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The Internet

Submission + - The Right's war on Net Neutrality (dailykos.com)

jamie writes: "To understand the debate being waged in the United States over Net Neutrality, it's important to understand just how drastically one side has been misled. The leaders of the American Right are spreading the lie that Net Neutrality is a government takeover of the internet, with the intention of silencing conservative voices. (Limbaugh: "All you really have to know about Net Neutrality is that its biggest promoters are George Soros and Google.") This may be hard to believe to those of us who actually know what it's about — reinstating pre-2005 law that ensured internet providers could discriminate on the basis of volume but not content. Since the opposing side is so badly misinformed, those of us who want the internet to remain open to innovation and freedom of expression have to help educate them before the debate can really be held."
Networking

How Moore's Law Saved Us From the Gopher Web 239

Urchin writes "In the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was a power-hungry monster unpopular with network administrators, says Robert Topolski, chief technologist of the Open Technology Initiative. They preferred the sleek text-only Gopher protocol. Had they been able to use data filtering technology to prioritize gopher traffic Topolski thinks the World Wide Web might not have survived. But it took computers another decade or so to be powerful enough to give administrators that option, and by that time the Web was already enormously popular." My geek imagination is now all atwitter imagining an alternate gopher-driven universe.
Government

UK Government Wants To Kill Net Neutrality In EU 287

Glyn Moody writes "Not content with snooping on all Internet activity, the UK government now wants to introduce changes to the contentious EU Telecoms Package, which will kill net neutrality in the EU: 'Amendments to the Telecoms Package circulated in Brussels by the UK government, seek to cross out users' rights to access and distribute Internet content and services. And they want to replace it with a "principle" that users can be told not only the conditions for access, but also the conditions for the use of applications and services. The amendments, if carried, would reverse the principle of end-to-end connectivity which has underpinned not only the Internet, but also European telecommunications policy, to date.' To add to the irony, an accompanying text cuts and pastes from Wikipedia, without attribution."
The Internet

Comcast Appeals FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling 242

Ian Lamont writes "Comcast has filed a court appeal of an FCC ruling that says the company can't delay peer-to-peer traffic on its network because it violates FCC net neutrality principles. A Comcast VP said the FCC ruling is 'legally inappropriate,' but said it will abide by the order during the appeal while moving forward with its plan to cap data transfers at 250 GB per month."
Wireless Networking

Google Nervous About Verizon's Open Access 116

Ian Lamont writes "Google is so worried about Verizon Wireless's commitment to open access using the 700Mhz spectrum that it has asked the FCC to get a pledge from Verizon that the carrier will honor the FCC's open-access conditions before the FCC sells it the band. Verizon won the auction for the nationwide C block of the 700MHz spectrum, but Google points to Verizon's alleged attempts to abandon the conditions, including a filing with the FCC which said the commission 'could not force the C block winner to allow all applications on the network.' Could this be another expanding front in the Net Neutrality battle, or is it time for the carriers to accept the fact that Net Neutrality is essentially a done deal, and carriers need to prepare for the next battle — developing software and services to run on open networks?" The IP Democracy blog has Google's filing (PDF) and the following comment from Verizon: "Google's filing has no legal standing."
Networking

Net Neutrality Debate Intensifies In Canada 163

MrShaggy tips us to news that the debate over Net Neutrality in Canada is coming to the forefront following the recent discovery that Bell Canada was throttling P2P traffic on the access it had sold to wholesalers. Michael Geist's blog notes a video recording of comments from a member of the Canadian government, as well as coverage from Canadian media. From Ars Technica: "The Canadian government has in the past pushed the CRTC to deregulate the telecom industry, an approach still backed by Minister of Industry Jim Prentice. Prentice also wants to stay out of the current net neutrality debate, which would seem to be a de facto vote against the idea. He was asked in the House of Commons this week whether his government would do anything about the current Bell/Rogers traffic-shaping controversy. According to the Globe & Mail, Prentice said only that "we will continue to leave the matter between consumers on the one hand and Internet service providers on the other."
The Internet

FCC To investigate Comcast Bittorrent Meddling 196

An anonymous reader writes "FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday that the commission will investigate complaints that Comcast actively interferes with Internet traffic as its subscribers try to share files online. A coalition of consumer groups and legal scholars asked the agency in November to stop Comcast from discriminating against certain types of data and to fine Comcast $195,000 for every affected subscriber. While known for months in tech circles, the issue wasn't given broad attention until an Associated Press report last year, in which reporters tested and verified the data blocking."
Announcements

New Network Neutrality Squad — Users Protecting the Net 168

Lauren Weinstein writes in to announce the new "Network Neutrality Squad" — NNSquad. Joining PFIR Co-Founders Peter G. Neumann and Weinstein in this announcement are Vinton G. Cerf, Keith Dawson (Slashdot.org), David J. Farber (Carnegie Mellon University), Bob Frankston, Phil Karn (Qualcomm), David P. Reed, Paul Saffo, and Bruce Schneier (BT Counterpane). The Network Neutrality Squad ("NNSquad") is an open-membership, open-source effort, enlisting the Internet's users to help keep the Internet's operations fair and unhindered from unreasonable restrictions. The project's focus includes detection, analysis, and incident reporting of any anticompetitive, discriminatory, or other restrictive actions on the part of Internet service Providers (ISPs) or affiliated entities, such as the blocking or disruptive manipulation of applications, protocols, transmissions, or bandwidth; or other similar behaviors not specifically requested by their customers.
The Internet

FCC Complaint Filed Over Comcast P2P Blocking 178

Enter Sandvine writes "A handful of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FCC over Comcast's "delaying" some BitTorrent traffic. The complaint seeks fines of $195,000 for each Comcast subscriber affected by the traffic blocking as well as a permanent injunction barring the ISP from blocking P2P traffic. '"Comcast's defense is bogus," said Free Press policy director Ben Scott. "The FCC needs to take immediate action to put an end to this harmful practice. Comcast's blatant and deceptive BitTorrent blocking is exactly the type of problem advocates warned would occur without Net Neutrality laws.""
Censorship

Yes Virginia, ISPs Have Silently Blocked Web Sites 204

Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "A recurring theme in editorials about Net Neutrality -- broadly defined as the principle that ISPs may not block or degrade access to sites based on their content or ownership (with exceptions for clearly delineated services like parental controls) -- is that it is a "solution in search of a problem", that ISPs in the free world have never actually blocked legal content on purpose. True, the movement is mostly motivated by statements by some ISPs about what they might do in the future, such as slow down customers' access to sites if the sites haven't paid a fast-lane "toll". But there was also an oft-forgotten episode in 2000 when it was revealed that two backbone providers, AboveNet and TeleGlobe, had been blocking users' access to certain Web sites for over a year -- not due to a configuration error, but by the choice of management within those companies. Maybe I'm biased, since one of the Web sites being blocked was mine. But I think this incident is more relevant than ever now -- not just because it shows that prolonged violations of Net Neutrality can happen, but because some of the people who organized or supported AboveNet's Web filtering, are people in fairly influential positions today, including the head of the Internet Systems Consortium, the head of the IRTF's Anti-Spam Research Group, and the operator of Spamhaus. Which begs the question: If they really believe that backbone companies have the right to silently block Web sites, are some of them headed for a rift with Net Neutrality supporters?" Read on for the rest of his story.

Father of Internet Warns Against Net Neutrality 322

An anonymous reader writes "At a recent talk at the Computer History Museum Robert Kahn, co-inventor of TCP/IP, warned against net neutrality legislation that could hinder experimentation and innovation. Calling 'net neutrality' a slogan, Khan also cautioned against 'dogmatic views of network architecture.' A video of the talk is also available."
Microsoft

Vista's 'Next Gen' TCP/IP Stack 259

boyko.at.netqos writes "Microsoft's new Vista TCP/IP stack might be beneficial to businesses looking to increase use of their IT infrastructure... if they did it right. Ted Romer at Network Performance Daily writes: '[Vista] now allows us to throttle outbound traffic at a client or server. For example, you can throttle the bandwidth of a particular subnet to a particular server, giving some departments more access to the servers that they need. You can even restrict outgoing bandwidth for certain peer-to-peer applications like bit torrent. This shaping can also be handy when applied to servers, allowing less bandwidth for certain users/departments, and more for others. While consumers may debate whether Vista is a worthwhile upgrade, I believe it to be important for enterprise customers who will best be able to put Vista's capabilities to their fullest potential. Of course, I'm getting it for DirectX 10 games, but that's just me.'"

Every Time You Vote Against Net Neutrality, Your ISP Kills a Night Elf 178

Perhaps one of the more overlooked problems that could arise out of a bad Net Neutrality decision is the impact to online gaming. In fact, any interactive communications could stand to take a dive (VOIP, streaming video, etc) with the advent of Net Neutrality legislation. RampRate has an interesting look at the possible fallout and where we are headed. From the article: "What will be murdered with no fallback or replacement is the nascent market of interactive entertainment - particularly online gaming. Companies like Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Sony Online Entertainment, and countless others, have built a business on the fundamental assumption of relatively low latency bandwidth being available to large numbers of consumers. Furthermore, a large -- even overwhelming -- portion of the value of these offerings comes from their 'network effects' -- the tendency for the game to become more enjoyable and valuable as larger number of players joins the gaming network."

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