State governments push for Net neutrality laws

As a U.S. Senate panel prepares for a vote on Net neutrality legislation this week, state attorneys general in New York and California are joining Internet companies in saying that network operators must not be permitted to prioritize certain broadband content and services.

Despite that, the Senate knocked down the Network Neutrality amendment today due to an 11 to 11 tie vote, and the unbelievable revised Senate telecom bill, after being favorably looked upon by the ‘committee,’ may go to the Senate floor without a Network Neutrality amendment and no ‘real’ internal protections for Network Neutrality.

To add insult to injury, ComputerWorld reports that Senator Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican and chairman of the committee (believe it or not), had the audacity to say, “These people who argue they ought to be able to drop all this stuff on the Internet maybe ought to build their own network.” This after: “E-commerce companies pushing for net neutrality rules are “enormous” companies that want to profit from delivering multimedia content over networks broadband providers have built, said Senator Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican and chairman of the committee.”

Does he not know that it was those in the technology sector that were responsible for making the Internet possible, not ecommerce or broadband providers. They only got on the bandwagon after the government and universities turned it over to the ‘public’ if I am remembering correctly, and then, oh, then, ecommerce and broadband providers (many late comers to the show) saw a way to make money from it…the new Internet.

If they were not able to stand on the shoulders of giants, there would not be an Internet to fight over today.

Origins of the Internet belong to names like: J.C.R. Licklider of MIT and head of DARPA, Ivan Sutherland, Bob Taylor, and MIT researcher Lawrence G. Roberts, Leonard Kleinrock at MIT, Thomas Merrill, Donald Davies and Roger Scantlebury of NPL, Paul Baran and others at RAND, Frank Heart at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), Bob Kahn, Doug Engelbart at Stanford, Elizabeth (Jake) Feinler, Glen Culler and Burton Fried at UCSB, Network Working Group (NWG) working under S. Crocker, Ray Tomlinson at BBN, Vint Cerf (then at Stanford and generally accepted as the Father of the Internet, or at least one of them he says), Peter Kirstein (UCL), Bob Metcalfe at Xerox PARC, Paul Mockapetris of USC/ISI, those who created Unix BSD, even what was then AT&T (which doesn’t even begin to resemble what it is today), Dennis Jennings (from Ireland while at NSF), Steve Wolff (NSFNET), David Mills, Jon Postel, Barry Leiner, Dave Clark, Phill Gross, Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the WWW), Al Vezza, Dan Lynch and many more who worked with them all.

There is one ray of hope though according to a WashingtonPost article:

Despite extensive lobbying by the telephone carriers, prospects for a final law this year remain uncertain.

Congress faces a dwindling number of work days because of the November elections.

If the measure passes the full Senate, it would have to be reconciled with the narrower bill approved by the House. Stevens told reporters on Tuesday he did not yet have the votes to get the bill through the Senate.

Also, there is another voice that we should be mindful of. That of Senator Ron Wyden who according to ComputerWorld:

Late Wednesday, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said he’ll place a hold on the broadband bill because it lacks strong net neutrality requirements. By placing a hold on the bill, Wyden is saying he may object to the Senate beginning debate on that legislation. A hold on a bill can lead to a filibuster, if Senate leaders aren’t able to fix the senator’s objections.

Our thanks to you for that Senator Ron Wyden.

Maybe by then, they will wake up and smell what they are shoveling.

EDIT: Save the Internet.com: Wyden to Block Telecom Bill Without Net Neutrality – Some great comments there like this ones:

Immediately following the Commerce Committee’s vote against a Net Neutrality amendment, Senator Wyden marched onto the floor of the Senate to demand that the legislation include stronger safeguards against phone and cable company discrimination.

And this one by Ben Scott, Policy Director, Free Press, in the comment section of the article:

“The voices of millions of average citizens are just starting to break through the misinformation and lies being peddled by the big phone and cable companies who want to erect tollbooths on the Internet. Across the country, people are catching on to these companies’ plans, and they won’t forget which leaders stood up for the public interest.

Many more great comments on the SavetheInternet blog as well.

Our thanks also to Olympia Snowe and Byron Dorgan that went to bat for the Techology sector in this round. I hope they gain more support along the way. It was quite a tribute to Olympia Snowe to stand, alone in this matter against ALL her fellow Republicans on that committee. As noted in the WashingtonPost article:

Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, tried to add further protections by barring discrimination of content or service based on origin, destination or ownership, but it failed to get a majority vote. The final tally was 11 to 11.

I am sure these three Senators and those who stood with them, as well as state attorneys general in New York and California, will be remembered favorably come election time.

6-29-2006: See edit section above from SavetheInternet.com

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Comments on: "State governments push for Net neutrality laws" (4)

  1. These politicians against neutral and fair Internet connectivity clearly don’t understand how the Internet operates and have probably been bribed. Surely, the Internet providers trying to “prioritize” services know that their running a scam here (that, or their execs are typically clueless about their own business).

    The problem is that “content providers” have already paid for the Internet connectivity IN THE SAME WAY that users have.

    There are two kinds of computers on the Internet — clients and servers — and they are separated by ONE difference. One SOLE difference. SERVERS leave specific network ports open so that CLIENTS can access those servers. That’s it! BOTH request data from other computers, BOTH send data to other computers, and BOTH are ALREADY paying for this transmission of data accordingly!

    These services are already paid for according to who uses them, but ISPs want to charge server owners through their snotholes for the sake of corporate greed.

  2. I hear ya epp_b!

    BTW: I added an edit to this entry from SavetheInternet Blog. Great piece!

  3. Wyden Blocks Telecom Legislation Over Ineffective Net Neutrality Provision

    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/june282006/wyden_telecommunications_62806.php

    —snip—

    Statement for the Record

    U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

    June 28, 2006

    Mr. President, the major telecommunications legislation reported today by the Senate Commerce Committee is badly flawed. The bill makes a number of major changes in the country’s telecommunications law but there is one provision that is nothing more than a license to discriminate. Without a clear policy preserving the neutrality of the Internet and without tough sanctions against those who would discriminate, the Internet will be forever changed for the worse.

    This one provision threatens to divide the Internet into technology “haves” and “have nots.” This one provision concentrates even more power in the hands of the special interests that own the pipelines to the Internet. This one provision codifies discrimination on the Internet by a handful of large telecommunications and cable providers. This one provision will allow large, special interests to saddle consumers and small businesses alike with new and discriminatory fees over and above what they already pay for Internet access. This one small provision is akin to hurling a giant wrecking ball at the Internet.

    The inclusion of this provision compels me to state that I would object to a unanimous consent request to the Senate proceeding with this legislation until a provision that provides true internet neutrality is included.

    —snip—

    Much more in the statement at Salem-News.com’s article linked above.

    Way to go Senator!

    Somebody needed to say it.

  4. Found this today …

    “Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds.” John Perry Barlow (EFF). In Decrypting the Puzzle Palace. Communications of the ACM. Vol.35, No. 7 (July 1992), pp. 25-31. [source: primary]

    http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/reagle/inet-quotations-19990709.html

    😉

    It seems we are between a rock and a hard place these days … either accept this or accept that … lesser of two evils?

    *sigh*

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