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02.07.14

Save Net Neutrality in Europe Because Net Neutrality’s Death in the US Already Helps ISPs Censor the Internet/Web

Posted in Law at 10:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RIP Internet?

Vint Cerf
By Вени Марковски

Summary: The crisis of the Internet deepens as another form of censorship is added to a Net already riddled with censorship, surveillance, and prospectively DRM

OVER THE past few months we have stressed the importance of Net Neutrality in Europe [1, 2, 3]. The Web was invented in Europe (in Switzerland by a British scientist), unlike the Internet, which was a military project in the US.

This British scientist now sounds like somewhat of a puppet for Hollywood when he promotes DRM for the likes of Netflix. Many people on the Web are berating this founder of the Web over his outrageous DRM policy [1, 2], but he just doesn’t seem to care. He presses on with calls to re-decentralize the Web [1], pretending that censorship and authority have nothing to do with DRM (in that respect, he is hypocritical at best).

The Web in Europe faces issues other than DRM because there is also censorship (very widespread in the UK right now) and ‘soft’ censorship, which Net Neutrality is intended to tackle. It is reported [2], albeit denied by Verizon [3], that the war on Netflix is waged with tiered Web, and there is expectation of reaction from Netflix [4] although we are not seeing any. In fact, the US government seems to have almost given up on Net Neutrality and the EU Parliament will soon vote on the fate of Net Neutrality in Europe [5]. Given what some European politicians have been saying and doing, we oughtn’t assume that they are not going to follow the US model/precedence (laws in the US tend to spread through Europe to the rest of the world, e.g. patent law and copyright law). We cannot trust Internet service providers which are lobbying the government against our collective interest [6] and US politicians are still divided on the matter of Net Neutrality [7] (one would expect to see bipartisanship here). A site funded by Netscape’s founder says that 2014 is “The Year America Broke The Internet” [8]. One million people call on FCC to “save net neutrality” [9], but the lobbyist who runs the FCC (Wheeler) can hardly be bothered [10] (too weak a statement, seemingly just lip service).

The EU Parliament is still said to be “divided” on the issue of Net Neutrality [11]. Shouldn’t it be a non-controversial issue, where all politicians actually do what’s good for all voters? Apparently not. Companies like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T have the largest army of lobbyists (top ranked for budget), corrupting Congress and authorities outside the United States too. “AT&T Develops Credits System to Limit File-Sharing Bandwidth,” says one very recent headline [12] (already capitalising with caps after the Net Neutrality ruling). Scientists [13,14] and human rights advocates [15] explain the importance of the issue at stake as the Internet moves forward [16]. What seems to be happening here is gradual death of the Internet as we know it. Some traffic gets blocked or throttled, bizarre censorship rules are being imposed in the Web (ISPs conspire and collude), and DRM becomes part of the ‘standard’ (for Hollywood, or the copyright cartel), not to mention deep packet inspection (DPI) among other means of surveillance (by governments and corporations). Some “freedom”, eh? We need an alternative to the Internet, unless we can save what we already have…

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Tim Berners-Lee: We need to re-decentralize the Web

    Twenty-five years after the Web’s inception, its creator has urged the public to reengage with its original design: a decentralized Internet that remains open to all.

  2. Verizon Using Recent Net Neutrality Victory to Wage War Against Netflix

    On January 17, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled, as a matter of first impression, that First Amendment defamation rules apply equally to both the institutional press and individual speakers and writers, such as bloggers.

  3. Verizon denies reports of Netflix throttling following net neutrality’s death

    Have U.S. Internet users’ worst fears just been realized? A new report from iScan Online programmer David Raphael claims to confirm that Verizon, which you might recall helped lead the charge against net neutrality regulations, has begun limiting the bandwidth utilized by certain websites for its FiOS Internet subscribers. In a blog post on Wednesday, Raphael shared a troubling account of issues that his company had been experiencing with service slowdowns. After digging into the problem he finally contacted Verizon customer support, which seemingly confirmed that the ISP is throttling bandwidth used by some cloud service providers including Amazon AWS, which supports huge services including Netflix and countless others. As BGR has learned, however, this is in fact not the case.

  4. Netflix’s Battle For Net Neutrality Could Look Like This

    If the war over net neutrality is going to be fought in the court of public opinion, as Netflix suggested last week, then the company could learn a lot from one of its most pernicious rivals: BitTorrent.

  5. EU Parliament Will Soon Vote on the Fate of Net Neutrality in Europe

    In the coming days, committees of the European Parliament will decide the fate of Net neutrality in Europe. Ahead of European elections, our representatives cannot miss this opportunity to truly defend EU citizens’ rights, protect communications online and thus guarantee freedom of expression and information throughout Europe.

  6. Warning: do not trust your internet service provider

    Imagine going to netflix.com and picking a movie to watch on their instant streaming catalogue. After a few seconds of buffering, the movie starts playing and you sit back to enjoy your fifth viewing of “The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement.” The video starts stuttering again and a message pops-up: “Would you like to subscribe to the Super-Netflix plan that will allow you to view the thousands of movies in their catalogue in the highest quality possible?”

  7. Democrats Introduce Open Internet Preservation Act To Restore Net Neutrality

    Democrats in the House and Senate today introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act, a bill that would reinstate now-defunct net neutrality rules that were shot down last month.

    Net neutrality, in its most basic form, is the idea that ISPs must treat all Internet data the same. Under its regime, ISPs are not allowed to selectively speed up or slow down information requested by their customers due to their selective gatekeeping of the services impacted. Or, more simply, Comcast can’t decide that a site you want to load, or a video you want to watch, should be slowed, and content that it prefers, accelerated.

    With last month’s striking of the FCC’s net neutrality ruling, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has changed the landscape of the Internet.

  8. 2014: The Year America Broke The Internet

    A recent decision by a US Appeals court ended the regulation of the internet as we know it. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was deemed to have created a framework for ensuring the concept of “net neutrality” out-with the remit for the organisation it created itself. Now, a former FCC chairman has called for a “nuclear option” to reclassify Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as common carriers.

  9. One million people call on FCC to “save net neutrality”

    Resurrect net neutrality rules by declaring ISPs common carriers, petition says.

  10. FCC’s Wheeler Vows to Take Next Steps on Net Neutrality ‘Shortly’

    The pressure is mounting on the Federal Communications Commission to revisit how it will regulate net neutrality in the wake of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision that tossed the rules back in the regulator’s lap.

    On Thursday, Free Press and more than 80 other organizations, including ACLU, Common Cause, ColorofChange, Demand Progress, and even the Harry Potter Alliance, delivered a petition to the FCC at the conclusion of the agency’s monthly meeting.

  11. EU Parliament Still Divided on the Issue of Net Neutrality

    The proposal of the European Commission on Net neutrality is currently discussed within the European Parliament. Committees appointed for opinion have already expressed their point of view on this text – except the Civil liberties (LIBE) committee, whose report will be voted on February 12th.

  12. AT&T Develops Credits System to Limit File-Sharing Bandwidth

    A patent application by telecoms giant AT&T details a traffic management system set to add a little more heat to the net neutrality debate. Rather than customers using their Internet connections to freely access any kind of data, the telecoms giant envisions a system in which subscribers engaged in “non-permissible” transfers, such as file-sharing and movie downloading, can be sanctioned or marked for increased billing.

  13. Why you should care about the end of net neutrality

    IS THIS the end of the internet as we know it? On 14 January, the guiding principle of internet freedom, known as net neutrality, was demolished in a US appeals court in Washington DC. Pro-neutrality activists say it is the harbinger of dark times for our connected world. Information will no longer be free, but governed by the whims of big business. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and AT&T argue that since they built the physical backbone of the net they should be able to charge people to use it.

  14. We – and that includes you – must preserve Net Neutrality

    I have just signed a petition on Net Neutrality; written to the MEP/Rapporteur for the ITRE process; and written to my MEPs. Ten years ago that would have taken me all day. Now it takes under half an hour.

  15. The Internet You Know and Love is in Danger

    Net neutrality – the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the Internet equally – is vital to free speech. But earlier this month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCC’s net neutrality rules, jeopardizing the openness of the Internet that we have come to take for granted.

  16. Nine Things to Expect from HTTP/2

    Making HTTP/2 succeed means that it has to work with the existing Web. So, this effort is about getting the HTTP we know on the wire in a better way, not changing what the protocol means.

    This means HTTP/2 isn’t introducing new methods, changing headers or switching around status codes. In fact, the library that you use for HTTP/1 can be updated to support HTTP/2 without changing any application code.

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