After Attacking Random Hollywood Supporters Of Net Neutrality, Ajit Pai Attacks Internet Companies

from the why? dept

So, we already talked about FCC chair Ajit Pai's odd attacks on a small group of Hollywood celebrities for daring to support net neutrality, but his other point of attack seemed even more random: internet companies. Remember, the whole point of Pai doing this -- according to his very own words -- is to get the government out of the internet and to allow for what he calls "internet freedom." But, it's funny, because that's not really the message you'd get if you heard Pai speaking over the past few days. In his talk on Tuesday he seemed to be suggesting that perhaps Twitter, in particular, needed a heavy dose of regulation:

Anyway, the criticism of this plan comes from more than just Hollywood. I’m also well aware that some in Silicon Valley have criticized it. Twitter, for example, has said that it strongly opposes it and “will continue to fight for an open Internet, which is indispensable to free expression, consumer choice, and innovation.”

Now look: I love Twitter, and I use it all the time. But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate. As just one of many examples, two months ago, Twitter blocked Representative Marsha Blackburn from advertising her Senate campaign launch video because it featured a pro-life message. Before that, during the so-called Day of Action, Twitter warned users that a link to a statement by one company on the topic of Internet regulation “may be unsafe.” And to say the least, the company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users. This conduct is many things, but it isn’t fighting for an open Internet.

This is, of course, playing to his political base, who are currently angry at Twitter. But... it's also... strange. Both of the examples he brings up are misleading or were overblown. We were among those who mocked Twitter for blocking Blackburn's ad, but as a bunch of people, who chided us in the comments, correctly noted, no one stopped Blackburn from posting the tweet -- just from promoting it as an advertisement on Twitter's ad platform. Which is really different than blocking content -- and, not only that, but Twitter backed down within hours of this becoming public, admitting it was a mistake. The story about Twitter "warning users" that "a link to a statement by one company on the topic of Internet regulation 'may be unsafe'" is also exaggerated. Twitter's sketchy anti-spam/anti-malware detector for links, very briefly, accidentally warned that AT&T's blog may be unsafe. Once again, this lasted for a very short time, and was clearly a mistake by the filter.

Indeed, these examples serve to undermine Pai's whole point. First of all, having someone with regulatory power directly claim that "Twitter is the problem" while suggesting (misleadingly) that it's unfairly censoring content is... just strange for Pai. It sounds like he's suggesting that Twitter needs to institute some sort of "fairness doctrine" which is a policy basically universally opposed by Republicans, and especially Pai. Hell, just last month, Pai said the following:

Pai also discussed the FCC's history with the Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated in 1987. When in force, the doctrine required stations to devote some programming to controversial issues of public importance and to air contrasting views on those issues.

"We learned that it was an affront to the First Amendment to have the government micromanaging how much time a particular broadcast outlet decided to devote to a particular topic," Pai said today.

Moreover, "it was an administrative nightmare. You had FCC employees literally spending hours upon hours listening to broadcasts, watching them, and logging to the second how much time a broadcaster spent on one side of the issue vs. the other," Pai said.

And yet, now, with his comments about how Twitter filters, he certainly seems to be hinting at the idea that Twitter should be forced to implement a sort of "fairness doctrine" itself.

But the bigger issue is that Pai is directly saying this in response to the company opposing his plans. It's a very Trumpian move. Rather than respond to the actual points raised by Twitter, Pai is attacking them and implicitly threatening them with excessive regulation. While pretending to be the great deregulator. What a hypocrite. He goes on:

And unfortunately, Twitter isn’t an outlier. Indeed, despite all the talk about the fear that broadband providers could decide what Internet content consumers can see, recent experience shows that so-called edge providers are in fact deciding what content they see. These providers routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like.

This is conflating a variety of different things -- and again, certainly appears to be Pai pining for a fairness doctrine on the internet (but not for internet access) just because internet companies have supported net neutrality. But the larger point is that he's deliberately comparing apples to orangutans. Internet access providers -- whom Pai is looking to free up to do whatever the hell they want -- are clear natural monopolists. They control the last mile to the home and the vast majority of Americans have no real competition in those providers. And they control THE WHOLE PIPE, meaning they can legitimately completely block users' access or degrade it or cause other problems. The so-called "edge providers" are completely different. They all have competitors. They don't control overall access. There's no monetary cost to switching or avoiding them.

The examples from the past year alone are legion. App stores barring the doors to apps from even cigar aficionados because they are perceived to promote tobacco use. Streaming services restricting videos from the likes of conservative commentator Dennis Prager on subjects he considers “important to understanding American values.” Algorithms that decide what content you see (or don’t), but aren’t disclosed themselves. Online platforms secretly editing certain users’ comments. And of course, American companies caving to repressive foreign governments’ demands to block certain speech— conduct that would be repugnant to free expression if it occurred within our borders.

It's pretty odd to couch this as a "free expression" argument, because the courts have made it clear that filtering decisions by the platforms are, themselves, protected under the First Amendment. And, as we've discussed, the Prager lawsuit is silly and going nowhere fast. So far, all of the actual examples that Pai has tossed out are... bad examples. They don't actually show what he wants them to show and they just underline how weak his evidence is.

But the larger point is that if YouTube doesn't want to host your content, there are lots of other ways to host your content. But if Verizon says "fuck you" and you don't have any other options than Verizon, you're screwed. That's why net neutrality matters so much for internet access providers. This attempt to turn the issue around on so-called "edge providers" has long been the distraction flag attempted by the big broadband players, but it's meaningless. Complaining that Google's algorithms decide what you see and what you don't -- well, what the hell does he want? Google is a search engine. The whole point of it is to rank links based on search criteria. Is Pai arguing that they shouldn't rank at all and just throw up random results any time anyone does a search?

As for the fact that these companies have caved to some foreign governments to take down content -- we agree, that's repugnant. And we've said so many times and urged these companies to take stronger stands where they could. But... it's not just "repressive foreign governments" who have been pressuring these platforms to take down content. It's the US government as well. Remember, as we speak, we have Congress rushing to pass a law in SESTA that will require platforms to remove lots of content or face criminal liability. We have that same Congress threatening new regulations on Facebook, Twitter and Google for the supposed crime of allowing Russian propaganda to exist on those platforms. We have the US government telling these same tech platforms to magically stop ISIS. And, frankly, Twitter especially took a much stronger "free speech" stance for years and got slammed for it over and over again, often by US government officials. To now argue that their decision to do some filtering (often badly) is somehow an affront, after they were pressured into doing so, often by this very same US government, is just ridiculous.

In this way, edge providers are a much bigger actual threat to an open Internet than broadband providers, especially when it comes to discrimination on the basis of viewpoint. That might explain why the CEO of a company called Cloudflare recently questioned whether “is it the right place for tech companies to be regulating the Internet.” He didn’t offer a solution, but remarked that “what I know is not the right answer is that a cabal of ten tech executives with names like Matthew, Mark, Jack, . . . Jeff are the ones choosing what content goes online and what content doesn’t go online.”

Except what happened with Cloudflare was quite different. Could you ever imagine AT&T President Randall Stephenson posting about the moral dilemma over whether or not AT&T should do something that might harm some customers? Cloudflare was addressing a serious issue by kicking off a discussion. AT&T just fucks over users at basically every opportunity. Comcast didn't discuss a moral dilemma it faced when throttling BitTorrent. It hid from it. AT&T didn't discuss the moral dilemma it had in blocking the use of Facetime.

For Pai to use the fact that Cloudflare's Matthew Prince held an open and transparent conversation about this against him, while enabling the broadband companies to continue their fuckery in secret, is incredibly hypocritical.

Nonetheless, these companies want to place much tougher regulations on broadband providers than they are willing to have placed upon themselves.

Except, that's ridiculous. Again, one is core access infrastructure. One is edge-providers. There aren't any "net neutrality" regulations you can place on edge providers that make sense. It would lead to things like no spam filtering, and no ranked search results. That's nonsensical.

So let’s be clear. They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest, but the real interest of these Internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the Internet economy.

This one is pure bullshit. First off, as we've noted, the biggest, most dominant, internet companies -- Google and Facebook -- have more or less sat out net neutrality fights for the past few years. Indeed, both companies actually were against net neutrality in other countries. Without net neutrality, Google and Facebook can actually expand their dominant positions, because if anyone can pay up to Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to get preferred treatment, it's Google and Facebook.

It's the smaller internet companies who get screwed. That's why the most vocal opponents to Pai's plan have not been Google or Facebook. But over 1,000 startups who know how much damage Pai's plans will do, in part by cementing Google and Facebook's position in the market. So, for Pai to claim that internet companies are supporting net neutrality for their own dominance... there's no evidence to support that at all. Indeed, without net neutrality it's much harder for new entrants, since they can't cut the same kinds of deals with the access providers.

And here’s the thing: I don’t blame them for trying. But the government shouldn’t aid and abet this effort. We have no business picking winners and losers in the marketplace. A level playing field, not regulatory arbitrage, is what best serves consumers and competition.

And that's the most hilarious statement of all, given that Pai has spent his entire time as chair tilting the playing field towards three companies: Verizon (his former employer), Comcast and AT&T.

On Wednesday, Pai continued his attacks on internet platforms, in some ways contradicting his statements from just a day earlier. You see, now he's upset that these platforms allow people to be rude to him online. Because, what the fuck, nothing matters anymore:

In a way, one could say that ‘social media’ is perhaps the most inapt phrase ever coined. It allows us to stay in touch while keeping a distance. It has sped the breakdown in human interaction. It has fed the unfiltered id at the expense of genuine understanding. And it has to some extent enabled the worst of human impulses — the drive to associate only with one’s own and to exclude the ‘other.’”

So, uh, then what should Twitter do. Should it take steps to reduce this kind of thing as it sounds like you now want -- or should it filter. And if it filters, then you go back to your complaints from the day earlier that how dare Twitter filter content that Pai and his supporters like.

I guess if Pai's point is to prove that we don't want the internet regulated by the likes of someone like himself, because his viewpoints are nonsensical and contradictory -- well sure. But it's an odd strategy to bet on "I'm so crazy, you don't want me to regulate the internet." And, of course, that, itself, totally misrepresents the 2015 open internet rules -- which again only apply to bad behavior by access providers that harm the public.

Either way, Pai seems to now be channeling his boss, the President. His arguments use his political pulpit to badger anyone who disagrees with him, refuse to address actual issues, and make points that are nonsensical and self-contradictory. The simple fact is that the public wants an open and free internet. And Pai is looking to kill that, no matter how many times he pretends his order helps the internet. The only people who seem to support Pai's plan have connections to the big broadband players, and that should tell you something pretty clearly.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 11:56am

    His meltdowns are really strange. My only guess is that this is what happens when you're so blinded to reality by the money you've received that you become a True Believer, and then the reality check comes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:23pm

      Re:

      That logic is just as corrupt as Pai's.

      I don't agree with Pai and I don't agree with YOU, but it does not mean that he or your are a "true believer" in anything. It also does not mean that a reality check will ever come. There is a high likely hood that you have the same logical flaws he does, meaning you regurgitate the group think just like he regurgitates his group think and that is that!

      You folks need to stop arriving at the "they must be a fundie" every time you find disagreement. It is creating a divide and no one is going to want to listen to your tripe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:36pm

        Re: Re:

        No.

        It's not tribalism or "group think" to recognize that an obviously corrupt official is corrupt or that his nonsense justifications are nonsense.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are so stupid it is nauseating.

          Ajit knows he is corrupt, he knows it better than you know it.

          The tribalism is NOT from recognizing that... it's from the labeling of Pai as a "true believer" like it is his religion or something.

          Stop causing division by trying to make regular run of the mill corruption look like it is some kind of opposition that needs to be crushed during an inquisition.

          You are every bit as intellectually corrupt as Pai is. Pai might be a lying liar, but there are strong indications that he knows where he sits and is not mislead himself. He knowingly walks into this corruption which puts him a step ahead of people like you that are ignorant of their own!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are so stupid it is nauseating.

            That would be too big a coincidence.

            And no, Pai's behavior - and that of the rest of the administration - is not "regular run of the mill. People thought Wheeler would be unusually bad. He wasn't. Not great, but not unusually bad. Pai goes far beyond even the worst fears about Wheeler.

            You're not fooling anyone. You may call him corrupt, but you're using dishonest normalization and moral equivalence claims to defend his actions.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re:

        And you folks need to stop thinking that opinions are equally valid just because someone said it. He lies and spreads disinformation. His opinions no longer hold any relevance outside that he has the power. I'm just starting to think he's not just doing it for that sweet shill paycheck.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          An opinion does not need to be valid to require a response.

          I made it clear that I do not agree or validate either of their opinions. I just wanted to point out that from my perspective that he sounds just like Pai, only that he is on the other side of the debate.

          "I'm just starting to think he's not just doing it for that sweet shill paycheck."

          I don't know... I think that is part of the problem. People do not commonly stay in congress in ignorance and advancing the idea that they are helps people come to terms with accepting government corruption because you can water it all down to "they are just an idiot" lets ignore them and wait for the next one problem.

          People need to view corruption in government as only one thing. Knowing and Intentional, because that is what it is going to be the vast majority of the time. Right now too many people are willing to write off dirty politicians as just incompetent. They are not... they are knowingly complicity in their trade!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And you guys need to do this
            and you guys need to do that,
            if you dont you are .....

            Enough with the bullshit already

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              so keep doing the same thing you have been doing but expecting different results?

              Someone smart once called that the definition of insanity.

              If you are not going to change... your politicians certainly are not.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You'd think you'd learn your own supposed lesson and recognize that calling everyone who disagrees with you stupid or insane while acting like some holier-than-thou observer isn't winning many hearts and minds...

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Rapnel (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:57pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Bah. He's not here to learn or recognize anything. He's here to be an inconsiderate dick masquerading as someone that has a point and fails completely at everything. Dick success though, for sure.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 3:59pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "o keep doing the same thing you have been doing but expecting different results"

                Sorta like what you're doing?
                No thanks.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:02pm

    Whoever had "Trump tweeting a British far-right criminal's islamophobic videos" on this week's bingo card was playing to win.

    • Seen on the web this week

    One can now fill a Bingo card with just Ajit Pai's nonsense.

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    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:32pm

      We've always been at war with EastAsia.

      "Far right criminal" is the same kind of twisted nonsense that Pai is peddling. The only "crime" the OP committed was saying something against the party line.

      That kind of nicely dovetails into the whole "free speech" aspect of this. Providers at the app layer already censor the hell out of stuff. It's not just obvious stuff like "Islamaphobia" either. You can get banned for a minor disagreement over a non-controversial topic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:47pm

        Re: We've always been at war with EastAsia.

        "Providers at the app layer" aren't managing the infrastructure. They don't any sort of monopoly, as is often the case with infrastructure.

        If a smart TV only came with specific built-in streaming services, that's fine. There's plenty of selection for other TVs. But if a cable provider with a monopoly on the poles in your neighborhood dictated what streaming services you could use, (or throttled some) that's a whole other matter.

        "Providers at the app layer" are the former. If you don't like Techdirt or Twitter's Terms of Service, you're not stuck with them regardless.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:02pm

          Re: Re: We've always been at war with EastAsia.

          Yes, and an app censoring content is not a NN issue - it maybe something the AG should have a look at but that is a different monster.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:59pm

        Re: We've always been at war with EastAsia.

        The only "crime" the OP committed was saying something against the party line.

        It's a bit more complicated than that. She's got multiple arrests and at least one conviction (with other allegations yet to go to trial), though near as I can tell all of those were for speech that would probably be legal in America.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 7:11am

          Re: Re: We've always been at war with EastAsia.

          It's also worth noting that at least one of the videos was an outright fabrication anyway. One of them claimed that it showed a man in the Netherlands was being beaten by a Muslim immigrant. In reality, the attacker was a native-born non-Muslim Dutchman who has already been apprehended and served a sentence for the crime. The other two at least seem to show what they're claiming to show, though the bigoted morons at BF obviously don't note that they were taken during Egyptian civil unrest and that the perpetrators in at least one video have been severely punished by other Muslims for their actions.

          Yet, here we have the President of the USA being fooled into thinking he's witnessing a breakdown in society, and he's a man who has repeatedly shown he'll take the word of Fox News over his own intelligence staff. The icing on the cake - he tweeted afterwards that these videos are a representation of Britain, even though quite clearly none of the videos were shot there (indicating that he probably thinks they were taken by BF rather than being some idiots tweeting footage from elsewhere). It's very concerning.

          It's hard to balance free speech with people deliberately lying to incite violence and hatred, especially when there's zero truth in the arguments. You might disagree with the solutions, but when you have the most powerful man in the Western hemisphere being easily fooled by complete lies, you have to agree there's a possibility something might need to be done before actual irreversible damage is caused.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            An Onymous Coward (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 9:06am

            Re: Re: Re: We've always been at war with EastAsia.

            I, for one, have been trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt and believe that he's actually intelligent and completely aware of what he's doing. I'm now convinced that he's straight up stupid. He serves no agenda apart from doing whatever he thinks will eventually make him more money. Clearly not even that has been going all that well for him.

            To quote the moron-in-chief himself, "Sad."

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:03pm

    Right the first time

    Twitter's sketchy anti-spam/anti-malware detector for links, very briefly, accidentally warned that AT&T's blog may be unsafe.

    But it IS unsafe! You might accidentally end up with AT&T service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:08pm

    I'm going to compare apples and pineapples.
    Pineapples have no right to tell us we should peel them before eating, the name apple is right there so we should be able to bite right into them and eat the skin!!!!

    "We have no business picking winners and losers in the marketplace. A level playing field, not regulatory arbitrage, is what best serves consumers and competition."

    Then why do you have rules & laws that make it impossible for new players to enter the isp market?
    Why do we have defacto monopolies & consumers who can't even enjoy being screwed by having only 1 provider, despite the billions we gave them to connect everyone?

    Twitter, Cloudflare, and anything else you want to attack don't control the countries ability to get online.

    Comparing them to the ISPs perhaps highlight how little you understand about this, or exactly how much bullshit you are willing to spew to support the narrative of corporate desires above fair treatment of citizens.

    Its twitters fault, its stars fault...
    Perhaps the fault lies with you having swallowed the corporate PR spin as gospel & ignoring the real truths.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      "Then why do you have rules & laws that make it impossible for new players to enter the isp market?"

      When why do you support regulations that cause it?

      When I tell people I would rather destroy the regulations preventing new competition instead of relying on NN rules I get called an anti-regulation nut looking for total anarchy.

      "Perhaps the fault lies with you having swallowed the corporate PR spin as gospel & ignoring the real truths."

      It is also our fault for swallowing the regulatory hype as gospel and ignoring real thruths as well.

      both sides share heavy blame here. Corrupt businesses showed up and everyone asked for corrupt politicians, so now here we are... sitting in the middle of two corrupt groups that just found out its better to fight the consumers together!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:36pm

        If only it were that simple...

        Well, the ISP side of things does look a lot like a public utility. You have actual wires on poles that are under dispute. High performance Internet requires physical rights of way that cross everyone's property and aren't free.

        There really isn't a good way to address this except with a lot more government intrusion (ala the baby bells and long distance phone service).

        Some of us remember what fun the old telecom monopoly was like (ma bell).

        The prices were so ugly that they even made modern hotel long distance rates look cheap by comparison.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:59pm

          Re: If only it were that simple...

          You are dead right!

          I just believe there is a better way now.

          We have the technology where people can literally be their own source of power, water, and internet. But regulations prevent that. THAT is what I want to stop.

          I also do not advocate for total destruction of regulation, just a radical altering of it. NN does not even come close to resolving the problem.

          Right now everyone is thinking in terms of how to create centralized infrastructure that can be hacked, poorly protected, and easily defeated by disaster.

          We need to focus on decentralization so that people can control their own destines rather than sit around having a politician and business middleman dictate what we get.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:04pm

            Re: Re: If only it were that simple...

            Yeah - lets all get our own internets


            LOLOLOLOL

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2017 @ 9:57am

            Re: Re: If only it were that simple...

            I don't think you understand how expensive it is to become an ISP. Because if you want to do that, you're going to be laying your own cable from your house to an internet backbone provider and paying THEM for access.

            You don't just get to string a line from your house to the telephone pole and gain access.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CorruptOrRedemption, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:30pm

    Perspectives

    Perhaps under the frosty exterior hides the inner workings of a Tom Wheeler who wants to do the right thing but feels his livelihood would end if he didn't continue supporting those that have allegedly lined his pockets.

    He could take a page from Wheelers playbook and become the hero.

    His choice...

    He can do the right thing and actually work on behalf of consumers or live the rest of his life with his pockets lined in dirty money in regret and shame shared by his family.

    It's up to him to be a man.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:37pm

      Re: Perspectives

      You're assuming he has any interest in being "a man of the people". ;p

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 8:41pm

        Re: Re: Perspectives

        Well that depends on how you define 'people', and more to the point which ones in particular. Given his actions to date he seems very eager to be a 'man of' a particular subset of 'the people', namely the ones he formerly officially worked for and their buddies.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:43pm

    Re: conflating a variety of different things

    I'd say.

    For example that edge providers aren't carriers, and that any interstate capacity they have is private WAN, not public Internet. Edge providers don't carry traffic between third parties without having a contract with at least one of them. They don't have transitory ASNs in their routing tables. They aren't WAN's so much as they are data centers, with backup WAN capacity to cover distribution and outages.

    Frankly I always thought the edge provider network model was bad for the Internet. It really made the networks more polar and less homogeneous. And they play a lot of games with the protocol stack to make bad architectures appear to work to the consumer.

    If Comcast and Verizon have a beef with that I can understand why. But the solution isn't to fuck over the whole Internet. The solution is to negotiate scaled buildout contracts with shared data centers. But They can't do that because they are spoiled brats completely incapable of working with other companies.

    Don't like the edge providers? Buy them! Oh they don't want to do that, because then they will have more even traffic at the peers. And they don't do that because they have intentionally designed their networks into this corner where they can only grow by racketeering.

    They built shitty networks ON PURPOSE. They did it so they could whine like bitches to congress like a kid that took a beat down because he antagonized some other kid that was twice his size. Better to drive a wonder of the world into the ground as a means of committing street robbery, than actually focusing on your core business. Why work when you can steal?

    These companies aren't being run by network people. They are being run by banks. That is why they are doing this shit. There is plenty of market out there left for expansion, they just don't want to do the work. Easier to just go full thug on their existing customers.

    Ajit Pai is just a mercenary terrorist with a registration at the federal BAR. What he says is so dischordant with any practical understanding of telecom, that there is no other options but corruption or incompetence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:12pm

    Ajit Pai is indeed pretty nutty, but his antics provides Techdirt with plenty of cannon fodder. Much of this might be related to the fact that he's essentially a non-technical person by education and training, who applied to law school after discovering that his social studies degree wasn't getting him anywhere.

    Why can't actual technical people ever get appointed to such agencies? And it's not like they're not around. Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai - the thin-skinned inventor of email™ - is trying to work his way up the Republican Party ladder in Trump-like fashion. It's too bad he didn't get a Trump administration appointment (yet), that might be even more laughs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      >Why can't actual technical people ever get appointed to such agencies?

      Because they know enough to be inconvenient to the bottom line.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Prior administrations employed educated people, some even in a field related to their position/appointment.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, but they don't last. Those environments are pretty toxic to technicians. I really don't know how congress even graduated to mechanical pencil sharpeners, what with the guy installing them having to work with one hand, and cover his asshole with the other.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:31pm

    Well, a level playing field is nice and good

    But when a single team is responsible for putting up the goal posts, not putting any regulation in place is a bit optimistic when billions are at stake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:32pm

    For all your insight...I don't think you get it

    Pai has been PAID. That's the bottom line. It doesn't matter what argument you or anyone else make. It doesn't matter what it does to the Internet. It doesn't matter what it does to the country. It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.

    All that matters is that he has his money -- with more no doubt en route once he succeeds. And he will do anything and say anything in order to collect. Reason? Persuasion? Petitions? The law? Regulations? History? Economics? None of these matter.

    The only possible way to stop this, and even this might not work, is to expose his corruption. Find out who paid him, how much, when, and how. But heck, in a country that is seriously still considering a political candidate who likes to rape little girls whenever he can, even video of him accepting a wad of cash might not be enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:50pm

      Re: For all your insight...I don't think you get it

      Pai has been PAID.

      er, Can expect to be paid.

      Standard practice is for a government official, upon retirement, to find a high-paying job with one of the companies they used to regulate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:34pm

    Great article aside from how twice it devolves into hating on Trump and his administration, as if Hillary would be the bestest fucking friend the Internet ever had. Has Mike completely forgotten about the Dems' history of trying to fuck over the Internet, too?

    This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes. It's about corrupt leaders taking bribes no matter what their political affiliation is. Fucking hell, you guys are gonna be at a real loss of who to blame for every evil in the world once this boogieman is out of office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:35pm

      Re:

      And mark my words, Hillary would have hired Pai as well. He's the former CEO of Verizon, he's the perfect conflict-of-interests candidate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:07pm

        Re: Re:

        So, a few things. For two decades we've been pretty critical of EVERY FCC, whether Republican or Democrat -- so to say that we would have been happy with Hillary is just silly. But this IS legitimately Trump's FCC. Trump picked Pai. Hillary would not have picked Pai because Pai is a Republican. She likely would have left Wheeler in place, or eventually brought in someone else, who likely also would have had problems that we would have called out -- and we would have said that Hillary appointed that bad person just as much as we point out Pai's connection to Trump.

        We appreciated Wheeler turning around from a bad NN plan to a decent one, but still poked him over the loopholes in the plan, and the failure to accomplish a few other things he should have done.

        On a separate note, Pai was never CEO of Verizon. 15 years ago he was deputy general counsel. That's... not the same as CEO.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 6:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: @ "we've been pretty critical of EVERY FCC"

          >>> "who likely also would have had problems that we would have called out -- and we would have said" -- Ah, yes, the old "unprovably vague past" and "hypothetical future" virtues defense. You're a Master Of Evasion, Masnick, give ya that!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 10:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: @ "we've been pretty critical of EVERY FCC"

            out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:43pm

      Re:

      It's like you don't remember what was said here when Wheeler was brought on at all!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Vel the Engimatic, 30 Nov 2017 @ 3:44pm

      Re:

      You're being a nitwit in assuming that Mike or anyone at Techdirt thinks that Hilary would've been any better.

      Lets be honest, they both sucked. That's why I voted for neither of them. Cause to me they were both poison, and I think the guys here at TD know that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:42pm

        Re: Re:

        >> You're being a nitwit in assuming that Mike or anyone at Techdirt thinks that Hilary would've been any better.

        Huh. You seem to believe that A) Masnick isn't a total partisan -- that means a strictly NYT Establishment "Democrat", while B) more than implying that Masnick is a roaring liar, cynically hiding his true beliefs, yet appear to credit him for that?

        Too complex for me, but I think on average, just wrong.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          An Onymous Coward (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 9:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Who gives a rat's ass what party Masnick leans toward? Seriously, why does it matter? Either you get something out of reading his articles or you don't. Either way, let's discuss the content, the message, and stop with the hating on the author. It's fucking pointless and you're a moron for focussing on that instead of the topics at hand.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 9:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Who gives a rat's ass what party Masnick leans toward?"

            Some people are not only stupid enough to treat politics as a team game, but also thing there's only 2 teams involved. Therefore if a person isn't on the "right" team, they represent everything wrong with the world and can have every word dismissed.

            Sadly, that's how we have the likes of Trump.

            "Either way, let's discuss the content, the message, and stop with the hating on the author."

            They can never do that, it seems. Once you're in the moronic binary team mode, any arguments requiring knowledge and nuance go out of the window.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 4 Dec 2017 @ 5:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              My perception of Mike: try to imagine a public-spirited libertarian (I've discovered that this is not necessarily oxymoronic). He cares about the commons and the public interest and wants maximum personal freedom from government intrusion. Meanwhile, he doesn't appear to have much of a problem with taxation provided that it's done in the public interest, i.e. to provide the services we need rather than lining a political donor's pocket. Where capitalism is concerned he's a believer but he's also realistic about its flaws, i.e. that the "free market" is not necessarily the best distributor of resources, particularly when it's being distorted by dodgy corporate practices.

              I don't always agree with him but I totally respect him. What I'm saying is, he's not a leftist or a partisan of any kind. To characterise him as such because he won't wave the flag for Tweedledum or Tweedledee is to pretend they are the only options on the political table. They're not.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:49pm

      Re: >>> This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes.

      Oh, yes it is to masnicks! They've an easy time knowing who the enemy is: ALWAYS who The Party says it is in the New York Times.

      >>> Fucking hell, you guys are gonna be at a real loss of who to blame for every evil in the world once this boogieman is out of office. -- No, refer to above, though in that case the prior President is blamed. -- And of course Establishment "Republicans" are EXACTLY the same for blame, because the key attribute of all is "Establishment".

      By the way, the current accusations against sitting fiends in Congress is GREAT! May shake up the system enough for real change. -- And another by-the-by: why isn't Masnick running pieces on Conyers or Franken or Weinstein or Spacey or Charlie Rose or others? Answer: refer to my first para.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Rapnel (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:03pm

        Re: Re: >>> This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes.

        Maybe you should give someone else a chance with the idiot stick. Or is it stuck in ya?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: >>> This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes.

          >>> Maybe you should give someone else a chance with the idiot stick. Or is it stuck in ya?

          Oh, you wish, "Rapnel"*, that you could be raised up to idiot by being handed a magic stick, doncha?

          You've over a thousand comments, and I didn't see any up to even idiot level.

          [* -- or should I call you "SlinkySlim" or "SinkaJaw"
          or "Bear" or "Tiger" or "Lion" or "BeamStretcher" OR since TOO MANY nutty names 2012-2011 to list, changed nearly every comment,
          (see https://www.techdirt.com/comments.php?start=860&u=rapnel ),
          should I just use the "\r" of 15 Jul 2011 and that you started with?

          Congratulation for dubious record of most screen names, far and away. ]

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Rapnel (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: >>> This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes.

            So... you're keeping it then? I see.

            Well, if you're going to hold onto it maybe you could, you know, reread the user's guide. I think the fine print will illustrate one of only a small handful of locations where you should not store it especially when considering long-term storage.

            Did you count my cunts yet? (oh, plus one.) I'd really like to know my tally.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: >>> This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes.

              So "Rapnel" or whoever, what is your explanation for using so many names? Inquiring minds want to know.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Rapnel (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 9:48am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: >>> This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes.

                First off let me start by pointing out that if things like these are what you spend your time pondering then perhaps you might like to entertain picking up a craft-like hobby so that you can use your hands for something besides touching yourself while you're pondering these other, clearly very important things.

                Once upon a time a child was born. A human child.
                The child was born within the walls of the asylum.
                Though only a newborn at the time the voice of the speaker remains both clear and loud to this day yet no image accompanies it.
                The voice said:
                "Hello child. I am here to tell you that you are all of these people here, now and although you may appear as one you are many. For we are of the sky and we are held together here in these earthly chambers. When you leave here, for surely you will, we shall all be with you and you will forever know we are here. We will meet again one day, little one, and you will know all of us and we will know you. Good luck, child and know that your mother will be protected always. Goodbye, little one."

                And I have this reoccurring dream where I climb aboard a floating raft and on it is a single paddle and I approach it feeling the give and sway in the water and I grab the paddle and suddenly there are many, many hands wrapped around my own picking it up together and, every time, I look around and see nobody and immediately wake up.

                So there you go - every once in a while I guess they sneak one out of me. Honestly it can be exhausting. They're so needy.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 4 Dec 2017 @ 5:51am

        Re: Re: >>> This isn't about Trump, for fuck's sakes.

        Mike's roof, Mike's rules. He's not obliged to advance your agenda, tickle your fancy, or otherwise oblige you.

        The only value your comments have is that your efforts at Scraptivism backfire, drawing people away from your views towards ours. It's fun to watch you shooting yourself in the foot over and over again if one is in the right mood.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 8:44pm

      Re:

      It's been how many months are there are people still playing the 'But Hilary!' card? Find a better dodge already.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 6:17pm

    Where does he get off attacking anyone? Is that part of his job description? I mean really.. hasn't he done enough harm already?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 6:32pm

      Re:

      So what has changed and who are the non-players in this since the deployment of net neutrality and now the end to it? The dollar is worth a lot less than it was a decade ago. Did that push would be competitors out? Was the whole thing a conspiracy to begin with?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 1 Dec 2017 @ 4:37am

    Anyone have a rowboat and a tiger so that we can get a Life of Pai pt 2 as a film short?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2017 @ 4:46am

    It's time to kick that Indian guy out of FCC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2017 @ 7:05am

    "he's deliberately comparing apples to orangutans"

    Oook!! Ook ook!

    (The Librarian does not approve.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Khannea Sun Tzu, 1 Dec 2017 @ 8:25am

    Sometimes....

    Sometimes Aspergers is truly the "asshole" disease.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2017 @ 8:52am

    no one stopped Blackburn from posting the tweet -- just from promoting it as an advertisement on Twitter's ad platform

    I think this type of defense is dangerous to use in the net neutrality debate. It is just as easy to use to defend the anti-net neutrality actions of an ISP.

    no one stopped Blackburn from creating the website -- just from promoting it with a fast lane on Comcast's network.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 8:55am

    Lie down with Trump, you wake up with his fleas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2017 @ 8:59am

    Corporations are not in Constitution, do not have First Amendment Right.

    As frequently does, Masnick slyly puts in a key corporatist assertion that corporations have First Amendment Right that allows control of their platform.

    In other words, corporations which pretend to operate free and fair "platforms" actually have a Right to control YOUR speech in any way or degree, up to totally denying use of the platform.

    As practical fact, Google, Facebook, and Twitter are large outlets now considered necessary, certainly so for politics.

    Masnick is asserting that corporations have a Right to control nearly all speech of "natural" persons, shunting speech that the corporations don't approve of into smaller outlets -- which is a tacit blacklist, by removing the cachet those large corporations provide.


    [Intentionally late: now and then like to see how nutty the fanboys get when don't have opposition to bark at.]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      An Onymous Coward (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 9:21am

      Re: Corporations are not in Constitution, do not have First Amendment Right.

      Starting your post with an attack on the author is a great way to have your message ignored.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 9:43am

      Re: Corporations are not in Constitution, do not have First Amendment Right.

      "In other words, corporations which pretend to operate free and fair "platforms" actually have a Right to control YOUR speech in any way or degree, up to totally denying use of the platform."

      They do. You don't have a first amendment right to use their platforms, and they have a right to free association that means they can kick you out for any reason so long as it's not in violation of any other law. The first only prevents the government from doing this to you, not a private entity.

      "As practical fact, Google, Facebook, and Twitter are large outlets now considered necessary, certainly so for politics."

      So was a newspaper in the past, that didn't mean they had to publish every letter to the editor or make them keep you as a subscriber if they didn't want you. So was a telephone, but they did reserve the right to cut off your service. As do your power company, who you need to access modern services... and so on.

      Strange isn't it? You think you're being clever, but you're actually just criticising people with a grasp on objective reality.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2017 @ 9:25pm

        Re: Re: Corporations are not in Constitution, do not have First Amendment Right.

        The truth is that out_of_the_blue's concerns about corporations suddenly evaporate when they include the RIAA, Ajit Pai and Shiva Ayyadurai.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Dec 2017 @ 10:40am

      Re: Corporations are not in Constitution, do not have First Amendment Right.

      "Masnick is asserting that corporations have a Right to control nearly all speech of "natural" persons, shunting speech that the corporations don't approve of into smaller outlets -- which is a tacit blacklist, by removing the cachet those large corporations provide."

      I thought he was just acknowledging the recent SCOTUS ruling on that matter, where was he celebrating?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 12:10pm

    lOVE THE IDEA/CONCEPT

    That anyone under a certain Poverty level, MUST be TRUTHFUL and Hopeful.,..
    But any over that level can SAY/ACT/DO as they please.. AND MAKE money at it..

    Shouldnt we LOWER wages for those responsible FOR US??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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