Long, painful path to net neutrality

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People may shout at me for saying this, but Net Neutrality is America’s longest and now most pointless battle over technology.

The theory is sound: companies like Comcast and AT&T that sell us home internet service should not push some online data to computers and TV sets more than others. (Internet companies say it is counterproductive for the government to implement it.)

So since the Napster era, we have been stuck in an endless loop of arguments, laws and repealed laws. California was approved to implement this week It has its own net neutrality regulation, Which was (of course) challenged in court. It is now a distraction for our elected leaders and corporations when there are more pressing issues.

I talked to my colleague Cecilia Kang About the origins of the war on net neutrality (barbershop music!) And what’s at stake.

Shira: How long have we been fighting about net neutrality?

Cecilia: Always. This is probably the oldest technology policy issue I can remember, and I’ve been doing this for a long time. Idea of ​​net neutrality Goes back first, But it actually closed in 2008. A news article discussed a man who seemed to have a Comcast Internet service Blocking her with barber shop quartet music On peer-to-peer file sharing. Federal Communications Commission Approved Comcast This triggered a war between federal regulations and telecommunications providers and tech firms.

Why does fighting matter to us?

Many Americans have only one or possibly two options for home internet providers. Those companies can in principle decide whether we can watch Netflix or YouTube crystal clear or if we watch Pinwheel of death As those sites stutter. You can see the appeal of rules that ensure that Internet providers do not stop web traffic unless it is from their preferred trading partners or their own streaming services.

However, this debate is much less urgent now that we are talking about the dangers of vaccination and election disinfection online. The net neutrality debate focuses on Internet service providers as powerful gatekeepers of Internet information. The term now applies to Facebook, Google and Amazon.

When Google has Your own internet cableThat is not the reality Some Internet Services Reach Us Fast No matter what the law says?

Yes, but Internet providers such as Spectrum, Verizon and Comcast that have pipes directly to their homes are what regulators care about the most. He also shook Silicon Valley, as every online company needed those Internet providers to move to American homes.

What will happen next?

Probably more states Follow california Under pressure for its own net neutrality rules, or the FCC will pursue national regulations States pre-empted. Net neutrality law seekers will be happy with either. Telecom companies do not like national law or anyone.

Internet providers, public interest groups, some tech companies and a group of our elected leaders have been shouting holy war on an issue for 13 years without any resolution. Can they reach a middle ground and we will all move forward?

There is probably not much of a middle ground. There are either net neutrality rules or not. And Internet service providers see net neutrality as a slippery slope that leads to widespread regulation of high-speed Internet services or may impose tariffs on government-imposed prices. They will fight any regulation. And this is also true, of lobbyists, who are hired to argue against anything.

Cecilia, this is the worst.

Yes, completely eccentric. Welcome to Washington!


Facebook on Thursday Campaign to convince the public How it makes money is good for us. But it is not telling the whole story.

To remind you: Facebook compiles information about what we do on our apps, on the web and in the real world. It uses that data to advertise Nike or local coffee shop pitch ads to help people who are potential potential customers. Google works similarly, and many companies try to make versions of it.

These targeted advertisements, based on our behavior or computer aided information that we seek, are beneficial to both us and businesses. We probably get cheaper picture-making services or hotel rooms because Facebook gives businesses a relatively inexpensive way to indicate the most receptive customers.

But Facebook is offering a wrong choice between the old and useless type of advertising and the current mode of recording every hamburger you’ve eaten since 2001 until now. no no no no no.

Facebook is effective saying Its only option Aggressive, data-hogging status quo There is a pre-Internet system in which magazines, news organizations and television networks are projected more or less to Nike’s commercial audience.

But the way Facebook and Google have designed their advertising systems, it is not the only alternative to clunky old methods.

Here are some of the questions that we and policy makers need to ask Facebook and other companies that sell advertising: what will happen if the companies converge atleast Data about us? Does Facebook really need to know every time how we see Starbucks below milliseconds? What is an effective middle ground?

We will benefit from fewer Facebook promotional campaigns, and a more informed debate about how advertising can serve all of us.


  • The stakes of online life, explained in one country: After leading the coup, Facebook banned Myanmar’s military from its services. Decision, My colleagues wrote, “There is little question that the company was favoring the pro-democracy movement.”

  • Walk outside to discuss nuclear power and Korean karaoke competitions: Times technology columnist Kevin Rose Club House Appeal Explainedbuzzy audio chat room app, but also said that it is happily up to speed through an Internet life cycle specific to horror.

  • Companies cannot leave plus sign: My colleague Tiffany Hsu tells us Why Every Video Streaming Service Name “[something]+ “ “It’s not that ‘Plus’ is the best name,” a source told Tiffany. “It is he who survives, because everything else is gone.” related: This meme.

A look at Slippery Stairs World Championship From 2019. Because, why not.


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