Internet freedom, is vital to the future of free societies, but it is under assault by both government and industry. As the internet subsumes traditional news, libaries, communications and entertainment delivery, the need to keep it free is paramount. The internet must remain true to it's core philosophy if we are to have free speech and press. Free software alone can not counter networks that have owners because network owners can demand non free software for network access. What begins with port blocks and email snooping ends with a world that looks like a cross between Burma and Richard Stallman's distopian vision.
Some industry players support a limited subset of network freedom they call, net neutrality. This subset is often not sufficient to provide real freedom because it does not allow you to use every packet you purchase as you please. Real network freedom is much like software freedom and might roughly be formulated:
- The freedom to use your packets for any purpose. You should be able to run the same servers anyone else does. This is a first amendment issue.
- The freedom to use public sites as you chose. No one should be able to block information that is freely shared.
- The freedom to share your bandwith and mirror public information for your neighbors.
- The freedom to improve the public networks, and share with the public, so that the whole community benefits. Government monopolies are unAmerican and this is compounded when communities are prevented from creating networks.
I'm going to track attacks on network freedom and it's consequences here. I'll start with my journal and twitter's and build from there.
- March 16, Retired people want network freedom too
- June 2, US Government demands ISP retain customer data. Big Brother is watching.
- June 8, Nancy Pelosi declares support for Net Neutrality. The same day Congress defeated it.
- August 21, Deborah Platt Majoras, the FTC's Republican chairman, won't defend your network freedom.
- September 6, Justice Department: Net neutrality regulations aren't necessary
- December 29, FCC demands partial network freedom in return for ATT BellSouth merger approval.
- AT&T CEO Edward Whitacre claims he won't degrade competing traffic but wants the ability to do so.
- April 11, Bush demands more spy power.
- April 27, Ohio University Bans P2P at request of Music Industry. This and a bribe provided temporary relief from RIAA shakedowns
- June 3, US Spectrum auctions are rigged in favor of incumbents.
- June 6, M$, Yahoo and Google Snub Amnesty Web Debate.
- June 11, Privacy FUD wars reveals the depravity of all parties.
- July 12, US Courts turn a deaf ear as Internet Radio is subsumed by RIAA fees.
- June 28, the FTC issues a report against network freedom laws. Jon Leibowitz dissagrees.
- August 6, the US Free Flow of Information Act makes bloggers second class journalists and brings us one step closer to press licences.
- August 7, the FBI raids the house of a suspected wiretap whistleblower.
- August 28, Yahoo sued for helping China to jail and torture a dissident.
- September 6, Why Net Neutrality Died
- September 8, US Court allows government retaliation for posting "objectionable" material on the web.
- September 20, M$, AOL and Yahoo import Chinese email filters to USA.
- October 4, How telcos fight net neutrality with corruption, threats and violence.
- October 14, Broadcasters Unite to Thwart ISP Use of TV Spectrum.
- October 17, RSF Reports world Wide Torture and Murder of Internet dissidents.
- October 20, China hijacks all search traffic.
- October 24, The UK considers mandatory, universal digital restrictions.
- October 27, Italy requires a state license to publish
- October 28, Russian government plays ugly and looks to China for censorship ideas
- October 30, Comcast caught sabotaging Google traffic.
- November 3, Save the Internet petitions FCC to stop Comcast throttling.
- November 4, US government thinks it can have your email without a warrent
- November 7, US government says you should not expect privacy in the future. Like most bullies, they blame their victims and promise more of the same and worse when the victims complain.
- November 15, Vuze, a bittorrent video provider, petitions FCC to stop Comcast throttling.