Play It Again, Sam …

Some days I think we take one step forward and two steps back, for it seems that we are having to fight the same battles over and over again.  How many times did we have to call or write our representatives in Congress to tell them we did not want ACA to be repealed willy-nilly?  It just kept popping back up like a bad dream, and still today it is back, since it has been tacked on to the equally abominable tax ‘reform’ bill.  And now, after we thought we had made our wishes clear on net neutrality, we find it has come back and with a vengeance.  I have lived on this planet 66 years, been politically astute for at least 50 of those years, and never in that entire time have I seen such chaos, such blatant disregard on the part of elected officials for the will of the people.

Back in July, when the issue of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to repeal net neutrality rules first reared its ugly head, I wrote a post about it.  In the interest of simplicity, and because I am tired today, don’t feel like re-inventing the wheel, I am replaying that post here.  Same game, different day, folks.  Keep those emails, tweets and phone calls to your representatives going, for even though it is a holiday week and they are not working, our voices will be heard … eventually.

TRUMP & PAI SET TO WRECK THE INTERNET

Posted on July 15, 2017 by jilldennison under Political commentarySocial commentary

I am sure by now you have all heard the term ‘net neutrality’.  Many do not understand quite what the term means, and others may have misconceptions based on political rhetoric, so for starters let us make sure we are on the same page with what it is and why it is so important.

Net neutrality is a principle that says Internet service providers (Comcast, AT&T, Time-Warner, Verizon, etc.) should treat all traffic on their networks equally. That means companies like Verizon should not block or slow down access to any website or content on the Web – for instance, to benefit their own services over those of competitors.

In layman’s terms, what this means is that your broadband provider, which controls your access to the Internet, can’t block or slow down the services or applications you use over the Web. It also means your Internet service provider — whether it’s a cable company or telephone service — can’t create so-called fast lanes that force content companies like Netflix to pay an additional fee to deliver their content to customers faster. It means that cable ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T or Verizon don’t get to choose which data is sent more quickly and which sites get blocked or throttled based on which content providers pay a premium.

paiAjit Varadaraj Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, is Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As such, he is against net neutrality, preferring to give full control of the internet to the tech giants, the wealthy communication corporations.

In 2015, the FCC voted to more strictly regulate Internet Service Providers.  But along comes Donald Trump in 2017 and, along with Pai, wants to repeal those rules.  What will the result be for the average internet user if net neutrality is overturned?  Let us look back to 2014:

In 2014, if your service provider was Comcast and you were a Netflix subscriber, you experienced a 30% slowdown on streaming videos via Netflix.  The reason is the communication giant ‘throttled’ Netflix.  Ultimately a deal was reached whereby Netflix would pay Comcast for direct access to its broadband network. While I do not know the amount of money involved, I can guarantee you that when Netflix incurs payment to Comcast, it does not see a reduction in its bottom line, but instead passes that additional cost to you, the consumer. The deal became null and void in 2015 with the advent of the new net neutrality rules, but if they are overturned, much more of this gouging can be expected within a short time.

Pretty much everyone outside the large cable companies supports the FCC’s net neutrality rules. In an uncharacteristic display of unity, large companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have joined forces with smaller companies such as Reddit, Netflix, Vimeo and Etsy and activists including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU and Demand Progress to protest the proposed rollback. They are among the 200 organizations that participated in a day of action on Wednesday in an attempt to get their users to contact Congress and the FCC and demand that net neutrality be protected. After Wednesday’s day of action, members of the public will have until 18 July to send comments to the FCC. Replies to those comments are due by 16 August, after which the FCC will make a final decision.

net-neutrality-2And in a completely separate, yet related issue … In April, Trump signed into law a bill that repealed previous legislation guaranteeing our internet privacy.  The initial FCC regulations would have required broadband companies to get permission from their customers in order to use their “sensitive” data — including browsing history, geolocation and financial and medical information — to create targeted advertisements.  While this news was reported at the time, it was largely overlooked in light of whatever Trump news was dominating the headlines that day, so many may have been unaware.  What this means for you is that … say you Google a specific medical condition, such as athletes foot.  Tomorrow, your inbox may be filled with advertisements for creams and cures for the condition, but not only that … while you are browsing on social media, you will also receive pop-up ads for the same type of products.  Now just imagine that what you Googled was of a much more sensitive nature …

In both the net neutrality and the internet privacy issues, the winners are the big corporations, the communication giants and in the latter, any company that advertises on the internet.  The losers are We The People. While the internet privacy bill has already been signed and its repeal is unlikely under the current batch of republicans in both the White House and Congress, it is not too late to take a stand against the repeal of internet neutrality.  WordPress itself has placed an announcement requesting its members to use their voices to speak out against this repeal.  I second their motion.

And on that note, I wish you all a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!!!

33 thoughts on “Play It Again, Sam …

  1. It’s been a few days, and as usual I come late to the party. But thanks for this post, Jill. Sadly I have no idea how to research this kind of info from the Canadian internet. I leave that to knowledgeable people like you. Still, having said that, I also know Canada usually goes along with our “big Brother to the south.” Only, that should read our “f’ing anti-avuncular uncle to the south,” the one who couldn’t care less about anyone who isn’t American. Only, what he does down there infects everything we do up here. And this “net neutrality” repeallant is REPELLANT (Canadian spelling, apparently). Have the “assmen with the slashpens” ever done anything good for regular American people? Has the “anti-Obama MaMa” missed undoing anything good that your past president did for you? Oh, god, what a fraud of a human being (and the same for all his henchpersons and their followers.)

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    • No, my friend, he has not done a single positive thing for this nation or its people and doesn’t intend to. He is a racist who would like to completely erase the legacy of the first and only black president, while at the same time using the office to add to his own bank account and those of his friends. And you are right … Americans, many of them, are arrogant and do not understand, nor care about, our connectivity to the rest of the world. If I had to choose just one word to define this nation, it would be “arrogant”. Sigh.

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      • Good word, in fact excellent word, and that is the EXACT WORD that shows up everywhere I travel in our world, including the USofA. Americans unfortunately, through their actions, seem to believe they know what is best for everyone, and they are not afraid to tell others about what is best for them. They, the Americans who do that (not painting all Americans with the same brush as I too often tend to do), are now proving by allowing Trump to destroy America that they don’t know what is good for them themselves, so how can they know what is good for anyone else. If I may, without offending you or any of your fellows who believe in decency, ARROGANT AMERICANS are a cancer in the human race. I do not intend to mean arrogant Americans are the only cancer, there are many more, but they ARE a cancer, and Mr. Donald Trump (I will never again call him President Trump as he has done absolutely nothing to earn that honourific other than cheat his way to an election victory, in which there was no honour at all) is the metastisizing agent of that cancer. The word arrogant does not even come close to how he comes across the media airways, because to be arrogant you at least have to be human. There is no humanity whatsoever in the Donald Trump, not as far as I can see, and I see quite deeply if I may say so myself–probably to the point of arrogance.

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        • I am not offended, for so much of what you say is correct, especially in regards to Trump. I have never once referred to him by his title, nor will I ever, for as you say, he is undeserving and has made a mockery of the title. I would only urge you to remember that more than half of the people in this nation voted against Trump, and I believe the majority of people in this nation are still good people. It’s just that the minority, the idiots, are very loud and at the moment, very powerful, though I hope for that to change before much ore damage can be done.

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  2. As I posted my blog today, one of the events reported was the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. As I searched for a good picture, I found a doctored picture with Trump’s head swapped in over Oswald’s body. I’m ashamed to admit that I thought to myself “If only…” Net freedom is critically important! Happy Thanksgiving, Jill!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm..Trump is for it. Must be bad.
    Here the UK we’re ok…We’re protected by European Union legislation…So it’s all good……………………….
    Hand on a minute! We’re leaving aren’t we……..Oh shhhh-avings!
    Must order myself a ‘Teach Yourself French/German’….it’s not too late to emigrate (catchy phrase that).
    If anyone wants me I’ll be hiding under the kitchen table.

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  4. I read up on this yesterday, from an Australian perspective, and discovered that we have never had any specific laws relating to net neutrality. We do have other laws that relate to consumer protection, and those are supposed to be ‘enough’. But….we also have some of the slowest yet most expensive internet access in the world. I pay $50 AUD for 200 GB broadband access per month. It’s enough for us and the cost is less than from other ISPs, but it’s still not the ‘unlimited’ access that people seem to have in the US.
    This is most definitely a big step backwards. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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