Netflix just can’t seem to stop pissing off ISPs. At a recent panel they took a few shots at both AT&T and Comcast, just for fun. Things got started when Netflix went after AT&T’s paid peering program. This is where content providers have to pay extra to ensure proper service levels to customers on an ISP’s network. AT&T says that Netflix has always paid these, it is just that the name has changed and well they are really not charges anyway.
Unless you have been living under a rock you have probably heard all about ISPs asking the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) for the right to charge premium fees for prime access across their networks. The argument started when Comcast was punished by the FCC for throttling certain types of traffic. This behavior was originally defended under the blanket of preventing piracy, but it was soon discovered that Comcast had other plans.
The slippery slope of Censorship that many predicted when SOPA, PIPA and other IP protecting laws first hit the scene is starting to come true in the UK. After winning a battle to apply network (ISP) level filters for Pornographic and File Sharing sites the UK government is now moving on to what they are labeling “extremist” web sites. On the surface they claim they want to stop extremist rhetoric on the internet (which is still not a good thing) and are working to bundle this in with existing laws that allow for the blocking of pornography and file sharing.
Verizon and a few other broadband companies are out to alter the way you view content on the internet. Ever since the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) put regulations in place to prevent broadband providers from block, throttling or altering content as it passes over their networks (2010) these companies have been fighting back. They argue that the regulation prevent internet expansion and investment. They would like to be able to broker deals with websites and content providers to provide them with different levels of access at different price scales. The FCC feels this type of behavior is anti-consumer and wants to make sure that all content is treated equally.
The election is over and nothing much has changed as far as the balance of power in the US, which makes us wonder if we should be concerned about a free and open internet more than ever. We know that the head of the MPAA Chris Dodd has close ties to the Whitehouse and also to many members of Congress. To make things worse Dodd will be free to openly interact with all of his former buddies sometime in February of 2013. We know that he has, and still is, pushing for laws to monitor and control the internet to protect the interests of the other members of his cartel. However, there is more to this dynamic than we first saw last year during the barrage of ignorant and oppressive laws trying to limit communication (and technological advances) and it has to do with a particular mindset.
In a world (insert dramatical music here) where the forces of greed, evil and bad comb-overs are plotting to control the very lines of communication used for free speech there stands one group of rag tag heroes ready to fight them. Coming this summer … Ok so enough of the cheesy intro. After the headaches and pains of fighting both SOPA and PIPA some of the core activist groups (activists for a free and open internet) have decided to get together and create a method for notifying website owners that are interested in fighting this type of legislation when a new bill comes out.
We have always been a strong supporter of net neutrality and in general keeping the internet open as a communication and cultural tool. There are many, many people and organization that do not support this and still more that only pay it lip service. We have found what we can only call hypocritical in one of the more open countries out there; the Netherlands. At the same time they have passed a law on Net Neutrality, they have also ordered ISPs to block The Pirate Bay.
There was something of a victory for MegaUpload and in many ways supporters of a free and open internet. The judge presiding over the case has stated that the case may never actual go to trial because the FBI and those backing their actions made a tiny, little, blunder that has turned out to not be so tiny. In their effort to send a message the FBI and other agencies in the US government have taken a very firm stance on the situation a stance which could eventually come back to haunt them.
The online movement known as Anonymous had a fairly busy weekend and even managed to push their “fun” into Monday. According to several of the Anonymous twitter accounts they are now rather upset at PasteBin. It seems that the owner of PasteBin is unhappy about the uses that Anonymous has put his “code sharing” site to. He laments that it was never intended for the sharing of sensitive information and has even stated he is going to hire additional workers to help remove these types of posts. This had an interesting effect on the collective where tweets saying things like “Srsly Pastebin, f*** you - @Pastebin to hire staff to tackle hackers' 'sensitive' posts” .
Today is a busy day on the Internet (it usually is on a Monday morning). There are multiple articles and comments that are all related to the freedom of the Internet and how the world is evolving to embrace it while some in power are de-evolving to tray and restrict it. At this point there is no clear winner, but the sides are being firmly drawn in the sand and it is clear that things will get worse before they get better.