Friday, December 14, 2018

Major Medium essay on the loss of net neutrality

Gigi Sohn, from Georgetown University, has recently also joined Electronic Frontier Foundation and has an article on Medium regarding the results of suspending network neutrality protections by the FCC finally last June, here. She discusses the throttling by Verizon of emergency services during the wildfires in California, and argues that a few throttling events have happened to try to goad consumers away from local grids.
FFTF has a posting today on members of Congress who took money from telecoms.

 We need also to remain aware of the possibility that activists (especially the SJW on the far left) could pressure telecoms to disconnect the websites of those persons or parties believed to be "connected" somehow  (even merely by appearance or association or code words) to the alt-right. How long will it take for this idea to catch on? 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Final deadline for lame duck session action in House on net neutrality "unrepeal" is apparently December 10

On Nov. 28, Kaleigh Rodgers reported on Motherboard Vice that House Democrats who hadn’t pledged to sign the discharge petition to, for practical purposes, restored network neutrality, had taken campaign finance contributions from major telecoms. On Nov. 28, Kaleigh Rodgers reported on Motherboard Vice that House Democrats who hadn’t pledged to sign the discharge petition to, for practical purposes, restored network neutrality, had taken campaign finance contributions from major telecoms.

“They” needed 18 more Democrats to sign the discharge petition for the lame duck session.
The last “Deadline for Net Neutrality” for the lame duck session had been Thursday, Nov. 29 according to a link from FFTF. 

Haven’t heard yet how it turned out!  Well, there is a video now that says it failed (above).  There is one more deadline Monday December 10, 2018. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

FFTF promises lame duck session activism to force discharge petition, regardless of today's election results

Fight for the Future (FFTF) does have a significant Medium account and blog, to which it posted today, saying it will fight to execute a discharge petition in the House by mid December regardless of the outcome of today’s elections. 
However it is apparent that if the Democrats take at least the House, the next Congress would be more favorable to reversing Ajit Pai’s action than is the current one.
FFTF still has its crowdfunding page, linked on the blog post.
The Washington Post, on Monday, in an editorial linked in Monday’s “Bill on Major Issues” post, compared the behavior of tech companies in removing some offensive sites from access to domain name registrar and hosting, to what net neutrality claims it wants to prevent.  That’s interesting. The activism on the far Left against hate speech could be applied to telecoms to deny connection to some sites if net neutrality were not restored.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Would 5G really be as good as fiber-optic in hard-to-serve areas? Telecom wants you to think so

Ernesto Falcon of Electronic Frontier Foundation has an article critical of the behavior of telecom companies in pressing 5G as a solution for rural areas – it is supposed to be as good as normal cable Internet – so that it doesn’t have to invest more in fiber optic-to-home service.  

Does this affect network neutrality?  Maybe.  If the services they finally supply are not as good as they could have been, they could have more incentive for throttling in the future.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Vermont passes net neutrality law for state contractors, and they sue back!

Now big telecom is suing the state of Vermont over a new net neutrality law that applies only to companies trying to get state contracts.  Jon Brodkin reports

It does sound like Vermont will stand its ground legally.  And the state keeps looking for workers.

Sorry, the picture is Mount Washington, NH, July 2011. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Comcast complains about California's net neutrality law, and it may really have a valid point

Jon Brodkin writes for Ars Technica that Comcast complains that its revenue will go down under California’s net neutrality law, due to go into effect Jan. 1 unless stopped.
Comcast (and ATT) want the ability to charge very large intermediaries like Cogent more to make efficient connections.  But Comcast’s complaint would not affect “ordinary” websites.  But transit companies like Cogent claim they are actually carrying traffic for free. 

The New York State attorney general is looking for evidence of fraud in more than 22 million comments supposedly submitted to the FCC in 2017, New York Times story by Nicholas Confessore. 

Monday, October 01, 2018

DOJ announces suit against California over state net neutrality law

Here’s a one-two punch.

First, California finally passes and Gov. Jerry Brown signs the nation’s toughest network neutrality law, as Heather Kelly reports on CNN.  

The bill seems particularly strict on ideas like zero-rated data usage for services owned by the telecom.

But telecom providers want uniform federal law, they say.

So, as The Switch Blog on the Washington Post, in a story by Brian Fung and Tony Romm report, the "Trumpist" United States Department of Justice announced late Sunday night that it would sue the state of California, claiming that Congress had given only the FCC the authority to hold a lever on net neutrality laws.

Electronic Frontier Foundation has some detailed analysis by Ernesto Falcon on how the DC Circuit will play a critical role, here
I expect I’ll see emails from FTFF on this one.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New York Times sues FCC over FoIA non-compliance with turning over possible Russian meddling with comment period in 2017

Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica reports that the New York Times has sued the FCC for its refusal to turn over records, based on the Freedom of Information Act, concerning possible Russian meddling during the comments phase of its 2017 process to eliminate Obama-era network neutrality rules. The link is here. 

There are some indications of DDoS attacks on FCC servers during the comments, and attempts to hide pro-neutrality comments. Russians could have had the sinister desire of wanting to wind up with a system were telecoms block individual speakers or small organizations.  That really doesn't seem to be happening. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

California's net neutrality bill poses the "federalist" question as to whether the states will take back the issue

Cecilia Kang has a long article “California bill sets up a fight on net access” Saturday, Sept. 1, here As of the time of writing, Gov. Jerry Brown had not yet signed it.

The bill apparently gave net neutrality “activists” all that “they” were seeking. Telecoms apparently cannot offer free streaming for apps, out of apparent deference to smaller publishers that don’t have the pull to offer the same. Normal streaming services would be offered at the same quality. Telecoms did not get some contingent capacity to throttle in the future if they wanted to.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

California house passes state net neutrality bill SB 822

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that a new net neutrality law in California passed the state house 61-18, SB 822. It needs to pass the Senate again.

ISP’s had been making robocalls claiming net neutrality would increase their cable bills (Falco story).

Update; Sept. 1

EFF reports that the bill passed the California Senate and goes to Jerry Brown for signature. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Verizon accused of throttling a California fire department during wildfires

Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica has a detailed article on Verizon’s reported throttling of the Satna Clara CA fire department’s wireless broadband Internet service during the recent fires.  The department had supposedly paid for unlimited data, but the service was slowed to .5% of normal speed until the department switched to a new plan, and even then there was delay of service.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Verizon denies a connection, while the California assembly plans hearings.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Pai grilled by Senate Commerce Committee

Ajit Pai testified today before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and issued this statement

But there has been controversy over claims that the FCC comments section in 2017 was hit by a DDOS attack, which caused to the comments to be misproportioned.  Those claims seemed to be largely discredited.

Pai has lashed at the chicken little claims that the sky would fall and that telecom companies would cut off speakers whom they did not control if the regulations were relaxed.  That has not happened so far. Pai made similar comments at the Cato Institute in June. But political pressure on tech companies over especially extreme right-wing content could be brought to bear on telecom, too, it would seem. 

Monday, August 06, 2018

Recent competition for full cable, and then banning of "extremist" or "fake news" sites on social media, may cause telecoms to see a business advantage to throttling

Although I certainly support competition and streaming services offering low-cost packages that consumers want if they don’t want to pay for full cable plans, I do see how this could affect the net neutrality issue with the formal restrictions gone (except for notification).
Consumer Reports latest issue has a guide to other services, and earlier CR had an article on how to negotiate with cable companies. But there is a potential dark side to all this.

Telecom companies (as well as streaming companies) could play this game to. In some countries (without net neutrality) smart phone plans sometimes offer certain video and social media platforms without the full Internet already, at low cost. If more consumers really want this, telecoms could gradually find that it makes business sense to offer reduced access to the Internet or parental controls, and gradually get away from letting everyone “legal” connect (as is the case now)

The banning today of Alex Jones by YouTube and Facebook and Apple, as well as Amazon’s recent cutoff of sales of Nazi materials, and past incidents involving white supremacy sites (Daily Stormer), it’s pretty easy to imagine activists pressuring telecom companies to cut off sites like Alex Jones.  That could again lead companies into thinking more about throttling. Blacklisting can spread like the Spanish flu.   The ban seems to have started with Apple and spread.  Should Tim Cook (or David Hogg) have so much power?  YouTube says it followed its community standards strikes policy with Jones. 

The more radical part of the Left has a very mixed idea about free speech. They need it to organize their own groups and recruit.  But they see individualized speech as a tool of the privileged to oppress minorities, and big Tech is more sensitive to these arguments than you would think. (Think about Google and James Damore.)

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Reports of net neutrality "violations" sneak in

I guess six weeks into the Net Neutrality “repeal” we should look at whether there have been any violations against the volunteerism.
In fact, there had been small, localized violations of the principle for years, but they generally didn’t affect many users.  Here’s a story on the Free Press from Timothy Karr, link. 

Comcast is limiting some video use by user hotspots, which matters mostly when customers are traveling and believe hotspots are more secure than a hotel system,  It has to do with fees paid to Verizon. Of course, when I travel, I usually don't have time to watch movies in a hotel room. But I did watch a Cato conference from a hotel room in Texas May 31, and I switched over to the hotel system.  Not the safest thing to do.  
We’ll keep watching. Again, we would be concerned over the future of small or personal sites over time.
These links came from a fundraising email from FFTF Aug. 1.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Nebraska Congressman accused by FTFF of sandbagging discharge petition on net neutrality vote

I got an email from Fight for the Future about Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) has taken money from telecoms but refused to sign a discharge petition to vote for a modified net neutrality bill in Congress.
Here is their link.  They want to raise money for a highway billboard campaign, especially in Nebraska and the midwest (I have a lot of ties to KU and Kansas). 
I’ll leave the decisions on donations to the judgment of the visitors.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Small ISP's fight anti-competitive claims by big telecom's on "unbundled network elements" (UNE's)

USTelecom, a trade association of seven major telecom companies, wants to have the right to starve smaller ISP’s out of existence (including community or municipal owned), according to story on on Engadget by Nicole Lee, tweeted by Electronic Frontier Foundation, by rolling back part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (which contains Section 230) that requires them to sell unbundled network elements (UNE’s) to smaller companies.

Ernesto Falcon had written about this problem on June 8 for EFF, as a “fight for their lives” of smaller companies.
It’s pretty easy to imagine who this jives with the network neutrality “repeal”.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kavanaugh has a bizarre way of applying the First Amendment to telecoms, undermining net neutrality

I’ll pass along “Fight for the Future” group’s emergency link  and let the visitor decide.

The group FTFF writes about Brett Kavanaugh’s views on network neutrality, which it says are a misinterpretation of the First Amendment. “ ISPs are like newspaper editors, empowered to decide what speech is suitable to share and what isn’t. This, simply put, is nuts. It’s like saying the electric utility can decide what we can plug in and what we can’t.”  I think he is comparing a telecom to a cable service that just doesn’t carry all possible channels.  (Comcast doesn’t carry OANN, for example, and I’ve brought this up with both companies.  But there is a difference between cable service and Internet/web access.   Kavanaugh does allow the idea of regulation telecoms that have no competition in their service areas. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Broadband for America sends out confusing call to action on discharge petition

I’ll pass along Broadband for America’s call to reject H.R.joint resolution 129, in Congress, here.  Here is the associated discharge petition  to express disapproval of Pai’s weakening of net neutrality rules, effective June 11.

However this group seems to be a front for a corporate anti-net neutrality lobbying effort, as in this story.

Update: July 8

Comcast has been accused of "pseudo-throttling" but only end-users, not publishers (would not be illegal under Obama), nevertheless, FTFF raised the alarm. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

California net neutrality gutted by lobbyists, would even allow telecoms to charge publishers for connection

In a rather disturbing development, Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that lobbyists have gutted the supposed California net neutrality bill, according to a story by Ernesto Falcon 

The changes not only allow some paid prioritization (which is OK in limited circumstances for really special uses) and zero-rating (which is OK if limited) but the possibility of connection charges to websites (probably managed through hosting companies).
Wired has a similar story, here

But none of the major telecoms have actually tried to do this and all say they still don’t block or prioritize content.

Jon Brodkin had written in Ars Technica that Comcast wants paid prioritization to be allowed for “specialized services” (like medical emergencies, and example often given by Pai). 

Update: Sunday, July 8, 2018

California has restored the provisions banning charging websites fees, according to a SFGate story, here.

EFF story is here

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

David Hogg ties net neutrality end to voter right suppression; EFF paper could mean this can make sense

The Washington Times reports that David Hogg has invented a conspiracy theory claiming that the repeal of net neutrality will empower large telecom companies to deny minority groups web presence to suppress the right to vote. Here is the story by Victor Morton.

But here is Hogg’s tweet. He could be reacting to the Ohio SCOTUS ruling (Issues blog). 

On the other hand, Electronic Frontier Foundation has a critical article by Ernesto Falcon June 12 critical of ATT attempts to create zero-rating service for low-income consumers that would allow Internet access on one device only.  It’s possible that Hogg’s comments (which appear out of context otherwise) are an elaboration of this story.  People who are otherwise illiterate and who cannot afford access to information simply won’t try to vote.  That makes sense.  But this is a bit of what went on in the South in 1964 (when three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi).
These plans do exist overseas in some countries with weaker regulation, like Portugal.

Update: June 15

Here is my WP writeup on Ajit Pai's briefing at Cato Wednesday. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Net neutrality has ended officially; Washington Post runs scare headline like a false flag, with story details that don't support the anxiety

Tony Romm has an eye-catching headline on the lower front page of the Monday Washington Post (June 11), making it look like a Sunday paper. It reads as “The Web as you know it may soon be altered”.

Online the title is more pertinent, in the Business Section, “Goodbye to Net Neutrality, Hello to an even bigger ATT”?  Link (paywall) is here

But the article itself says “For now, companies like ATT, Comcast and Verizon have said they would not block or throttle Web access or charge more for faster delivery of online content.”

And Tuesday, a federal judge will decide if ATT can buy Time Warner.  Yet, ATT insists it has no economic incentive to hinder consumer access to remaining competitors, either on cable or on the Web.

So far, as of 10:30 AM EDT June 11, everything works normally. 

I think there are strategic threats to individualized web operations like mine, but they come from the political climate, with is reacting to past extreme capitalism by trying to force solidarity among even future constituents of oppressed “groups”, by threatening individual speech. FOSTA is more serious than net neutrality; curiously the EU Copyright Directive could have big indirect effects here, and there are even other strategic threats regarding insurability and liability exposure that no one has discussed yet but that I am aware of from my own past.  Stay tuned.
Activist groups like EFF need to attack these problems in combination, not “hands separately” like this was beginning piano lessons.

Friday, June 08, 2018

On June 11, network neutrality dies with a whimper (unless ...)

June 11 approaches (right after Washington is suitably distracted by the Capital’s Stanley Cup and gay pride weekend) and network neutrality officially ends, unless the House passes the Senate bill over the weekend. 

Chad Marlow, for ACLU,  says it will end with a whimper, like in Nevil Shute’s “On the Beach” (with "Waltzing Matida").  No, we don’t expect the telecoms to do anything rash on June 11, and furthermore they would have to announce it publicly, and they haven’t. 

Inverse has a briefer article, and makes a whimsical warning about porn prices going up.

In the longer run, to see radical changes, telecom’s would need a business case for trying to control your media experience the way Facebook tried.  This really doesn’t make sense right now, to me at least.
But the Cato Institute will do a digital interview with Ajit Pai on Wednesday, June 14 at 6 PM EDT, announcement here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Even the Washington Post admits that the sky wouldn't fall because of net neutrality pull back

Back on March 5, 2018, even the “liberal” Washington Post questioned activists who claim that the sky will fall if network neutrality is repealed, in this article by Salvador Rizzo. 
“If you don’t restore net neutrality, you’ll get the Internet one word at a time.” Indeed.
The Post seems reassuring that even with no action, the major telecoms have pledged not to change anything, for now.
But what about down the road?
There are disturbing questions these days as to who should be allowed online, inasmuch as private companies have been willing to ban some users based on associations.  True, you don’t want neo-Nazis.  But it can be a very slippery slope.  Maybe you don’t want amateur content at all.  Some guilds don’t.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

EFF explains how net neutrality discharge petition in the House will work

Ernesto Falcon of Electronic Frontier Foundation has explained “the path to victory” in the House of Representatives with an explanation of the discharge petition process, here

The article suggests that representatives tend to be responsive to calls asking them to sign the petition. Once they commit to doing so, they have to sign a document that is continually updated and is visible online, here

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Net Neutrality CRA un-repeal passes Senate; now House needs a "discharge petition", too

The Senate has voted today under the authority of the CRA to overturn the FCC “repeal” of Obama’s 2015 network neutrality rules, 52-47.  The AP story was carried here by WJLA. 

The attempt to reverse Ajit Pai’s “light touch” is likely to face a tough sell in the House. Ryan does not want to allow this to come up for a vote, so it needs a discharge petition first (so did the Senate).
Techcrunch has an explanation of how the discharge petition process will work, here. 

In practice, it really looks like tech companies will not be in a hurry to make major changes for a long time because of uncertainty, litigation threats, and a belief their consumers want most of what neutrality offers (which a few special exceptions).
Congress ought to be able to figure out that some specific kinds of preferred service (like for medical providers in emergencies) would not undermine consumer or small business use. 
FEE (Foundation for Economic Education, a libertarian group) pushed an article “Let’s end net neutrality once and for all in America” May 15, bad timing.  FEE says things were fine before 2015 with Obama’s rules, but companies may have been on their best behavior.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Should you call your own Senator over net neutrality? Is email good enough?

Here is a link where you can tell where your two Senators and House Representatives stand on undoing the Net Neutrality “repeal”.  All three of mine support restoring net neutrality. 

For what it’s worth, activists say that personal phone calls are more effective than letters or emails, and letters are more effective than emails.  Tweets and Facebook messages are not effective.
I have a problem with “Take Action” calls, because there are too many intersecting issues.  The FOSTA issue may be more of a ‘threat” than the net neutrality issue, in practice, so I don’t like to waste “capital” on one group’s issue, which leads to misleading messages.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

FCC says new rules replacing "net neutrality" will take effect Monday June 11

Reuters is reporting that the FCC has announced that the “new rules” effectively repealing network neutrality will take effect on Monday June 11, 2018 – allowing time for the OMB review.
Reuters also writes that major telecom providers have said they will not block lawful content.

The Senate could vacate the FCC action by a vote that could happen next week.
Medium and FFTF wrote their own account here   Medium admits that no changes would happen immediately, but that users would notice fewer startups.  (There could be other reasons, like FOSTA/SESTA.)

On Pai’s video above, go to 6:46. 
The rules would require telecom providers to announce any changes.
Cox (my provider at home) is not mentioned in the Reuters article but here is their own commitment statement from the end of 2017.
But Cox did announce price increases on some specificservices in January.

Update: May 11

Electronic Frontier Foundation's action article is here

May 14:

I can't find a statement from Verizon yet, but there were some issues with Netflix and YouTube in the summer of 2017,. Ars Technica here

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Senate will vote on a CRA nullification of FCC's ending of net neutrality

Electronic Frontier Foundation set out a “red alert” regarding the planned Senate vote in mid May to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the 2015 Open Internet Order.    A simple majority can apparently overrule the agency rule on Dec. 15.  Thirty signatures can force the vote.
FTFF reports that the Senate just moved to force a vote, here

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Big ISP's whine in front of state legislatures claiming net neutrality raises bills to consumers

Ernesto Falcon has an article (“The Big Lie”) May 4 from Electronic Frontier Foundation summarizing arguments some big ISP’s have made to state legislatures claiming they don’t make enough money, and that net neutrality will cause consumer bills to rise, link here
EFF discusses a relatively small ISP in Chattanooga, TN that offers some of the fastest service in the nation, EPB Fiber Optics.
The article also describes an instance where ATT would not allow Google to use its telephone poles in some areas to enlarge its own new fiber optic service.  Anti-competitiveness is reportedly denying some consumers optimal access.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Pro net neutrality activist group wants to use your website, or get you to hand deliver messages

A group “Fight for the Future”, which I have mentioned here before, is encouraging supporters to place red alerts on their own social media pages (Facebook) and personal web pages. Here is their "Red Alert" link if you want to see it. 

I don’t do this with my own sites because I want to behave like a “journalist”, so I say, with some irony given the issue, that I want to behave publicly with some irony.  But that could be one reason why activists have a love-hate relationship with journalists, who can’t “join up” by definition.

The group has also encouraged mass calling of legislators and even hand delivering letters (bicycle messengers, sometimes with legs shaved, do that).
I'm generally reluctant to spend my own "lobbying capital" on just one issue just because I could get hurt by it.  But maybe getting hurt means out for the season and career Tommy John surgery. 

Note the Senate vote coming up the middle of this month.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Major challenge to Pai's net neutrality repeal moves to federal circuit

INCOMPAS, a trade association representing smaller telecoms, is joining a lawsuit against the repeal of network neutrality, and the venue was moved from the Ninth Circuit to the Federal Circuit.

Dell Cameron explains for Gizmodo in a surprising story here where he says the major media misses this entire development.
Apparently this could delay the “repeal” even further, or prevent it, until Congress passes some reforms.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ajit Pai's motives with the OMB review

Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica gives a more detailed explanation of Ajit Pai’s allowing the net neutrality “repeal” languish with the OMB, largely over the transparency rules, here.
The OMB issue has already been covered here, but the writer conjectures that Pai wants to give Congress some reason for a “compromise” bill, allowing more paid prioritization, but the Democrats and the activists are ceding no ground.

Friday, April 20, 2018

OMB process may slow down the net neutrality "repeal" on April 23

Gigi Sohn has a detailed article on “broadcastingcable” explaining how a comment period on OMB regulations regarding rollback of network neutrality runs from March 27 to April 26, 2018. 
Theoretically, a few changes from providers would be possible April 23, but throttling could not happen until after the OMB period and after transparent notification from ISP’s to consumers.
It doesn’t appear that any litigation or state laws would stop the administrative process associated with OMB review.  There is a good theoretical question about how administrative law (vs. courts) could set any precedents.

Sohn indicates that so far major ISP’s have shown no interest in throttling.
We think they could eventually require sites to have security certificates (SSL’s) and possibly safety ratings.  The SSL might be a useful tool to reduce the growing risk of foreign sabotage or hacking (as would the use of content delivery services like SiteLock and Cloudflare).  Google says it wants to see the entire web on SSL by July!!

Update: April 24

Electronic Frontier Foundation explains this more thoroughly in a story by Katherine Trendacosta.  EFF does not know when OMB will publish on the Federal Register and what the "final" cutover date would be. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

California getting cold feet on restoring net neutrality?

California is trying to enforce net neutrality within its own borders, with State Senator’s bill SB S822, and a California state Senate committee is trying to undermine the bill, according to EFF’s Ernesto Falcon.

Although the committee is sympathetic to preventing throttling, it seems to side with big telecom on its need to make money through some paid prioritization and zero-rated services. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Loss of net neutrality rules could ironically complicate https everywhere efforts

Here's something to watch.  In providing a security certificate (SSL) to enable https everywhere for your site, your host may have to propagate a new IP address (especially if its not a free one). 

There are many products to track propagation.  Generally the certificate will not work until all telecom companies around the world have changed the A record IP. The http sometimes will not work either if there is CDS,

This means that after the "net neutrality repeal" rules take place on April 23, there is at least a theoretical possibility that a domestic (US) telecom could reject a site if it has announced it will do so in advance for some kinds of sites.  This is something to watch for. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Open DNS could provide workarounds for net neutrality loss if the "worst" were really to happen

I haven’t heard any more big news on holding up net neutrality repeal, but I also haven’t heard of any plans by telecoms to change anything (and even the new environment requires announcement and transparency).
But Ars technical referred back to its rather pessimistic December 2017 article, and recommends some OpenDNS tools, as run by Cloudflare, to stop any telecom sniffing, article by Sean Gallagher here.  Apparently there are ways around throttling, too, if it ever happens (although Cloudflare has in at least one case refused at least one controversial customer, Daily Stormer).
OpenDNS is permissible with some telecoms, not others.  It can also provide a useful tool for an Airbnb host to shield himself from any misbehavior online by guests. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Litigation against net neutrality repeal consolidated; three telecom trade associations defend FCC with arguments; broadband "nutrition labels"

Jon Brodkin has a summary and explanation of the litigation, at least twelve lawsuits and counting, against the FCC over the Network Neutrality repeal, on Arstechnica, here
But three lobbying groups for the telecom industry have filed their “defense” of the FCC action as the lawsuits are combined into one.  It appears that it is headed for the Ninth Circuit. Brodkin has another article here

Technically the Net Neutrality rules expire April 23, pending one more OMB action.  It is not yet clear if this litigation would stop the Net Neutrality reversal from going into effect that day.  It seems unlikely that telecom companies would make any major changes immediately however.  I personally think they may pressure publishers more into https and website safety rating. 
Note the case about Charter in New York above   Note the stuff about broadband “nutrition labels.”

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Pundits ask: will net neutrality repeal turn the Internet into a grindhouse?

Salvador Rizzo has a perspective and analysis in the Washington Post today: “Will the FCC’s Net Neutrality repeal grind the Internet to a halt?”
Well, it this a grindhouse?  The article really doesn’t consider the timing of litigation or possible Congressional action. 
The article mentions various informal pledges from telecom providers, but believes that paid fast lanes will gradually develop.
The lack of good broadband in some rural areas is still and issue.  Around Green Bank W Va, it isn’t wanted.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Senate introduces network neutrality bill; Washington signs first state law

Democrats have introduced two bills to restore net neutrality, even if there is little chance of passage within 60 days – to make it an election issue this fall.  These are Senators Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyde, (D-OR), Vice story here
And Jay Inslee, of Washington State, has signed the first state network neutrality law, NYTImes story Monday here. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Simple majority votes in Congress can restore network neutrality

Electronic Frontier Foundation is reminding voters that simple majorities in both houses can overturn the FCC’s recent order abandoning Obama’s 2015 net neutrality rules.
Pallone and Doyle have a Feb. 22, 2018 press release, here
You can check up your own reps here

Monday, February 26, 2018

Now, given that Ajit Pai is "published", what next?

Brian Fung has summarized “what happens next” (in the Washington Post) now that Ajit Pai and his FCC rules are officially published in the (boring) Federal Register. 

It doesn’t look like Congress can do much in 60 days (especially the House) but it sounds likely a federal court will probably stop the change by April 23.
Fung doesn’t think telecom companies are in any hurry to change things.  (Would “throttle” mean block, or just slow?)  Paragraph 244 of the FR paper takes up the idea that there is no valid business reason for throttling.

Friday, February 23, 2018

What if, post net neutrality, telecom companies throttle the NRA or gun stores, out of a private "political" motive?

Dell Cameron of Gizmodo reports that the NRA has awarded FCC chairman Ajit Pai a ceremonial gift rifle for his “courage”, news story here. 
But Symantec and Lifelock and other private businesses (banks with Visa cards) have cut ties with the NRA out of social and political outrage.
I tweeted today, what if a telecom company, once the Net Neutrality “repeal” takes effect fully (April 23), refuses to allow the NRA website or any gun shop to connect, out of “political motives”?
I hope people understand where this can be headed.  We saw tech companies block Daily Stormer last summer.  This is a very slippery slope, between genuine moral outrage and political incorrectness or intersectionality.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Official publication of net neutrality "repeal" in FR occurs Feb. 22 and can take effect April 23 theoretically

Ajit Pai’s “Restore Internet Freedom” rules will officially be published on the Federal Register Thursday 22, 2018  (I had thought they were published already).  Here is the web link

Ars Technica has an article by Jon Brodkin. 
Theoretically, the changes take effect April 23, 2018.  But various groups and states will file petitions and lawsuits within ten days.  The legal challenges will probably take a year.  In the meantime there are efforts to introduce bills in Congress, which may not get through the House.

Telecom providers seem to suggest they do not intend to make any changes now. Yet the Ars Technica article warns that theoretically this is possible (telecoms would have to give notification) after April 23 unless a court intervenes. 
The Verge has a detailed summary on how various telecom companies would behave. In general, there are no absolute guarantees, but it seems companies don’t have specific plans and are not in a hurry to make changes.
It's well to bear in mind that a lot of free services on the Internet (like Blogger, Wordpress, Twitter) we "take for granted" but their permanent existence cannot be guaranteed, and with some of these services I have started to wonder about the sustainability of their business models.  A lot of things in life are like that, and so was Net Neutrality.  You have to stay alert.  

Monday, February 05, 2018

New Jersey governor orders all telecoms doing business with the state honor net neutrality

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) of New Jersey has signed an Executive Order with all companies doing business with New Jersey to respect network neutrality.


Murphy said the companies are cooperative.  Will they honor the promises everywhere?   This video was shared today by Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Would checking for typosquatting violate (previous) network neutrality?

Today, when I misspelled a domain name – yes, that can be dangerous (typosquatting) Cox intercepted it and with a message that it cannot connect to a domain by that name.

This could be good – Cox is likely to be protecting consumers from typosquatting scams.  In most cases, though, a non-existing domain is caught by the browser and a message is returned back from regular Internet tier DNS servers.  Theoretically, this might have violated network neutrality rules in the past (until the repeal).

In fact, I had thought that Pai had already published his “revolution” to the Federal Register, but the latest seems to be that it’s not all there yet.

It may be laudable for telecom companies to protect customers from security problems by scanning domain names for validity and possibly typosquatting, which is what I suspect is happening. No legitimate sites have been blocked in my experience (by Cox, Comcast, or Verizon).  But it could set the stage for offering much more restricted sets later, for example https only, or perhaps sites rates as safe only. I wonder how that will play out with all the net neutrality litigation starting, especially in the states. 

I would notice that some offices and some public computers block "amateur" sites, but this has nothing to do with telecom's; this seems to be a workplace environment issue.