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. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Burger King's net neutrality repeal protest

Burger King put on its own demonstration on the demise of network neutrality this week, with a sham practice of making customers pay a premium to go to the head of the line. US News story here


Although, paying more for an Ezpass lane (and drive alone) during rush hour seems OK (not to some commuters). 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

States sue to stop net neutrality repeal, predict telecoms will control content in court papers; Senate close on a vote

The attorneys general of twenty states have filed suit to stop the FCC’s network neutrality repeal, as they claim that the repeal would allow telecom companies become gatekeepers of what gets disseminated and seen, at their own profit.  (Will this really happen?) Here’s the MSN story.

The Senate appears to have 50 out of 51 votes needed to approve a Congressional Review Act to stall the FCC’s decision.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

States want to introduce their own net neutrality, but legally Congress will probably have to let them

Cecilia Kang reports in the New York Times that a number of states are pushing back on network neutrality repeal, introducing legislation to protect consumers and small businesses or individuals seeking sustainability in their ability to reach customers or readers online as today. These states include California and New York, which tend to be trendsetters and affect large companies, as well as North Carolina, Illinois, Washington, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Nebraska.  The list includes some red states.  The story is here
There are legal questions as to whether the FCC order would circumvent states who want to pass these laws, but that is one of the topics of upcoming litigation and Congressional debate.
There’s another video on the FCC’s pre-emptive attempt to override state laws, here

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

House GOP introduce pseudo-net neutrality replacement bill; Senate may vote on blocking FCC order

House Republicans have a compromise on Net Neutrality, “The Open Internet Preservation Act”, introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)  

Here’s a text of the Act.

The act would prohibit telecoms from throttling lawful web content, and would require them to obey state laws anywhere the do business, but would not allow the FCC to stop fast lanes or special packages or apps for targeted customers who don’t want everything.

Personally I think this is good enough (for me at least), but it isn’t playing over too well.
A good question could be whether telecoms could insist sites offer https or qualify as safe sites somehow.  I don’t see that in the language now.

There is movement in the Senate to overturn the FCC order, as Se, Ed Markey (D-MA) has collared the 30 votes to force a vote on overturning the rules, MSN story. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

FCC issues its official "repeal" of net neutrality

Electronic Frontier Foundation informs us that the FCC has just published it’s “order” repealing Network Neutrality on the Federal Register.
Here is the official PDF of the order. 
Here is EFF’s article and suggested manner of contacting Congress, link

California has introduced its own bill to protect Net Neutrality, which would affect most large telecoms, here
I don’t necessarily agree with the speaker’s conclusions in the video, but there may be something to it.  You don’t necessarily have a constitutional right to be heard all by yourself without “earning it”.  

Friday, January 05, 2018

FCC Dissenting vote by Clyburn: interesting reading

EFF has tweeted a link to the dissent by FCC member Mignon L. Clyburn 

The paper makes chilling reading.  Note that Clyburn admits that maybe nothing happens for a while, until service providers start a gradual came of “Mother May I” and possibly cloak everything in nondisclosure agreements.

She notes well that small businesses won’t be able to pay off big businesses to be found more easily by customers, so they won’t be formed. The world would tend to move into the direction of structure oligarchy of power, like Russia.

She mentions sole proprietors, who are actually helped by the recent Trump tax law. But this could make it prohibitive for people to publish on their own like I have at some point in the future if the worst were to happen.

She also mentions the discrete communities whose issues might be hidden if they didn’t have equal access.

Yet we got by fine until 2015.  Well, not quite.  There were scattered abuses.  Does web access itself need to be viewed as a utility? Is there some level of regulation that is logical and consistent with past policy?

But the very dependence on utilities puts us at an existential, singular threat that we haven’t face before. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Could the FCC soften the "repeal" before publication in the Federal Register?

Deve Coldewey of Tech Crunch writes that the FCC is still “tweaking” its network neutrality repeal” and “that’s normal”.  The Yahoo link is here.
Let’s hope this means that, before publication in the Federal Register (which I remember so well from my days at Lewin) the FCC will include some language that telecom’s should not compromise lawful web access that exists today, even if some fast lanes are actually desirable (for medical purposes, maybe gaming, virtual reality, and the like), and certain flexibility in low-served rural areas is also needed.