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May 4, 2007

Net Madness!

I am sorry for the late post, as I was busy finalizing my final project and didn’t realize that we had a blog for this week until now. Anyhow, how think this week’s topic is very interesting. Net Neutrality is definitely a new concept to me. I didn’t realize that this was going on, and that our familiar way of accessing and using the world wide web, is at stake.

I had a difficult time really grasping the concept of Net Neutrality from the readings and links for this week. So I decided to resort to YOUTUBE and check out some videos on Net Neutrality to grasp a better understanding. I really got a good description of the concept from this video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWt0XUocViE

I think by taking away the neutrality from the net, you are going to upset A LOT of people. Sure large corporations want to make an extra buck or two, but there are doing it at the cost of billions of people. If I pay an internet provider monthly for high-speed access to the internet, I want to be able to access the sites I am comfortable and familiar with using. They phone companies should have thought about this when they first started offering internet access to their customers. I think by making things more complex, for their own benefit, which in turn means slower access to users, is selfish and not really looking out for the customer’s best interest. It’s interesting to hear that the government isn’t too concerned with this issue. I wonder how serious it has to become before they start to care.

May 3, 2007

I can't resist

I did not know Leslie Hall existed until five minutes ago, but now I'm a fan. Because the world needs more metallic jumpsuits!

May 2, 2007

The Ignorance of the Masses?

I actually think it is a little funny that one man was able to misdirect an entire nation, all in an effort to merge a company. It is actually laughable. The whole story actually reminds me of a similar Wag the Dog tale form the 1950’s. Back then, a few Senators owned major shares in the Chiquita Banana Corp. However, as often happened in South America in the 1950’s Communist Gorillas were threatening to take over the county where their Banana plantations were situated…these men stood to loose everything.

So what is a Senator to do…call a friend in Hollywood. You see, The movie industry created that war in South America…right down to the fake bombs droped from derelict WWII dive bombers…they fooled the entire American public into thinking the Communists were taking over…when in actuality, there were no Communists, the government there only wanted to nationalize the Bannana Company to get rid of the American Business men. However, because of this fake war, Red frightened Americans supported military support to the Senator puppet, and the rest is history, a Military Coup, and the Senators kept their plantations, but duping the American people. It is even said the President Eisenhower, upon hearing this…leaned back in his chair and laughed.

This is just like Witachers duping of America over his merger. He made it look as though there was going to be this big change in the internet…and then used his merger to promise not do the thing he worried everyone to death that was on its way…he’s making billions…we have eggs on our face. Bravo. Thus proving the ignorance of We the People.

The Real Truth of Net Neutrality

I think that net neutrality is something that is our given right to watch, see, whatever we want on the Internet. The content that is on the Internet should be available for whatever I want to see. I think that big corporations shouldn't be able to control what we see online. I think the content that I want to see should be available fast and should not be blocked for any reason. I pay for the Internet and the government or anyone else shouldn't be able to stop me from seeing whatever content that I want. From the article, "So the AT&T lobby came out swinging with a crude, fundamentalist libertarian argument - Government is bad, and don't mess with big business." (Orlowski, 1). I think that AOL standing up for neutrality is good and bad. My feeling is that then they can come in the way of bashing Google or another site.

The content that we see online needs to remain free, free from big corporations or the government telling us we can't see something or can't post something on the Net. I think in order for this to be an open forum for all, we have to all take a stand and tell big business that we don't want you to block us from what we want to see. Like I said earlier, I pay money to get on the Internet, I spend a lot every 2.5 years or so on a new laptop or desktop computer and I should be able to view whatever content I want to view on the net.

Peeling the onion that is Net Neutrality

I think it is pretty hard for most people to know what isn’t showing up, or why our searches give us the hits they do, and in what order. Coupled with the expectation that if something doesn’t exist on the ‘net (or more accurately, isn’t easily findable) we think it doesn’t exist period. I think this combination of ignorance and apathy about media consolidation will make it possible for AT&T (or any powerful business and their lobbyists) to change the way Internet information flows. Orlowski refers to the "online culture that thrives on conspiracy theories and paranoia" as one reason that our collective attention can be so easily manipulated.

The media is owned by a handful of giant corporations, none of whom must look too kindly on relatively anarchistic technologies like the Internet that enable people to step outside the choices those companies offer. It doesn't earn them any money when (like we discussed a few weeks back) we decide to turn off the TV and its 18 minutes of commercials per hour to look at our fellow yay-hoos horsing around in front of their own cameras.

That’s what business is about, making money, whether it’s by delivering an audience to advertisers or by charging for access to commercial-free content. It is completely unsurprising that AT&T, Google, etc. would do whatever they can to make the most money.

I was relieved to read Orlowski's quote of Martin Geddes: "There is no "neutral" space devoid of favouring the interests of particular market players. The contradiction is inherent." This seems to be the puzzle in more heads than just my own...in every situation (political, business, informational) there are winners and losers, and it's not always possible to figure out who those winners and losers really are.

Neutral as Black and White

Hi everybody. I'm actually having regrets about posting this last blog. This has been so much fun!

I guess I would take a more militant stance on net neutrality if I understood in more. In a way I've come full circle in this course, and am once again feeling like kind of a dummy. I did not understand all of the acromymns Orlowski used to explain the matter. VoIP? Anyone?

I liked how both sides say consumers will pay--this seems like a good subject for a student of rhetoric to dismantle. The truth is that no one can tell the future. Perhaps this debate will be something that sidetracks us from seeing a really big picture--kind of like the Apple vs. IBM war in the early 80s, which totally did not see Bil Gates with his purloined windows operating system taking over the planet. But I digress.

I feel that the telephone companies do not need to be paid for the use of their sytstem if the government was already paying them in the 1990s. I agree with the talking head in the Human Lobotomy spot, that telephone companies did not invent the Internet, so why should they find a way to profit? Also, I agree that the way the net is used, content created by business, nonprofits, and regular joe consumers--each given equal value and access, is just fine. I think narrowing possibilities so we can play movies on our computer (what's wrong with a TV?!?!?) does not add up.

I'm a little nonplussed, though, that Whitacre's few comments, supposedly made innocently enough, created this firestorm of net-community activism. If you look at it content-wise, as Orlowski tried to do, the pro-net neutrality arguments make as little sense as the cable/telecom arguments--because neither side really knows what it really meant. Thus by participating in emotional rumor-mongering, the pro-neutrality camp nearly proves the anti-newtrality camp right. We really are bunch of Wikipedia dweebs who don't know what we are talking about.

Nearly. I think it is time to take a page from Courtney Love's page and look at legislation that is being written by assistant's and passed in the dead of night. Therein we will find the truth. I just hope it will not be too late.

Man, this sounds so pessimistic! Sorry to end on this sour note. You all have been a pleasure.

Net Neutrality Nowadays-- Not Necessarily!

Again, I have to say WOW. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a cave after reading the articles for the week. I have never really thought or learned about Net Neutrality until this week. I didn’t think about whom or what is controlling what I view or how it is monitored or who is actually providing it for me. I am aware that in some nations government can control what is available to view. But, for Americans I always thought that we could see what we want, when we want and as fast as we want (As long as we are of age, have time and money to pay for a fast connection.) But, I never thought this privilege or right could or would be taken away. It would be quite the day when some things downloaded faster than others and if companies like AT&T or Comcast controlled what google could or could not do. When business’ struggle for power and control it does start to get messy. I guess I do not know who should have rights in the case of AT&T and online companies. But, I am guessing since there are more companies like google online, they would win. In conclusion, my overall thoughts are that we will just have to wait and see what type of new controversies or ideas arise online, and what will be the trigger for more direct change to net neutrality.

Say no to Swiss neutrality when it comes to net neutrality!

Over that past eight years, I have really come to cherish the internet. It's such a dynamic way to gather information and communicate with people. All users have the opportunity to create things online. As mentioned by the "Humanity Lobotomy" video, this simple right could be under threat. Telecommunication companies seem to want more control over the internet. As the video said, this could turn the internet into a one way device, much like radio and television.

Over the past few years especially, I have held the internet in high regard because it seems to be taking the place of television journalism. In the past, television news outlets did a better job reporting the news. News programs were willing to broach difficult topics. But now, there seems to be a genuine reluctance to report on anything that may be controversial or anything that could hurt their parent corporations stock prices.

Author Ben Bagdikian claims that, in 1983, 50 corporations owned the majority of all news media. As of 2004, that umber has fallen to just 5. This to me does not seem healthy. The press is supposed to be the unofficial fourth branch of the government. Since the TV press has gone soft, guess which medium has taken the place of television in regards to reporting the news? That's right, the internet.

If the telecom companies have their way and gain control over the internet, we could be in trouble. We really need to make sure that the internet stays a public domain. I sure don't want the internet turned into their corporate vision of how they want it. It would probably look like our physical world. A McDonalds on every corner and a Target or Wallmart within spitting distance. Ick! As Orlowski showed us in his article, these big corporations want it all.

It's our country. I'm all for creativity. The world needs a place to express themselves.

Have a good summer my invisible classmates!

Is the Internet becoming another one-way highway?

Net neutrality is a very interesting topic. Although Ed Whitacre, and other who share his point of view, claim that net neutrality is not going to choke off indepednet websites, that doesn' mmean there won't be power abuse in the future. Companies like AT&T are not intersted in looking out ofr the small people, all they care about is satisfying their greedy bank accounts. This is clearly shown by their desire to own the Internet. Enough will never be enough, so they need to settle. I oppose net neutrality; the Internet is one of the fastest and most efficient communication mediums in our time and should not be limited to the consumers. I don't see why people can't have unlimited and inexpensive access to the Internet. Why should this communication highway become a higher priced commodity? It is clear to me as daylight that this is just the start in large corporations putting a price tag, surveillance, and limitation to ALL of our entertainment and communicaiton mediums. It has already started in the radio and TV broadcasts.

The "Humanity Lobotomy" discussed how 99% of TV programs and radio broadcasts are one-way communication channels. The Internet is the last communication toll that is mostly comprised of everday people's websites, music, blogs, etc. I don't think that its fair to cut their channel and make it one way just like the radio broadcasts and TV channels. I don't want to say mean things baout Ed Whitacre, and others like him, but its because of people like him, who only look out for the best interest of their wallets, that this country will face social chaos and political uproar. I agree with "Mumbo Jumbo" that net neutrality is bad for consumers. I believe the price we'll pay will span deeper than our pockets. Our greatest price will be paying for freedom of speech.

Why Can't We Just Share?

Net neutrality is a concept that not many people have ever heard of. My guess is that not many people out of the technology industry actually know what it is, I know that I had never heard of it before I had read and watched about it. It really is a scary concept, if things being going the corporate way, the public may not like the way the Internet is headed. It seems as if corporations are asking for people to go away from the Internet, because the use of the Internet will not be neutral anymore. Technology has found a way to keep corporations from showing advertisements with the invention of TIVO. Therefore, companies must find a way to show their ads quickly and without loading time so people don't have a chance to delete the ad. Is net neutrality a violation of the constitution? Is it violating any of our rights? Dan Gillmor, journalist, says, "This is horrendous, It's a threat not just to Citizens Media (sic) but to democracy itself."

We can compare the path of the Internet to that of print. As stated in "Human Laboratory", where the narrator states that, "Once commercialized, newspapers became a one directional medium, no longer benefiting from the contributions of everyone." This same thing has occurred with radio and television. However, people never thought that this could happen to the Internet. But what happens when the Internet is taken over? Corporations have already began posting on Youtube, taking the place of poster videos, Youtube already sold out to corporations and many videos that should not have been taken down, have. If this is the past the Net is taking blogs will disappear, message boards will be of no use, and wikipeida will be a distant memory. While Bittorrents may be a bad thing for the entertainment industry, what is going to happen to those bands that have received record deals because of the Internet? Independent music will go back to trying to get airtime on local radio and independant filmmakers will have to pray their video is accepted into a film festival. If net neutrality is destroyed, the voice of the public will once again be silenced by big corporations and I do not know if there will be another way we could have our voices heard again.

Pardon our freedom

Very very interesting videos and article this week! I had absolutely no idea about what the Net neutrality was and how crucial it was for the future of Internet. I thought it was pretty alarming, even if I have to admit that I did not get everything. The beautiful thing with Internet until now is this complete freedom that the users can enjoy: freedom of writing anything, communicating with anyone they want to, read everything, or consume any kind of media when and how they want to.
Putting gates to that freedom would mean the end of Internet, for sure. The paralel with newspapers and radio, made in the second video, is quite interesting. The interesting thing is that it happened everywhere (at least everywhere in western societies) and not only in the US. However, I was wondering (and I absolutely don't know the answer) what would happen if AT&T and Time Warner gain what they want to (on this point, I did not understand everything) but at the same time, all the other countries would refuse it. As we said earlier, Internet does not have any borders, and the materials is available for everyone, everywhere... I know that French people are pretty touchy with everything that deals with freedom online, and such laws or actions by French Internet providers would be impossible right now.
How would that work online, with different rules between providers in different countries? I am really asking, because I have no idea.

Anyway, I'll try to get more informed about net neutrality and to inform the people I know.

Alarming?

With the issue of "net neutrality" being as large as it is made to seem, it is alarming to me that this is the first I've heard of it. It seems as though it is an important issue, regardless of whether or not is was nothing more than a coupe de grace conspired by Whitaker. And yet, what the actual meaning of new neutrality is has managed to escape me, as there is not really a solid definition (at least that I could find, and that seemed at least semi-reputable). Even so, I was so alarmed after watching the video clip outlining the isue that I immediatly copied and pasted the text to embed it in my personal blog. As far as Whitaker's comments regarding the use of his pipelines, I didn't see that as too big of an issue, other than the way in which he implies the "internet pipelines" are his to regulate. It never occured to me that companies such as Google should get free access to the internet, it is not a recent thing, that a higher bandwidth server costs more than the similar product utilizing a smaller bandwidth. Even if all of this makes a few rich people even richer, I still don't have a problem, but the second that the internt itself, the way in which it functions and the freedoms in which I have been able to enjoy ever since they were there to enjoy, becomes threatened, that is when I start to have a problem. The thing is, at this point in time (and if this is the direction that this is going) it is too difficult to tell whether this is nothing more than a myth. Better to address the issue now, even if it may be a myth, than to wait until it is too late to do anything about it.

With people reacting the way they are to the Digg issues now, I can't see the integrity of the internet being comprimised.

They can take our lives, but they can never have our NET NEUTRALITY!!!!!!

Wow, before this week’s topic, I was not aware of Net Neutrality at all. After the readings and videos, I’m honestly scared that we will soon lose all of the great freedoms we have on the internet. In regard to increased prices for higher bandwidth usage, I think it is completely ridiculous. Many of the services that require a great deal of bandwidth might possibly shut down, especially if they are currently a free service.

However, I can’t help but think that there is hope for this situation. I’d like to think that there are some government officials out there who are smart enough to realize the importance of Net Neutrality. I hope they will see to it that the internet remains a place of many options. While most of us have been raised with the values of capitalism, I think there is a line that must be drawn. While the huge corporations such as AT&T argue that they have provided a service and should be rewarded for it, I believe that going beyond the realm of an access charge, and instead have a charge for usage as well is ridiculous. It’s almost as if they are taking credit for and hoping to make profit from an intangible object which they have no ownership of.

I am very happy that I have seen the Humanity Lobotomy video; as well as having read the article, “How AT&T chewed up, and spat out Net Neutrality.? Now I feel that I can take part in making people aware of the issue at hand, and I plan to do so. I agree with Dan Gilmore of the San Jose Mercury in saying, “It's a threat not just to Citizens Media (sic) but to democracy itself.?

Neutral....What!? Hmm, I pay for my Net Speed

I have never really looked at this debate or particularly paid attention to this issue. From my current understanding of this debate the big telecom conglomerates are looking for corporate supremecy in cyberspace. In other words prioritizing the net piping for their own capital gain because of the amount of bandwith that sites use. I pay a decent amount of money to have my fast internet connection. Why would I want some huge telecom conglomerate to prioritize corporate from non-corporate sites? Not a chance. I understand that big telecom corporations laid the foundations for our cyberspace, but basically they want more money!!!! Who gets to fund this money? SO if they want to charge more to sites with monster bandwith use then in turn those sites will look to the users of the sites, or you and me the consumer. This boils down to the wonderful issue of money and those chillin in silicon valley who laid this groundwork want more. This is rediculous in my opinion. The issue is that this is quite feesible and cannot be ignored. I personally cannot see this threat becoming a complete reality in the next year or two or even in a five year span. But it is being debated and Orlowski stated, "Hundreds of blogs and campaign sites echo the terrible threats Keyser Sose has made, and the unimaginable destruction he might visit up on us." Net- Nuetrality is pain in the butt, and an issue that needs to be addressed and not pushed through legislation by the big telecom conglomerates.

no longer NEUTRAL???!!

I would be nice if downloads were faster but with the limited bandwidth and limited access to areas of the internet, I would oppose to net neutrality. As stated, "Consumers choices would be limited and the Internet would be a private toll road to be auctioned off by companies like AT &T." (Orlowski, Net Neutrality). I believe that with the money that we pay monthly for our access online, we should not be limited with our choices. Eliminating Net Neutrality could potentially take away the advantage of searching for valuable and great information. I think it would greatly impact a lot of people who rely on Google or the internet much.

The freedom of expression would also be excluded which is an important aspect that is highly seen throughout the internet. It brings the ideas and words from people all over the world and I think we would be losing a lot if we rid the internet. There’s a limit to how much control should be used and the example of AT&T was a great example of what SHOULD not be done.

Fight for Internet Freedom!

I still can’t get my head completely wrapped around the whole net neutrality debate. I did a search on Google and found plenty of sites on the topic. According to Wikipedia there are three definitions of Network Neutrality: absolute non-discrimination, limited discrimination without QoS tiering, and limited discrimination and tiering. Under the absolute non-discrimination definition of net neutrality Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu offers the following definition: "Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally." The Google Help Center describes net neutrality as “an issue that will shape the future of the internet.?

If I understand this debate correctly phone and cable companies want to change companies, such as MySpace, for using bandwidth. Maybe I’m ignorant on the situation, but I know how much I have to pay for high speed internet. I feel that my internet service provider should be responsible for providing me what I pay for. I pay to have a fast connection to whatever sites I want to go to, no matter what amount of bandwidth they use. Whether these internet service providers charge extra fees to the individual web site or the consumer directly, ultimately it will be the consumer that pays for these new policies. It is the norm for prices to rise on every consumer good and service, but for internet service providers to discriminate against certain websites and customers using these websites for no other purpose than to scare up additional revenue is fairly unscrupulous. The internet is a service based on principals of equality and freedom of speech. If such policies of inequality and discrimination are enacted, they will set precedent that will change the very principals that the internet was developed upon and set trends that will detract from the level of service quality that the internet has been known for.

Join the Fight for Internet Freedom!

Robbing the poor to give to the rich

Honestly, the whole idea of losing this "net neutrality" concept kind of scares me. I mean, how is doing something like that going to help anyone do anything except for having a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations line their pockets with even more money from the average consumer? The thing I'm mostly referring to here is the phone companies wanting to essentially take ownership of the internet because they're the ones who laid down the physical groundwork for it to happen, according to the Humanity Lobotomy documentary video. Charging for access to something is one thing, but controlling the use of it is totally different. It would be like if the water company not only charged you a flat rate for your water supply, but also additional fees for drinking a glass of water, taking a shower, or cooking with water, and they could also place restrictions on certain uses of your water. While it is true that at least some form of regulation should be imposed on internet usage to control illegal activities (the same way you can still be rightfully persecuted for, say, using water you rightfully paid for to drown someone or spray at innocent bystanders with a fire hose), all giving away control of the internet to these corporations is going to do is take away the voices of millions of people just so a few people who have the money to pay for it can monopolize that mode of communication. I really don't think the death of free communication on the internet is as close as that video would let you believe necessarily, but I also believe that it's certainly not too much of a stretch of the imagination either. I go on the internet because I love how it lets me interact with people I might never have the opportunity to meet in real life. I sincerely hope the online world never becomes a one way street ruled by corporations.

May 1, 2007

I Want My Freedom

…of connection with any application to any party as Sir Berners-Lee stated regarding the social basis of the web. Although the FourEyedMonster video shouldn’t be a surprise, it still is. The Internet is an open collection of data – everyone’s data. It’s our free speech that is shared with the world. I may not agree with everything on it or even like it, but that’s okay. I am a choice in what I access. I can filter what media I choose to partake in on the Internet. That’s the beauty of free speech. Like we’ve discussed all semester, there are many issues that need to be dealt with –gender, security, digital divide, crime, history, community, etc. I think it is better to have a multiple directional medium than a one-way medium. In my mind, it is no different than only having Wal-Mart and CVS to shop at – no thanks!

I don’t agree that this is just “mumbo jumbo? as some of the cable companies would like us to believe. I’m not interested in a “connection package? similar to purchasing movie channels. And as far as the phone companies are concerned, I can tell you our phone lines are as old as the hills – no lines have been replaced and more housing developments have been added that use these same lines. Even when we have problems, the repairmen tell us that these lines should have been replaced years ago. So you know my high-speed connection is a misnomer! But, as Berners-Lee states, net neutrality is paying for a quality of connection service and the ability to communicate with others who also pay for a service. Some of that profit should be re-invested. If limitations come into play by corporations controlling the Internet, why would I pay for such a service? I also believe that it is true that control by the phone & cable traffic cops would diminish the innovation of the “little guys?. From the video clip, it was frustrating to hear the approximate percentages of media that people actually participate in versus corporations. 60% participation on the Internet actually seems low in my mind. I was thinking that percentage to be at least 75%. More Internet users must be like me and just urf instead of create (except this semester – I’ve done more than ever - hahaha!).

There Is No Such Thing As a Free Lunch!

After reviewing the concept of Net Neutrality I have to say that I am more confused about the topic now than I was before researching it. This confusion stems from my inability to decipher who is looking out for my greater interest. Are mega-media conglomorates, the ones who provide internet service, the ones who should be reimbursed for websites such as Google and YouTube using high amounts of bandwith? Or is that the responsibility of the companies who provide the service to continue to invest in technology that will increase bandwith and allow information to be shared faster and cheaper. I tend to agree with that later.
I understand the complex issues the internet proposes as the new medium. However, it is important that we realize that the internet was not created for the benefit of big business, it was meant to allow people from all over the world to be interconnected in the blink of an eye. We already subside with companies like AT&T and Time Warner for providing us the services to connect, but, we pay that usage fee for the opportunity to utilize all the internet has to offer. If our options become like the current cable selections, where the more you pay the more options are available to you, we cut out the very heart and soul that makes the internet unique and unlike any other medium.
The fight for Net Neutrality should be waged against global leaders because that is not who the internet intends to support. The internet has shown us through YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Google, MMPIRGS, etc. That we are a world of individuals who are creative and self exploratory. If you allow corporations to take over the responsiblity we forfeit our freedom to be individuals.

I'm Slipping Through the Neutral Net

I'm not totally sure if I understand the net neutrality debate. As I understand it, it's about the telecommunications companies wanting to charge for how much bandwidth each site uses? If thats the case, it seems a ridiculous thing to all of a sudden demand payment for something you've been offering for free. I feel like that would give way too much control over what we're able to access online. I find it unsettling that a company could control what people have access to to such a degree (although I'm sure that they wouldn't restrict too much as that would seem to turn away customers). It also sounds like it would lean way too favorable to big companies. The people that really seem like they would be affected are the smaller sites, ones that are independently owned, I found it interesting in the Orlowski article the fact that Ed Whitacre commented on how unlikely a AT&T and BellSouth merger would be, then completed that merger a year and a half later. Orlowski really makes a strong case in the way he lays out the series of events that lead to that merger passing so easily. I was also curious what kind of organization the National Cable Association is.

BAD AT&T!! BAD!!

I have to say that overall I really liked the “Humanity Lobotomy? video, especially the part with the 15 year old kid crying about being shafted when it comes to his internet service. He was complaining about being so young to the technology and I think this kid embodies our society as a whole. When you think about it the internet really is young and hasn't really reached its full potential yet. Most of what we see today is the internet its youthful stages and so we definitely could be exemplified by that child crying about being shafted in such a manner. If we were forced to have to pay for each service at such a young stage of the internet that really would be us. Or maybe i'm just thinking too deep. The video does get a little eccentric at times and can go a little overboard. The main idea is there it just seems to make you think that the end of the world is coming or something.

The article by Andrew Orlowski is a good one as well. The text is all over the place and kind of difficult to read the way that it is structured but I like the points. The quote by Whitacre makes me particularly angry in that he goes as far as to claim that because they own the pipelines they should be able to charge for each type of usage instead of just connecting to the internet. To think that he could even come up with the following quote is just outrageous, "The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!". I didn't include the whole quote for length constraints but that last sentence sums it up. I have to say that if things did go the way that Whitacre and AT&T wished for them to go things would turn to be quite awful. However, I do have a certain sense that they wouldn't be allowed to go as far as the "Humanity Lobotomy" video claims. I mean, there is quite the stir (which a lot of this comes from the internet, and thats the beauty of it), and the government has broken up AT&T's previous conglomerations in the past (1980s).

As a final note. I do believe that net neutrality is very important. I really believe that without it, our rights of free speech would be restricted somewhat. Also, not to mention the issue of monopolistic profit being extracted from us consumers always looming over us if AT&T did happen to enact this concept. Besides the profit, the lack of quality service that will be forced upon us (look at radio nowadays, and how absolutely horrible that is). I do however think that the cable/telephony companies will not be able to enact their plans and that net neutrality will prevail ironically because of the net itself. I never really had an idea about what net neutrality was until this class and the information that is available to me on the internet and thats the beauty of it. I think that overall the spread of information regarding this topic on the internet will help turn the tide against these corporate giants. End note.

Be Proud: We are the Net

We are the Internet. Just as the Time Magazine cover proclaimed that we were the person of the year, we the contributors of content to the Internet are the Internet. Granted, prior to this course I had not contributed anything to the Internet and I don’t know if I will contribute again. However, I would like to know that if I do choose to contribute to the Internet again in the future that there will still be a neutral Internet upon which I may express my freedom of speech and share my opinions with others and that they may freely share their opinions with me.

In my opinion, if the Internet were tolled and no longer neutral (Moby) it would be a terrific loss to humanity and to human communication. An Internet governed by big business would be as bad as an Internet governed by any government itself. Censorship in any form, from the direct censorship by a government to the by-product censorship of individuals that will no longer be able to afford to broadcast on the Internet because of high user fees would still be censorship.

I personally didn’t like a lot of the Internet we were exposed to through this course. Prior to this course I hadn’t thought much about the Internet. I have learned a lot about cyberliteracy and I think I am more Internet aware. After all of these years I have finally thought critically about the Internet and Internet communications. But I am glad it’s there. From all of awful videos on YouTube to the Burger King Chicken. I will not think about the Internet the same way I did prior to this course again.

I think that Internet neutrality needs to be preserved. The freedom of expression that everyone enjoys on the Internet is very precious. We may not all like or agree with a lot of what we discover on the Internet. But I think it is as precious as freedom of speech itself.

Freedom

I found it fascinating in the video, Humanity Lobotomy: Net Neturality Open Source Documentary, that the Internet started out a lot like radio did- as a two directional medium until the FCC stepped in and mucked it up, eliminating the 'little guys' ability to create radio. I am hoping that we don't repeat history and allow the FCC and big companies like AT & T to once again strip of our freedoms and rob our creativity. Like the video stated, we need to spread the word and generate awareness of this issue.

Moby states, "Consumers choices would be limited and the Internet would be a private toll road to be auctioned off by companies like AT &T." It's a lose/lose situation for you and I because not only would we be out of control of what we have access to, we'd more than likely have to pay businesses like Amazon more to compensate for their increased overhead.

How would Whitacre's plan affect me directly? Most of my business is generated through my website.
Currently anyone can run a Google search and easily find me, eliminating net neutrality would mean that I would lose out on hundreds of potential customers.

Orlowski's article implies that the Democrats are to blame for Whitacre's clever ways. I don't necessarily believe that. I believe the both parties need to step up and prevent mega-Corps from controlling the universe. Soon AT & T will try to acquire the US government.

In the video, Humanity Lobotomy, Tim Berners-Lee states, " I am afraid that the Internet will end in the United States." We seem to be headed in that direction- slowly killing the Internet and 'the future of innovation' (Humanity Lobotomy).

The solution? Create a new Internet. The government and big companies will not be able to stop us, the people that were born into democracy and the smart techies who will continue to invent new mediums.

April 30, 2007

Network Neutrality means you pay!

Network neutrality means you pay!

. . . . .can we blame them. Perhaps Whitacre, CEO At&t, should not be categorized as the following rephrased statement from the Orlowski article: the Southern gentlemen who would be so charming that he could had you back your guts on a plate and that you would thank him. (Orlowski, 2007) Perhaps he is nothing more than his title: a CEO. A company’s leader that is there to maximize potential, creating hysteria as a marketing tactic, and taxing other companies as a way to use At&t created capital resources.

Ok, this is one perspective. Monopolies are illegal but in the effect that government has allowed this domination of mergers such as the BellSouth merger potentially they have kept in mind the interest of the people. I found it interesting that democratics became blamed for this so-called allowance of mergers and domination.

In conclusion, whether net neutrality is either in existence or simply a made-up hysteria the government needs to take action to ensure individuals of no threat. I personally am not concerned with threats of net neutrality and believe that the grandma trying to attend her doctor appointment via streaming media should relax as well. I appreciated the videos but believe people should allow the government to regulate potential monopoly threats with these big businesses and not focus on allowing this “mumbo jumbo? to be of much concern.

Not Neutral Now

The web isn't neutral, as long as we view the web as the use of individual websites. First, there is a cost associated to using the internet. We can't read blogs, hear podcasts, or watch YouTube videos produced by the homeless. The best sites have the most money, plain and simple. There are exceptions here and there, but for the most part the popular main-stays are profit-driven, even if they do not start out that way.
These profit-driven sites are always looking for consensus, as the more people there are visiting, the merrier the advertisers. Google is a fine example, and as mentioned in Orlowski's article:

[Journalists] are rarely aware they're buying consensus reality
. Google is not the power to sit at your home and be an individual, it allows other to make up your mind for you. Only about a year ago Googlebombing or linkbombing was a popular way to influence people. Typing "failure" would provide George W. Bush's biography, "liar" would produce a link to Tony Blair. As stated in Google's Official Blog,
We don't condone the practice of Google bombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we're also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up. Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they don't affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission.

It was fun while it lasted, but Google has upgraded their algorithm to limit the effect of Googlebombing.

The reason I think that the big phone and cable companies should not be making massive profits (along with gas, electricity, railroad and other sectors that have been monopolized over the years) is that they are selling commodities disguised as qualitative products. We can argue which phone company has the best customer service, and there is a fine argument as far as service and dropped calls with cell phones, however these mass-produced technologies could be done well very fast by one overseeing government agency that worked efficiently and reduced overlap. Of course because of lobbying, fear of big government, and the tendency that the government doesn't always do the best job this will not happen.

Net neutrality is much more possible than TV or radio neutrality at this point, because of non-neutral sites like search engines and link-providing blogs. I just want people to realize two things. One, the net is not neutral, get over it, but wikipedia tries to be if you need an outlet. Two, utility companies are be just that, utilities. Sure, they put a lot of time and money into creating or buying our current systems, and profits can develop (or buy) new technology, but they are selling quantitative commodities as qualitative products. These utilities are commodities everyone needs (or at least needs to to fit in with the advanced part of society) to have a good living. It is hard to get a job, receive an income or have friends without a phone (Can I have your number? Actually no, I can't afford one.).

I don't have a solution, but I see a need for reform. A phone call is a phone call, and transferring a packet is transferring a packet, but I think it is unethical to purposely put the world at different speeds. Tar roads are not built to speed profits, but to enhance efficiency over gravel. This should be the same for the net. When and where it is used, ample service should be provided. Hype or no hype, the hardware of the net should be neutral. The content should be left up to the users.

Is Net Neutrality an issue?

What is net neutrality? Depending on which side of the fence you are on, the definition and meaning differs. From the Wikipedia entry on Net Neutrality, Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu stated, "Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally."

What does that mean? I think it means that everyone has a fair chance at using bandwidth. There aren’t any favorites dominating the internet pipeline.

In the article from The Register, AT&T ran a misdirection play in order to consumate their merger with BellSouth. They received so much attention and scrutiny from their adversaries, that they quietly became the entity that was viewed as David in the battle. Poor little AT&T. As they gobbled up their competitors they became a $115bn revenue jaugernaut.

Why isn’t that fair? AT&T has invested time, money and research to upgrade and install their network. They are a government regulated entity but they are a for profit corporation. Aren’t they entitled to protect their investment? Because the internet travels from point A to point B on AT&T equipment, that should allow them the right to make a profit somewhere. Their model suggests that the consumer is already paying access fees so they shouldn’t be the one with the burden. Without the content providers we wouldn’t have a need for ISP’s. Maybe the ISP should bear some of the cost as they also make a profit through their access points.

Is this scenario any different than any of the other government regulated utilities? What about the oil companies? They really deal in pipelines. Do they discrimiate between gas guzzler vehicles and hybrids? The answer is no. They treat every customer the same. Do we worry about gas neutrality? I don’t think so.