Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
More Than a Million Pro-Repeal Net Neutrality Comments Were Likely Faked (hackernoon.com)
766 points by sus_007 on Nov 25, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 322 comments

How we express our opinions in a democracy needs to re-engineered. It needs to be secure and it needs to matter. Comments anybody can make and that are easily ignored are relatively useless.

The powers that be aren't going to fix this. If the voters had real, direct power, the lobbyists would not. And you can't put the voters' money directly into your pocket.

So we have to do it. We need to create an open-source, secure and low cost solution that shadows an existing state legislature and does a superior job for the voters.

And California is the perfect state for it. Let the voters decide the issues or let them "elect" anyone in the state to exercise their vote for them. Use proportional representation. Vote any time. Elect any time.

Once this system is proven, voters can decide whether to DUMP the California State Assembly and let the State Senate create and debate all the bills. Then we make it work for all those who can't use or that don't trust the Internet.

Once adopted, the same system can be rolled out in other states and maybe some day it will replace the House of Representatives.

People have to see it work small before they trust it big.

I would not say that something applied in California, state with the largest population, is an example of "work small before they trust it big".

Are you proposing a direct democracy system where the regular election cycle for representatives is obsolete, and people directly vote on issues and/or can elect new representatives at any time?


This breaks down the concentration of power while still enabling people to hand off this task to a trusted delegate. Anybody that is qualified to hold office. Or it could even be a representative from the other house.

And you could change who you delegate to any time. Instead of thinking they have a mandate for 4 years, the amount of power a representative actually has would go up and down over time. He or she could be out of power overnight if the voters lose faith.

Of course, the Senate would still work the old way.

It does not break concentration of power, only shifts that power from one group of people (politicians) to another (cybercryminals hacking the system). As Stalin famously said: "It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes."

That is certainly a risk. But I think it can be mitigated with three step authentication and notifying a voter multiple ways whenever their votes are recorded or an election of representative is made.

And we can give people an ID code for their vote. And let them see how their vote was recorded. They could identify themselves at city hall or the state house and punch in the code.

Also, if we broke out support for each bill by zip code, it would be easier to assess if fraud has taken place. You could even publish those codes and who cast each vote on every street. Not the actual vote, of course. Just who cast it.

We could also use a blockchain to ensure votes cannot be changed after they are cast.

In short, I think there are solutions to the hacking problem.

Have you evaluated any of the software that exists for this? FollowMyVote looked promising but appears to be defunct. I mentioned DemocracyOS in my other comment but have yet to look into it; it’s at least being talked about and has been deployed in a few places.

No, wasn't aware of it.

My guess is it is unlikely to really work until the right use case comes along. A city-wide election might be a good place to start.

This is delegative democracy, and I’ve been thinking about how to try to get this implemented too.

Rather than trying to push it at the state level, which still seems a pretty high barrier for entry, I’m wondering if it’s possible to run as some kind of state or local representative, something like city council, and set up a system so that the rep’s constituents are the ones using it to inform their rep of their wishes. They’d use an app or site to vote on things known to be coming up in the chamber, delegates could make public statements about them. The representative could run either on a platform of “I will be bound by how my constituency votes” or “I will not be bound, but I better give you a damn good reason to vote contrary to my constituency if I want to be elected again.”

DemocracyOS and other open source tools are starting to appear that should make the implementation of any number of these systems fairly easy, though of course there’s still security and ID verification to contend with.


The ID verification is a challenge. We have vote-by-mail here in California and have dead people still voting.

I would have some annual re-qualification system, like maybe video comparison. You record a video when you register and another each year speaking about a specific current event and the system could compare the two and make sure the current event is correct.

Needless to repeat, but we'd also need methods for handling exceptions. Nobody should be denied use of the system because they cannot figure out how to use it or don't have a computer or smart phone.

I was thinking along the lines of in-app ID verification when I wrote that, seems you are too, but it occurs to me that you have to go to a building in order to register to vote as it stands today. That piece could still exist, with alternatives like the one you suggest being made available as they are vetted.

Public libraries, schools, courthouses, post offices could all be access points that would let folks without devices participate. With the right setup, UX for both voting on things and for choosing delegates should be not much more complicated than what a ballot looks like today, and yes, someone should be available to help those who are having trouble with it.

You mentioned that the system is waiting for a good use case, and I agree. That’s what makes it very attractive to start at the state level despite the difficulty: people can have a bigger, more tangible impact than what you would get at city scale. I wonder if the best way to get started at that level is by creating a new political party whose candidates are constrained in their votes (but not in any legislation they propose) by how their constituents are responding. Recognizing that elected reps will have their own opinions and should be free to voice them, but bringing in the delegative structure beneath them as a binding principle of the party. It seems like it would help with mindshare/awareness if it was a widespread phenomenon instead of one random city councilman’s platform.

Great ideas.

A party devoted to reflecting the wishes of all the citizens would be great.

This could be a major plank in a new party, along with many other intelligent goals.

Thanks for the link on delegative democracy. That is essentially what I've been thinking about.

TED talk by cofounder of DemocracyOS:


Implementing that in California is a small challenge compared to implementing it for the US. The latter would take years and 2/3 of the states must agree, as it would mean a change to the Constitution.

I got a bunch of emails from senators thanking me for contacting them this week... before I had contacted any of them. Who knows what was said in my name.

I would report that to them, report that to the Sergeant at Arms for the US Congress (because hey...that seems like a CFAA violation using their computer system), and your state attorney general.

Being angry accomplishes nothing, being noisy accomplishes a little. being FUCKING ANNOYING and ever present accomplishes marginally but meaningfully more.

> being noisy accomplishes a little

And a bunch of people being noisy accomplishes a surprising amount, if you can be noisy in the right channels.

Also, it's almost always important to be persistently noisy. A single noise event (or even a handful) can be - and often is - ignored.

Silence is insidious because even after a very noisy scandal, silence eventually normalizes the status quo. The only way to counter this - and be seen as a real issue that needs to be addressed - is to be noisy in the right channels every time the problem happens, with the noise continuing until the problem is actually fixed.

Protesting, letter writing, and political action in general is not a one time event. It's a force that needs to be continuously applied.

This is a much more articulate version of what I posted and should be taken very seriously.

The reason citizen movements so often lose out is because they are able to gather momentum for a one time event, but they are fighting against group with paid staff (not a slight just a reality) who do this full time. They are there on the same message every day.

I have worked with several activist groups that can't get the 'on message' part down and can't figure out how to apply it consistently and clearly. The same ideas about vision->strategy->tactics applies the same to activism as it does to a startup.

It's the different between the grand canyon and a really big rainstorm.

> letter writing

Especially this: letters get way more notice than phone calls or online petitions. Many representatives actually read their letters. Phone calls typically get filtered through staff, and they generally don't communicate a whole lot to the rep unless the person calling is a significant player in their district.

If you write a clear, concise letter explaining how an issue impacts you, your peers, and local/regional business, you will have a pretty solid shot at getting someone's attention.

I got some too. In my case they were from battleforthenet.com. Maybe yours were too? I had signed up quite some time ago, so I was surprised to see these. I guess they only recently sent them or the senators only recently responded.

Same. Came just last week for me.

robots thanking robots

web 2.0 -> web 3.0

Not sure of these people's analytics and or agenda if any, but apparently lots of comments were automated and or duplicates: http://www.emprata.com/reports/fcc-restoring-internet-freedo...

I'd be interested in other people's opinions on their conclusions.


Would you please stop posting unsubstantive comments to Hacker News?

FCC has explicitly said that they have ignored any opinion comments. They have only considered comments which bring new facts or a legal opinion. So the fact that many comments were faked is irrelevant anyway.

The government governs by the consent of its citizens. It is never acceptable for the government to ignore the opinions of its citizens, and anyone in government claiming otherwise should be removed.

I utterly reject your claim that we should just acquiesce in the face of such malignancy.

Sure, but we have (ideally/optimistically) a representative democracy, and not a direct government-by-the-people. That means that we nominate people we trust, and surrender some of our direct decision-making and opinion-influence authority to them when we vote for them. There are slightly more direct ballot measures and such at more local/municipal/state levels, but even those often take the form of "statement of purpose/priority"-type resolutions that the public expresses support for, and their elected representatives translate them into policy, or delegate that translation, et cetera.

>Sure, but we have (ideally/optimistically) a representative democracy, and not a direct government-by-the-people.

You say it as if it's a good thing.

Representative "democracy" is seldom representative, and is a watered down version of actual democracy.

>is a watered down version of actual democracy.

And a true form of democracy is mob justice. Reddit is not a good way to govern.

>And a true form of democracy is mob justice.

Only if a state's citizens are unwashed mobs. In which case representative democracy is not gonna fix things either.

We live in a republic not a democracy. Lots of unpopular decisions are the right thing to do, civil rights for example.

I'm not for what the FCC is doing but your assessment isn't helpful.

The consent was given in the ballot box, No?

You say that like Trump ran on a platform of deregulating internet service providers, as opposed to populist rage.

If anything, this election cycle demonstrates that the executive holds far too much power, that it can act with impunity at the behest of lobbyists on issues unrelated to, and in conflict with, the issues which drove voters to elect it.

In this case the problem isn't with the executive though, but in congress (where's the outrage from our representatives?).

Actually my senator is outraged, but he doesn't have a big telco presence in his state. Congress certainly has the power to stop this.

The FCC is appointed, not elected. And the current President, who appoints the FCC chairperson, lost the popular election by 3 million votes.

>And the current President, who appoints the FCC chairperson, lost the popular election by 3 million votes.

There is no "popular election" in the American system. Consent is, and has always been, given by proxy through the electoral college, as defined in the US Constitution. If you want to invalidate Trump's authority because of that, you have to invalidate every election prior as well, and claim that the US government has never governed with the consent of the people.

Mind you, I don't like Trump at all, but to imply that his authority is any less legitimate than prior Presidents would be specious, it's not his fault if the system that grants him power isn't designed to enforce popular will, it's the electorate's fault for not having changed it.

Or, to quote the legal scholar Ice-T, don't hate the player, hate the game.

It is true the EC elected Trump, but the popular vote is often used to demonstrate a mandate based on the will of the people i.e. "The people have spoken and this is their decision." Well in November the people spoke and the man in the White House was not their decision. It was the decision of the electoral college. A system, btw, which was designed to give majority slave owning states a greater say in Presidential elections.

We are not saying Donald Trump should not be President (for this reason), we are saying his agenda does not reflect the will of the people, and he certainly did not campaign on repealing net neutrality, so its hard to argue this issue was already decided by the voters. What he did campaign on was "drain the swamp". A Verizon crony working to dismantle consumer protections in favor of Verizon seems like exactly the opposite of that.

> Less than 50% voted for either candidate.

True. Another way of saying this is 64% of voters cast a vote for someone other than the President. This is reflected in his historically low approval ratings [1], and public opinions on both the healthcare push [2] and the current tax reform push [3].

But if we assume for a moment that the election was a mandate for the President to implement his agenda, we have to also note he isn't implementing the agenda on which he ran. He promised a wall paid for by Mexico, and several times has asked Congress to appropriate money for the wall. He promised he would not touch entitlements, and supported GOP measures to slash medicaid. He promised to drain the swamp and appointed interests to his cabinet with an agenda contrary to the agencies they represent. He promised to release his tax returns if elected and then claimed his election meant the voters decided he didn't have to. He promised to get tough on China and then capitulated to them over a cake dessert. This whole "mandate" idea, if we are going to accept it, should only be a mandate to implement the agenda on which the candidate campaigned. It cannot be used as a carte blanche for an elected official to turn around and do whatever they want.

To be clear, I'm not saying how a President governs and how a President campaigns should be identical. There's room for improvisation and changing ideas. But the fact a President was elected cannot be used as a justification for every action his/her administration takes.

[1]: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/... [2]: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/06/28/suff... [3]: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tax-poll/fewer-than-a...

Less than 50% voted for either candidate. Without ranked-choice voting we don't actually know whether Hillary or Trump was preferred by the majority of voters.

(It's also quite possible that if we had a ranked-choice system instead of the two party system, someone other than those two would have won.)

And if there was a popular election, then there's no guarantee the result would be the same. Under the current system, the candidates focus their campaign on the voters with the most influence ("swing states"). Maximizing popular vote would require different methods.

Sadly, Ice-T, used a false dichotomy. We can hate the player and the game. And often should.

But you define the game too narrowly. The technical mechanism of the election to the presidency is indeed currently via the electoral college. That's one game.

One deeper game is mandate. If an election result is strong, the victor is seen as having a mandate to strongly pursue their agenda. See, for example, Bush's claim that his 3 million vote margin gave him political capital that he could spend as he pleased. [1]

A still-deeper game is around the rules of the system. We ended up with electors chosen by the states as a dodge around the problems created by slavery [2], and because framers weren't sure the general populace would have sufficient education and information to choose the president. But that didn't work well in practice, so after assorted changes mid-1800s we ended up with what we have now, pseudo-direct elections implemented through the existing system of electors. [3]

That's an obvious compromise chosen because nobody wanted to go to all the work of switching to fully direct elections. But we've had two failures this century. If Trump is a sufficiently bad president, I'm sure we'll change this. (E.g., imagine him starting a pointless war with North Korea that ends up with Seattle getting nuked. People would be very eager to Do Something, and the states could fix this without any federal changes.)

This is driven by a deeper level still. American government is "government of the people, by the people, for the people". We hire temp workers to take care of the details for us. Trump's job isn't to represent Trump. It's to represent us. All of us. And, I'd argue, the best part of all of us.

To the extent he fails at that, it's his fault and ours.

[1] http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Bush-claims-mandate-s...

[2] http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llfr&fileName=00...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_Stat...

But I don’t want to have to wait until Seattle gets nuked before we do something about our problems.

Sure. But the US right has become deeply partisan over the last couple of decades. As an example, 2008 was the biggest financial crash since the Great Depression. I was sure that would be big enough to shock them out of the usual D vs R game and into making the same sorts of broad, lasting reforms that have come out of previous crises. In retrospect, I was totally wrong.

The last time the Republicans won the popular vote for a non-incumbent president was George H. W. Bush in 1988. Whatever the intellectual merits of EC reform, there's just no way right now they'll give up the advantage the EC system gives them. Right now a Wyoming voter's opinion counts for 3.7 times what mine as a Californian does in the presidential race. (It also counts 67x what mine does in the Senate.)

So unless the Republican party collapses (which is not unlikely), it will take something bigger than the 2008 bust to get people willing to change the EC.

Nope, he just got 3 million votes less - but the way the voting system works is that absolute number of votes doesn't count, how they're distributed in states count.

The current President didn't design this system, and the opponent could just as well have benefited by it (and previous presidents had).

Lacking direct democracy, it's not even necessarily a bad system in itself (whatever one believes for the current president). It might even be more representative of the average American than the popular vote (if e.g. the majority of the 3 million votes are concentrated in a particular state or two. IIRC the President got something like 50 million votes?

Imagine an exaggerated (but possible) case where 3 states push 50 million votes for one side, and the 49 rest of them push 47 million votes for the other side between them. Would you say that would be a good result, to have a president that has a majority that is based on 3 out of 52 states?

It might not have been as bad in the elections, but a huge part of those 3 million votes where mostly from one state, not distributed more or less evenly across the country. Which is the kind of issue the idea behind the election system wanted to avoid.

I really wish people would stop using the "he/she won/lost by 3 million popularity votes" line. Something I don't think people realize: 3 million people isn't that many.

Considering there are ~325M American citizens, ~231M are eligible to vote, with ~63M and ~66M actual votes going to the Donald and Hilldog respectfully, the margin between the two runners is pretty small. The Donald collected 27.2% of eligible votes, and Hilldog collected 28.5%. At best, Hillary won popular vote by less than two percent of the available votes, which even though it's a victory, it's still very very close.

> Something I don't think people realize: 3 million people isn't that many.

It's not that many in relative terms, but it's certainly a lot of people. It's more than the population of some countries and 20 US states.

> It's more than the population of some countries and 20 US states.

That last part (the margin of victory was tiny relative to some state populations) provides valuable insight into how broken the Electoral College is as a selection system.

(I don't mean that small-in-population states are solely responsible for electoral skew, but they're a good example of the problem.)

Pretty much, elections have consequences and interpretations of federal regulations is the quintessential example of that. There are means by which the other branches could restrain or affect these interpretations, but I have a hard time believing most voters didn’t or couldn’t ascertain the intentions of most candidates regarding net neutrality this past election cycle.

When people vote for president, they vote for a bundle of positions on thousands of issues. Every person who has voted for a president has voted against their own policy positions, often hundreds or thousands of their own policy positions. Some issues are never discussed in any debate or media at all and presidents have as far as the public is concerned roughly zero position on them (for example, NN).

It is of course ridiculous to suggest that people voted for Trump hoping he would destroy a free and open Internet; we have clear and incontrovertible evidence that the vast, vast majority of citizens (90%? 80%? I think it depends on which poll you take) hates what he is doing. The president has a good-faith responsibility to represent the citizens and when they come down on an issue like this which was non existent or tangential to his campaign so fervently it's most certainly a betrayal of that consent.

When he tries to build a wall? Sure, he definitely has consent there. On NN? Not a chance. He does have power though.

>When people vote for president, they vote for a bundle of positions on thousands of issues. Some issues are never discussed in any debate or media at all and presidents have as far as the public is concerned roughly zero position on them (for example, NN).

I don’t disagree with you on this at all, but again I think it boils down to ‘elections have consequences’. I don’t think that just because an issue was judged not as critical by voters (and therefore given relatively short shrift) means the interpretation is any less valid. That’s the function of the powerful executive branch made around the time of the new deal-ww2 era reforms, to manage complex federal issues. Just because I disagree with the decision and think most other Americans do as well doesn’t mean I think the president shouldn’t have the ability to make politically unpopular decisions.

Elections do have consequences, sure, but they are far from the end-all and be-all in determining what happens in government. Elected officials should be continuously responsive to their citizen's best interests, not only every 2-6 years at election time. And, likewise, we as citizens have the responsibility to deliver our input continuously, not just to pull the lever at the ballot box every 2-6 years. In addition to voting, I go to protests, I attend local government city council meetings, I contact my representatives on occasion when they're dealing with issues that I care strongly about, and I also file comments with the FCC every time net neutrality comes up.

Saying "elections have consequences" is not an excuse to ignore all non-ballot citizen input.

Politicians who govern by poll typically find they have accomplished nothing and yet managed to piss people off anyway.. there’s a line between ignoring voters and instituting needed reforms, and its easier for Pai to argue the latter when this is the policy platform republicans campaigned on. It’s tough for me to believe a party shouldn’t carry out the legislative agenda it campaigned on whenever the opposing party didn’t like it.

I think if people voted consistently in the midterms that would solve many problems, but alas that is relatively rare, much less the level of involvement you describe.

Sure, I agree. But I don't think it's fair to say he has the consent of the governed; rather that our system does not support that notion in any meaningful way. He is using his power against the will of the people explicitly.

The entire job of contemporary elected officials is to use their power against the interests of the people, in order to enact their sponsors' agendas. The booster speeches kowtowing to non-profitable public interests are nothing but wool being pulled over our eyes.

If you think this is a contemporary problem you should read up on Ancient Rome.

> hoping he would destroy a free and open Internet

Many of us disagree with the equivalence between nn and "free and open internet".

Say a bit more about that, please? (Or a link)

(Genuine request for more information)

There was plenty of propaganda targeted at pro-trump pro-neutrality types designed to make them confused about where Trump and Obama stood on the issue. A common talking point I saw was that Tom Wheeler had secretly been anti-neutrality.

One bit of input is clearly insufficient to express any actual opinion, so this idea that the citizens act through the ballot box is a reversal of the actual effect. Rather, the ballot box is how consent is manufactured - "I voted for this, therefore I must support it".

Try making the argument for net neutrality with some Trump groupies and you'll soon find the simplistic attitude that whatever is happening must be good because it's going against those entrenched insiders at the FCC. Permanent revolution, indeed.

Isn't is still fraud though? Submissions of opinions to a government agency under citizen's names without their consent or even knowledge -- it sounds illegal and not addressing this sorta thing now sets a crazy precedent.

Right. They outright said that they are only worried about getting into legal trouble for what they're doing. Protecting the public interest is no longer considered to be part of their mandate.

Which would hopefully bite them in the ass if I had any faith in a Trump-appointed judicial branch. The FCC is required to take public comments into account when making regulations, this should be a fairly straightforward lawsuit.

The FCC is required to take the ideas and issues from public comments into account. When multiple comments raise the same issues or issues that were already considered in the initial policy recommendations, the FCC can ignore these comments without issue.

Separating the comment policy from the net neutrality issue - the comment policy actually makes sense. Ideally, government officials should be acting as technocrats - considering all the arguments and choosing the best policy. A vocal minority pushing an argument that is bad should not be able to prevent or indefinitely delay sensible regulation.

While this line of reasoning is frustrating for net neutrality advocates, it's easy to see why this is sensible w.r.t say vaccines. Regardless of how many anti-vaccination comments are sent, I want officials writing regulations that reflect the best solution w.r.t the scientific facts and the ethical concerns (both around government compulsion and the ability of a parent to hurt their child through neglect), not the solution that reflects the majority opinion of the small subset of people who submitted comments.

Taking comments into account is different than simply having an opt-in vote which translates to who's e-petition can go the most viral (and let's not even get into fraud). And this is very much a good thing. In this case, even if I might agree with having some issue with net neutrality being repealed - I think most people have no clue at all what's going on and are voting based on fear mongering and sensationalism.

For instance, what percent of people could explain why Pai thinks repealing net neutrality is a good idea? Most seem to think he's just some Trump appointee selling out the highest bidder. In fact he's been arguing for a path of deregulation for years, even before he was appointed to the FCC by Obama 5 years ago.

I tend to debate against the masses on this issue simply because I think we're acting like a mob instead of a rational collective. And even if we may be getting it right on this issue, mob mentality is something that should never be condoned - even if you side with them on an issue.

I agree with gbrown. Pai’s statements are so untruthful and nonsensical that I can’t figure out why he thinks it could help even after reading many comments by him. His most clear argument is that it will somehow increase investments into ISP infrastructure (citing, I think, what happened in Portugal) while he simultaneously says we have no way to know what effects repealing it will have until we try it. Meanwhile a million people have shared the images of the bucketed plans from Portugal charging $9.99 extra for social networking and things like that.

The man is totally full of BS.

As for your comment that he was an Obama appointee, he was actually selected by Mitch McConnell but I know it’s a common trope to blame everything on Obama.

“Though an Obama appointee, Pai does not share Obama’s progressive views and is by no means someone Obama would have chosen to lead the commission. Rather, there’s a tradition of letting the minority party pick two commissioners, since the majority can only legally hold three seats; in nominating Pai — at the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican — Obama was sticking to that tradition.”

All your reasons for impugning his integrity boil down to you disagree with him. That is narrow minded.

Pai (and many economists) believe a double sided market could increase potential profits which would incentive investment so ISPs could provide a "fast lane." That isn't "somehow." They thought about and have a reason for believing what they believe.

You can disagree but that doesn't make them hitler.

No actually very few of my reasons for pointing out his lack of integrity have to do with simple disagreement on policy. I would try not to label people as narrow minded based on one short comment on the Internet. This community normally does a better job of not immediately devolving into personal attacks especially when you didn’t even ask what my reasons for disliking him are.

Read a much more in depth analysis in one of my other comments of his transformation of the FCC into a partisan agency, his attacks on poor people through the Lifeline program, as well as his close ties to Verizon which create a direct conflict of interest: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15781535

Not to even mention the post that started this thread about how Pai has accepted over a million fake comments on net neutrality from the telecom/ISP industries’ astroturfer lobbyists while refusing to provide enough information for NY to look into the matter (or investigating themselves)

There are people playing devil’s advocate for Pai’s views but how many people actually seem to strongly want these changes? Have you met any who don’t work for Comcast, Verizon, etc.? I honestly have not

There is no fast lane except by creating tons and tons of slow lanes. There are many ways to incentivize even our existing ISPs to invest more but he doesn’t pursue most of those.

Meanwhile the actual architects of the Internet point out that he is trying to reclassify a telecommunications service as a data service (despite pretty clear definitions that make it a telecom service) in order to remove most of the FCC’s regulatory powers


Whether he actually believes less regulation will help the average person or not, he is taking slimy approaches to force his opinion through (over loud complaints from Tim Berners Lee and basically every major internet player that isn’t an ISP)

I am not stating he is somebody Obama would have chosen to lead the FCC, but Obama saw fit to appoint him. A democratic majority senate saw fit to approve him.

I do not necessarily agree with Pai, but actually take the time to read what he says instead of snippets taken out of context and it's hardly nonsensical or untruthful. In going through this process of trying to actually discover his views, I found several interviews [1][2][3] that I found informative. His major view is that you regulate as necessary. Let people compete openly and freely with as few rules as possible. When bad behavior emerges deal with it as necessary. He is focused primarily on competition and simplifying what is required for ISPs to get in and operate. Adding hundreds of pages of rules and regulations does not really fit into the picture here.

I don't necessarily agree with him, but he certainly has a perfectly cogent argument. And I think disagreeing on the right path forward is perfectly fine. A number of small ISPs have written to Pai expressing support of his plans to dismantle the rules. Others have written him expressing disagreement with those plans. This is all a far cry from calling somebody a nonsensical shill, a liar, and so on. And in the vitriol on both sides, I find most have very little understanding of what it is they're even getting so riled up about.


Out of curiosity, if you would humor me. Why do you think Google Fiber failed to achieve significant sign ups in the region it setup in? In the ~6 years of operation to 2016 it managed an estimated 0.07million television subscribers, 0.45 million broadband subscribers. They've since rolled back further plans for expansion and engaged in lay offs in downsizing. Imagine the doomsday scenarios come true and suddenly ISPs are demanding $10 for social media, $10 for gaming, ... . What effect, if any, do you think this would have on the outcome?

[1] - https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/05/05/52...

[2] - https://www.cnet.com/news/fcc-chair-dishes-on-plan-to-rewrit...

[3] - https://www.recode.net/2017/5/5/15560150/transcript-fcc-chai...

As far as the Obama appointment, let me be a bit more specific. It has been customary for a looong time for the majority party to allow the minority party to appoint two members of the FCC. In fact, legally the majority party can only have three of the five seats. So even if Obama/Congress had gone against tons of precedent and not accepted Pai as the nominee, McConnell would have just sent another similar nominee in his place. There was nothing to be gained by being obstructionist other than slowing down the appointment.

I’ll look into the sources you provided and reply to that portion after I’ve had a chance to watch them.

As far as Google Fiber, I think there are several reasons it hasn’t gone well. It was far more difficult and expensive than expected for them to roll it out. This had to do with many problems getting permits, digging and laying fiber, and getting sued by existing ISPs. Then the existing ISPs (who are far better at marketing their services and already have a huge user base that rarely switches providers) immediately increased bandwidth or decreased prices as soon as Google moved into new areas. Thus the consumers greatly benefited when Google Fiber arrived in their town but they had little incentive to actually switch to Google. For example, Time Warner announced in North Carolina that it was boosting its customers from 50 mbps to 300 mbps (for no additional charge) as soon as Google announced they would start rolling out fiber. See http://www.zdnet.com/article/i-wish-google-fiber-was-in-my-n...

Let’s also not forget most ISPs are also large TV and phone companies so they can offer bundles or loss leaders that a new entrant like Google cannot.

This is a great rundown of the many reasons why Google Fiber hasn’t gone well: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/why-google-fiber-failed...

I really don’t think it was regulations that caused their biggest issues. In fact, if there had been additional regulations requiring shared access to utility poles and other infrastructure then they could have actually tried to compete on a level playing field. Instead you see things like in Louisville and Nashville where “Google faced lawsuits from incumbents over the use of existing infrastructure like utility poles to hang its fiber cables.” I’d love to hear from Pai how undoing net neutrality will suddenly get Google and much smaller players access to utility poles and other basic requirements for launching service.

Just blindly accepting whomever the minority party nominates is not a part of 'custom.' Letting the minority party select who is nominated is. But nominees are indeed rejected, though often it doesn't come to a vote. Voting is often a formality as decisions are agreed upon beforehand, so for rejections see the numerous appointments that are left to "withdraw."

You're definitely right about the reasons Google failed to compete, but we can look at it even more fundamentally. The major problem is that people, for whatever reason, were insufficiently incentivized to sign up. When regulations are overly precise in what and how a product must be offered, it ends up turning competition into an RPG style stat check on scale. Could you make a McDonalds style hamburger cheaper than McDonalds? Not a chance. Fortunately, you're not required by the government to create hamburgers in the same style as McDonalds and so there is room for competition in ways outside of price alone. This not only enables competitors, but also requires that McDonalds not take their own success for granted. If their style of burger is no longer what their demographic desires, they can easily lose - fast.

So essentially deregulation opens up two mirrored possibilities. The first is if the monopolist begin to really carry out the doomsday scenarios some people are fearing, that's damn sure going to incentivize people to swap when possible. And similarly, the lack of regulation enables far more creative offerings. The cliche example is a nearly free email-only type package, but really there is no limit to what could be achieved particularly with partner companies and motivated investors. And these offerings would not be so readily matched by the monopolists since their value is far more difficult to gauge, and the value to ISP themselves would also be a dynamic value. E.g. an ISP partnered with Netflix would receive a different level of value from from a certain package than Comcast would from the same package.

Again, I'm not really convinced this is a reasonable enough argument to give up net neutrality -- but it's an argument that I think is fully cogent and viable. The thing that concerns me is that people aren't really even discussing his views -- instead just demonizing him, and justifying their own behavior by claiming he doesn't even have consistent views which is plainly absurd. We should be able to civilly disagree. And indeed as it looks like net neutrality is almost certainly going away, civilly accept loss. In any case it will be a great test to see who was right -- and if Pai's statement that bad behavior itself will be regulated against is something that he will stay true to, if necessary. If it does indeed become a serious issue it could even be a topic in the 2020 presidential race -- Pai's term expires in 2022.

Can you provide a list of a few FCC candidates who were withdrawn or otherwise not accepted? The only one I can find is from this year and Trump withdrew her nomination only to later confirm her (presumably once he’d filled the third Republican seat since it was 2-1 before that)

And here is a pretty darn clear quote indicating it is in fact unheard of to not accept FCC nominees:

On Thursday, a Schumer spokesperson said that despite Trump's decision to withdraw Rosenworcel, they would push for the Democratic commissioners of their choice.

“We intend to assert our prerogative on nominees as has always been done,” the spokesperson said. “The administration has always deferred to congressional leaders and we fully expect that to continue.”


Your own article exemplifies quite clearly that nomination and acceptance are hardly one and the same!

Wait what? I specifically said I could find only one example which was under Trump and the nominee was ultimately accepted. I also quoted Schumer and the Democrats saying this was without precedent. I’m really not sure what you’re getting at here.

Please don’t ignore my response as well as my request for any examples and then tell me an article I cited says something it doesn’t.

Nomination is not the same as confirmation. The US congressional system is built on a system of checks and balances. Even a single senator, lacking an opposed super majority, can indefinitely delay and ultimately kill any nomination. This, coincidentally, happened with Rosenworcel's initial nomination (in 2012) when the senate, thanks to a single minority party senator, refused to even consider her nomination for months until other conditions were met.

There's no gentleman's agreement like you seem to think, or at least are certainly implying. The reason that the minority party gets to select their nominees is because of the implicit threat of rejecting anybody except their picks.

Interesting point but I still don't really agree.

Just because one senator (without an opposed supermajority) could theoretically indefinitely delay a nomination to the FCC, it has never happened. Has it?

In the example you gave, Grassley put Rosenworcel and Pai's nominations on hold for a time. Notice he did this to one person from each party simultaneously and still allowed both to be confirmed after a little while. Mitch was a big fan of Pai so there is no doubt they could have scraped 60 votes together to get the two through if he hadn't relented.

I asked for examples where the nominee was "withdrawn or otherwise not accepted" and you gave me one where they blocked all nominations, regardless of party or point of view, for only a few months due to a personal dispute.

Everything points to what I said originally which is that the majority party gets 3 FCC nominees, the minority party gets 2 FCC nominees, and they traditionally all get approved due to the "gentleman's agreement" as you call it. While no one has 60 votes in the Senate right now, many FCC nominees have sailed through for the minority party even though the majority party had 60 votes to stop any nomination holds from the minority.

There are reasons why he is demonized. He has dramatically cut access to the Internet for poor people through the lifeline program despite numerous speeches where he has purported to champion access for those users. He uses his chairmanship to accuse people of being socialists who support Venezuela and want to undermine capitalism. He refused dozens of interview requests before finally giving a partisan and vitriolic interview to Breitbart.

He has also coordinated with the GOP to a degree that is not at all normal for the FCC chair:

“The collusion became so obvious that Senate Democrats officially asked Pai and his Republican colleague to hand over emails covering their interactions over concerns that what they were doing was seriously improper. Pai and O'Rielly simply refused to hand anything over.”

Under Wheeler, we saw the FCC become strongly partisan for the first time. “Under Democrats, about eight percent of votes on major orders split along party lines. Under Republicans, only four percent split on party lines. Under Chairman Wheeler, 26 percent of votes on orders have passed with yes votes from the Democratic Chairman, Commissioner Rosenworcel, and Commissioner Clyburn, with Republican Commissioners O’Rielly and Pai dissenting. The difference from the past is stark.” (note the 26% number includes all votes whereas the 4% and 8% numbers include only major policy decisions. If we considered only major policy decisions the percentage of partisan votes under Wheeler would be even higher: https://techpolicyinstitute.org/2016/02/16/the-partisan-fcc/ )

Many arguments for Pai’s views assume he will inject much more competition into the ISP space despite not making efforts to address the systemic issues that Google Fiber hit around digging up roads to lay redundant cables (since no shared access is granted) or fighting through lawsuit after lawsuit to be able to use utility poles. Meanwhile he is open to further monopolization in the cell phone industry where he has already admitted he would strongly consider allowing us to go from four to three major wireless carriers: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/fcc-chairman-ajit-pai-open...

Meanwhile he was a high level lawyer for Verizon and stands to greatly benefit (along with his friends) when T-Mobile and Sprint merge as well as when Verizon Fios gets much more freedom to overcharge and segment Internet service instead of becoming a dumb pipe selling data throughput as a commodity. It is honestly perplexing he wouldn’t need to recuse himself.

In short, a partisan stooge with vested interest in the telecom and ISP industry is not a reasonable leader for our supposedly nonpartisan FCC. You can demand that everyone “civilly accept loss” but I really see no reason why that is helpful, a good idea, or even reasonable given the situation.

I wish it would be a serious issue in the 2020 campaign but, let’s be honest, America has plenty of other problems and it won’t even be a minor factor.

tldr: You should expect to be demonized when you transform an independent agency into a partisan hit job on poor people and the average consumer while enriching yourself, your former coworkers, and an army of lobbyists for the monopolistic telecom and ISP industries.

Your post is perhaps the essence of the issue. We are talking about people raging over Pai's position on net neutrality. Instead of discussing this, you respond with a slew of things that mostly absolutely nothing to do with net neutrality. Let's say I ask the average person who is raging about net neutrality, what are your views on the proposed modifications of the lifeline program and the vote split ratio under recent FCC chairpeople? Nobody is going to have any clue whatsoever about any of this.

And if they did they what it's about, I imagine they'd be even more confused by your argument which seems to be mostly just citing clickbait [1] with even more sensationalized language added on top. So for instance let's take that lifeline program. Did he "dramatically cut access to the internet for poor people through the lifeline program"? No. In part a response to massive abuse, they chose to be more judicious about how money is handed out - primarily as it relates to Tribal lands where, I presume, the government has more difficulty with know-your-customer requirements.

What happens is people who don't even setup infrastructure instead of resell access they purchase from a third party, and then artificially and fraudulently inflate subscription numbers raking in up to $34.25/"user"/month -- $9.25 in the normal lifeline subsidy, and a $25 'enhanced' subsidy on top of it. You'd apparently have guys setting up Wi-Fi hotspots and then claiming people using them were "customers", thus qualifying the "service provider" for the subsidy. They "charge" the user $34.25/month, the government pays for it. Imagine a Starbucks getting up to $34.25/month from the government for each person who used their Wifi.

Their proposed changes aim to get more control on how money is going out so they would only allow the max subsidy ($34.25) for companies who are actually deploying permanent infrastructure in rural areas. Urban areas and resellers in rural areas would still qualify for the standard $9.25/month subsidy. The prohibited Wi-Fi hotspotting as qualifying as an ISP, and set minimum standards of quality. They also removed a rule that locked consumers into a Lifeline provider for a minimum of a year - enabling them to swap providers as they see fit. And they've also proposed fines in the tens of millions against the "ISPs" who were fraudulently abusing the program.

Notice how the things you cite never really dig into the details? Instead they just use labels, aspersions, and completely misleading statements. I mean again you can definitely disagree with the FCC's actions on the above. Perhaps instead of cracking down on abuse in this way they could have instead tried to strengthen know-your-customer laws, presumably with support from Tribal governments. Why didn't they decide to go this route? What would have been more desirable? What nuance is there in Tribal - US legal relations? But instead of actually talking about things like this they lead with hyperbolic sensationalism that you then repeat, and spread -- and next thing you know everybody's acting a fool thinking the sky is falling and Pai is Lucifer incarnate.

[1] - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/28/fcc_chairman_ajit_p...

You completely ignored the most relevant parts of my argument which were:

1. Pai seeks to increase competition in a monopolistic market by decreasing regulation of the monopolizing companies while failing to address the fundamental reasons that they have a natural monopoly in the first place. Thus they now have even more power and they still have no competition. Even people on Breitbart and many other conservative sites are making this argument en masse: https://theintercept.com/2017/11/27/net-neutrality-trump-bre...

2. He has a major conflict of interest having spent most of his career with Verizon who will be one of the largest benefactors and who has pushed hard for this. Is it illegal? Probably not. But it couldn't be more sketchy.

You spent most of your post harping on lifeline which I briefly mentioned so I will respond to that as well. You attack resellers as if they are necessarily evil. Obviously it makes sense to add verification procedures if fraud is an issue, but as a program designed for the poorest Americans who would otherwise have no phone or Internet in many cases (hence its literally a lifeline) you still want to make it reasonable for them to use it. Since the FCC has allowed the big four telecoms to control all the lines, excluding resellers means that 70% of lifelines' users would be excluded.

Why are 70% of lifeline users subscribed through third party MVNOs? Well because Verizon happily charges many of their users $100/month for a loaded up plan and maybe $50/month for a more basic plan after taxes and fees. Meanwhile many RedPocket users pay $10-20/month or even less. Similarly for StraightTalk, Boost, etc. So he basically told them go pay $30-80 more per month to buy service from his old company (Verizon) to get a $9.25-34.25 subsidy or leave lifeline.

So yes he will eliminate fraud but he will basically gut the program entirely in the process.

Furthermore, you say he has made some improvements to the program. Some of them do sound like improvements but when you read the details they often don't sound as good. For example, now people aren't locked into their lifeline provider for a year but now they have to choose from 4 provided telecom companies (instead of 900) and they have to pay part of the fee every month. I'm sure if we took a poll, people would rather have a year contract to get free phone service from RedPocket rather than a month to month plan where they have to pay $X to AT&T if the RedPocket service was adequate for them in the first place.

You went on some rant about Starbucks getting subsidies. I'm really unclear where that line of reasoning comes from. First of all, Starbucks has free wifi. There are 900 companies approved under lifeline so its not like you can just set up a wifi network and start charging the government.

Wheeler made Lifeline apply to broadband service so I see no reason why an eligible person shouldn't be able to use their credit for Starbucks wifi (assuming it did actually cost something) as opposed to AT&T if they choose to do so, especially since Starbucks is just giving them AT&T wifi anyway. If they are poor and potentially homeless, being able to surf the Internet on their device at Starbucks sounds quite useful. Its a safe place, there are chairs, its warm, etc. When Starbucks did charge for Internet a long time ago, you likely could have gotten a much cheaper monthly plan for wifi there than AT&T would charge for LTE. Both because wifi is almost always cheaper to serve per megabyte than LTE and because Starbucks can offer wifi as a loss leader to try to sell coffee.

Explain how if there are 900 approved providers, people can set up wifi hotspots and bill the government? Maybe you should try doing that and see if it works. I suspect it won't be so easy.

You didn't mention the most obviously anti-poor parts of the Lifeline changes which included (1) reducing the budget for the program and (2) forcing the recipient to pay for at least part of the bill so they can't get it for free

A majority of lifeline users don't pay anything currently so obviously it would force many of them to consider whether they could pay a monthly cost for it and given they are on the program the answer will often be no. This deprives them of Internet and/or phone service (ie. their lifeline). So yes I stand by my statement that Pai "[will] dramatically cut access to the internet for poor people through the lifeline program"

Since you continue to attack me personally, in this case for mentioning a few things from an article that you claim has some clickbait as well (like most media these days), here is an article that discusses much of what I said: https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/17/fcc-lifeline-internet-su...

You feel the need to say things like "but instead of actually talking about things like this" which do not further the conversation. You haven't responded still to arguments I've made and questions I've asked you in this and other threads on this post and instead you act like I'm not trying to provide more details, sources, etc.

I think I pretty thoroughly rebutted most of your major points so I strongly disagree.

And now in your second paragraph, which I suppose is supposed to be a keypoint of your argument you lead with "Pai has spent most of his career with Verizon." Pai has been working since 1997 - 20 years. He spent exactly 2 years of those 20 years with Verizon -- shortly after university, 16 years ago. Nearly his entire life has been sent in the public sector. And you now lead a new post stating "he spent most of his career with Verizon."

Please try to step outside your bias and look at what you're writing. What you read on the internet is, quite often, not true. Think about whatever source you read that claimed Pai spent "most of his career" with Verizon. You can find his biographical information on the FCC page or his LinkedIn profile [1][2]. You're reading and citing extensively from fake news. Imagine you were me, reading your comments. What would you think - of you? How much weight would you give to anything you say? Would you have any interest in continuing the discussion?

[1] - https://www.fcc.gov/about/leadership/ajit-pai

[2] - https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajit-pai-55a2405

You made a good point. I’ll happily concede he worked at Verizon for two years, although he did focus on regulatory issues so it’s still a major conflict of interest as likely a large shareholder. The tone of your responses is still quite negative and you glossed over many paragraphs of facts to pick apart one detail that is important but hardly a reason to suddenly support Pai’s position.

Meanwhile still no examples of a minority party nominee not getting confirmed or rebuttals of a large number of other points especially around Lifeline which you talked about for quite a while.

You’re welcome not to continue having the discussion and you can think poorly of me for not knowing the exact time that Pai has been working in a position of conflicted interest. I’ll admit when I’m wrong but so far the bulk of my argument stands and I refuted many of your points which you didn’t acknowledge while you reprimanded me for #fakenews. Please spare us the ad hominem attacks. They don’t belong in this community and I can (and have) pointed out flaws in your arguments as well. Of course when you’re wrong it wasn’t fake news or misleading.

How many of your points about Lifeline don’t hold up under scrutiny? Sounds like you fell for some fake news yourself.

Sorry if I exaggerated / misunderstood his career length at Verizon. To be honest his arguments against net neutrality (in conjunction with no effort to guarantee shared access to utility poles or other cables, among other issues) show he is being disingenious even if he didn’t have Verizon stock and had never worked for them. Leaving monopolistic policies and getting rid of consumer protections is a recipe for large companies with unfriendly policies.

A few other facts about unpopular and messed up positions he’s taken, straight off his Wikipedia page:

1. As chairman, Pai scrapped a proposal to open the cable box market to tech companies such as Google and Amazon (Hmm another pro-monopoly pro-Verizon action)

2. Pai wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post criticizing a government-funded research project named "Truthy" at Indiana University which was studying the spread of "false and misleading ideas, hate speech and subversive propaganda" (Speaking of fake news, apparently Pai didn’t think it was worth looking into. What a waste of taxpayer money! mock horror)

3. The whole Sinclair scandal which I won’t try to summarize here as you can just read Wikipedia. This one involves Trump and Kushner currying influence with Sinclair. Fun

> what percent of people could explain why Pai thinks repealing net neutrality is a good idea?

Well, he says things like "increasing competition", and talks about "burdensome regulations", but I honestly don't believe he thinks repealing net neutrality will benefit consumers. I don't care who appointed him, to me he's an obvious, lying shill.

Agreed. See my comment next to yours also. The minority party appoints 2/5 of the FCC so Obama was just appointing Mitch McConnell’s pick (but being Obama he gets all the blame for it!)

And what are we going to do, if they don't? Seems like the main theme of this decade is "Yeah, so what?", on issues ranging from Panama Papers to net neutrality.

Absolutely not. This is not a vote.

I assume that would be the case, but looking from outside it's hard to know what did they actually look at. They could gain a lot more confidence from the public if they marked ignored comments as ignored. It would both avoid this discussion and allow people to read the actually interesting content that is going to influence the result.

>So the fact that many comments were faked is irrelevant anyway.

First, what the FCC "explicitly said" and what they did is not necessarily the same. They are humans, and they could just as well be affected by opinion comments and their general tangent.

Second, other (common) people read them, and developed a perception of general consensus and what others thing based of them. If those people read fake comments, that's of concern in itself.

Third, the entity that did such a thing should be exposed, especially if its tied to some corporate player. What other foul means have they used, if they stooped to this?

Just pretend its a decision that doesn't work with your views and then look again at why this campaign is problematic.

Just like the election, I wonder if the people behind this care if they get caught as long as they get what they want first. There doesn't seem to be much precedent for overturning laws or elections that were subject to misinformation campaigns.

[I am not a lawyer]

Only Congress passes laws (statutes). The FCC is a regulatory body. It has statutory authority (delegated by Congress) to create regulations, not statutes (laws). Proposed FCC regulations have to go through a process defined by statute. Publication and comment are part of that process. Irregularities in the process may form the basis of judicial challenge. Whether what is described here constitutes an irregularity is another matter.

Regulations may have the force of a law, but don't receive the same level of judicial deference in terms of intent. If Congress were to a law to explicitly end net neutrality, the courts would have to assume that the law is the will of the people and a challenge could only be made on Constitutional grounds. An FCC regulation can also be challenged on legal grounds (the regulation violates a statute).

> Regulations may have the force of a law, but don't receive the same level of judicial deference in terms of intent.

Yes, statutory laws must be proven unconstitutional to be struck down, and regulatory laws can be more easily affected by judicial decisions. But for the last 30 years, regulations have been accorded an inappropriate degree of deference by the courts: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/201...

If "anti net-neutrality" regulations shall be considered unconstitutional, so shall "pro net-neutrality" ones.

[edit: instead of downvoting me, tell me why left-leaning regulations are automatically Good (and constitutional), and why right-leaning are automatically Evil (and unconstitutional) ?]

I'll take the bait and explain why I'm downvoting you.

The parent posts had literally nothing to do with left vs right. It has to do with accepting the results of misinformation campaigns, and post-factum not taking steps to revert malign legislation.

Even in the case that I give you the benefit of the doubt in that you're taking "pro-net-neutrality" to be in some way left-leaning, the bulk of the arguments I've read fall into the "empiricism" bucket rather than "partisanship," either citing precedent of negative outcomes (portugal) or the industry's proven inability to self-regulate (local monopolies ala comcast, fights against municipal broadband, etc).

I'm also somewhat entertained that maintaining a competitive business landscape has somehow become "leftist." To my mind that's very pro-small-business/free market to prohibit large entities from soley dominating a market and legislating protective walls; even Reagan took an aggressive antitrust stance; this not even touching on that internet looks a lot more like a utility necessary for "survival" in a modern world than a good nowadays.

I would say it was rather irregular that my grandma, who has been dead for several years, thought net neutrality was such a burden on society that she just had to reach out past the grave to let her opinion (that happens to be verbatim the same as many others' opinions) be known.

Regulations can also be much more easily (and quickly, especially in the face of large changes in executive or congressional personnel/party/attitude) reversed, amended, or removed. The "rules" (mostly per-dept) mandating gradual phase-in, discussion, and phase-out of federal department regulations are much more likely to be bent and/or broken in the face of political sea changes. Not necessarily a good thing, but should be noted nevertheless.

Does it really matter? This wasn't a vote and they weren't listening to our opinions anyhow, this was just some jerk spamming a comment box.

What really matters is that they're on the site of the ISPs that want to screw us all over.

I still remember the very start of net neutrality when everyone was still on the same side, before the lobbyists went to work dividing us over how to respond to it.

>I still remember the very start of net neutrality when everyone was still on the same side, before the lobbyists went to work dividing us over how to respond to it.

Indeed, I remember the astroturf group Hands Off The Internet starting up back around ~2005. They've been working on this for over a decade now. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Hands_Off_the_Internet

Fights for control have been going on in various forms since the start, '1978 the Post Office proposed to open a new service, called E-COM' from 'Mail Chauvinism: The Magicians, the Snark and the Camel' by Ted Nelson https://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v7n11/MailChauvinism...

If it didn't matter, why do you think somebody spent a lot of time doing it?

I don't know if it mattered, but the comments as shown in the article are pretty much the same copy with various simple replacements for many phrases. This happens in lots of spam campaigns. I'm not sure anyone spent much time doing it - could be few hours for someone who does spam already. It doesn't look like a sophisticated or costly action.

You didn't answer the question. If it didn't matter, why did somebody invest time in doing it?

I wasn't planning to, since we can't answer this without knowing who did it.

My point was just to provide context for "spent time". It wasn't some huge operation. It could've been one day for one person. At that point the cost is so low it could've been done for the lulz. Or it could've been a cheap case of foreign groups trying to achieve something. Who knows.

Just because I have good reason to believe it never mattered, that doesn't mean that everyone agrees with me. Even then, people spend significant amounts of time on things that don't matter (see also: social media, entertainment, etc.).

Given that spamming a comment form is a few lines of Perl - http://search.cpan.org/dist/libwww-perl/lwpcook.pod - the idea that some nut might spend 30 seconds ordering their computer to spam the FCC does not strike me as farfetched, nor does it seem reasonable to waste time caring about that.

Better to focus our efforts on lobbying the FCC to change this boneheaded decision. Frankly, I think the point that they don't care about our comments to begin with is more damning than whether or not an idiot spammed a comment box.

Like every company in the tech industry? 'Disrupt' ie break all of the laws and grow faster than you can get sued. Then when you do get sued throw mountains of investor money at it and ask for more.


There was evidence that some of the leaked emails were subtly altered to make them look worse [1].

Additionally every campaign, company, even private individual has emails that wouldn't look good if they were leaked to the public with no context.

I'd bet there were emails from the other side that would have been just as damaging had they been leaked. In fact we know there were, because several damaging emails from Donald Trump Jr. have been leaked since.

One more point. Many of the leaked Clinton emails weren't actually damaging in and of themselves. They were damaging because of the conspiracy theories that they spawned. Innocuous party planning emails morphed into Pizza Gate, which was spread in large part by Russian trolls.

[1] https://www.salon.com/2017/11/03/the-dncs-emails-werent-only...

Your reference, [1], refers to documents from Guccifer 2.0, which Salon uses to extrapolate that "emails hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign may not have been as reliable as the anti-Clinton camp would like to believe." But then there's this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DomainKeys_Identified_Mail#Non....

As far as damaging e-mails from the other side, they would probably need to go further than: mocking people with disabilities, attacking gold star families, insulting POWs, admitting to sexual assault, etc. because all of that is on tape.

As far as Russia being involved with the pizza nonsense, I'd like to see some citations on that. Here's one accounting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizzagate_conspiracy_theory#Ge...

Not all of the emails were signed. I haven't seen any evidence that even most of the damaging emails were signed.

Additionally there are several attacks potentially available to state actors to forge those signatures. The most probable is to steal the server's private key.

>As far as damaging e-mails from the other side,

How about agreeing to take a meeting with a Russian agent?

Trump only won by about 80k votes in 3 states. The election was very close--a change in weather could've swung it.

You can Google Russian involvement with Pizzagate. It was mostly Russian linked bots retweeting it to push it into trending.

In addition to Russian bots, all the Turkish pro government newspapers were spreading Pizzagate conspiracies.

> There was evidence that some of the leaked emails were subtly altered to make them look worse

This is a lie. The emails were cryptographically signed, they have not been altered.

No, not all of the emails were cryptographically signed.

But the majority, including many of the most damaging ones, were signed.

>The majority...many

Notice I never said all or even most of the emails were altered.

That some of them may have been subtly altered was one point of my argument.

If an email that wasn't part of the public debate was altered, who cares? The simple fact is that, of all the emails that were covered by the media, the Clinton campaign was unable to point to a single one and say it was altered.

It looks like a very large number of the emails from podesta's inbox weren't signed. I have seen no evidence that all or even most of the emails that were part of the public discourse were actually signed.

Let's not pretend cryptographic signing of emails makes them immune to tampering. This makes it essentially a guarantee that they were not modified between Point A and Point B but that's about it.

I'm not saying they were or weren't modified nor am I saying it's even a good theory they were modified but we shouldn't make cryptographic signing sound more capable than it is.

? Can you explain? My understanding is that the signatures are still on the dumped emails and that one purpose of digital signatures is non repudiation - essentially immunity to tampering.

The most obvious method of attack is to steal the email server's private key. Something a state level attacker is probably capable of.

There were a few other methods of attack proposed when this first came out. The most likely was the vulnerability of 1024 bit RSA that was used here. There are concerns that 1024 bit RSA may be vulnerable to well financed attackers.

Has anybody alleged that the private key was stolen or cracked? Can you cite anything at all or is this just conspiracy theory?

It's not a conspiracy theory because I'm not alleging it happened, but it is likely something that the Russian government is capable of.

Given that very real possibility, the digital signatures aren't ironclad proof, which is what the poster above was saying.

>There was evidence that some of the leaked emails were subtly altered to make them look worse [1].

And yet nobody denied their authenticity. Getting rid of Bernie, leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign, and on and on were all things that nobody denied doing after they were exposed. Regardless, my point was that the conduct in this case (creating fake data that a very small group of voters may rely on) is far worse than exposing what seems to be undisputed questionable conduct.

Hacking emails is not the only election tampering for which there is evidence. For example, there were widespread attempts to alter voter lists: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/us/politics/us-tells-21-s...

The Clinton campaign refused to ever point to a specific email that was altered, making the claim that they were quite unbelievable.

Let's assume that there is an email that looks bad for the campaign.

The email was slightly altered to make it look a bit worse.

Do they admit to writing the slightly less awful email, prolonging the coverage and erasing all doubt that they wrote it?

YES! Obviously! Because if the campaign could show that a single email was altered, it casts doubt on the entire set. Many people would immediately jump to the conclusion that many emails were altered and disregard the story entirely.

The AP is confident that one of the documents from podesta's inbox was altered. Yet the campaign never came forward to authenticate the original document. So we have a clear case of altered email, but campaign didn't authenticate original.

It's a political calculation. You may have done it differently, but it's pretty clear we have at least 1 case of it happening.


Pizzagate is a crackpot conspiracy theory. A rather bad crackpot conspiracy theory.

No one takes it seriously. Even Alex Jones has retracted his Pizzagate statements.

The term fake news started being used because people were spreading fake news based on completely absurd readings of leaked emails.

The "evidence" for Pizzagate is absolutely comical.


Well put @fit2rule

I live in the US but am English and am currently in the UK. Despite all the media hoopla about Jimmy Saville, there has been no investigation about his deep and broad access and connections in UK society (I believe May as home secretary was supposed to be running this before ascending to replace Cameron). nothing has happened there either..lone wolf etc etc...

The apparently deliberate digital astroturfing of net neutrality views is another example of the warping of public perceptions. Most of us only respond to what we are fed as 'news' rather than looking a the evidence and data for ourselves

I'd love to see Trump's emails. But, very curiously, wikileaks didn't release anything negative about Trump. Only seeing one side's dirty laundry is the problem. Don't kid yourself that only one side had it.

I recently watched the 2017 Laura Poitras documentary, Risk, which covers some of the time running up to the election. There's a scene in which Julian, in a candid moment, realizing that Trump is a contender/the candidate (I can't remember which at the time), laments the fact that he doesn't have anything on him. That's not to say that he didn't receive anything after that time, but one possibility is that Julian didn't have anything to release. Hard to prove either way.

You already got its public twitter for that.

Trump is a newcomer to political power.

Clinton is not.

The goals of Wikileaks - to deconstruct the military-industrial power elite as represented by Clinton - are more aligned against Clinton than they are against Trump. There is no doubt that Trump may become a member of the power elite eventually, and thus continue the scenario that Wikileaks was designed to defeat - but the 30-year old veteran of power politics simply represents a bigger and more dangerous liability to our freedoms and to the notion of democracy. This can be seen in the countless examples of her cabals' attempt to thwart the democratic process, time and again, during her campaign as well as during her time as an entrenched politician.

Just because there isn't "Damage to the other side" doesn't mean that the target of Wikileaks isn't just as important. Perhaps you've missed the part where Wikileaks intended purpose is to deconstruct the secret power structures that usurp our democratic freedoms - Trump hasn't done a lot of that yet. Clinton has done metric truckloads of it, already, for decades now.

Given that the FCC resisted efforts to investigate, I wouldn’t be surprised if the FCC was complit in the fake messages (so they could claim they were in line with public opinion)

After working as a government contracting for many years I'd lean more towards gross incompetency than anything complicit. All the people in charge of critical tech in the DoD that I dealt with here placed their through nepotism and had no clue what they were doing.

Granted I'm not saying anything of this is good I just think it's far more likely that they're all idiots over there.

Given that the emails were like one of many necessary factors[0] for the election result, and the FCC's actions are a direct result of that election, it appears that the latter is a strict subset of the former.

It is also important to point out that absolutely nothing illegal was discovered in the hacked emails. Give me 10,000 emails from anybody, and I'll find quotes that people will not like. Yes, maybe HC was too sympathetic to Wall Street in private. So people voted for the other guy, and now banks can continue to add mandatory arbitration to the fine print. The Consumer Financial Services Protection Agency is about to be gutted. That is the agency that fined Wells Fargo and Equifax. The next offenders will probably get off with a stern warning.

But yeah, at least we know HC's chicken recipe.

[0]: The email hack, the social media campaign, the FBI's back-and-forth on its investigations, and, yes, people's antipathy against HC were probably all needed for the result, considering the extremely slim margins and the popular vote/electoral college split.

> Just like the election

Please don't instigate a flame war.

If you’re referring to my comment (which is now flagged, for no reason other than it being less than sympathetic to HC’s argument that the Russians ruined the election for her - you have to love HN), I wasn’t flaming anyone. I simply pointed out that IMO this FCC incident is much more serious than what happened in the election. Leaked but real emails about unethical/illegal conduct did nothing more than make the voters better informed about actual facts, while this incident intentionally presented false data to the voters at the FCC, who may rely on it in their decision making. The latter is infinitely worse IMO. One involves better informing the voters, the other involves lying to them.

Voters were made "better informed" by Roger Stone's ratf*king and the Comey letter? No they weren't.

They are not individuals, but bots by companies. You just have to look at the bots that write pro-comments on HN, Reddit, etc. Think about, who has advantage from it?

The centralization of the web is what worries me. I suppose non-neutral net can contribute to that, but even with a neutral net we've seen extraordinary centralization around a few major sites. Will neutrality really save us?

It might not be enough to create exactly the net you want. But yes, net neutrality is strictly better for decentralisation than the alternative.

That is because neutrality creates a (somewhat) level playing field. Without it, Facebook could, theoretically, pay Comcast to slow down a new competitor that is just emerging.

I say "theoretically", because such an action, if taken overtly, would probably still run afoul of competition law. But there will be other, more subtle, ways to achieve similar results. I would expect the result to be worse for data-heavy and latency-sensitive applications, as well as anything using a non-standard protocol (i. e. peer-to-peer networking etc).

It's possible, although not certain, that current service levels might remain accessible for new startups. But any future improvements would be tied to signing contracts with any provider whose customers any new startup would want to reach. Prices will tend to be exactly the value of these customers to the startup, minus one cent–or as close to that as can be measured.

They don't need to _slow_ anyone down. They just need to be faster or better connected with the end users with lesser connection drops etc. This all the major players already do with their private networks and CDNs and servers at a global PoPs. No startup without serious muscle can compete with that .

In the same vine major players also built and own dedicated DCs , hardware and networking equipment and locate it all over the world, new players can't compete possibly with that anyway.

There has never been any level playing field, New players are nimble and more risk friendly and do not have the baggage of existing users , older players have resource advantage and may need to choose between cannibalizing current users for new areas of growth or avoiding the segment all together.

Netflix especially gets a free "fast lane" at my isps with their Open Connect server. They basically get small ISPs to host, for free, a Netflix only CDN in the ISP's datacenter.

That isn't neutral. It is pure favoritism based on Netflix being the 800lbs gorilla.

Could you elaborate? It's very easy for a startup, or even a single person to get a CDN distribution up and running with global points of presence, though I don't have much knowledge of the private networks you refer to.

The depth and number of pops that Google and Facebook have is way better, commerical cdns give you some foothold but are not in the same league at all.

For example every small isp all over the world will most likely have YouTube caching servers running on their infra likely for free because letting Google do that saves them considerable upstream bandwidth both isp and google benefit, whereas you and I pay .10 to .20 per GB for CDN

The web is already centralized, most people get their news from Facebook and Twitter.

It's times like these where an actual - in person protest - might be more effective.

I posted this last week and stand by it...

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.


You created a new account to demoralize the GP?

He created a new account to troll. It's an ugly trend; while it's minor, HN has a bit of a problem with this sort of thing. I assume that 'dang and 'sctb are on the case when this arises (and I flagged the post because of it), but it's probably a hard one to solve.

The solution is already in place - don't engage with them, just flag their comments and leave them alone.

The mods are alerted whenever a comment is flagged so they can get around to banning those accounts eventually.

It's more that their actual accounts should probably be shown the door for that behavior.

Nobody's tripping onto HN, seeing that post, and signing up to shitpost.

Some people have said they're going to protest outside Verizon stores ... would a large protest outside the CEO's residence not have more of an effect? At the moment they are divorced from the anger that their lobbying efforts are causing.

Every social media website is dominated by people supporting net neutrality. I don't even remember seeing an opposing opinion, except from Trump's government. Maybe I'm living in some weird bubble, but it seems to me the argument is really not an argument, but an artificially created nonsense.

I'm up for net neutrality, but what do you about one or two pigs hogging the network?

This quotes netflix as having 37% of traffic in N.A. http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/01/20/netflix-boasts-37-...

It's like you build an autobahn for everyone, and then one monster haulage company moves in and dominates the road, and the road isn't really as useful as envisaged.

If a ISP's customer wants to spend 100% of their bandwidth talking to netflix (or anybody else), that's their business. Netflix is sending that data only because the ISP's customer's asked for it.

> autobahn

An ISP isn't a shared commons. It's offering a service to transit data to/from other hosts on the internet, usually metered at either a fixed rate per unit time, or by the total carriage "weight" (bandwidth). Complaining about Netflix "using 37% of traffic in N.A." is like complaining about Amazon "using 7% of UPS' N.A. volumes"[1].

The way customer's actually want to use their bandwidth might not be compatible with the ISP's wishes or a particular business plan based on oversubscription or promoting local services, but that's a risk of being in the ISP business.

[1] https://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/news/2016/05/25/why-u...

"If a ISP's customer wants to spend 100% of their bandwidth talking to netflix (or anybody else), that's their business. Netflix is sending that data only because the ISP's customer's asked for it."

I'm not sure you can rebut (parents) hypothetical with an appeal to free markets ... since it is free markets in telecom service that net neutrality subverts for (what is, in my opinion) the greater good.

"An ISP isn't a shared commons. It's offering a service to transit data to/from other hosts on the internet, usually metered at either a fixed rate per unit time, or by the total carriage "weight" (bandwidth)."

Are you drawing a distinction between transit ISPs (like he.net, etc.) and last-mile providers (like Comcast) ? Because I thought the entire point of net neutrality was that an ISP was indeed, to some degree, a shared commons.

> appeal to free markets

This isn't about markets (free or regulated). The entire point[1] of an ISP is to (for a fee) carriage IP packets. Just like UPS/FedEx (for a fee) carriage you physical packages. I'm appealing to the simple idea that both of those businesses have an obligation to fulfill the service the customer paid for.

If ISPs costs are too high, they should e.g. raise their {monthy flat rate,per-bit bandwidth fee} or any claim that they provide access to the internet as an internet service provider is fraud.

> ISP was indeed, to some degree, a shared commons.

The internet is a shared commons. The actual carriage of packets from your house to the internet is usually some kind of leased flat rate or pay-per-use service. You are not sharing your ADSL line or contractually guaranteed portion of your local cable line's bandwidth.

[1] obviously they also handle associated technical minutia like assigning IP addresses

They asked for it but they didn't pay for it.

The customer paid the ISP for bandwidth and Netflix pays AWS for outbound bandwidth. Both parties are paying providers for the requested capacity. ISPs in other countries can provide service at lower prices that US ISPs so I find it hard to believe this is a cost of service argument. The truth is that cable TV is being displaced by network delivered video and the ISPs know they can’t easily replace the cable revenue b6 jacking up internet access fees. Repealing net neutrality provides cover to shift revenue from cable to internet.

If Netflix were paying AWS's rates for outbound bandwidth they'd be even less profitable than they are.

Sure, if the customer's contract says that their packets need to all be treated with equal priority. But the whole point in repealing net-neutrality is to allow for contracts which don't need to treat all packets with equal priority. In that case the ISP isn't violating the contract and the customer wanting to spend %100 of their bandwidth talking to netflix for instance is the ISP's business too.

If the ISP wants to be involved in monitoring and regulating (or charging differently depending) where your packets go, then they can be liable for providing child pornography, being a party to all copyright infringements, etc... If they want to take action depending on the data, then they can be held liable for the data as well. This is why the telcos wanted "common carrier" status in the first place.

But now they're too greedy having seen the cable TV model where they get to charge rent on both ends for content they didn't even create.

Aren’t they already? I thought they are the ones sending warnings about piracy etc.

Also, its not like youtube, fb etc. Create their own content

No, they’re not.

Regarding ISPs creating original content, they have tried that and the quality of their stuff just couldn’t stand next to Google, Facebook, etc.

I think we all know a relative who used the “install CD” that came with their 2000s-era ISP and ended up with a junk homepage & browser toolbars, and “ask Jeeves” as their default search engine.

are you implying that google or facebook create original content?

I’m implying that the quality of their apps/services makes them worth visiting on the web.

Yes, I think we all know what the idea behind repealing NN is. Most here think it's a bad idea.

> In that case the ISP isn't violating the contract and the customer wanting to spend %100 of their bandwidth talking to netflix for instance is the ISP's business too

That's garbage. I don't need my ISP shaking down the content business to be able to put their own content up front while requiring payment from others for equal level treatment.

Taxpayers built this infrastructure and there are still regional broadband monopolies all over the place. It's entirely anti-consumer. We built the damned thing in the first place with the agreement there would be sufficient service. Fact is, our service is lousy, even in many dense urban areas!

We should stand up together and vote this anti-NN crap down, regardless of whether it takes 2 weeks or 2 years.

>Taxpayers built this infrastructure and there are still regional broadband monopolies all over the place.

Taxpayers building modern ISP infrastructure is a myth. Very little public money went to last mile ISPs. In fact, they are typically taxed fairly highly by local governments. Governments see ISPs are a money raising source not a place to spend money .

There are still regional "telecom" companies like AT&T and Verizon, but they don't have monopolies over ISP service. In most areas its actually the cable company that has more customers.

> Taxpayers building modern ISP infrastructure is a myth.

The deregulatory 1996 Telecom Act included provisions for a particular level of broadband penetration and performance. Those provisions were not met. Instead, now we have an FCC trying to reclassify broadband to 10 Mbps.

Look at the distribution of throughput speeds in the green image posted here [1]. ISPs haven't fulfill their end of the deal with regards to speeds, and the country is mostly covered by regional broadband monopolies.

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/5/15191048/fcc-chairman-ajit...

> "Taxpayers built this infrastructure"

ARPANET became obsolete and made redundant by private backbone providers, and so was decommissioned in 1990.

Taxpayers have done more than ARPANET.

This is about the 1996 Telecom Act, and how the public has allowed private companies to acquire regional monopolies while using public resources.

Take a down vote for trying to shut down discussion.

Well, if you as an ISP advertise and sell subscriptions for 200mbps (with the “up to” hidden in 7pt, 10 pages down into the contract) and customers buy the service it is none of your business how those 200mbps are being used, only to shuffle them along at the speed that has been paid for.

If the sold speed is only achievable when nobody else in the neighborhood is using the service then it’s a lie, and it’s no one else’s fault but the ISP’s if they get caught

It's not on page ten. It's not hidden. Comcast/Xfinity puts it directly next to the speed in their advertising materials. Just check out their website (https://www.xfinity.com/learn/internet-service/speed). Yes, it's a slightly smaller font, but companies have been putting "FREE" in bigger letters for complimentary products forever - I'm afraid I don't see the difference.

But decreasing the average usage of customers, despite fixing maximum will mean profit. If somehow video sites get blocked, the average internet usage will very likely drop down many fold.

Pissing off customers has many failure points.

Without video many people could just stick with their cellphone bandwidth and drop their cable plan entirely.

> Pissing off customers has many failure points. Without video many people could just stick with their cellphone bandwidth and drop their cable plan entirely.

Congratulations, you have just made anti Net Neutrality argument.

Could you expand on this a bit? I haven't heard this argument, and I just listened to a pretty long conversation with FCC Chairman Pai (on the Fifth Column podcast, if you're interested). His argument was that it will reduce the burden on small ISPs, which would then pop up everywhere, creating a pro-consumer competitive market. (Which is either magical thinking or just disingenuous, but that was his argument, such as it was.)


"Pissing off customers has failure points" is the core of the anti-NN arguments. There's no need to regulate what ISPs can do with the traffic - if they slow down access to some websites, or stop providing access to some of them or increase prices on the access of the "entire internet", then the customers would go to competitors who do not impose such restrictions.

What competitors? Many Americans have access to one ISP, and if they have access to more than one, it's often a false choice (DSL v Cable, e.g.) where the speeds are not comparable. I live in Chicago, the third most populous US city, and I have access to only AT&T and Comcast. I've searched for alternatives, but RCN isn't allowed to service my area for some reason, WOW! doesn't serve my area. So I'm stuck with Comcast. AT&T is completely insufficient for my needs, so if I don't like Comcast (which I do not, at all) what do I do?

That's a different argument from Net Neutrality. What you should argue for is that localities cannot interfere with IP traffic via franchising the rights to provide telecom/cable services.

It is an argument that goes along with it. The refrain (and argument given by parent) about NN is that you can use your voice as a consumer to go elsewhere (to another competitor) in a non-NN world if they are dissatisfied with their ISP's NN policies. The problem I outlined shows that isn't really an option for many Americans.

It does not.

The issue is that the population of localities does not want competition. That's why the population does not want cell phone towers ( eyesore ), the population does not want more wires on poles (wires, eww!) etc etc etc. And the population wants to protect the busy bodies that attempt to block things ( because busy bodies are typically nice old people who should really be helped to remain in their homes and they really really really like stuff to be the same as it was fifty years ago ).

That’s a load of ad-hominems and straw-man all in one post. Please take a break AFK

Nah, I've retired from dealing with ISP issues at about the time I realized aunt 82 year old aunt Suzi actually did block a roll new cell cite for American Tower because she did not want to see it across from her house.

The argument for net neutrality is entirely that it is necessary in the absence of competition, and that competition is indeed absent in practice. The two things are inseparable - if there were a competitive market for internet service, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Of course, that’s assuming that competitors will pop up to do that. Sadly, the airline, cable, cellular plan and ISP industries have all demonstrated that oligopolies are alive and well - you can bet that ISPs will use the new income from enhanced market segmentation to shut out competitors, not improve their service.

The lack of competition in cable/telecom is purely caused by local rules.

What makes you say that? It is caused by the physical reality that it doesn't make sense to build the same last-mile infrastructure multiple times. We figured this out decades ago when competing cables blotted out the sky in New York. If you think there are better solutions, that might be an interesting thing to discuss, but there are physical limitations that you can't just hand wave away.

Spending first ten years building a promising local ISP, directly in the trenches.

The "there's no need to do last mile infrastructure multiple times" is bunk. It is easy, it is doable and no, you won't have 100 companies running lines. You would have 4-5 and that will be enough to push Comcasts and Verizon to get their prices down.

No, I simply bounded what ISP's can do.

An ISP can leach off of internet traffic by shaping it so say Netflix is limited to low quality. But, that doesn't not mean they can simply block it without getting into issues. The problem is as demonstrated by China simply degrading websites bandwidth is is massive leverage.

Beyond the observation that ISP customers are paying lots of money so they can use things like Netflix, I wanted to expand on a key point made by DiThi and others:

Netflix gives away free servers to cache popular content near the users so the ISP doesn’t need to pay for the bandwidth to stream multiple copies of the same thing:


My ISP (RCN) uses this and we’ve never had a slowdown using Netflix, no matter what time it is. Using fast.com (which uses Netflix’s network to benchmark comnection speed) always shows that the limiting factor is that I use WiFi and don’t have a device which supports enough 802.12 channels to get more than 150Mbps.

When a large ISP complains about Netflix congestion it inevitably turns out that they have refused this help because they’re trying to use performance as an extortion point.

> Netflix gives away free servers to cache popular content near the users so the ISP doesn’t need to pay for the bandwidth to stream multiple copies of the same thing

You have to be a decently large ISP to qualify. So, this is helpful to big players BUT big players can also afford a PoP in a major hub where they can likely directly peer with Netflix.

This is also a "black-box" system on your network, likely behind your edge firewalls and DMZs. So, you will have to deploy extra network infrastructure and monitoring protect the rest of your network from Netflix. If it was outside your edge routing/firewalling it may as well be on a peer network.

So, this isn't exactly a "free pass" for anyone to have superior Netflix service. And it would only serve Netflix. The ISP I worked with had a few racks devoted to this type of machinery (Google Global Caches, Akamai CDN edge nodes etc). We were not large enough to qualify to host an OpenConnect Box.

Even with one you have the additional issue that most last-mile providers don't exactly have a 40gigabit back-haul to all of their DSLAM or CMTS PoPs. So, some part of "congestion" happens down stream of the data centers. This is why companies like Comcast will put one of their On-Demand video storage boxes in that giant green box that is at the end of your street. You are literally talking with a server next door. OpenConnect style boxes cannot compete with that proximity and that deployment strategy is partially responsible for one of the "smoking guns" in this debate where people claim proof that Comcast slows Netflix in favor of their services.

Agreed that it’s not a panacea but it would have worked for the companies complaining the loudest during e.g. the Cogent spat.

It's not really any business of the ISPs which services their customers want to use. If demand for bandwidth increases such that the price isn't viable anymore, charge customers more if necessary. You don't find restaurants charging potato suppliers because diners like to eat lots of fries.

>charge customers more if necessary


But customers don't want to pay more and ISPs prefer to look for revenue from content providers since they're more motivated to pay.

Netflix doesn’t hog the network. You do, by downloading Netflix data, but then again you are also paying for that data.

And Netflix is also paying for that data, albeit out of profits generated by you paying them.

Everyone pays for their connection to the notional Internet. Individual households tend to pay for all-you-can-eat of a nominal speed, which is fractionally provisioned upstream at whatever rate the ISP thinks that they won't get too many complaints about - typically 10:1. Medium and large companies either buy all-you-can-eat at less underprovisioned services, or pay for 95th percentile billing that is calculated monthly.

Really large corporations pay for interconnections to peering locations, and do a mix of paying for transit and swapping traffic with willing peers. Finally, backbone network companies buy or lease fiber, peering points and data centers and try to pay for as little transit as is economically feasible while shipping data around their networks at lower costs.

Everybody pays for what they use. The larger the scale, the lower the price per bit.

"Fast lanes" and "Zero-rate" traffic are purely subsidies and extortion. Rent-seeking.

Cable TV is dying and you’re correct that this is an attempt to secure higher rent for the internet service that is displacing cable

Maybe we should go back to metered internet then? I'd prefer no NN top metered though.

Depends on your plan, in the UK I've only recently shaken off a metered plan. And mobile plans are usually metered at about 1GB per month for something vaguely affordable.

Why does it matter if it's "one" video company that takes-up 40% of the network traffic vs 100 video companies sites taking the same 40% traffic? It would be the same traffic amount.

The only reason they are making a big stink about it is because when there's just one it's so much easier to put the blame on that company or ask it for money, than it would be to ask 100 or 1,000 video sites the same.

It's the same reason why those who want censorship start rearing their heads when you have only a couple of app stores, instead of apps/programs being offered from all over the web, or why law enforcement prefers to go to large companies to ask them for user data, and so on.

When things are centralized, they are much easier to target.

> This quotes netflix as having 37% of traffic in N.A.

Its irrelevant who creates this traffic. Wether it is The Pirate Bay or Netflix or Spotify or Google or DDoSers. The traffic is there. Only in the latter case do you want measures from the ISP(s).

ISPs could install CDNs.

Apparently the ISPs can handle the bandwidth, else they'd take measures. If ISPs can't handle the bandwidth they need to charge their customers more, decrease the overal max bandwidth the customers have, or decrease the monthly bandwidth caps. It is that simple.

> It's like you build an autobahn for everyone, and then one monster haulage company moves in and dominates the road, and the road isn't really as useful as envisaged.

You make it seem autobahn usage is unfair (that's a debate in Germany as the German government argues or argued tourists use the autobahn without paying so they're considering requiring a vignette).

What you do to deal with this is you increase the tax owners of cars pay, introduce a "vignette" as they have in Austria and Switzerland, or introduce toll roads as e.g. France notoriously has. Trucks pay more, but there's no other differentiation AFAIK. And each vehicle pays.

Netflix will give a sufficiently large ISP multiple Netflix CDN boxes ... for FREE.

This takes pressure off their outgoing interconnects (where the actual contention should arise, if they've designed their network correctly).

This was never about Netflix hurting their internet business, it was always about Netflix hurting their cable business, which is where more money lies for them.

I know you don't necessarily mean it this way but this sounds a lot like the cable companies' argument that it's "unfair" that the likes of Netflix can "push" all this data onto their network without paying.

Well someone is paying: the customer. Netflix isn't hogging anything. So ISPs want to double-dip and get paid at both ends but really what they want to do is protect their ailing TV businesses. It's naked protectionism, nothing more.

So to your comment: if customers can't get all this Netflix data then the ISPs have lied to them about the capacity of the connections they've sold. Or they're not charging enough (heh).

I don't see the problem. The analogy breaks a bit. If people want to stop using Netflix, they don't occupy any "road".

They occupy 37% (trusting the source) because that's how much people want to use their service, not because they force themselves on "the internet".

The 37% is accurate for peak usage. What makes it more complicated to measure is that Netflix and Google have private networks, CDNs that are uploading all of that data during peak usage, which is much closer to the user geographically. They've basically spent billions of dollars to unclog the internet backbone already.

If an ISP wishes to charge for different bandwidth tiers and monthly data allowances, they are free to do so. By doing so, they set themselves up to be competed against by other ISPs who can offer higher bandwidth and higher or "no" caps, which is also fine. (No power company would charge a flat monthly fee for all the power you can consume -- and ISPs don't generally truly mean "unlimited" either: try downloading a couple of petabytes in a month and see what yours thinks.)

What an ISP is not free to do is whitelist or bias one content source over another. The ISP absolutely is a utility and should be in the business of operating at layer 3 in the OSI model.

Close: it's like you build an autobahn for everyone, and 37% of people choose to assign their space on it to one particular haulage company.

(And thanks to net neutrality, they can switch to another haulage company at any time.)

I think the biggest misconception among net neutrality sceptics is the assumption that bandwidth in general is a limited resource: It's not. The problem with 'others slowing down the internet' is usually on the last mile and it's cable providers oversubscribing this shared medium.

> The problem with 'others slowing down the internet' is usually on the last mile and it's cable providers oversubscribing this shared medium

This sounds correct, but can you point me toward some additional info?

Best I could find, has seem further links: http://time.com/money/4360431/internet-data-caps-bogus-ploys...

I don't have deep insight into the operation of HFC networks but I ran an ISP using fixed wireless communications technology and for that case what you say is 100% not true.

Users pay ISPs for bandwidth. If the ISP is unable to provide the bandwidth they have agreed to provide, how is that anyone's fault but the ISPs? If they can't meet demand, they should raise prices, not try to double-charge for bandwidth.

So, to fix this analogy we say all vehicles on the road travel at the exact speed because a single frame on fiber should move point to point at the same speed. To make this easier we will assume that corrupt/dropped cars ("frames") cancel out and we will just not mention them again. Because the speed is now constant, this becomes a pipeline and we can completely not worry about latency.

So, now we have an autobahn whose "bandwidth" is 40000 cars per second.

The way haulage works is by the car with no real guarantee about a steady rate of delivery. I don't care, just get 10000 cars from point a to point b. This is no-deadline data transfer like downloading a file.

The way streaming works is that it needs exactly 10 cars per second with no mention of total cars. I don't care, I just need a steady 10 cars per second.

For reference, I can service 10,368,000 of those haulage requests in a 30 day month (ideally) but I can only have 4,000 simultaneous streaming users, ever.

The internet, before streaming, was almost all haulage. Most of the infrastructure was built on the idea of haulage being the dominant use case. People needed to get information from point A to point B as fast as possible. Even torrenting, was haulage. "Congestion" at peak times was not as important because delivery deadlines were looser. As long as you were averaging more cars delivered over a time period (24hrs) than requested the congestion would eventually clear.

Then streaming hit. Now most of the traffic on the internet is on a tight deadline. That infrastructure built for haulage was completely incapable of handling it. We have 40000 cars per second but this is now "Rush Hour" and we have 20k users wanting to get 200k cars in THIS EXACT SECOND otherwise their experience suffers. It doesn't matter if we unused bandwidth at 3am, it doesn't matter if we have unused bandwidth ever. What matters is that we can cover the peak cars per second requested on our network. If we cannot, we have oversold the autobahn and are now "guilty of fraud".

The Internet was like an autobahn but these days consumers only care about what happens during rush hour. Imagine how different an autobahn would be if you had to guarantee a lane for every driver that wanted it on-demand. It is an autobahn that is huge and mostly empty most of the time (your lane is your lane and if you are not driving its empty), it was also far far more expensive to build.

You take the several billion dollars you're overcharging your customers and you improve the infrastructure so that supplying the bandwidth to the services that your customers demand is not a problem anymore.

Or you could just complain and ask for more money, whilst not improving anything.

That's not Netflix traffic, that's the consumer's traffic.

The ISPs are paid, by the consumers, to ship data to them. If they can't do this they need to fix their networks and charge their customers more, not try to extort third parties.

A better analogy: You build an autobahn for every type of car and then it is dominated by fords, since people prefer driving fords.

>It's like you build an autobahn for everyone, and then one monster haulage company moves in and dominates the road, and the road isn't really as useful as envisaged

If everyone pays $x per minute for road time, why does it matter whether they navigate it via haulage company A only, or via haulage companies A, B, C, D, and E? It's still the same road time.

The dominance of Netflix is about video streaming being a disproportionately bandwidth-heavy form of internet use and about Netflix being the dominant player in the video streaming market. If it disappeared tomorrow Prime Video or someone else would rise to take its place.

Doesn't Netflix pay for its bandwidth?

Yes it does. Meanwhile the end user pays for the bandwidth they get to use. Whether that’s to watch YouTube, Netflix or send email. It’s all already been paid for.

But the truck stops almost everywhere to deliver its load.

Ps. They had the same arguments for YouTube and torrent. What's next

There are two underlying things driving this issue :

1. Corporate greed (rational desire to maximize profits).

2. Individual greed (subscribers' rational desire to pay very little for their Internet connection).

You can get off the couch and find an ISP willing to give you a decent SLA and QoS guarantees but it'll cost you 10+X the price that the regular Joe's are willing to pay.

No, it's like complaining that most of the cars on the roads are Ford. It's not your problem what people are using it for. They've paid and can use it for what they want.

Everyone worries about slippery slopes, but I think that limits should exist. Perhaps if you are consuming more than 10% of Internet’s bandwidth, you should have to pay some kind of tax to ISP’s, and those funds should then be required to be reinvested in the network to make it more reliable or increase bandwidth. That seems like it would be an all-around win.

Bandwidth isn't free. You pay for it, I pay for it, Google pays for it, Netflix pays for it, everyone pays for it.

Bandwidth is what we pay for. Net neutrality does not mean we get bandwidth for free. People who use more bandwidth have to buy more bandwidth already.

These services that drive massive increases in bandwidth demand are the services I’m talking about. The demand for Netflix, for example, has required investment on the part of ISPs to support. Most residential cable broadband systems weren’t designed with these kinds of constant bandwidth demands in mind. So Netflix gets to grow, while ISPs face massively increased investment, lest their networks will be overrun. Why shouldn’t Netflix have to contribute to the increased investment that they are benefitting from?

> The demand for Netflix, for example, has required investment on the part of ISPs to support.

So the ISP were overselling bandwidth?

> Why shouldn’t Netflix have to contribute to the increased investment that they are benefitting from?

They do. Netflix give CDN boxes to ISPs for free. They contribute by saving the ISPs all that external bandwidth (which is what they oversell).

Those 10% of the internet's bandwidth are already paid for by the end user, why does there need be an extra charge?

Just remember, the people watching Netflix are the ones consuming the bandwidth. I agree, though, the watchers of Netflix should pay a tax so the rest of us don't get our network congested to the point our torrents are slowing down. :)

Most large bandwidth consumers do pay a 'kind of tax' to ISPs, by installing their own hardware at ISP's locations to lower the bandwidth use.

I may not be up on the latest news.

My understanding from the best sources I can find detail a disagreement within the government about how net neutrality is implemented, not that it exists. Internet providers want to repeal net neutrality. Democrats are happy with the current implementation. Republicans want to enshrine net neutrality in law through congress, stripping what they believe is overreach on the part of the FCC.

The fact that net neutrality can currently be repealed so easily suggests to me that putting it through congress is a good idea.


> Republicans want to enshrine net neutrality in law through congress, stripping what they believe is overreach on the part of the FCC.

I've heard this, but I still see no law on the books, and a very strong push for the FCC to remove the regulations that are currently in place.

I'd believe them if I saw an effort to put a replacement plan in motion before repealing.

You could just be against government price controls in general..

How does “government price control” relate to simply forbidding double sale?

All NN does is to disallow ISP from tiering the internet and double dipping on both sides of the network.

Imagine if you had to pay a different subscription to call only family, another also for friends, anyone on the Bell directory, anyone on other directories, businesses. You’d imagine telephones would have remained a novelty to this day

One of the examples net neutrality proponents have been pointing to in order to justify it is Vodafone Australia's packages allowing customers to add unlimited usage of various groups of services on top of the bandwidth they get in their mobile internet plans. There are hugely popular viral tweets claiming this is the terrifying future of American internet access if net neutrality is repealed. That's not simply preventing double dipping on both sides of the network, it's controlling what products ISPs are allowed to sell consumers and how they can price that internet access.

As far as I know, net neutrality only applies to wired ISPs, not mobile ISPs. So those sorts of deals are still possible in the US, just not from your cable company. And why would you need that when you have access to virtually unlimited data through them?

Why should ISPs be disallowed from charging what they like for the product they sell? That's the entire point of a free market.

I understand the issues inherent in leasing the lines, but fundamentally companies should be able to price their offerings as they wish.

There simply needs to be fewer barriers to entry for new ISPs to come into the market.

"That's the entire point of a free market."

What market? I recently had fiber optic service installed in my building, raising my broadband choice to a whopping two companies. That is not remotely enough to talk about a market.

"There simply needs to be fewer barriers to entry for new ISPs to come into the market."

If you want a market-based approach, you need to have line sharing rules. We used to have that in America with DSL, but the Bush administration ended that and left us with the current situation of local monopolies. I would be all for Pai's proposal if it included a reinstatement of line sharing requirements for ISPs, but as it stands Pai has proposed almost nothing to foster the competition needed for a market to exist, and has instead lied about the broadband choices available to Americans.

They’ve already sold it to the consumer. If I pay an ISP for X bandwidth and Y latency, then decide I want to use that to watch Netflix, the ISP has no business interfering with my use of the Netflix service. It isn’t Netflix traffic, it’s my traffic which I’ve already paid the ISP for.

This isn’t about protecting Netflix, it’s about protecting the consumers right to use the product they bought - internet bandwidth - for what they choose without having that choice interfered with or constrained by back room extortion rackets. If the ISP wants to set up a special fast lane for my connection to this or that service, they talk to me. Not Netflix, or anyone else.

Supermarkets don't have government price controls, and they also have very little government intervention. Yet I assume you don't worry about "back room extortion rackets" occurring with the pricing there.

This is because there is a healthy amount of competition with supermarkets, something the ISP market lacks.

Again, it comes down to lowering barriers of entry for new ISPs, rather than falsely labeling all network traffic the same, and pretending that solves a problem.

It’s simply unrealistic that the barriers to entry for new ISPs will be low enough any time soon for the free market to sort this out. There are many different reasons for this including:

1. Very, very high costs to get started

2. Exclusive agreements that buildings have with a particular ISP already

3. Many regulations that would prohibit laying new broadband connections to every house, e.g. because there are already houses and streets in the way

4. Economies of scale that prevent small ISPs from being profitable

5. Competition from megacorps that can treat broadband as a loss leader (or low margin side business) to get customers for their other services such as cable TV, landline telephone, or video streaming

6. Difficulty competing with much larger competitors since they would generally be offering a nearly identical commodity service without the advertising budget or brand recognition

7. Larger competitors actively lobbying against new rules that would devalue their investments

You might be able to find a way around some of them (like #7) but most of those issues are basically intractable given the current technology.

Imagine if a new company wanted to run cables to your building in a crowded city each month. You’d have to keep tearing up the roads and other infrastructure to make improvements and you’d have tons of essentially duplicated cables. You’d basically want to push for laws that required shared access to the cables to eliminate redundancy which leads quickly to either the government owning the cables and leasing them out (quite a good option in my view) or a major ISP like Comcast owning the cables and leasing them out.

Don’t get me wrong, governments should incentivize way more competition among ISPs. But we aren’t even close to it being an industry with low barriers of entry. Until we have better wireless technologies, we are probably stuck burying fiber which Google has shown is enormously expensive.

They don’t have price controls, but they do have sanitation standards, quality of goods laws, food standards legislation and mandatory returns requirements and restrictions on misleading pricing.

If you don’t like the price at a Supermarket you can usually drive 5 minutes to the next store, but changing ISPs can take weeks and you’re locked into long contracts.

Maybe if we can lower the barriers to entry and give people a genuine choice of ISPs first. That would be the equivalent of talking to the customer about special deals for certain content and giving the customer the power to choose. Do that, then we can talk. Wiping out net neutrality without a genuine choice for consumers is a blatant stitch up.

> That's the entire point of a free market.

what you describe can't exist in the free market. else you would either need to allow that anybody can dig holes to build a network or you need to oust the network from the ISPs and sell them to anybody who wants to resell it for common rates. no country that I'm aware of supports any of the above.

What is wrong with the government owning the lines, and a standardized process for any ISP to lease and maintain said lines?

I didn't said it's wrong it's just not happening.

btw. I live in germany and a long time ago the government in germany owned the lines, however they outsourced it in favor of "innovation".

Simple minded “free market” doesn’t work where there are natural monopolies in place. When absolutely arbitrary purchasing choices are not allowed the whole model falls to pieces, ignoring that is like ignoring friction and claiming reality is only bound by the First Law of Dynamics. Pretty stupid imho

r/The_Donald/ has some particularly impressive mental gymnastics going on to support repeal. Breitbart comments are fascinating.

Being against government price controls == mental gymnastics?

Please take a refresher on what net neutrality is.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.


The government is not controlling the price, they are mandating that ISPs treat all network traffic the same.

But all network traffic is not the same. So why should it be treated as if it is?

All network traffic is the same. As far as an ISP should be concerned, it's all just bits flowing through a wire. When they start characterizing those bits, net neutrality is violated.

> All network traffic is the same.

No competent network technician would mark VOIP the same as Torrent traffic.

Now, all Internet traffic may not be handled in such a manner but that's another matter.

You may want it to be the same... or you may want for it to be treated as if it's the same, but all network traffic is not the same. There are all sorts of classifications.

> You may want [data traffic] to be the same

For all intents and purposes, data traffic is exactly the same: with the majority being TCP and a smither of UDP.

That's about it as far as your ISP should be concerned.

You personally might want to divide it up further between bt, streaming, messengers, http, etc.

But the result of such a division for an ISP means that they get to decide which networking applications you get to run on your computer. That is likely what they want: their own walled garden.

Whether all these applications use the same port and protocol is an irrelevant distinction here. Arguing against net neutrality is arguing in favour of an external agent determining which networking applications you can run on your own hardware to connect to the world.

There is no "both sides of the argument" or "Devil's advocate's arguments " here to be explored for the more critical minds, and there is no "Internet Freedom" to be gained by any definition of those words.

Net Neutrality is a fundamental tenet of the Internet. A network without it is simply not the Internet, technically, morally, and historically.

There may be many different uses for those by bits by applications, sent via different ordering schemes (TCP etc) but the fact remains that internet consumers pay and should continue for the connection itself, not what goes down that connection.

Data is the same. Bandwidth is the same. Use more bandwidth get charged more. Use more data, get charged more.

Should I be charged differently for using that bandwidth to view facebook instead of your personal blog?

The obvious problem is that if an ISP wanted it could simply throttle Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon until they die out (which would be convenient for many TV/Telecom companies).

And maybe less obvious is the start-up that Netflix once was has a tougher go of it because Comcast wants their content streamed nicely and has to keep the Netflix customers from yelling too loud and have to squeeze someone's bandwidth to make profit goals which is perfectly legal as long as they are transparent about it.

4chan isn't, it seems quite mixed over there.

It definitely was a few years ago, when it was about memes and anime and before it went alt-right/Trump.

It actually seems like quite a refreshing mix of options to me. There is a right wing bias, but its far from the only viewpoint on there.

4chan -- pol in particular -- is an agitprop prototyping board, and about as unreliable a source of information as you can get.

Useful when you want to get a sneak peak at the propaganda campaigns, and internet brigade tactics and talking points that are about to be rolled out against the public (or A/B test some of your own), but not so much for serious debate.

Like 99% of the stuff you see on there is going to be deceptively worded or presented, or just factually incorrect. If you're letting 4chan influence your opinion, you're using it wrong.

I already feel like my social media and news sources are an echo chamber, especially after Brexit and Trump. I don't think its a bad thing to check out different opinions. Hell I even agree with some of the stuff there (though there is a lot more that I disagree with). It certainly helps me see the logic behind positions that I don't agree with / understand.


A Soros conspiracy theory, with a bonus 'Russian hackers' in quotes as if that part was the ridiculous one.

Thank you for attempting to ridicule me with the ole 'conspiracy theory'.

Go to the site ( battleforthenet.com ), scroll all the way down, it says 'built by Fight for the Future', and even links to it: https://www.fightforthefuture.org/

On that site, go to 'Supporters' page: https://www.fightforthefuture.org/supporters/

Open Society Foundations is listed there. They are not even hiding the connection.

George Soros directly providing funds for the #1 pro-NN site being peddled around social media sites, and simultaneously pushed into #1 spot on hundreds of subreddits 2 days ago = 'Soros conspiracy theory'. I somehow doubt you apply the same standards to the 'Russian hackers' 'conspiracy theory'. :)

To the rest of the readers, I am not arguing whether 'Russian hackers' is conspiracy theory or not, I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy of how when public's perception and opinion is manipulated by Soros pouring in millions of $, it's completely ignored and we're all expected to pretend it's 100% grassroots, but if Trump&co were doing the same level of manipulation, we would never stop hearing about how it's completely manufactured. I am just tired of being manipulated, regardless of who it's coming from.

Soros is a person with money who funds things.

This is completely transparent, and I fail to see what part is sinister. What does George Soros have to gain from net neutrality?

That's the part that's missing. He's doing it openly, with no clear gain.

What irks me about the Soros boogie man in red cap circles, is that since someone "uncovered" his evil scheme of openly funding a project, he likely also paid busloads of people to protest... because... reasons.

I'm not arguing that Soros funded something he funded, I'm asking: What's your point, and what's the end game?

Yes, and that is all I wanted to point out. That Soros is investing heavily in affecting the public and official opinion on some topics, such as net neutrality.

And for this I get called a 'conspiracy theorist'.

Soros is not a 'boogie man', he is a man that sabotages countries for his own personal gain. I do not trust him, and do not trust his 'philantropic' reasons. The end game with him is always the same, getting more money for himself in the end. He uses legit humanitarian/human rights issues simply as tool towards that end goal, and this disgusts me.

As for your attempt at ridicule by association, I am not American so I'm not able to follow; I get that 'red cap circle' would be Trump supporters, but can you clarify the 'paid busloads of people to protest' part?

> Soros is not a 'boogie man', he is a man that sabotages countries for his own personal gain. I do not trust him, and do not trust his 'philantropic' reasons. The end game with him is always the same, getting more money for himself in the end. He uses legit humanitarian/human rights issues simply as tool towards that end goal, and this disgusts me.

[quotation needed]

He sabotages countries through philanthropy... Could you elaborate?

1) Funds philanthropic projects.

2-3) ... Evil manipulation? Sabotaging countries?

4) Profit?

The reference was regarding conspiracy theories around the legitimate huge protests throughout the US in the last year. Suggesting that Soros (and/or other boogie men) paid thousands of people and bussed them around the country to protest, because surely people would have no legitimate reason to do so voluntarily.

Thank you for clarifying that, the general issues quickly get interwoven with intra-US issues and I lose track.

I am not really here to preach. I just wanted to point out something, so that people who feel like me can make their own judgement with this extra data. It is not related to US nor the current anti/pro Trump craze, just a long-time wariness and dislike of the man based on what my father has told me (we emigrated from an asian country to Europe when I was young because of negative effects of Soros's games, and that's as much as I'm willing to share online about my reasons).

I'm with you. The OMG netflix had to pay someone for fast lanes because of extortion... So these fast lanes still exist today. And if a small company, lets say twitch.tv suddenly needs 37% of the internet bandwidth across the country - people are going to let it happen again.

The REAL net neutrality that needs to happen is in the search market. There are about 20 billion search terms now that will ONLY lead me to Etsy.com as the top search result. They didn't pay anyone for that, just people promoting Etsy. Same for Facebook, Amazon, Wikipedia, and a few others. What we have is a set of large websites that have taken over all result sets. It's actually impossible to start a new business that has a shopping cart outside of Etsy.com, Amazon.com, etc... How are we all allowing that to continue.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact