I understand that this is unacceptable for some. However, my broader point is that if Free Basics introduces people to a walled garden, those walls are low enough that people will see what's going on over the fence. If Free Basics fails to meet peoples' needs, they will look elsewhere for another service.
Free basics is not "full & free" Internet access. It provides access to limited spectrum of destinations. That said, I'll let users decide if a service of useful rather than making that determination for them.
Facebook is first and foremost a business meaning that it's goal is (depending on your business theorist) profit or customer acquisition. If you believe the altruistic elements of their argument, that's on you. Welcome to modern global online marketing.
Furthermore, this is a perfect situation for invoking Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. Improperly implemented or thought through marketing campaigns fall into the latter, especially when you consider other Facebook official comments noting how surprised they were at public reaction.
Oh and BTW India only has 20% Internet penetration leaving 1 billion people offline. For comparison, Facebook has about 1.5 billion regular users. Pretty much any tool or service that extends Internet access to the Unconnected is good. The Unconnected in India need all the help they can get.
With 80%+ of the Indian population unconnected, any solution(s) to help them get online is welcome, walled garden or not.
My biggest complaint about this whole discussion is that for the most part support and opposition to Free Basics is voiced by people who already have Internet access. The people I've spoken to who want access and don't have it largely don't care about the issues that the rest of us talk about. We're talking about it as a luxury or a right (down) to people who don't have it at all.
I'm a fan of a more the merrier plan. Let everyone try to expand access.
Mass surveillance is not about stopping terrorist activities; it's about terrorist resource depletion. It does this in two ways:
1) Terrorist organizations must devote resources to implementing organizational communication security.
2) Mass surveillance makes it more difficult and risky to coordinate large scale, complex attacks. For all its bloodiness, the Paris attacks were far simpler than 9/11.
Net-centric warfare has been a staple strategy for decades and this is one implementation.
Mass surveillance should be understood as a risk reduction strategy to avoid 9/11 scale attacks by making it harder and more expensive for terrorist organizations to organize rather than a panacea to every threat.
Disagree about the disaster. For reference comparison, so far in the history of the Internet, what would constitute disaster?
As it stands, Facebook's commitment to privacy and security for users is nonexistent. The policy of the Indian government is largely to blame for this. I'm not concerned with vendor lock-in because I trust users to learn and quickly the difference between full and walled garden Internet. I also am confident that FB's internet.org/freebasics.com will be hacked by users to enable broader access.
I am more concerned by unconnected users continuing lack of access than their privacy and security. Considering the lives that many of these people lead, their offline lives have considerably more risks to security and far greater threats to privacy than anything Facebook could present:
How concerned are people about child online protection if children are routinely trafficked, abused, impressed into the military? It's a question of perspective.
Certainly people can live without the Internet. However, it's a lot more expensive and that expense is amplified to those living in poverty. The difference between selling your harvest for a few more rupees because you know the comparative prices in neighboring villages is huge.
I'm not saying that it's a great solution or even good. I am saying that in the world of extending the Internet to the next billion users who largely live in poverty, it's one of the most significant games in town. I'm also saying that if it gives users an economic leg up, it's likely they will migrate to regular Internet service.
And yet the disaster is only a hypothetical. I'm on board with the security issues but given the Indian government's views on encryption, Facebook's policies are more likely in place to political resistance than anything else. I'm not saying this is good for users but the blame properly belongs with the Indian government.
Yes, but zero rating in the US is of a whole different character. It targets existing Internet users whereas in India it's targeting users who don't have Internet access because they can't afford it.
Drawbacks? I've heard a lot of FUD but not very much in concrete harms. The only exception to that being the weak security but the Indian government and it's policies on encryption are more to blame than Facebook.
Perhaps. I've been talking about this subject since it first came up and contribute regularly in policy discussions. The final paragraph is more of an angry rant than anything else.
This might be a bit of political finesse. In the last few weeks the Indian was mulling over the banning of encryption. If you were FB and it's local telco partner and were trying to stay on the Govt's good side, you'd not include encryption in the current environment.
Because all it takes is the first comparative exposure for new users to recognize the difference. The recognition problem is a temporary situation.
As for anti-competition, well, I'm sure that FB's partners competitors are even now looking for ways to compete in new ways. I'd call it a spur to innovation. It's too soon to call it anti-competitive.
Amazing how other market competitors are seeking to roll out competing services, isn't it? It will be interesting to see how they compare and how Facebook reacts.
Yes Karl, because we have a very different regulatory environment that comes in part from not having a state owned PTT in our history as well as a different idea of what constitutes collusion. Zero rating services would not work in the US because Internet is so common and abject poverty is relatively more unusual. The closest we get is airport wi-fi with pop-up ads.
No not at all. I'm in favor of getting people access. Period. Facebook is an imperfect solution and as you point out, one of many. But to criticize a for profit company for being, well, commercial is irrational.
I'm all for granting global ubiquitous broadband yesterday (and devices to access it) but that doesn't grow on trees.
You're way off on this one Karl. Facebook certainly has commercial interests but I don't see anyone else with similar resources extending access to the unconnected billions. Also realise that this is essentially a walled garden within a state-imposed walled garden. The name confusion issue that prompted the change is a red herring. Anyone who sees internet.org side by side with regular Internet will see the difference. I expect it to be a regular hacking target.
The net neutrality comment is completely non-contextual. Net neutrality means different things globally things globally and certainly in this case. The US & Indian telecommunications regulatory environment are very different.
Yes, it's a commercial service so Facebook gets to make decisions about it. Get over it.From the many discussions I've seen and participated in on this policy issue, this is a prime example of #firstworldproblems. Easy enough to complain about when you already have access.
Even if RIAA were correct (which it is not), stronger copyright requires stronger rule of law, not the other way around. Improving governance of the Middle East and Africa has nothing to do with copyright.
I'd also say that having professionally advised the government of Qatar on IP, the whole concept of intellectual property is foreign if not outrightly imperialistic. Culturally, copyright is nonsensical to the Middle East where the first Arabic language printing press did not show up until the 19th C. Moreover, sharing is much closer to regional cultural norms than IP.
This action is all the more puzzling because Chicago has made significant investments in creating a local Internet incubator economy. Its high density, higher education population, corporate headquarters, and new Goose Island high tech zone are a good start but this tax is demanding eggs from the golden gosling.
From all the evidence and history, the NSA does not engage in economic espionage. However, this needs unpacking. In many countries including France, economic intelligence is passed from the government to the private sector for the specific purpose of giving domestic industry an advantage. Known examples of US economic espionage entail the discovery of wrongdoing including bribery and foreign economic espionage. The US government has used this knowledge to counter such activity by threatening to bring legal action or simply make these revelations pubic. There is no evidence that I am aware of where US intelligence services provide intelligence to the private sector for their illegal advantage.
I sit corrected. Thanks Mike for clarifying. Innovation certainly has an important role and one that can upend regulation. I would suggest that innovators definitely maintain strong contacts within the groups that fight the policy battles so as to avoid innovating permissionlessly only to find that permission was required after the fact.