Anti-Net Neutrality Propaganda Reaches Insane Levels With Bad Actors And Porn Parody

from the doesn't-even-make-sense dept

There’s been plenty of propaganda concerning the net neutrality fight, but with FCC boss Tom Wheeler finally making it official that the FCC is going to move to reclassify broadband, it’s kicked into high gear of ridiculousness. An astroturfing front group that’s anti-net neutrality is trying to make a “viral” anti-net neutrality video, and it did so in the most bizarre way, by making an attempted parody porno video, based on the classic “cable guy” porno trope. The video is sorta SFW, since the “joke” is that “the government” stops the homeowner from getting naked with the cable guy, but people at work might still question what the hell you’re watching:

The video makes no sense at all. You get the sense that some not particularly internet savvy (or, really, clever at all) telco wonks got together and said “how do we make a viral video — I know, let’s pretend it’s a porn film!” And then tried to shoehorn in some sort of message. But the “message” appears to be that whoever put together the video doesn’t know anything about what net neutrality is.

Next up, we’ve got a not quite as bad, but still cringe-worthy attempt by CTIA, the lobbying arm of the mobile operators, which has been arguing that mobile broadband shouldn’t be covered by the new net neutrality rules (a fight it appears it has lost), posting a ridiculously poorly acted “shill in the street interview” video, in which really bad actors pretend to be average people answering questions about their mobile service. It’s clearly scripted, given the overexaggerated reactions and stilted dialog. The funniest bit comes in the first “interview” where this bad actor (who looks like a DC lobbyist) in a DC lobbyist video claims, “Well, Washington isn’t actually known for its next-gen thinking, now is it?” No, “real person,” it’s not.

There’s also the second interview, with the woman who shows up pre-shocked, and proceeds to “complain” about the totally fake “new taxes” that are not actually going to show up because of Title II reclassification. And then there’s the third guy, who, when prompted to take off his earbuds when the “interviewer” sits next to him and asks what he’s listening to, says: “Pandora…. it’s free.” Because, yes, that’s how every “real person” describes what they’re listening to. By the price of it. And then, again, unprompted, he explains how great it is that his mobile operator doesn’t make him pay for data when listening to Pandora (leaving out the fact that this is because his operator has set in place artificially low data caps). The video concludes with the “regular guy” interviewer saying, “There you have it, the vast majority of Americans are against stagnation, against higher fees and against fewer choices.”

Of course, the video doesn’t show that at all. And of course, putting wireless under Title II doesn’t mean any of those things. In fact, it could mean more choices and lower fees. But who needs details when you have “real” shills in the street?

Finally, we’ve got an infographic from another front group, called “Mobile Future,” whose staffers just happen to include former CTIA and US Telecom Association employees (coincidence, I’m sure). The infographic pretends to show how startups will be hindered by Title II, because now companies can (they claim) take your startup to the FCC to have your service declared unlawful, and you’ll have to hire telecom lawyers, and no VC will fund you. Here’s a snippet:

This is, of course, complete hogwash. Why not take it from a real venture capitalist, like Fred Wilson (early money into Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Kickstarter, Etsy and many more). He pointed out the real story of what would happen in a world without these net neutrality rules, where it would make life nearly impossible for startups, because they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay the big ISPs to get equal treatment to the major players. Who do you trust? A bunch of DC insiders who have never worked in the startup or venture investing world (their staff appears to include entirely DC-based folks who have either worked in the government or lobbying organizations) or one of the most famous venture capitalists around?

The simple fact is that net neutrality rules help startups. Startups aren’t going to have to hire a lawyer to go to the FCC because these are rules for broadband providers, not the services built on top of the broadband. The infographic is pure FUD from an astroturf group acting like sore losers.

I imagine we’ll continue to see more of this kind of propaganda, but the laughably bad quality of it all just goes to show how incredibly desperate they’ve become.

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Comments on “Anti-Net Neutrality Propaganda Reaches Insane Levels With Bad Actors And Porn Parody”

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47 Comments
Philoso Sopath says:

Re: As long as they're going to make stupid, wrong arguments

My thoughts, exactly. Corporate America is profit-driven. Period. This is somehow to chase the dollar and hardly for anyone’s “best interest” unless that interest is their own and it pertains to the profit margin.

Wheeler’s conflict-of-interest isn’t reassuring, either. Let’s see how he gets legislation passed and ends up CEO of an ISP somewhere after his FCC stint.

Billy Badass says:

Re: As long as they're going to make stupid, wrong arguments

Stupid Wrong Arguments

1: Internet “Fast Lanes” need to be stopped.

This is the funniest piece of propaganda perpetuated by the pro-government mouth breathers. Basically Netflix didn’t want to spend their own money to build up the infrastructure they needed to satisfy their data usage requirements. So they came up with this little gem which essentially would make it illegal for customers like Netflix to spend their own money to upgrade their connection to their ISP’s. The only thing that would actually change in this idiotic scenario is that the ISP would be forced to pay for it. Since they obviously wouldn’t do this, the end result for the user would be a slower Internet.

2: The US has slow Internet speeds.

Another idiotic talking point. If you look at the countries ahead of the USA on the list of countries with the fastest Internet, you’ll see the largest of these countries are smaller than the state of California. Now, if you look at how much money has actually been spent by US firms building up the Internet, it’s absolutely dwarfs second place.

3: Without government action, there would be no more net neutrality.

This is priceless. There is absolutely ZERO proof this would happen. None..Zilch..Zippo..Nada.. Net Neutrality is actually an industry standard and there is no evidence that this will change. That didn’t stop comedian John Oliver from making this point in the video proponents of government action have been spewing all over the Internet.

The reality is, the Internet isn’t broken. People promoting this were told this would screw telcos and that’s all they needed to hear. The rest of the “reasons” for regulation are all ridiculous and easily shot down with minimal effort.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: As long as they're going to make stupid, wrong arguments

Apologies if this double posts but it looks like it didn’t go through the first time.

OK it’s pretty clear you already know this is all bullshit but for anyone else reading:

So they came up with this little gem which essentially would make it illegal for customers like Netflix to spend their own money to upgrade their connection to their ISP’s.

This isn’t about Netflix having to pay their ISP to deliver content to me. It’s about making them pay my ISP to deliver content to me, when both I and Netflix have already paid for the bandwidth once.

If you look at the countries ahead of the USA on the list of countries with the fastest Internet, you’ll see the largest of these countries are smaller than the state of California.

Maybe you’re OK with slow internet just because the US is big, or sparse, but personally I would like to see improvement.

Now, if you look at how much money has actually been spent by US firms building up the Internet, it’s absolutely dwarfs second place.

If you look at how much money they have been given to build up infrastructure, yes. But they have taken that money and then not used it on infrastructure. And for some reason also not made to give it back.

There is absolutely ZERO proof this would happen.

Other than all the times it’s already happened.

Anonymous Coward says:

Strangely, the last line, “are you streaming or downloading that movie?” seems to imply that the ISPs wish to keep the government from knowing that you illegally download movies. That seems like an odd implication.

“Hey, we know you download stuff, but we’ll keep that to ourselves if you just support our efforts to keep the government out of our business so we can charge you more for less…”

That doesn’t seem like something the ISPs would come out and actually say, even if it’s nominally true.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the first video was an atempt at reverse-reverse phsycology, i guess

And that second video is so obviously and monumentally staged and SCRIPTED, both presenter AND “random” public….i just dont think theirs a big enough face palm for that……….i know what their TRYING to do, imitate amateur youtube bloggers you sometimes see interviewing folks of the public, except the biggest reason i watch youtube bloggers and over msm these days, IS the unproffesionalism, im sick and tired of seing staged and scripted profesionalism when what i want to see an actual varied opinion on the random dude or duddette you ask to interview……..that video was just cringe worthy, and seing who funded it, i cant stop imagining a room full of old guard cigar smoking rich folk demanding their assistant to hire some company to create a video to appeal to the young punk kids of this generation, how dare they have to make us workef harder then we demand too, young punks……..here, my assistant, heres a wad of cash, shuu, shuh make this problem go away

That video was bordering on the wrong side of pathetic, the fact it was made by LOBBY group with a questionable agenda, makes it even worse

Anonymous Coward says:

The problem here is with some people's worls view.

My brother says this ruling is all about more govt. regulation and concentration of power in D,C. He claims that the 332 page regulation won’t even be released until after the vote and I did look up that claim from Ajit Pai (http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/06/republican-fcc-commissioner-slams-obamas-332-page-plan-to-regulate-the-internet/) and the door being opened to tons of new taxes, etc.

While my brother is good about parroting those views, he is not good at listening. He claims this is just another Obamacare attack on the American people. What can I do to counteract this view that short and pithy and doesn’t require a lot of explanation.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

let me reinforce that with a point i find myself making over and over again in these ‘debates’…
that is the problem of the elephant in the living room: authoritarians…
approx 25% of ANY population will be comprised of authoritarians; THEY are the impediments to citizen actions, they are the quislings and non-thinkers who comprise the not-so-silent minority who can be depended upon to support the status quo/leadership NO MATTER WHAT…
this is NOT a joke: if the authoritarians Big Daddy says ‘hate/kill XYZ!’, they will hate/kill XYZ, NO QUESTIONS ASKED…
the horrifying aspect is, if Big Daddy says THE NEXT DAY ‘love/protect XYZ!’, the followers will turn on a dime WITHOUT QUESTION and now love XYZ…
there is NO ‘logic’, there is NO ‘reasoning’, there is NO ‘greater good for the greatest number’, it is ALL about doing whatever Big Daddy says UNCRITICALLY…
in short, THERE IS NO REASONING with authoritarians…

andyroo says:

Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

maybe you need to actually show him these videos and point out how insane they are, also give him a few facts from what has been said about title II and if he still does not listen then maybe give him a slap or two and tell him to open his fcuing eyes and ignore the lies and propaganda.

Hopefully the pro net neutrality side will counter these videos with hundreds of real grass roots videos mocking the isp’s and the lobbyists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

You’re just going to have to accept that some people you just can’t reason with. They are dead set in sitting on the opposite side of the isle from you and would rather die than accept the facts.

In other words, just give up on talking about these types of topics with him as all it’s going to do is brew bad blood between the two of you.

Anonymous again. says:

Re: Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

Well, Ajit Pai and my brother have the point that the rules have not been released. We ask for this for the alphabet soup trade treaties, etc., yet it is supposed to be okay for FCC to keep secret it’s regulations? I think they ought to be released ahead of the vote so we can see that the rug isn’t being pulled out from under us.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

My brother says this ruling is all about more govt. regulation and concentration of power in D,C. He claims that the 332 page regulation won’t even be released until after the vote and I did look up that claim from Ajit Pai (http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/06/republican-fcc-commissioner-slams-obamas-332-page-plan-to-regulat e-the-internet/) and the door being opened to tons of new taxes, etc.

1. The actual rule is 8 pages, not 332. The rest of the pages are the official response to the 4 million comments, as required by law: https://twitter.com/GigiBSohnFCC/status/563745632838369280

2. I agree that the FCC should release the rule before the vote, but notice that those calling for it now never did so before, and the FCC has always acted this way. I’d love it if the FCC was more transparent about its rules, but this talking point being raised now is totally disingenuous. Note that Ajit Pai hasn’t ever called for this before. And if he’s still on the commission when the GOP is in charge, let’s see if he still calls for it.

Occam's Stubble says:

Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

It is all about power in DC. Government never does anything well and we want them regulating the Internet?

There are better ways to meet the goals of NN without resorting to government control.

The first is for there to be more competition among ISPs. You won’t throttle a site if their customers can just abandon your service and go to your competitor.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

They’re not proposing to regulate the internet, just to keep the current companies involved from screwing with the public quite as blatantly as they currently are.

Most people here seem to agree, real competition would be the ideal way to handle the situation, as it’s hard to get away with underhanded tricks if the customer can just go elsewhere, but that competition is not happening currently, and between the price to set up and pushing past protectionist laws against any new ISP’s setting up shop in an area, it’s not likely to happen any time soon.

As such, while having the FCC step in and crack some heads may not be ideal, it’s likely the best we can expect currently, and hopefully more competition will appear in the following years, from Google fiber and others following their example, and that should take care of most of the more obvious problems.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

Go for it, make more competition among ISPs without government intervention. Please explain your “better ways” and how we can force ISPs to compete even though they already have agreements with each other specifically designed to prevent real competition.

What are you going to do, boycott the internet? Let me know how that works out…I’ll wait for you to go to the public library to let us know. I hope you don’t run any sort of modern business, because by taking yourself offline you pretty much took yourself out of business.

I hate this sort of logic. It’s like saying that we should remove all regulation from the banking industry and Wall Street, because we don’t want that dirty government interfering with our money. Guess what? The government pulled back banking regulations…and look how well that turned out.

Competition can only exist when everyone is playing by the same rules. This is common sense, and why “free market capitalism” doesn’t work in real life. It’s why we have referees in sports and don’t assume everyone is going to play by the rules just because they know them.

It’s an irrelevant point anyway. The FCC wouldn’t be regulating the “internet.” They’d be regulating ISPs. There’s a difference. One is the FCC saying that AT&T isn’t allowed to prevent you from calling someone with your phone because they’re on a different network. The other is the FCC regulating what you say. The FCC has never done the latter for phones, and I have no idea why people would somehow magically think that applying a subset of those rules to the internet would change things.

It’s a fallacy to reject an argument based on its source, and way too many people are doing that because Obama and the government are involved.

You need more of a solution than “there needs to be X”. These things don’t just happen by themselves. If you don’t have a method for causing ISPs to compete, there is no reason to believe the current situation will change. Preventing abuse and fraud are exactly the what the government should be doing, not all this other crap we have them doing. The fact that so many people don’t want to allow one of the primary functions of government boggles my mind.

Dave 5000 says:

Re: The problem here is with some people's worls view.

For all we know he could be right. We won’t know until we see what happens. The FCC is an awful organization and it’s not good to see so many people jump on this bandwagon. if it was the Federal Trade Commission breaking up duopolies like it should be things would be different.

GEMont (profile) says:

Disinformation Reformation

I keep wondering why it is perfectly legal for companies to lie blatantly to the public about politically sensitive realities.

Of course, I also wonder why it is perfectly legal that companies can lie about anything, including their products and services and suffer no consequences at all.

Was there never any laws against such bad behaviour?

Rupert Pupkin says:

This site is an absolute fucking joke on the net neutrality issue. Not a day goes by without the authors bitching about the actions of unaccountable government agencies, yet when one does something that jibes with their politics, it’s all well and good. Multiple courts have ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to do this. The response? Who cares. Even more obnoxious is the constant insinuations that no one could disagree with this power grab in good faith. All opponents are painted as greedy puppets of Verizon or AT&T. Furthermore any study with results favorable to net neutrality is treated as the gospel truth while those that cast net neutrality in a negative light is dismissed out-of-hand as “propaganda”. Because, clearly, staunch opponents of this bureaucratic powergrab, such as Nick Gillespie, for instance, are bought and paid for by the telecom giants. Your “reporting” on this issue is about as honest as the Brady Campaign’s take on the Second Amendment. When the courts inevitably smackdown the FCC, yet again, on this issue, I will be back here gloating my ass off.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Multiple courts have ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to do this.

What cases?

Because, clearly, staunch opponents of this bureaucratic powergrab, such as Nick Gillespie, for instance, are bought and paid for by the telecom giants.

http://reason.com/archives/2014/05/26/net-neutrality-dont-let-the-fcc-control

I found all kinds of errors in it before I even got halfway through. I have no idea if he’s a shill or not but I don’t need to know to judge the quality of his argument. I’ll let other readers judge for themselves.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Multiple courts have ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to do this.

This is false. The courts have ruled that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to do this under Section 706 as it has tried to do. What the ruling in the Verizon case last year said was that they absolutely do have the authority to put in place such rules if broadband were classified under Title II. So you’re wrong.

Not a day goes by without the authors bitching about the actions of unaccountable government agencies, yet when one does something that jibes with their politics, it’s all well and good.

It’s got nothing to do with “our politics” but with reality. We said, quite clearly, that there are better solutions to this than giving the FCC such power, but that none of those are legitimately on the table. We said that this is the best of a bad set of options.

But all the FUD you hear about a “powergrab” is ridiculous. The rules are pretty straightforward and just talk about stopping any unfair and discriminatory practices. How is that a powergrab?

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