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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fantastic Council of Europe workshop on net neutrality: conclusions

Twitter / Search - #CoE_netneutral: "@coe #coe_netneutral 1.stop telco 'specialized services' evading #netneutrality 2. stop surveillance tech export 3. use co-reg & rule of law" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Net Neutrality Faces a Number of Threats

Net Neutrality Faces a Number of Threats | MIT Technology Review: "“The status quo ante might be strong enough that it is too scary to mess with it, because all hell would break loose,” Wu says. “I think the whole balance of power is changing on net neutrality, and there is a real danger for cable and phone companies, where if they try to charge Internet firms, they will end up paying instead.”
For those who think neutrality should be enforced by law, there is some good news. Part of Verizon’s argument is that the FCC simply overstepped its authority in writing the rules at all. Earlier this week, in a separate case involving zoning disputes over cell towers, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed solidly in the FCC’s favor and said the commission could define what its jurisdiction consisted of." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Only the poor pay taxes...or support net neutrality?

"Let them eat brioche" was not the precise meaning of the Commissioner's response to the little people on net neutrality, but it was pretty close. They can choose to switch with greater transparency in a free market, she claimed, singing from Ofcom's playbook. No doubt she has more planned to entertain the troops in the dying of the light of this wretched 2009-14 Commission that has dragged Europe to its knees: “The European Commission is, therefore, preparing substantial recommendations which will address transparency and switching issues will also address specifically the responsible use of traffic management practices.”
The problem, you see, is that no-one of any importance pays much in the way of taxes - certainly not Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple or eBay, or wretched Starbucks (which sells brown warm runny stuff which is not tea). Not only are they free-riding on the copyright lobbyists, but also by using net neutrality when it pleases them they free-ride on the fat-cat incumbent telcos and fatter mobile networks, who are not going down without a fight even if it means breaking the Internet. And it turns out, on us too, pedalling our private and confidential data for advertising dollars. [Spoiler alert - yes, ironically I free-ride off Google with this Blogspot supported diatribe, but academics are supposed to be hypocrites. Do as I say, not as I do...]
Now that is not fair. We should not care much how deckchairs are arranged on the Titanic of telecoms, except that we still have to pay monthly for a line and some spectrum on the copper for our broadband - and laughably have to pay for phone calls we will never make. Google gave up on net neutrality years ago, and Facebook never supported it once it went public, while the European public service broadcasters have become suspiciously quiet - or disgraceful in the case of ITV.
But for all these oligopolists, the night might be dark and full of terrors - not only do capitalists apparently not believe in capitalism any more, and their regulators not believe in government regulation, but we are EXACTLY a year from that one time when the little people get scary - the European Parliamentary elections of May 2014. That means potential for fascists and pirates...
Two events are about to shed some light on the little people's worries. First the Council of Europe will hold a two-day workshop on net neutrality and human rights - not economics - on 29/30 May. Second, the European Parliament is hosting a workshop on "Guaranteeing competition and the open internet" at the European Parliament on 4 June. The European Commission and Council of Ministers does not listen to their own consumer groups, but perhaps these voices will be a little more persuasive in the ministries?

Neelie Kroes responds: Old mantras and political uncertainty for net neutrality in Europe

Neelie Kroes responds: Old mantras and political uncertainty for net neutrality in Europe | EDRI: "We called on the Commission to put an end to the current experimentation by certain European access providers with blocking, filtering and throttling of services which are extremely harmful to both the economy and fundamental rights. In her response dated 8 May, Neelie Kroes seems non-committal regarding the policy direction she will take in the upcoming recommendations. The extreme vagueness of the language may be an indication of heated internal discussions in the European Commission." The night is dark and full of terrors for the EC on this one...'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Drosselkom: Offline and Online-Protests against ISP Anti-Neutrality

Drosselkom: Offline and Online-Protests against ISP Plans to slow down Internet Connections – and for Net Neutrality: "Imagine a car usually driving 50 km/h, but after driving for 1.000 km it is slowed down to 384 meters per hour – it’s functionality is broken. Making matters even worse, Telekom also openly announced, that internet companies can pay them to be excluded from those customer limits. This is already being done with the music streaming service Spotify: their traffic will not be counted for the customer limit – and Spotify will remain available at full speed even when its competitors are slowed down. The market leader is trying to kill the principle of net neutrality – that all bits are created equal. 'via Blog this'

Demonstration for the protection of German net neutrality (updates)

Demonstration for the protection of net neutrality (updates) | Digital Society: "On Thursday 16 May, The Alliance for net neutrality and against digital discrimination has called for a day of action at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne. There, German Telekom holds its annual shareholder meeting. The vigil began at 8:30. A 16:00 planned speeches." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Skype's ominous link checking: facts and speculation

Skype's ominous link checking: facts and speculation - The H Security: News and Features: "Microsoft should at least document the use of these surveillance techniques and provide users with the option to decline the well-intended security measure.
No further access attempts from Redmond were observed during our latest link-sending tests in Skype. Let's hope that Microsoft has learnt from this debacle and disabled the feature, at least temporarily. This would be a good time to meditate on the problem, think carefully about the costs and benefits of such surveillance features and then contemplate how to implement them properly. Incidentally, similar tests carried out in the Google, Facebook and ICQ chat clients returned no results – which means that no access attempts were registered on the special URLs that were sent via these clients." 'via Blog this'
UPDATE 24/5/13: "There’s no evidence that anyone, human or machine, is reading your confidential messages. There's no evidence that the content of the messages is being examined at all. Automated scanning of some URLs within instant messages isn't the same as "reading everything you write." This is roughly equivalent to what mail servers do when they check the header information on an incoming message to determine whether it's spam. That's a legitimate security function, not an invasion of privacy. You can put that tinfoil hat away, at least for now."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blair Levin: FCC increasingly a political institution not an expert agency

Catch-Up Talk with Blair Levin Yields Some Surprises: "Levin said, “The FCC is becoming more of a political institution and less an expert agency.” Like other D.C. political institutions, he said, the commission is “increasingly caught up in a one-note narrative . . . of self-praise rather than focusing on providing the expertise and analytic agility necessary to adjust programs to provide bandwidth abundance to constituencies it is meant to serve.” In an interview with Telecompetitor on Friday, Levin directed further criticism at the FCC’s self-praise. “I would never invest in a company that had a CEO who behaved that way,” he said." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Firefox leads Explorer 3:1 amongst readers

FCC: This is What a Net Neutrality Violation Looks Like

FCC: This is What a Net Neutrality Violation Looks Like | Public Knowledge: "in its Open Internet Order, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provided us with a taste of what may happen (“edge providers” are anyone who creates content like ESPN, Facebook, local governments, and personal websites):
“a broadband provider may act to benefit edge providers that have paid it to exclude rivals” (Paragraph 23)“broadband providers may have incentives to increase revenues by charging edge providers, who already pay for their own connections to the Internet, for access or prioritized access to end users.” (Paragraph 24)“Broadband providers would be expected to set inefficiently high fees to edge providers because they receive the benefits of those fees but are unlikely to fully account of the detrimental impact on edge providers’ ability and incentive to innovate and invest, including the possibility that some edge providers might exit or decline to enter the market.” (Paragraph 25)
“Fees for access or prioritized access could trigger an ‘arms race’ within a given edge market segment.  If one edge provider pays for access or prioritized access to end users, subscribers may tend to favor that provider’s services, and competing edge providers may feel that they must respond by paying too.” (Paragraph 25)
“Fees for access or prioritization to end users could reduce the potential profits that an edge provider would expect to earn from developing new offerings, and thereby reducing edge providers’ incentives to invest and innovate.” (Paragraph 26)
“if broadband providers can profitably charge edge providers for prioritized access to end users, they will have an incentive to degrade or decline to increase the quality of the service they provide to non-prioritized traffic.” (Paragraph 29)
The deal being discussed could cause all of these harms and more.  Now is the time for the FCC to step up and preserve an open internet." 'via Blog this'

UK Government Shamelessly Takes All Credit for Virgin Media and BT Efforts

UK Government Takes All Credit for Virgin Media and BT Broadband Efforts - ISPreview UK: "Broadly speaking the government, aside from supporting some pro-BT regulation through Ofcom, hasn’t actually assisted much with any of those “results“. It’s a bit like cheating in class by copying your friends work. It must give a nice sense of achievement, before later a brief feeling of guilt because you didn’t actually achieve it yourself." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wireless handoff: that's why mobile data is growing slower than forecast

BT Wi-Fi Bring Public Wireless Internet to 5 Million UK and Ireland Hotspots - ISPreview UK: "According to BT, its national network grows by 20,000 hotspots a week and last year (April 2012 to March 2013) recorded more than 400 million connections. On top of that their wifi network also reported a total data consumption of 13 Petabytes during the same period, which equates to 13 Billion MegaBytes if you prefer." That's an awful lot of hand-off to 5m wifi points - and explains Scott Marcus' presentation to the European Parliament that mobile traffic growth numbers are falling like a stone to fixed traffic levels. 'via Blog this'

The very stupid unprincipled pubcaster: ITV, Samsung, and Exclusivity Deals

clever/you - thoughts about mobile • ITV, Samsung, and Exclusivity Deals: "exclusivity deals are not, in of themselves, a bad thing (although Trusted Reviews has a great article that offers a counterpoint to this). They can provide cash-limited companies with money to develop interesting and exciting apps. But turning a previously widely available app into an exclusive deal: that’s not so good. Users don’t like it, and I don’t see the benefit for brands…especially if your disgruntled, locked out users start giving you bad press." 'via Blog this'

Monday, May 13, 2013

Managed services – a German net neutrality trap?

Managed services – a net neutrality trap? | Internet Policy Review: "Deutsche Telekom argues that managed services are a “separate data stream, independent from the regular best effort internet data traffic.” The SmartTV-DSL bundle Entertain was “no internet service, but a TV service”, the spokesman underlined. “Managed services”, also called “specialised services”, are mainly defined as offered to subscribers only with granted levels of quality of service, but the lines are blurred. By establishing the different “channels” operators regularly try to circumvent network neutrality regimes, several researchers have said. " 'via Blog this'

Monday, May 06, 2013

UK proposed digital download law - with enormous unrecognised #netneutrality implications!

The UK government has provided a proposed piece of prosumer law legislation that is interesting, as illustrated by their case study - but is a backdoor for net neutrality! 
"A consumer buys an e-book that she downloads onto her computer. When she opens the e-book she finds that the text is illegible. The provider confirms there is no fault with the original digital file that was sent and suggests that the consumer does not have the right hardware. The consumer confirms that she has downloaded another e-book of the same format which works well on her computer. She also checks with her internet service provider that there were no interruptions during the time of the download. The provider agrees (why would they??!!) that there may have been a problem with the download (which we refer to as a ‘related service’). We propose either: [a] the download should be provided with reasonable care and skill. In this case to get redress the consumer would still have to prove that the trader did not provide the download service with reasonable care and skill; OR [b] the digital content should be of satisfactory quality once the download has taken place. In this case the consumer would have to prove that the digital content was not of satisfactory quality and that the problem was not due to their internet connection or hardware. The trader would then have to provide the consumer with redress regardless of whether they had provided the related service with reasonable care and skill."
How, pray, will the ISP satisfy everyone that it has provided an uninterrupted service at the point of download if it does any filtering or throttling at all? It's a net neutrality law! Graham Smith agrees:
Has thought about implications of refunds for 'faulty' (jittery) downloads? is