from a random ISP in a different country that offered something that was exactly like what I'd used.

This tiered internet approach isn't a radical idea, and I used it myself to great effect. So I'm kinda suspicious. Maybe this suspicion is out of order and I'm barking up the wrong tree. Or maybe this was a social backlash test.


Yes, everyone had what you are talking about - its called Cable television. The tiered internet is the interactive version of that.

You are missing the picture, let me try painting it for you, and for everyone has to face this question -

The internet is not netflix. Its not amazon, or facebook, or even google.

ALL of those are just webpages, or websites sitting on the internet.

And they are Just like my site - mysite.somewhere.com.

OR the sites that many of my country men could and will make, when they finally come online.

My spice selling family friend, could come online and make a site to sell spices for example.

And when they do - the instantly are accessible to every human being connected to the internet. (And quite a few robots too).

THAT'S the internet.

vs just new cable television.


> There were other data packs available; the "news pack" would let me....

Consider a hypothetical situation where you are talking with your friend and they tell you about a wonderful blog that they read recently. You get very much interested in the idea that as soon as you reach home you want to read them all. Unfortunately you own a "video pack".

What you mentioned about the data packs make sense for many people. People who spend most of the time on Netflix, Facebook etc. But that is not what internet is all about. Internet is not Facebook or Google or Netflix. What makes internet great is the fact that any random unknown person can host any idea that they want to share with others and I can find that note and read it from other part of the world.


Absolutely; that's the ideological goal that everyone wants to keep.

To reiterate the argument in my previous message, I had exactly what you described. The data pack only had a tiny 100MB cap (yup!!) and I (without any other form of internet at the time, actually now I remember this was 2005) easily blew through that as my mindset at the time was "if it moves then I'm gonna see if if the stupid HTML renderer in this thing will load it".

So I eventually had to accept having no internet. I could use email though. So the thing is, I experienced this, but there was no hype and freakout about it, it was just incredibly annoying and frustrating.

I honestly don't know if this was a "curated" freakout. The collective "...wait." is absolutely genuine and the problem absolutely undeniable, I can't possibly argue that; it's just... this isn't really that new to me.


Well, sorry to break it to you but for most people the internet is FB, Google and Nf ...

And if you want to take a look at a blog and you have the video pack - just get the blog pack or ask a friend - or maybe your other friend can just download it and send it to you?


You are correct, "for most people". That is why I mentioned > "data packs make sense for many people." I assume that the audience here does not belong to "most people"

> And if you want to take a look at a blog and you have the video pack - just get the blog pack or ask a friend - or maybe your other friend can just download it and send it to you?

This is good. But what if I want to read something without letting my friends know I am reading it.


"Nf"?


"N(et)f(lix)"!


I know this is a little off track from the pertinent argument, but why abbreviate Netflix? You aren't saving any time in typing out your response and it can only serve to confuse the reader (I also had no clue what Nf meant).


the parent explicitly refers to nf.


The parent explicitly refers to Netflix, not "nf" or "Nf". You might say it was clear from context, but for at least two people that read the comment it was not at all clear. It's not a big deal, I'm just always curious about everyone abbreviating things.


Netflix


> Generally speaking, what US ISPs want to do nowadays is honestly not toooo much different from what I experienced literally 10 years ago. An ISP does a deal with Netflix, then I install today's equivalent of the "movie pack" and I can stream as much Netflix as I want. Cool; that honestly doesn't seem that radical. The practical advantages make a lot of sense to me technically and I see the whole thing as pretty benign as I've experienced it and I'm still alive to tell the story.

I considered "experiencing" the same thing around the same time, but decided it wasn't worth the money for the limited experience. There are about 5 sites that I know I'll visit daily, and a few dozen that will change day to day. I don't want to pay less and have access to only a subset of the internet (talking about more than just the web).

Look at TV. It's a fucking wasteland, compared to the internet. No dark shady corners, no half-forgotten back alleyways to discover. A whole lot of mass-appeal crap, and not much else. There's a lot to lose.

Is there anything to gain? The things that I do already work the way I'd like them to. If my ISP gave me the option for a discount to accept prioritization of access to their business partners, I'd reject it; I don't believe it's in my best interest. I don't see a valuable gain for rejecting net neutrality. I see the internet sliding into a gutter of uselessness.


> I don't want to pay less and have access to only a subset of the internet (talking about more than just the web).

Here's the thing.

The Web - HTML/JS/CSS/etc - is the largest legacy installation of anything, anywhere. The complexity of JS, and the fact that we can do anything with it protocol-wise (WebSockets, XHR, _especially_ WebRTC+SCTP, etc), has guaranteed that the Internet in its current form cannot go anywhere anytime soon.

And I've just described the Web. Inter-bank transfers use SFTP. Literally every non-braindead company has a VPN. IP<->IP is going to live literally forever. So this model is effectively safe.

Now I've just described corporate/server use. A few years ago satellite set-top boxes were using dialup (AFAIK) to feed back vote results and do the payment<->key-exchange handshake for pay-per-view.

That's legacy satellite equipment, which is admittedly on the way out. Well, I had an ECG done a while back and _it_ used a modem (over POTS) too (the RJ11 for the phone was connected, the RJ45 for a LAN was not).

And that device looked pretty new, too. Well, it looked pretty modern, in any case; it had a dot-matrix monochrome LCD, the kind that you can see redraw slowly if you look at them from the right angle. But it probably went through 5 years of evaluations and approvals so that makes sense.

I completely forgot back to base alarm systems. Oh and "connected" car alarm systems too. And the SIMs in GPS trackers...

We have all manner of wired and wireless connections being used for an irreplaceable plethora of stuff.

P2P and "get out there and talk" has existed since the days of CB radios. The Internet is just an extension of that.

--

Regarding TV, I'm reminded of reading about someone who spent a few years in the 90s and ~2000-2003 (I think) digging around the satellite spectrum and recording stuff to tapes. He did a documentary-type thing and put it on youtube. I unfortunately can't remember what it was called :(

--

The more I look at things, the more I see that the internet will go back to being the domain of people who are technically inclined. That's already happening to a small extent with Tor. The only major difference this time is that the technically-inclined curious types will have higher chances of getting caught in crossfire from nearby unsavory groups they happen to be too close to without realizing it (my sentiment here comes from the SMTP blocks that happened a few years ago where if you were even in the same IP range as someone in a botnet you'd endup on a DNSBL somewhere, but in this case I think this one'll be more of a mindset thing).


Is there anything I can do to help as a Canadian?


Unionize the internet


im confused, both by what you mean, and how that would help?


I'm not even convinced that an end of net neutrality would be such a bad thing. Less bandwidth? What specific activity would be impaired by that? Wouldn't it maybe even be a motivator to waste less of it to annoying advertisement? And the hackers of the world will simply come up with a new digital web solution - no doubts about that - wouldn't that be exciting and maybe even spare me the crappy consumerist parts? ig, fb, sc etc. and realistically a governance of web content and behaviour is overdue. I can't just run around outside and shout insults at random people, as well.


Less web startups, less innovation. Sorry, I can't be more specific about the future. But I can be about the past:

Google probably would not have taken over search with its better ranking if AltaVista could just buy being much faster.

Social networks probably would not have overtaken Orkut (culminating in Facebook after may interactions) if Orkut could just buy being much faster.

Reddit (and Hacker News), if slow as molasses, might have lost to traditionally curated news sites (this one is a stretch).

Stripe wouldn't seriously compete with PayPal if it was much slower when it was starting.

So, what giants of the future will we be drowning on birth tomorrow? Specifically? No clue. But I'm very confident that they exist.


As far as I understand it's a slippery slope.

Prioritized traffic just opens up the possibilities for a lot more controlling measures of the internet. Power corrupts, so it's just a matter of that of this being abused by people in power.




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