Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-many-faces-of-net-neutrality dept

This week, we covered the story of a hotel staffer who was fired for posting some photos of DHS vans parked in a garage. One anonymous commenter took first place for insightful this week by revising a popular security slogan to account for this incident:

Remember kids – If you see something, say something.
….. unless it is something about us, then STFU or we’ll mess you up.

For the rest of the insightful comments, we’ve got an all-net-neutrality lineup. Firstly, taking second place this week, it’s That One Guy with a response to someone who presented the same argument I was so frustrated by last week — that any and all regulation is, by default, terrible:

Hey great idea, let’s take Title II off the table, all of it, including the benefits the ISP’s currently enjoy from it(tax breaks/subsidies, legal rights when installing networks on private land…), I’m sure they’d be all for that, right?

And if they’re not going to be bound by any regulations, then they need to be treated entirely as private companies, which means a complete end to any and all money from the government/tax payers meant to upgrade and maintain their networks.

Oh, and they’ll need to hand over the public spectrum they’re currently using, no government interference means no government benefits after all.

I’m sure I could go on, but the short of it is that as long as they get to use and enjoy public money, and public resources, then they also get to deal with the strings attached to those things.

Next we move into the editor’s choice, where we’ve got two comments on net neutrality that offer specific perspectives on the issue. First it’s Rich Kulawiec, giving us the all-too-often ignored viewpoint of the invisible experts who make the internet function:

That’s an entirely good thing. I suggest that you might want to try getting down in the trenches with those of us who helped build and run this network. I don’t mean the nouveau-rich elite, or the investors, or the management teams, or people hobnobbing at resort-hosted conferences. I mean the people who have their hands on the wires and their eyes on the terminals: the network engineers and system administrators that you’ll rarely see, and who will rarely, if ever, get to cash out in a big way. I mean the people who actually run the Internet, not the people running operations connected by the Internet.

The world looks very different from there than it does from boardrooms.

Those of you who are new to the Internet (“new” means “did not have an email address ending in .ARPA”) would greatly benefit from exposure to the ideas of the people who envisioned it decades out. I also think you’d find both their success stories and their failures instructive — particularly the latter, as we humans seem to learn best from catastrophes. (Sometimes. Other times we seem very intent on repeating painful lessons for no particularly good reason.)

It’s late 2014. I’m just about to tick over year 35 online, and yet the only two choices I have for connectivity at home (Verizon DSL, Comcast cable) are both absolutely horrendous in terms of service, support, price and reliability. (Verizon is, as everyone knows, not interested in maintaining existing copper. And Comcast’s shoddy installation work has left the neighborhood with cables laying on the surface and junction boxes “protected” from the weather by garbage bags and duct tape. And it just gets worse from there as I work my way up the hardware/software/personnel stack: I’ll spare you the litany. Suffice it to say that I’m not even a Comcast customer and I hate them already.)

That’s absurd. I’m an hour from the friggin’ capital of the United States of America, the country where we built the ARPAnet and CSnet and Usenet and thus the Internet, and I can’t even get close to the service/support/price/reliability numbers in South Korea. Or Finland. Or Japan. Or Sweden. Or {insert long list of countries not called the United States here}.

I should have 20M bidirectionally for $20/month with no caps, no throttling, no DPI, no DNS forgery, no HTTP tampering, and only the QoS management that’s technically necessary (e.g, prioritize VOIP ahead of SMTP). But you know what I’ve got? As of 2:27 PM 11/26/2014, I’ve got .93M down, .40M up. For $39/month. And it’ll probably go up again soon because. Meanwhile, the AVERAGE Internet connection speed in Japan was 60M and the price was about $18/month…FOUR YEARS AGO.

So while I’m not entirely sanguine about Title II, you know what? I don’t care anymore. I’m willing to risk it, because the possibility of failure that it entails is better than the certainty of failure that the status quo guarantees. I’ve seen quite enough of the deliberate crippling of critical national infrastructure for the sake of corporate and personal profit, thank you very much.

Next, we’ve got a comment from an anonymous European that, if nothing else, should remind folks in the US of just how pathetically bad their current broadband situation is:

I just have to say that I kind of start to feel sorry for you guys.
Whenever I read one of those articles people post their speed and how much they pay for it and each time I think wtf?
I live in a small city in Europe, my friend lives in a village that has a population of 200(not thousand, just 200). We both have 32M down for roughly $30 a month including free phone calls inside the country.

The part that I don’t understand is how can people argue against net neutrality(NN)? The whole idea behind the net is based on NN. It worked until now and maybe that is the reason why there wasn’t the need to interfere but it seems that ISPs start/try to change the rules. Charging a premium (maybe on both sides) just doesn’t make much sense from a non ISP view. It’s not that they cant handle the traffic because of the infrastructure but it seems to me it is for the sole reason to get some extra cash.

Over on the funny side, for first place we head to our post about more bad behaviour at the ATF. Buried amidst the laundry list of issues was one far more egregious than others, catching the eye of this anonymous commenter:

Wait, wait, wait… Copyright infringement?! I hope these bastards fry.

For second place, we’re back to net neutrality, and the incredibly slanted poll that unsubtly pushed respondents towards opposing Title II. We compared its wording to asking if people would support net neutrality when it meant getting kicked in the groin — and Oblate had some questions about that:

Well, speaking as someone who gets to choose between Verizon and Comcast, I have to ask a few questions- is the kick squarely in the groin, or somewhere in the area? Is it a soccer style kick, or more like a football punt? What type of footwear will be involved? Will I have to pay a rental fee for the footwear? Which pre-kick positions do I get to choose from? Will the post-kick recovery involve a punch to another area to help me ignore the groin pain, or will it be a kick to another area? What are the stated charges for the kick, and how much less are they than the actual charges? How long is the appointment window for the kick, and how long will I have to wait to re-schedule when the first kicker doesn’t show up?

These are the questions that customers familiar with the cable/internet industry in the US will want to know the answers to. Now, who was it that trusts these same companies to act in the customers best interests unless forced to (via net neutrality)?

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out on our post about the pushback against copyright collection societies in the UK. In it, we noted that 24% of small business have complained about a lack of clarity in the rules and regulations about licenses, and Michael filled in the other half of that statistic:

…and the other 76% are infringing and don’t know it yet.

Finally, we’ve got an excellent response to the NSA and others who bandy the threat of cyberattacks while also demanding backdoors and weaker security for their own purposes (the best gifts potential cyberattackers can receive). Justme offered a highly apt analogy:

Problem: Your house will be burglarized within the next 10 years.
Solution: Install new locks on all doors and leave a key under the doormat so we can ensure your house is secure!

doh! 🙂

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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TruthHurts (profile) says:

To go along with the Title II idea...

I’ve been pondering this for a while, and wondered what the community thought.

All the corporations out there appear to revel in their “personhood” status under the courts definition of the term.

One of the things that being a person / citizen of the United States entails is their responsibility to the Country and people at large.

During a war, if the draft were enabled, how would the corporation be drafted?

How does a corporation get called in for jury duty?

Best of all, how does a corporation get thrown in jail for killing someone?

That last one’s a real kicker, the reason is that corporations today play it as a two way street.

For benefits, of personhood, they claim personhood.
For protection from personhood, like criminal charges or taxation, they claim corporate status.

They cannot be both.

If they want to claim personhood and all of the benefits that that entails, then they must submit to all of the responsibilities.
To that end, I submit the Corporate Personhood Responsibility Act.

In order for a corporation to be considered a person, they must do the following.
Identify every member of their board and high level executives that are involved in the major decision making process. These individuals will stand in lieu of the corporation when a legal issue arises. If a product kills another person, those individuals will stand trial for murder, with all the legal ramifications associated with the charges up to and including death penalty.

If a corporation steals from another corporation or person, the same laws that apply to an individual will apply to those same individuals that were there when the crime was committed. (leaving the company cannot and will not protect someone from actions that occurred while they were in power)

Lastly, the corporation will pay income taxes using the same rate as a non-married individual, both state and federal, on all income, not just profit at the appropriately scaled rate, going back to original tax ratios defined to scale as the amount of income climbs.

If the corporations want to play at being a person, then they need to pay like a person would, be treated legally like a person would, and have the same responsibilities that a person would.

Without these to balance out the benefits granted by the courts, it’s all been one sided since the benefit was granted them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: To go along with the Title II idea...

I like this idea, but it won’t work in the Corporate States of America. As for the ISPs specifically, I would be seriously considering making the following changes:

1) Title II Common Carrier;
2) Local Loop Unbundling;
3) A maximum account transfer period of 6 weeks;
4) A hard cap on costings;
5) A fully-independent ombudsman-like entity to arbitrate in disputes;
6) Mandatory itemised, accurate billing (for each proven overcharge, the company is fined $50,000).

That’s where I would start with ISPs.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: To go along with the Title II idea...

I agree with most of those points, but:

A maximum account transfer period of 6 weeks

Are you kidding me?

That didn’t make sense in the 1980s; it makes even less sense today with all the pertinent records in digital form. There is no good reason why it should take even six days. Heck, if it wasn’t for the need to physically connect various equipment, I would say six minutes is too long. But how in the world can anyone consider it reasonable for it to take a month and a half to set up an Internet account?!?

ottermaton (profile) says:

Re: To go along with the Title II idea...

Lastly, the corporation will pay income taxes using the same rate as a non-married individual, both state and federal, on all income, not just profit at the appropriately scaled rate, going back to original tax ratios defined to scale as the amount of income climbs.

You should listen to this episode of Planet Money (and follow-up episodes) where one of the things they discuss is how economists from both ends of the political spectrum agree that there should be zero corporate tax. It’s also summed up here in text.

I’ll admit that I was repelled by the idea at first. But as I learned more about it it makes total sense. In a nutshell:

Eliminate the corporate income tax. Completely. If companies reinvest the money into their businesses, that’s good. Don’t tax companies in an effort to tax rich people.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: To go along with the Title II idea...

IF companies reinvest money into their business. Unless they’re planning to take on more staff or buy new things, the won’t.

Precedents in Kansas say the bosses just pocket the money.

Libertarians, NOBODY ever hired staff because they were glad they had money. Hiring staff is a cost-benefit exercise. If they can’t serve the customers without the staff, they’ll hire. If they can manage without them, they will.

So yeah, tax corporations and give ’em breaks for hiring folks at the living wage, full time.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: To go along with the Title II idea...


got to the part about drafting korporate persons, and had to open up my yap…
1. hell, The They(tm) don’t draft mere real persons any longer, it is all ‘volunteer’ (meaning: can’t find any
other job, might as well murder brown people for Empire)…
a ‘bad’ economy is great for a ‘volunteer’ army…
(or if you are one of those furrin brown people, we can gladly pay you tuesday, for murdering other brown people today… part of the deal being a promise of citizenship if you survive…
yeah, we’re the most civilizedest EVAH ! ! !

2. speaking of volunteer, WHO are the number one fans of wars and such? KORPORATIONS ! ! !
it’s one of the most lucrative scams there are…
(see: military-industrial-kongressional komplex)
draft ’em ?
hell, they are volunteering (for a small fee) for EVERY WAR…

3. lastly, most of our Emperors, er, presidents have ‘drafted’ various industries into producing armaments, etc for just about every war we have fought…
now its all ‘privatized’…
(meaning, private profits, public losses)…

the new world odor, kampers, get used to the stench…

Empire must fall.
the sooner the fall,
the gentler for all…

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Police Behaviour: Ferguson Versus Hong Kong

Allow me to draw your attention to two very different situations going on in different parts of the world right now, both involving confrontations between ordinary citizens with a grievance, and the local law-enforcement authorities.

One is taking place under an undemocratic, repressive, quite possibly even corrupt regime, while the other is happening in what is notionally a free democracy.

Guess which one has been more heavy-handed, heavily-armed and brutal?

Anonymous Coward says:

How does a corporation get called in for jury duty?


“Give me control of a nation’s money
and I care not who makes the laws.”

-Mayer Amschel Rothschild
Most of the legislation that has been passed by Congress in the past 20 years have been to no benefit to the public but rather corporate interests, according to this Princeton study that is:

Even proponents of AGW have passed policies that grant legal immunity to the systematic destruction of the environment (Halliburton)while simultaneously screaming their heads off that it’s ‘our’ fault….


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