Archive for the ‘net neutrality’ Category

Enlarged@EPIC’s Privacy.org 

*Infographic WHO’S TRACKING YOU? (left) c/o Privacy.org

BTC — It’s been a very big day for digital privacy policy and the Internet on Capitol Hill and the day isn’t even over yet.

As the result of a 5 – 0 vote, the FTC released it’s official framework to limit 3rd party browser surveillance from cookies and collection of broswer histories.  Media questions raised towards the FTC’s cautious steps out in defense of consumer privacy were answered summarily, “that’s why we are putting this up for comment.”

The matters of concern were mainly directed at a new “Do Not Track list”; which was compared to a Do Not Call list for 3rd party telemarketers.  Consumers should able opt-out of browser data surveillance by adding their information to consumer protection list.  However, due to the review period, FTC enforcement measures towards the adoption of Do Not Track are still unformed, uncertain, appearing unenforceable. FTC mentioned they “were not in a place now to deal with deceptive commercial practices”.  Retroactive enforcement of privacy on information collected and a Do Not Use list were considerations that seemed to take the FTC panel by surprise. Questions about the scope creep of the decision and current data collected were almost censured by moderators who demanded the identity of privacy labeled press in attendance.

The FTC Chairman’s tone of concern over tracking was not as greatly angled towards consumer publics as it was advertisers, browser companies and industry who rely on corporate data surveillance for marketing information.   “I would not personally opt-out of 3rd party…, but that’s why we are putting this up for comment,” said FTC Chair, Liebowitz.  The trial run of new versions of privacy protection seems to be at the behest of industry vs. the consumer.  While this was made fairly plain, questions were raised about consumers accessibility to the use of new privacy controls in browser technology.  The FTC acknowledged users are largely uninformed of what their options are towards operating evolving browser versions and hidden privacy settings on current browser technologies.

As an experiment, I looked into my own browser security; which had undergone several weekly updates.  The security settings had changed.  There were a mountain of cookies and stored sites in hidden browser histories I didn’t know I had.   The box for “show my location” had been automatically checked.   I had opted out completely for Google Buzz yesterday only after pop-up options were made available.  The public, indeed, still bears the burden of personal privacy vigilance over browser data surveillance; while government bodies catch up to pilot consumer protections. In the meantime, we will watch and see if Google and other 3rd party data brokers are really on their best behavior.

Here is second life for news that matters:

HuffPo: Will we get a “Do Not Track Me” list ?

The FCC’s Net Neutrality Announcement: The Good, The Bad, and What It Means for You

POLITICO: Hill Based News roundup for FCC, FTC moves on the BIG DAY for Digital Privacy

WIKILEAKS DAYTIME SOAP EPIC CONTINUED… Will Asange be prosecuted or arraigned? US Cyber-attack retribution billed as “weak” @WIRED.   And its gets worse.. watch this.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

THE PROPERTY OF DIGITAL FINGERPRINTS – Cookies get fingered again for new digital privacy identity treachery @normative

by Sheila Dean

It’s quizzical to me and many others why the Internet needs any regulation. Open source platforms don’t require any interference. Nevertheless, everyone who uses the Internet should be considering what would be gained or lost when it comes to web governance, myself included.

First, I needed to do some research. I started looking for more and any information on the debate outside of expert conventions. This, of course, was just to explore what’s out there.
And that is when I found NetCompetition.org – an e-forum promoting competitive Internet choices for consumers. They explain the arguments for and against Net Neutrality and give updates on what is actually happening in the struggle for control of web communication.
As a fallback position, I applied a convenient personal algorithm to any government propulsion league like the FCC: that which governs least, governs best. I’ve recently become quite spoiled by unregulated free speech, as a blogger and online talk radio host. It is really nice not to worry about hefty fines for dropping an f-bomb.
When I think of a society where the government regulates communication, specifically the internet, I think of China. China doesn’t have a super high jail population. So who are the criminals in their jails? Sometimes, it is people like muckraking journalists and other “dissidents” who spoke up against totalitarian governance. China pinches off access to sites in order to control populist communication. Their people cannot view things the government interprets as wrong for the country. So regulation of the internet can be done, because it was done in China.
The Chinese standard of net communication is certainly not appropriate for America. Many tend to believe that an open source Internet is an extension of our 1st Amendment.
The U.S. government flirts with totalitarianism for many reasons, among them unparalleled militarized empire. However, its is still an aberration to hear about U.S. citizens imprisoned conveniently for disagreeing with our government; indefinitely and without representation. We are still pretty far from that being the standard.
A unique problem in America, and unfortunately the world, is when we can’t reign in U.S. corporations for being criminal and unethical reckless destroyers of private property, human life, and perpetual occupying aggressors in foreign nations on the public dime. That is why giving the FCC the go ahead in this arena seems to be a different face of the same group of power grabbing corporations. Special interests step in and tell the government what they want to happen.
Balance is required. Important questions asked are: do we regulate businesses so they won’t dominate what people get to see? Or … Do we not regulate the open source wild west we all know and love? Is it really that free anymore and is the party really over?
The illusions come off as more information becomes available about ambitions to control or block control of the internet. The net neutrality game is definitely something that requires our attention. It is more complex than the options to do nothing or let the government decide.
The good news is there is currently is no cost or government rules against thinking about the subject and we certainly encourage you to do just that.

WIRED ANALYSIS — FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s unsurprising affirmation of support for network neutrality is a victory for the high-minded principle of open, unfettered internet access. Too bad it means the days of all-you-can-eat, flat-rate internet access are probably over.

Net neutrality sounds like a good idea. After all, it’s the internet’s openness to any and all users, applications and content that gave it such a resounding victory over closed networks like AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy. And there’s no question that as a general business and networking principle, “anything goes” is both desirable and beneficial, to users and network operators alike. Over the long run, the most open networks attract the most customers and will be the most successful — and the most profitable.
But somewhere along the way, this principle of good network architecture turned into a political tenet that, according to some true believers, is almost equivalent to the Bill of Rights in importance.

The argument goes like this: Internet service providers have such strong motivations to restrict access to content or applications that they don’t like that the government needs to step in to ensure a level playing field. For net neutrality’s true believers, Comcast and Verizon no longer get to decide how best to configure the networks they spent billions building: Their networks are so ubiquitous, and so critical to the common good, that the government has a responsibility to ensure they are managed fairly.
It’s easy to see the merits of the argument, and when we’re talking about ISPs that are near-monopolies built in large part on the basis of government subsidy or exclusive federal licensing, it seems downright un-American to argue against net neutrality.

Unfortunately, there are at least three big problems with making net neutrality a federal mandate.

First is that bandwidth is not, in fact, unlimited, especially in the wireless world. One reason ISPs are averse to neutrality regulation, they say, is that they need the flexibility to ban or mitigate high-bandwidth uses of their network, like BitTorrent and Hulu.com, which would otherwise run amok. Take away their ability to prioritize traffic, the ISPs say, and overall service will suffer.
“As long as there have been networks, people have had to engineer them to ensure that congestion doesn’t occur,” Carnegie Mellon professor and telecom expert David Farber said Monday (he’s the co-author of a cautious anti-net neutrality opinion piece published in 2007). Farber is especially concerned about the impact of the FCC’s position on wireless networks, where bandwidth is already very limited. “When you’re operating that close to capacity, you have to do a very tricky job of managing your spectrum. If you have unconstrained loads being dumped on you, something’s going to have to give.”

Case in point: AT&T has repeatedly stumbled in its ability to provide 3G wireless capacity, thanks to the unexpected popularity of the iPhone. Those difficulties lend credence to AT&T’s (and Apple’s) reluctance to allow apps like Skype and Slingplayer unfettered access to the 3G network: If the network can barely keep up with ordinary demand, just imagine what would happen if we were all live-streaming the Emmy Awards over our iPhones at the same time.
Take away ISPs’ ability to shape or restrict traffic, and you’ll see many carriers running into AT&T-like capacity problems. Their response will almost certainly be to make consumers pay for what they’re actually using. Want to BitTorrent all 6.7GB of the uncompressed Beatles catalog via 3G? Fine, but you’ll have to pay for the bandwidth you’re taking away from your neighbor.

Second, enforcement of neutrality regulations is going to be difficult. Comcast may not be able to block Skype traffic altogether, but what’s to prevent the company from slowing it down relative to other traffic it carries? Such preferential “packet shaping” is easy to turn off and on, as network demands ebb and flow. By contrast, proving such infractions of neutrality will be complex, slow and difficult. It sets up a classic “nimble, resourceful criminal versus slow-footed, underequipped cop” scenario.

Third, the new regulations create an additional layer of government bureaucracy where the free market has already proven its effectiveness. The reason you’re not using AOL to read this right now isn’t because the government mandated AOL’s closed network out of existence: It’s because free and open networks triumphed, and that’s because they were good business.
Now the FCC is proposing taking a free market that works, and adding another layer of innovation-stifling regulations on top of that? This may please the net neutrality advocates who helped elect the current administration, but it doesn’t add up.
Net neutrality regulations make sense in closed, monopolistic situations. But outside of small, rural markets, most of the U.S. offers a high level of competitive choice. Don’t like Comcast cable internet? Switch to SpeakEasy, Astound or SBC, or look into satellite internet. Don’t care for AT&T’s spotty 3G wireless network? Try T-Mobile or Verizon. Need help finding an alternative? Check Broadband Reports’ interactive ISP finder.

hat’s why the FCC should take a very cautious, careful approach to implementing its brave, new principles. Free, unfettered innovation has been the secret to the internet’s explosive growth over the past two decades. Let’s not let a well-meaning attempt to preserve that innovation wind up doing exactly the opposite.

As Farber says, “Whatever you do, you don’t want to stifle innovation.”

BTC- FINALLY.. A BREAK FROM THE SURVEILLANCE AGENDA!!!



The fight for Net Neutrality took a big step forward on Monday with the chair of the Federal Communications Commission announcing plans to expand the rules to protect a free and open Internet.


In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Julius Genachowski said the FCC must be a “smart cop on the beat” preserving Net Neutrality against increased efforts by providers to block services and applications over both wired and wireless connections.

Genachowski’s speech comes as a breath of fresh air in a Washington policy environment that has long stagnated under the influence of a powerful phone and cable lobby.

“If we wait too long to preserve a free and open Internet, it will be too late,” Genachowski said citing a number of recent examples where network providers have acted as gatekeepers:

We have witnessed certain broadband providers unilaterally block access to VoIP applications (phone calls delivered over data networks) and implement technical measures that degrade the performance of peer-to-peer software distributing lawful content. We have even seen at least one service provider deny users access to political content.
A Call for Wired and Wireless Neutrality
The agency has earlier noted concerns about the blocking of applications and services on new handheld Internet devices such as the iPhone. :::MORE HERE:::