A Public Focused Approach To Net Neutrality

from the empowering-users,-rather-than-lobbyists dept

Net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks fairly, without improper discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services. It’s a principle that’s faced many threats over the years from ISPs and government agencies seeking to exercise control over the free and open Internet.

With the roll back of net neutrality protections looming, many people are now asking, “What if there is no net neutrality?”

This “what-if” debate is surprising, however, because we have a clear, documented history of the kinds of non-neutral, discriminatory practices that ISPs have actually deployed in recent years. Here are just a few ways ISPs have throttled or blocked content in the past:

  • Packet forgery: In 2007 Comcast was caught interfering with their customers’ use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer file sharing

  • Discriminatory traffic shaping that prioritizes some protocols over others: a Canadian ISP slowed down all encrypted file transfers for five years

  • Prohibitions on tethering: the FCC fined Verizon for charging consumers for using their phone as a mobile hotspot

  • Overreaching clauses in ISP terms of service, such as prohibitions on sharing your home Wi-Fi network

  • Hindering innovation with “fast lane” discrimination that allows wireless customers without data plans to access certain sites but not the whole Internet

  • Hijacking and interference with DNS, search engines, HTTP transmission, and other basic Internet functionality to inject ads and raise revenue from affiliate marketing schemes, from companies like Paxfire, FairEagle, and others

Individually and collectively, these practices pose a dire threat to this purely democratic engine of innovation that has allowed hackers, startups, and kids in their college dorm rooms to create the free Internet that we know and love today.

Nonetheless, Ajit Pai, the new FCC Chairman backed by many Congressmen and a very powerful lobby, is moving forward to reverse net neutrality protections. At stake are the net neutrality rules that would allow Comcast and other ISPs to once again engage in non-neutral market practices like forging packets and blocking some Internet traffic.

Chairman Pai’s actions ignore the overwhelming sentiment of over 22 million Internet users who have contacted the FCC in an unprecedented outreach to government to express their views on net neutrality. According to a poll this summer the public support to protect net neutrality is overwhelming. 77 percent of those surveyed support net neutrality protections, as codified in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet order. And support for the FCC’s policy is bipartisan, with 73 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats, and 76 percent of Independents in favor of the rules.

It is tempting to reach for easy solutions, but handing the problem over to a government agency with strong industry ties and poor mechanisms for public accountability poses a real danger of creating more problems than we’d solve.

One alternative is to foster a genuinely competitive market for Internet access. If subscribers and customers had adequate information about their options and could vote with their feet, ISPs would have strong incentives to treat all network traffic fairly. But the ISP market today is under oligopoly control. Nearly one in three American households have no choice when it comes to their Internet, and for all the other consumers choices are quite limited.

Another scenario would be for Congress to step in and pass net neutrality legislation that outlines what the ISPs are not allowed to do. But fighting giant ISP mega-corporations (and their army of lobbyists) in Congress promises to be a tough battle.

Yet another option: empower subscribers to not just test their ISP, but challenge it in court if they detect harmful non-neutral practices. That gives all of us the chance to be watchdogs of the public interest, but it too, is likely to face powerful ISP opposition.

Net neutrality is a hard problem, and will remain challenging. But one guiding principle to keep in mind is that any effort to defend net neutrality should use the lightest touch possible, encourage a competitive marketplace, and focus on preventing discriminatory conduct by ISPs.

Internet freedom means that all Internet traffic should be treated fairly and without gatekeepers to determine winners and losers. Special deals with a few companies will inevitably inhibit competition, thwart innovation and suppress free speech and expression through throttling, packet forgery and paid prioritizations. There is simply no evidence that Internet users can trust the ISP oligopoly, the FCC, or any government agency with open-ended regulatory authority of the Internet. In fact the evidence is clear to the contrary.

Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right. Let’s seek solutions to protect net neutrality that empower users with free (as in freedom) Internet access. The power of the Internet belongs with the people.

John Ottman is Chairman and co-founder of Minds, Inc. a social media network. He is also an enterprise software industry executive, and the author of Save the Database, Save the World, a book on database security.

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Comments on “A Public Focused Approach To Net Neutrality”

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Anonymous Coward says:

"Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

If were, everyone could demand it — for free.

When you’re that far out on assertion, you’ve run out of argument.

Indeed, I can’t find a good hook in the woozy generalizations above, but what’s far more important is what’s no doubt intentionally left out: the power of Google and Facebook.

Access to the internet is largely controlled by those two mega-corps. But there’s no hint of Techdirt / Masnick wanting to limit them! Instead, Techdirt holds that corporations have unlimited power to deny service for any or no reason. Corporatism is the most dangerous power I see at present. Since together those two money collectors already control most of advertising and income by way of search results, the ability to do harm is far larger than any “ISP oligopoly” could be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

It’s clear from news this year that Google and Facebook push a globalist, anti-American agenda under politically-correct cover. Google doesn’t believe that a court in Canada has authority over it. Google fired a person for stating his opinion incorrectly after being asked. Google has demanded antiwar.com take down relevant content or have advertising revenue cut off.

So same link as yesterday applies, outlining what Google is already doing.
"The New Censorship"

It gives exact tie-in to the worries above: "We don’t let public utilities make arbitrary and secretive decisions about denying people services; we shouldn’t let Google do so either."

I’ll believe this person / Techdirt / Masnick have best interests of the public at the fore only when they start actually proposing some regulation on Google and Facebook, instead of pieces on SESTA claiming that it’ll devastate teh internets. That just happens to be Google’s view. It’s no coincidence that Google funds "think-tanks" and then persons in those adopt Google’s view.

Let’s agree that NO corporation should be let run wild.

Now, there is a problem getting the right regulation, but it must start with the right view that ALL corporations are inherently dangerous. Action should start with prohibiting corporations from paying politicians or lobbyists: corporations are NOT persons and have NO right to use the power of money gained in the public marketplace against the public to increase corporate power.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

globalist, anti-American agenda
> doesn’t believe a court in Canada has authority

Right… in the first two sentences you already contradict yourself. You’re really not very good at thinking things over, out_of_the_blue. Trying to replace Hamilton after Shiva Ayyadurai’s first defeat, huh?

It’s okay, you’re allowed to grieve. Heartbreak is always difficult.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

Give him a break man … this poor guy has to first construct his silly comment in Russian and then translate it to english, which is not all that easy so it is understandable how one might contradict ones self so easily. Of course there are other possibilities, like this poster is simply out of their mind.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

Quoting the Wikipedia article for whataboutism:

Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument, which is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

You are equivocating. Access to the internet is controlled by the ISP’s. Google doesn’t control the internet. I could choose to use Bing as a search engine instead of Google. I can’t choose any ISP other than Comcast.

I don’t need Google to navigate to a site to buy things, play games, or watch videos. But I need my ISP. Even when I use https my ISP still can track my activity, and collect data that violates my privacy. Comcast could decide they wanted to have a piece of amazon’s business and extort money from Amazon to allow customers to reach them. The higher prices would need to be passed on to consumers.

Conflating ISP’s and platforms is like saying apples and pickles are the same thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

Yes, but google has:

– 55% worldwide market share in internet browsers:

– 33% market share of worldwide digital ad revenue

– 86% worldwide market share in search engines

Among many other dominances. So it is pretty safe to say GOOGLE IS A MONOPOLY AND THE DOMINANT PLAYER IN MANY MARKETS.

So his points stands. Stop red-baiting (he’s russian! and all that crap).

He is wrong though about internet not being a universal right, as the Declaration of Universal Human Rights clearly states otherwise in its article 19.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

Among many other dominances. So it is pretty safe to say GOOGLE IS A MONOPOLY AND THE DOMINANT PLAYER IN MANY MARKETS.

‘Popular’ or even ‘most used in a given market’ does not a monopoly make, that requires a lack of choice of other options, and last I checked there are still other browsers, other ad services, and other search engines. That they might not be as popular is irrelevant, other options still exist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

Platforms and ISP’s need to be conflated when they are abusing their already monopolistic positions in detriment of users and society in general.

There is more than one way to control your internet experience. Throttling speed like ISPs pretend. Or not showing you/censoring some stuff as Google/Facebook do.

May I need to remind you of the recent complicity between Google, Facebook and Comcast to “Scuttle Broadband Privacy Bill”???


So yes, they can and should be conflated, as all those are american companies that have one or many monopoly positions or market dominance in many sectors and rake in outstanding profits at the expense of YOU the user!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Free and open access to the Internet

==== “When you’re that far out on assertion, you’ve run out of argument.”

yeah, Ottman is all over the place with attempted argumentation and misses valid objections to the original FCC Democrat approach to Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is fine as an overall objective, but the wrong path to it brings bigger problems.

‘Net neutrality’ passed under former Democrat boss Tom Wheeler’s FCC in 2010. The rule, known as the Open Internet Order, reclassified the internet as a public monopoly, ultimately controlled by the Federal Government thru the FCC. Critics correctly observed the new rule would diminish the freedom of the internet under government’s thumb. Proponents argue that the regulations prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against content providers… but ignore the long history of FCC collusion with big communications corporations and heavy FCC censorship of radio/TV content.

FCC can NOT be trusted — thus entrusting ‘Net Neutrality’
to full FCC control is a really bad idea.

Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet

You’re right, really–government regulation here is suboptimal. The ideal situation would be a truly competitive marketplace, where customers had their choice among several broadband ISPs (although seeing how eagerly people are lapping up the “free” zero-rated stuff on cell-phone plans, my faith in the marketplace is limited). The problem with this is that building out the infrastructure to support broadband (at least fixed-location broadband) is both expensive and disruptive. Since we don’t want three cable companies tearing up our streets (etc.), we decide we’ll award a monopoly contract to one, and in theory we’ll regulate it–except the “in theory” doesn’t really work so well.

The principle of net neutrality is right–ISPs should carry packets without discrimination, except as required for network maintenance (yes, if you’re part of a DDoS botnet, they can and should cut you off until you get it fixed). I’d prefer that the market be competitive enough that no regulations were required to enforce this, but that isn’t the case. I’m open to the regulating body being someone other than the FCC, but the FCC really does seem like the logical agency.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet

The truth of the matter is you cannot trust the FCC nor Comcast.

Remember there is a “revolving door” between Government/Authority and Private Companies/Corporations. Meaning many of them are all and the same PEOPLE.

You have to look at policies and stay vigilant.

At least government have in their mission to protect you. Corporations not, only mission is profit.

Government has the mission to protect you but is frequently corrupted buy corporations’ money. Not the other way around.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet

Actually, regulating ISPs under Title II is a fairly old thing in the history of the Internet; it was only in the late ’90s, IIRC, that the provision of the service of connection to the Internet was reclassified as non-Title-II.

As I recall it, the argument was that the companies which provide that service also provide services over the Internet, that those latter services do not qualify to be covered by Title II, and therefore the entire companies in question should not be covered by Title II.

The possibility of classifying just the connection service under Title II, and leaving the rest of the company’s Internet-related activities out from under that umbrella, does not seem to have been considered at the time.

IMO that late-’90s move was a mistake, and while reversing that mistake might result in disruption of the systems that have grown up in the less-regulated interim and there might be unfortunate consequences as a result of that disruption, the net benefit once all the consequences of that reversal have shaken themselves out will be worth it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

Yes, because you get your access to clean water, fresh food and education (other universal rights) for free too? No, you don’t. You pay utilities to provide you with water, you pay farmers for food and you pay teachers for education.

I clicked the comments hoping to see something thoughtful. I am disappointed now.

In case you missed the point, “Free and open access to the Internet…” refers to free as in free speech. That is, the freedom to use the Internet for whatever purposes you see fit. (Except for illegal things, of course.)
It does not refer to free as in free beer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Free and open access to the Internet is a universal right." -- No, it's not.

And that is precisely the problem. We all have all the rights in paper, but most do not have them in reality. One of the problems of the current system. Just paper laws for some.

Besides that, you are comparing wrong. Food and water are limited resources. Not so much information. Yes the service of providing you with access to the internet may have costs but not related to the asking price. That is why those at the top of Comcast, Google or such make billions while millions struggle to pay the bills, even though information is infinitely reproduce-able at marginal (practically zero) cost.

Remember, if a company is making billions in profit IT IS BECAUSE IT IS RIPPING YOU OFF!!!

Curtis (profile) says:


Sorta; I guess. 47 nations want this to be true although as impossible a human right as the individual human right to marry.

SCOTUS said there was an individual human right to marry anchored in the liberty used in the Constitution. It does not matter this is impossible as an individual human right. The UN might want this to be a human right but "net" access can never be a human right.

Neeley Jr. v 5 Federal Communications Commissioners, et. al.
All Defendants partially or completely met my demands.
GOOG and MSFT will always continue to comply.


Petition for Review = $500 is all needed except for legal fees and miscellaneous expenses.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

It is a very interesting article but it points out not so much problems with ISPs, but how much people will harp on anything that comes up for a decade or longer. More than that, the points raised are mostly not directly relevant to net neutrality.

The “packet forgery” thing is a good example. You don’t need net neutrality to resolve this issue, and more than that, it’s something that came up a DECADE ago. This was something tried when the technology first allowed it, and it was shut down pretty quickly. The issue was resolved WITHOUT net neutrality.

Things like bans on tethering or excessive sharing of WiFi are also issues that can be dealt with without net neutrality – and in fact neither has anything to do with it. Why bring it up?

The reality here is simple: Net Neutrality was created by the FCC without any true legal basis (it’s not law, it’s only department rules, as it were) and if the current FCC wants to change them or remove them, the bar shouldn’t be any higher than it was to create the rule to start with, which was a simple majority of the sitting FCC members.

If you want Net Neutrality for real, get your congress critters to pass it into law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The FCC rules are essentially law and legally binding on companies. If they don’t comply, the FCC can hit them with fines and penalties.

Yes, the issues you bring up were resolved without net neutrality rules but they would never have been issues in the first place if we had had net neutrality rules. ISP’s want to engage in those practices because it is in their monetary interest to do that. They can charge users more for services that don’t cost them anything and charge third party content more for access to end users while prioritizing their own in-house content unfairly.

I basically see the options as follows:

Best: truly competitive ISP market where users can vote with their wallets for best service, privacy, and neutral net. Downside is this is almost impossible in the current marketplace unless something radically changes.

Second best: get Congress to enshrine strong net neutrality rules. Will prevent administration flip-flopping on the rules but is risky because of all the big telco lobbying money thrown at Congress to neuter the rules.

Third best: keep current FCC rules mandating net neutrality. The rules are good and legally binding, unfortunately they are the easiest to change with the switching of administrations.

Anonymous Coward says:

The folly is expecting the government to save you from its own corruption. The policies of government greatly contributed to the monopolistic capacities of the telco’s and here we are asking it to save us from them while the money we gave those telco’s sit in tidy stacks waiting for several of these politicians to help themselves with creating more regulation that once again, fools the citizens into thinking they help, but wind up only solidifying the telco’s monopolies.

Regulatory agency over the telco’s is an utter failure, it has figured out, the more of a failure it is, the more you people clamor for it to save them. The only successful thing these agencies prevented were the creation of a standard capitalist monopoly, because instead they created something more sinister, the government blessed monopoly! When new competition appears… it will now have to fight both the incumbent businesses AND government!

I will continue to sit here and watch you folks keep getting it wrong and watching it get worse as your own gambits are turned against you as usual. It would be better to have done nothing than some of the things we did! But that is not the way of the world, “Something must be done” even if that something is far worse than nothing!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You’re exactly right, the “policies of government greatly contributed to the monopolistic capacities of the telco’s”. And what were those policies and how did ISP’s come to be a “government blessed monopoly”?

Hmm, the government reclassified them as an information service instead of as telecommunication service, thereby essentially removing most if not all regulatory oversight from them for the past 10-15 years allowing them to charge users outrageous prices and handle data however they want and users have no recourse because they all agree not to compete with each other. That couldn’t possibly be the policies you speak of, right? Right?

In an ideal world this would all be solved by a truly competitive ISP market, but we don’t have that and we don’t live in an ideal world. Not saying we won’t get there someday. In the meantime, putting ISP’s BACK under some basic rules and guidelines is a good thing. I have read the 2015 Net Neutrality rules, they are very sound and if anything don’t go far enough in placing ground rules on ISP’s to keep them from screwing with my internet data.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, but who corrupted those policies and those governments?
The corporation did.

Remember, one has on its mission to protect you and your rights, granted they often don’t because they have been corrupted, co-opted, lobbied, etc.

The other side, the corporation or private enterprise DOES NOT have in its mission to protect you or your rights, their main and only mission is profit, profit, profit.

So remember, private individuals and private entities corrupt government and law, not the other way around.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think this article brings up a number of solid points.

For one, it is really interesting, but not very surprising, that all sides of the political spectrum are helping fight for net neutrality. In a time where society is arguably more divided than it has been in decades, it is a breath of fresh air to see multiple parties agreeing on something.

What is terrifying is that despite this, the ISP’s, lobbyists and Congress are still finding ways to ignore or silence this mass outcry against the proposed changes.

One thing I find most fascinating about the net neutrality debate is how few people even understand what it means. It points out to me the sad truth that people are lazy. They will read a headline that sounds like something they agree with and blindly agree or disagree without doing any of the work required to personally educate themselves about the issues at hand. Many time the issues at hand are in fact very complex and complicated, such as net neutrality. It is not a simple read to understand the ins and outs of the debate, and maybe it is purposefully constructed this way so that Congress can sneak it past as many people as possible.

Regardless, I am glad to see that there are in fact people fighting for it.

Nice article, keep up the good fight, and good debate!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I truly believe there is a deliberate effort at the top of the mountain to make laws as hard and complex as possible, so only a few can “interpret and execute them properly”…leaving them with great power of the overall population and average citizen.

Also making it ridiculously expensive goes in that way too, justice is very hard to achieve ($$$).

Also all those ambiguous and “umbrella” terms that leave the interpreter and final decision-maker with lots of power to interpret either way it suits them most ($$$).

Curtis (profile) says:

The reality here is simple: Net Neutrality was created by the FCC without any true legal basis (it’s not law, it’s only department rules, as it were) and if the current FCC wants to change them or remove them, the bar shouldn’t be any higher than it was to create the rule to start with, which was a simple majority of the sitting FCC members.

Oops. // WRONG // Title II has been in the Communications Act of 1934 law for a very long time.

See http://Title-II.com

Yes, but google has:



Oops. // WRONG // GOOG is not a monopoly in ANY WAY. Perhaps the meaning of the word was forgotten? https://www.thefreedictionary.com/monopoly

GOOG having even 100% of the market does not make GOOG a monopoly while there is another choice for web searches. NO monopoly exists because there are "better", more private web searches exempt from ALL U.S. laws or subpoenas and even the NSA.

I detest GOOG. GOOG spent many hundreds of thousands against me in U.S. Court(s) for six years. GOOG is just not a monopoly. Use someone else like I ALWAYS do.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals will not allow the FCC to get rid of the 2015 Open Internet Order. It makes absolutely no difference what Republicans or Democrats try to do now. The pot was called black by a kettle and the web will ALWAYS be a common carrier of wire and radio communications since no new medium will ever be created and has NEVER existed despite the senile ramblings of senescent judges in Reno v ACLU.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Hahaha, your definition is NOT a legal definition. Your argument failed.


As you can see it don’t need to have 100% market share or control everything, it just needs to have an exclusive advantage over their competitors. There could be competitors but one controls a natural resource or has a natural advantage (technological advantage – hello google) or other exclusivity of some sort. WHICH GIVES IT AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE OVER OTHERS.

In fact in many monopolies (OR OLIGOPOLIES!!!) the dominant player may leave a few % of the market share to other companies to give the illusion of competition, still prices are fixed and the dominant company dictates the market not the consumers.

If you read the MARKET definition of a dominant player is any market player that has a MARKET SHARE OF 50%. And what a dominant entity can do on less powerful entities? Twist their arm!


Don’t be a fool. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Comcast ARE MONOPOLIES in many key areas. No company needs to own 100% of the market, they just need a substantially enough part of the market or to control certain aspects of it (supply, distribution, state of the art tech, patents, etc) to be a monopoly.

Take you and your dog for example. You don’t need 100% of control over your dog, may be times when you are away. You just need to control SOME parts of its life (fencing, food and a leash) to be in effect control of its life and decide its fate.

On the title II thing I agree with you.

Curtis (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Did you even read the legal definition you linked to? A monopoly never exists if there is a choice. Choice(s) equals no monopoly. Monopoly is a common English word and must follow the meanings used in common dictionaries. Legal dictionaries trying to establish any "monopoly dogma" are wholly invalid.

The "Information Services" Pai will try to convert the net into again will be wildly unsuccessful. I will personally try to make sure of this.

An exclusive advantage results in dominance but not a monopoly according to any common English language. Nobody can redefine monopoly into something else. Judges might try but even this FIAT will not be allowed.


I will not pursue Google Inc and MSFT again without new provocation from either. I will join with others asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to review and set aside any attempt to redefine wire communications from the Communications Act of 1934 as ANYTHING ELSE.

Neeley Jr. v 5 Federal Communications Commissioners, et. al.

I can/will help another large law firm make the FCC and Pai follow the law instead of using "Information Services" or other dogma to subvert the Communications Act. The FCC already knows this.



Richard Bennett (profile) says:

Very weak post

This post rambles all over the place and ultimately lands in the Magic Kingdom. Most of the references go to blog posts, and the rest go to Wikipedia. Public Knowledge, Free Press, and EFF get links, but those are activists who deal more in spin than in fact and impartial analysis.

The suggested solution – users should test their ISPs for “discriminatory” conduct – is a placebo. The fact is that none of the tools that are supposed to detect discrimination actually work. They can’t, because they don’t have the necessary vantage point to compare parallel streams of different types, correcting for server performance and congestion on unaffiliated networks.

As far as the list of six offenses go, most didn’t happen and those that did – Comcast’s throttling of P2P piracy that degraded Vonage on the old DOCSIS 1.1 network – happened for fairly coherent reasons.

Oddly, the one real net neutrality violation – Madison River’s blocking of Vonage – gets no mention.

The author might do better to stick to what he knows, whatever that may be.

TS Atomical (profile) says:

Protection from abusive companies?

If Net Neutrality is truly about protection from abusive companies, will it still allow ubiquitous social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to block political opinions they disagree with simply by applying the label “hate speech” to stubborn facts they can’t refute?

Asking for about 50% of America.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Protection from abusive companies?

Saying that "Net Neutrality is about protection from abusive companies" is an oversimplification. It’s not about protection from all abuses by all companies; it’s about protection from abuse of gatekeeper position by the entities which provide the low-level networks which let computers talk to one another.

The principle that the network should be neutral refers – at least in its most basic and fundamental form – only to the network over which the data travels, not to the services on that network. It applies only to entities which provide those network connections – i.e., to ISPs.

Those social networks are services on the Internet, not providers of connections to the Internet.

Those social networks, therefore, are entirely out of scope for network neutrality. If the companies behind them set themselves up as ISPs (as Google-the-company has done, and as Facebook-the-company may have done or be doing), that ISP service should be within the scope of network neutrality – but any other services provided by those companies are still out of scope.

That’s not to say that the things you point out as problematic aren’t bad; it’s just that they don’t have anything to do with the provision of network connections, and therefore have nothing to do with the principle that the network should be neutral. They have to be addressed in other ways and on the basis of other principles.

Richard Bennett (profile) says:

Re: Re: Protection from abusive companies?

As the Wanderer explains, net neutrality can’t offer meaningful protection from Internet censorship, surveillance, and personal privacy abuses because the companies that we need to worry about are out of scope. Net neutrality is misdirection, making consumers fear the companies that make the Internet work while giving up personal sovereignty to the big monopolies such as Google and Facebook.

In other words, net neutrality is a scam.

Curtis (profile) says:

FCC, Congress, Law

The FCC does not get to decide which laws to obey or apply. Applying Title I instead of Title II was always misfeasance encouraged by SCOTUS with the Reno v ACLU (1997) mistake.
Congress tells the Commission how to regulate wire communications used in commerce. The merger of radio and wire communications was misidentified by the Reno v ACLU (1997) mistake. There has never been a new medium and there will never be a new medium.

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15:34 Facebook's Australian News Ban Did Demonstrate The Evil Of Zero Rating (18)
04:58 'Net Neutrality Hurt Internet Infrastructure Investment' Is The Bad Faith Lie That Simply Won't Die (11)
05:48 Dumb New GOP Talking Point: If You Restore Net Neutrality, You HAVE To Kill Section 230. Just Because! (66)
06:31 DOJ Drops Ridiculous Trump-Era Lawsuit Against California For Passing Net Neutrality Rules (13)
06:27 The Wall Street Journal Kisses Big Telecom's Ass In Whiny Screed About 'Big Tech' (13)
10:45 New Interim FCC Boss Jessica Rosenworcel Will Likely Restore Net Neutrality, Just Not Yet (5)
15:30 Small Idaho ISP 'Punishes' Twitter And Facebook's 'Censorship' ... By Blocking Access To Them Entirely (81)
05:29 A Few Reminders Before The Tired Net Neutrality Debate Is Rekindled (13)
06:22 U.S. Broadband Speeds Jumped 90% in 2020. But No, It Had Nothing To Do With Killing Net Neutrality. (12)
12:10 FCC Ignores The Courts, Finalizes Facts-Optional Repeal Of Net Neutrality (19)
10:46 It's Opposite Day At The FCC: Rejects All Its Own Legal Arguments Against Net Neutrality To Claim It Can Be The Internet Speech Police (13)
12:05 Blatant Hypocrite Ajit Pai Decides To Move Forward With Bogus, Unconstitutional Rulemaking On Section 230 (178)
06:49 FCC's Pai Puts Final Bullet In Net Neutrality Ahead Of Potential Demotion (25)
06:31 The EU Makes It Clear That 'Zero Rating' Violates Net Neutrality (6)
06:22 DOJ Continues Its Quest To Kill Net Neutrality (And Consumer Protection In General) In California (11)
11:08 Hypocritical AT&T Makes A Mockery Of Itself; Says 230 Should Be Reformed For Real Net Neutrality (28)
06:20 Trump, Big Telecom Continue Quest To Ban States From Protecting Broadband Consumers (19)
06:11 Senators Wyden And Markey Make It Clear AT&T Is Violating Net Neutrality (13)
06:31 Net Neutrali-what? AT&T's New Streaming Service Won't Count Against Its Broadband Caps. But Netflix Will. (25)
06:23 Telecom's Latest Dumb Claim: The Internet Only Works During A Pandemic Because We Killed Net Neutrality (49)
13:36 Ex-FCC Staffer Says FCC Authority Given Up In Net Neutrality Repeal Sure Would Prove Handy In A Crisis (13)
06:27 Clarence Thomas Regrets Brand X Decision That Paved Way For The Net Neutrality Wars (11)
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