The FCC refused to provide records to the NY AG in order to investigate the possibility of fake comments. In other words, the NY AG was the only part of the government investigating the fake comments, and the FCC actively worked against investigating them. https://news.slashdot.org/story/17/12/10/0037222/fcc-refuses...
Pai's office issued this response to calls to delay the vote:
This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet
regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort
to defeat Chairman Pai's plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled.
The vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14.
As promised, the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality.
And now, 7 months later, the FCC is saying there were fraudulent comments, and maybe they should redesign their website.
> From this chart we can see that the pro-repeal comments (there are approximately 8.6 million of them) are much more likely to be exact duplicates (dark red bars) and are submitted in much larger blocks.
> On the other hand, comments in favor of net neutrality were more likely to deviate from a form letter (light green, as opposed to dark green bars) and were much more numerous in the long tail.
Right, this is a poor attempt to save face. Pai was going to repeal net neutrality no matter what, his corporate sponsors/donors/masters demanded that. Now that he's achieved his single goal, now he can pretend to care about everyone else in an attempt to influence the midterm elections.
On the one hand, there is the rhetorical question of: Why isn't he impeached for Bribery. On the other hand, he may be acting on his regulatory opinion regardless of bribes, and on that possibility, he doesn't need to heed comments anyway, since they're advisory in nature. Using fake comments as a political shield is unfortunately not a high crime or misdemeanor. Civil officers are political in nature.
Who is going to impeach him, exactly? If you haven't noticed, our government is corrupt from the top down. Everyone has their hand in the cookie car, from Trump to Pruitt (well, not anymore but for long enough he did) to Pai. The head of state sets the tone for what is acceptable.
That's just not true and it doesn't help anything. There are hundreds of thousands to millions of civil servants doing good work at mid/low levels. The top level is as dirty any anything in my lifetime by orders of magnitude.
What Ars is worked up about is footnote 14, which revises 47 CFR 1.717:
> 14 We also clarify rule 1.717, which addresses informal Section 208 complaints. See 47 CFR § 1.717. In addition to wording revisions that do not alter the substance of the rule, we delete the phrase “and the Commission’s disposition” from the last sentence of that rule because the Commission’s practice is not to dispose of informal complaints on substantive grounds.
Contrary to the Ars article, the FCC is not "drop[ping] unofficial complaints." The current wording suggests that each complaint will result in an investigation and a "disposition" (i.e. formal agency decision). In reality, the FCC does not necessarily start an investigation and reach a formal disposition in response to every complaint. Rather, it handles informal complaints exactly how you'd expect an agency to handle informal complaints--based on the complaints, it may or may not initiate an investigation and an enforcement action. But it is not obliged to investigate and formally dispose of each and every complaint. The wording update simply reflects that.
A "formal" complaint is not just an "official" complaint. It is a lawsuit in the FCC: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/part-1/subpart-E. The telecommunications provider is required to show up and defend the lawsuit, there are motions, briefing, discovery, etc., and if a violation of the law is found, the respondent can be held liable for damages to the complainant. The filing fee reflects the fact that a formal complaint initiates court-like proceedings in the FCC.
This comment broke the HN guidelines badly by throwing extraneous flamebait into the thread. That's gross negligence, and it led to a ridiculous flamewar about fascism. Please don't post like this again.
Edit: it looks like you've been breaking the guidelines in other places too (like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17494098). We ban accounts that do that, so please re-read the rules and use this site as intended from now on.
I'm not trying to defend this, just providing the FCC's context:
>`Complaints filed through the Consumer Complaint Center are categorized as "informal" complaints. There is no fee for filing an informal complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the response to your informal complaint, you can file a "formal" complaint. Your formal complaint must be filed within six months of the date of the response to your informal complaint. The current fee for filing a formal complaint is $225.00, but it is subject to change.
Formal complaint proceedings are similar to court proceedings. Each party must comply with specific procedural rules, appear before the FCC and file documents that address legal issues. Parties filing formal complaints usually are represented by lawyers or experts in communications law and the FCC's procedural rules. No attorneys fees may be awarded.`
Question is, does this jive with similar methods of launching court-proceedings in civil-court as an example?
One thing that seems to have changed is informal complaints won't be looked at by people at the FCC but will go directly to the ISPs. Meaning the FCC won't be monitoring for any issues and only care about formal complaints
Incorrect. Under both the current and revised versions of 47 C.F.R. 1.717, the complaint goes to the FCC; the FCC forwards it to the respondent, and may order it to file a response which either states the complaint has been satisfied, or explains why the carrier cannot or will not do so:
> The Commission will forward informal complaints to the appropriate carrier for investigation and
may set a due date for the carrier to provide a written response to the informal complaint to the
Commission, with a copy to the complainant. The response will advise the Commission of the carrier’s satisfaction of the complaint or of its refusal or inability to do so.
The same has been happening with the State AG complaint process, i.e. they've become worthless and toothless. Of course the "respondent" will state the complaint has been satisfied, and by a bot-generated form response, too. Nobody is going to check, and the case will be closed. You have no recourse.
US consumers have zero rights because the sheriff is completely in bed with the people they oversee. The CFPB and the paltry legislation passed at the height of the financial crisis are some of the only remaining consumer protection left. The reason why the CFPB had to be set up with a dubious structure under the Fed and an unchecked director is precisely because only a hammer could bring about some semblance of equity. It shouldn't have to be this way to begin with. I don't know why this hasn't turned into a bigger cross-party issue, it affects everyone.
So its not just $225, its $225 + the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for your law team, to file a complaint to a government agency run by lobbyists of the industry it would be judging. Thats some banana republic shit.
> This is literal fascism - and I'm not just being hyperbolic.
Tragic that you have enough insight to realise you might be misusing either "literal" or "fascism" and not enough to pull yourself back from the brink...
I know "fascism" has been misused to the point of meaninglessness but can we all agree there has to be at least a small amount of - I don't know - death or torture involved - before we wheel out the big guns?
Here's a summary of Mussolini's Fascist Manifesto, lifted directly from Wikipedia:
Politically, the Manifesto calls for:
Universal suffrage with a lowered voting age to 18 years, and voting and electoral office eligibility for all age 25 and up;
Proportional representation on a regional basis;
Voting for women (which was then opposed by most other European nations);
Representation at government level of newly created national councils by economic sector;
The abolition of the Italian Senate (at the time, the Senate, as the upper house of parliament, was by process elected by the wealthier citizens, but were in reality direct appointments by the king. It has been described as a sort of extended council of the crown);
The formation of a national council of experts for labor, for industry, for transportation, for the public health, for communications, etc. Selections to be made of professionals or of tradesmen with legislative powers, and elected directly to a general commission with ministerial powers.
In labor and social policy, the Manifesto calls for:
The quick enactment of a law of the state that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers;
A minimum wage;
The participation of workers' representatives in the functions of industry commissions;
To show the same confidence in the labor unions (that prove to be technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or public servants;
Reorganization of the railways and the transport sector;
Revision of the draft law on invalidity insurance;
Reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55.
In military affairs, the Manifesto advocates:
Creation of a short-service national militia with specifically defensive responsibilities;
Armaments factories are to be nationalized;
A peaceful but competitive foreign policy.
In finance, the Manifesto advocates:
A strong progressive tax on capital (envisaging a “partial expropriation” of concentrated wealth);
The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor;
Revision of all contracts for military provisions;
The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 percent of the profits therein.
My point is that "fascism" is used interchangably for "oppressive government" when it's not the same thing. There are many systems of government that put people in prison, murdered, and did bad things in Africa besides fascism. What's your point?
Really I was making a point about the definition of fascism and how it's mis-applied these days. But if you want to talk about how it has been executed, history shows us when people cede so many of their natural rights to the state, even for good causes or causes that sound good, it's just a matter of time before those powers granted to the state by its people are abused by agents of the state.
My point to the second poster above (jerkstate), supporting nkozyra says, is that what the jerkstate above says about italian facism, much like soviet communism was far away from it's goals and claims. Both govts, who fought against each other during ww2 of course, murdered and oppressed and killed thousands (or was it millions in italy?) and definitely millions in the ussr. There were very few people in those countries whose lives ended up being well treated and having freedom until the govts were destroyed. The vast majority had a negative experience. By only listing the top level goals of how italian fascism would work and listing none of the horrible negatives you are making at least a confusing and misleading point. Could it have meant to be irony? Those who rightly point out the problems of US society, like jim crow repression of blacks, genocide toward native americans should also talk about how we had ideals, yet we couldn't fix slavery without a civil war, we still struggle today to deal with oppression of minorities, but we also have high ideals about how people should be treated. But if you just gave the decl. of independence and compared it to those fascist ideals, well you'd be incredibly misleading in the reality of the countries and I found your comments incredibly misleading.
Fascism doesn’t start with torture and death. The word has certainly been misused, but it is an apt description of the ideology guiding the trump administration. The most common definition includes these 14 points:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
I’m aware. That set of characteristics is more straightforward than other definitions I’ve come across. Umberto Eco’s definition is commonly used but requires more context. There’s actually an entire Wikipedia page devoted to different definitions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism
The language hyperbole is out of control and tragic. The boy keeps crying wolf, but the wolf will show and murder tens or hundreds of millions of people. Everyone forgets fascism can come from the left, too.
If we are taking power away from the Government (elected by citizens to serve citizens) and putting that power into the hands of a few corporations, we are moving towards corporate fascism.
See also: Corporate tax breaks at a time of record profits, arguments against universal healthcare or family leave, stagnant national minimium wage, increasing barriers to unionization and weakening bargaining ability, selling public lands to private energy companies, weakening EPA regulations, the for-profit prison system, tying education directly to job training.
The definition of fascism according to webster: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
I don't think corporate fascism fits. Corporations would need to use force to suppress you. They would need to control religion.
Not sure why the word fascism has come back into common language. We needed a new word to describe Trump but instead we recycled this word.
==The definition of fascism according to webster: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.==
Add "to the benefit of corporations and the extremely wealthy" at the end of this definition and you have Corporate Fascism. Who do think is donating the money to these politicians?
Corporate Fascism is exactly the new phrase needed to describe what is happening. Your argument was essentially "your phrase doesn't exist" followed by "someone needs to make up a new phrase".
I never said they were the same. In this case, the President is using fascist techniques (nationalism, militarism, suppression of opposition, theatrics, purging the disloyal or RINO's, cult of personality) in order to implement a pro-corporate strategy (as I laid out in my initial post).
I am not a corporate person and I am in the “public citizenry” and I oppose so-called net neutrality. If the public citizenry is unhappy, they are invited to vote. As Obama famously said, elections have consequences.
We should be demanding policies that encourage ISP competition instead of demanding policies that would ultimately suppress it.
One does not preclude the other. We'll set policies that increase competition among ISPs aside because literally everyone says that they agree with that idea. Moving passed that, what is your specific reasoning for opposing NN, and if you don't mind, could you offer up your definition of NN in practice, just to be sure we're addressing the actual policies and not semantics.
Net neutrality would not suppress ISP competition in any way, shape, or form. Unless you count upset ISPs trying to take their ball and go home, like spoiled children.
And yes, robust ISP competition would be awesome. But there are parts of the country that realistically could not support more than one ISP. Do those people not deserve neutrality in their internet service? What do you say to them if their ISP suddenly decided to fuck with their traffic? There would never be anyone else to turn to.
I agree with you and its annoying when people say you sound like a corporate shill. I don't think it should be federal level government doing net neutrality. I worry about these studies too, because I know my "unique comment" was surrounded by at least a hundred on either side opining the same pro-net neutrality text.
The reason we think you are corporate shills is because you position makes no sense. ISPs have regional monopolies in a huge % of cases, and the consumer has no chance for free markets to work their magic and get red of bad internet practices that way. Do you not understand that? Or not care? We don't get it. explain.
I’m going to tread lightly here because I’m not intimately familiar with the full details of NN, but assuming that big bad ISP starts making life difficult for large tech companies by charging them premiums (and please correct me if this isn’t the way it works), wouldn’t that spur the giants to compete?
It does give Google incentive to try creating Google Fiber. But the incumbent ISPs already have existing infrastructure deployed that constitutes a natural monopoly. The free market is not enough to overcome the uphill battle any initiative like Google Fiber faces, and digging multiple trenches along every residential road and driveway is not the kind of competition anyone wants.
Or perhaps a more realistic scenario, when ISP customers aren’t able to access their paid services reliably and start dropping off en mass because they refuse to be held under the gun, how would the “big guns” react?
Care to elaborate? My understanding is ISPs can internally implement or not implement any QoS that makes economic sense. Also that was my lesser point. Can you address my larger point about jurisdiction for regulating ISPs?
The burden is on you to show how QoS concerns are relevant to net neutrality regulation, such as by pointing out how the net neutrality regulations could possibly have impaired an ISP's ability to handle QoS. Otherwise, pointing out that there exist different kinds of traffic on the internet with different bandwidth and latency requirements has no relevance to the regulations that were under consideration. You shouldn't imply that there's any technical motivation for being anti-net neutrality unless you're prepared to back that up with a real explanation.
I'm not going to respond to the part where you don't believe that the federal government has the power to regulate interstate commerce in non-physical goods, because that's so far into crackpot territory that nobody on either side of the net neutrality issue cares about your stance on that issue. It's hard to take you seriously when you're so against net neutrality that you also advocate for getting rid of federal wire fraud statutes.
Where's the first amendment come in to any of this? It sounds like you're trying to refer to first amendment rights of the ISP, but I don't see where that is at all relevant to their business of forwarding my packets. There's no speech on the part of the ISP to be restricted there, and forwarding my packets is in no way analogous to the ISP publishing anything. ISPs are extremely keen to make sure that their subscriber's data transmissions are never regarded as speech/publishing by the ISP itself, because of things like copyright infringement liability.
Ha, "restoring internet freedom" is the fakest comment of them all!
So how does this work, does Pai get a fat retainer for doing nothing from ATT after he is out?
This is why I don't believe people who have developed there political views(beliefs, ideology ?) working for special interests are good for the people when they need to start thinking about the whole forest; they can't get over their trees. Certainly not at the cabinet level, hopefully not at many levels below either. You see it with Pai, Devos, Pruit, etc. What a disaster.
The proper way of doing this is to have a trusted* (because the process is open, monitored, and audited) observer (probably run by the government) that consumes messages enciphered to it which contain a signed delegation. It would then (daily, weekly?) release a signed batch of public keys with designated metadata.
Metadata might include simple yes/no statements or very short string tags.
* Is Locally Contract Age
* Is Locally Unrestricted Purchases (alcohol/tobacco/etc)
* Is a Driver
* Is a Voter (might not be registered or might be serving time for crimes)
Ideally someone would have a unique key for each slot, and of course their primary (high security) civic key could be used for cases where proof of identity is required anyway.
"These keys are X" (for each type of metadata flag).
If a given user keeps their metadata keys operationally separate from their full ID, and also updates them at random intervals, then it would be possible to have unique 'cards' (of sorts) for each given type of check.
The locality specific checks imply outer levels, obviously, but different keys might still be desired and it would be best practice for all to keep different keys to make it harder to de-identify by virtue of being one of the paranoid users.
To be clear, in a world where people still haven't solved password security, you're proposing a solution that has people generating multiple functionally composable metadata keys in order to retain anonymity on an otherwise massive public ledger?
The original problem is that it's too easy to make fake comments on a basic website. You're talking about users keeping their metadata keys "operationally separate from their full IDs" and "updating them at random intervals." How did we get here?
Yeah, that's not even the hard part for the average user...
How could (should?) they use these things securely? You need to trust the hardware that's handling the keys too.
I can't escape the need for something like a no-closed-blobs dongle that /only/ does digital wallet stuff (and maybe storing files) which MUST have at least a method for the user to read the text of what they're signing, and if it has that use that to also control the 'presentation mode' of that device to the attached system.
Nobody should ever type the words “every citizen can generate cryptographic certificates” in that order. That’s like saying every citizen can compose jazz; technically true, which engineers love, but basically a lie that evidences how distant the engineering mindset is from an average person. Every citizen would instead reply what is a certificate? You mean the one I got for my marriage? Do I have to go wait in line for it? It involves my computer? Oh, you mean the computer that has spyware on it to lift the private key as soon as it’s created because TPM is still, you know, only deemed worthy of corporate security?
The gap between engineering and regular human beings continues to widen. Passwords remain difficult for people, but don’t let me stop the whiteboarding of a solution to the problem that will undoubtedly involve machine learning, Facebook OAuth, and GKE at some point. Add blockchain and pitch it to USDS before Thiel guts them and you’ve got yourself a hot party!
There are two basic primary levers in US politics. Money. Votes. That's pretty much it.
If you are able to organize a consistent voting bloc that reliably votes the way you promote, and that bloc swamps all money-based efforts to sway them in any other direction, your voice carries more weight than the money. Period.
Even more terrifying to career politicians is the ability to organize so many voters that you can successfully mount a recall and force the recall on demand; in the US, recall power only rises from local to state level, but does not hold at the federal level, though.
The trick is to continue as that voice, and not step into the ring to play politician. Thus far, no one who was able to organize votes has been able to resist that siren call. That's why vanity is listed as one of the sins. This is also why money steadily overtakes voting power on a long enough time span.
> There are two basic primary levers in US politics. Money. Votes. That's pretty much it.
There's at least three: money, votes, and committed foot soldiers (it's easy to think the laaf two are the same, but they don't overlap more than any other pair—whilw commanding votes and commanding people that will work for the cause (and thus move money and other votes) are loosely correlated, they aren't the same thing. One of the particular values form which religious communities are targeted as such is that they often command foot soldiers at a level beyond what is true of groups that deliver similar committed votes.
Sure it matters. Let's say there's a local zoning board meeting, asking for comments on a new landfill that'll go in just a few blocks from your house. You and your whole neighborhood put in your anonymous comments (~50), but the landfill company hires a bot network to overwhelm the site with tens or hundreds of thousands of comments. Your local board cannot possibly individually read all the comments, so they just sample from it. The comments of the folks it'll actually affect are completely lost in the noise.
Thank you for the explanation. Those are valid and understandable points.
I'm however kind of worried that the comments are sampled. I'm sure there are tools out there that will find duplicates, cluster similar comments together, etc
In my opinion we (as world citizen) should find a way to organize millions of comments rather than building barriers. Twitter probably already does it to some extend, it should be technologically accessible today.
Trying to deny the access to bots on the palteform can't hurt, but that's a temporary patch to the real problem of opinion aggregation.
Is there a complete dataset of the past comments freely downloadable? Some civic data scientist and dev may look at it to try new solution for comments aggregation
I'm glad they're looking into fixing their comment system, but:
Fake. Not fake. The comments wren't a vote -- they were comments. If anything they should be used to add ideas to the mix. Things that may have been overlooked. People who might be impacted but haven't been considered. And smart, well-meaning people should've synthesized those into useful and not useful piles to help inform their decision.
The core problem is that Ajit Pai was determined to ignore all signal from people who supported Net Neutrality.
However, based on what you just said, the pro-NN people might ought to consider other views as well. The pro-NN crowd is guilty of one-sided thinking and has had no interest in actually considering other viewpoints. So the FCC should consider everyone’s comments, but then regardless of those comments, uphold NN anyway? Is that what I’m reading?
Regarding the ignoring NN supporters — at least a few of those supporters engaged in credible death threats against Pai and his children. At that point, I’d be done. I would give no credence to the pro-NN side if they are going to threaten my children. As soon as some NN supporters started acting like racist jackasses, that point of view ceased to matter to me.
Hate to break it to you, but there were plenty of racists on the anti-NN side; the Daily Stormer was full of anti-NN commentary that seemed to be based on the fact that NN was a policy of the first Black president. Racism is on all sides of any major policy debate, which nobody should be surprised by given how many racists there are in society.
Also, as someone who submitted a comment that was actually cited in the final order, I did consider the other points of view. In fact my comment addressed the anti-NN claims made in the NPRM, as did many other thoughtful, original comments submitted by other engineers and computer scientists, including a comment submitted by Vint Cerf (inventor of the Internet). By necessity I and those other experts had to think about the positions from the other side. All of us concluded approximately the same thing: that the anti-NN arguments were based on a poor understanding of how the Internet works and of the current state of the ISP market.
(That is being generous. In fact the NPRM was based on deliberate, dishonest distortions of the truth, meant to stretch technical facts to support the legal argument for what can only be described as a preordained conclusion. Facts were never really the basis of the anti-NN argument; the argument is mostly based on ideological opposition to any regulation of ISPs, even regulations that might encourage competition among ISPs e.g. line-sharing requirements. The goal is just to minimize regulation, regardless of the impact on consumers or on society as a whole, regardless of the state of the ISP market, regardless of the facts.)
Except that you still feel the need to talk about them. eyeroll
I think you troll topics masquerading as legitimate commentary (almost every assertion you made is an ad-hominem), because you don't really know the difference. This is a common problem with people who have superiority complexes.
As a pro-NN person, I'd appreciate a good explanation of the benefits of removing NN that reflects the current reality of the situation. If you could kindly explain to this one-sided thinker why Pai seems like he just does the bidding of the companies he used to, likely will again, and (one would argue) currently works for, that would be a boon to my jackass brain.
Thanks in advance for your hard and thankless work.
Its really a very simple argument, for me at least: this shouldn't be regulated at the federal level. State and city regulations (or even outright ownership) are fine though. Heck the cities literally own the streets.
Beyond that, how did the net neutrality policy makes sense? If two parties want to communicate with each other, why does it matters which side gets what percentage of the bill? It makes sense for the health of the network for big companies like Netflix to have business relationships with the ISPs to push the servers closer to the edges. The main argument for net neutrality is they are monopolies so we should beat them up, but I fail to see how net neutrality does that.
You read a lot about the FCC chairman's bad motives (who can say, maybe true?), yet in the same opinion piece the author will want him to have more legal power over the conduits of free speech and media.
> It makes sense for the health of the network for big companies like Netflix to have business relationships with the ISPs to push the servers closer to the edges.
From what I've read, (I haven't followed it too closely as I'm not from the US) the issue is that repealing NN enables an ISP to throttle Netflix for users who don't pay more for (for example) a 'Media' plan WITHOUT even needing to make a deal with Netflix. Monopolies then become a problem because certain areas of the US can only get connection with one ISP, so there is no room for them to choose a better option if their only available ISP starts charging through the roof for access to specific websites.
I could be completely wrong, but this is what I took away from most of the pro-NN arguments.
From what I've read, (I haven't followed it too closely as I'm not from the US) the issue is that repealing NN enables an ISP to throttle Netflix for users who don't pay more for (for example) a 'Media' plan WITHOUT even needing to make a deal with Netflix.
I think that's become the poster child for the most accessible way of delivering a pro-NN argument to the masses; even if I think-personally-it's an incredible oversimplification of otherwise GOOD pro-NN arguments. Popcorn and circuses, etc. If you can explain it to people as "it's gonna hurt your ability to Binge Orange is the New Black Season 22" their ears perk up. If you start talking about "last mile" and startup competitiveness in an increasingly commoditized internet landscape, eyes glaze over.
Perhaps even to the point of possibly being the petard hoisted by the pro-NN crowd when the powers at be decide to focus their attention on that topic, artfully skirt the issue to seem conciliatory to average-joe users while implementing the very types of platforms and policies that have more or less demonstrable affects on the Internet as a platform for Enterprise.
>> >> If two parties want to communicate with each other, why does it matters which side gets what percentage of the bill? It makes sense for the health of the network for big companies like Netflix to have business relationships with the ISPs to push the servers closer to the edges.
>> ...the issue is that repealing NN enables an ISP to throttle Netflix for users who don't pay more for (for example) a 'Media' plan WITHOUT even needing to make a deal with Netflix. Monopolies then become a problem because certain areas of the US can only get connection with one ISP, so there is no room for them to choose a better option if their only available ISP starts charging through the roof for access to specific websites.
These are essentially equivalent statements, no? On the one hand ISPs want Netflix to pay them, and on the other hand ISPs want Netflix to pay them.
Again I want to reiterate, for me this is all about the 1st amendment to the Constitution. I would love for the telecom monopolies to get broken up.
> On the one hand ISPs want Netflix to pay them, and on the other hand ISPs want Netflix to pay them.
Not at all. On the one hand, ISPs want Netflix to pay them because Netflix is a source of high traffic volume. On the other hand, ISPs want Netflix to pay them because Netflix is a competitor to their own video services, and Netflix happens to be a source of high traffic volume because it's a better video service for the money. Metered pricing isn't the evil we're trying to prevent, discriminatory pricing is the problem.
If it's just metered pricing on the table, then the market will always choose the simpler option of the full bill being paid by the last-mile subscriber, rather than a needlessly complex system of trying to bill at both ends of the network.
I still find the two statements equivalent if you ignore the positive and negative sounding spin. As you point out, the market will always choose the simpler option. How could an ISP have a business relationship with every server in the world, even those not physically being on its fiber? It can't its an explosion of complexity, so an ISP has to discriminate against a couple big, identifiable companies.
If the pro net-neutrality position was something to break up the telecom monopolies, I'd be all for it.
> so an ISP has to discriminate against a couple big, identifiable companies.
No, they don't. They already have paying customers, and infrastructure to credit packets to those customers' quota/bill. There's no need to expend any effort tracking the other end of the connections, even if some targets are relatively easy to identify. They have everything they need to bill a responsible party for cost increases due to heavy traffic, without trying to single out (read: extort) companies like Netflix in a monopoly-abusing fashion.
Why do you think we have a right to interfere in the business and choose how they make money and administer the network? Because they are a monopoly? Then I agree we should break them up. Because they are a utility? Then I agree cities and states should regulate or own them. Federal Net Neutrality does none of these things.
What about extremely bloated news sites that clearly spend no effort decreasing data size? Should end customers just pay for that lack of incentive?
Why are you unwilling to accept any regulatory recourse to monopoly abuse aside from breaking up the monopolies?
Last-mile ISPs are always a natural monopoly at the neighborhood level, regardless of whether they are part of a multi-state conglomerate or a local entity. The monopoly needs to be regulated no matter what the larger ownership structure is. Many local governments do not have the capital or technical capability to build, own or operate an ISP, and there are clear advantages to consolidating the ownership and administration of the network, provided that it is still subjected to effective regulation.
>Its really a very simple argument, for me at least: this shouldn't be regulated at the federal level. State and city regulations (or even outright ownership) are fine though. Heck the cities literally own the streets.
Why do you think it's alright to regulate this at the state or city level but not the federal level?
How do you feel about the federal government regulating telecommunications carriers?
I think any government involvement in telecommunications is bad, but there is no denying ISPs are monopoly businesses by nature. So then the question becomes, what is the appropriate level of state ownership? For example the wireless spectrum needs to be partitioned out at the national (even international) level to have value, so the FCC is a wonderful agency. But for ISPs the logical size is the entities which own the streets. I'd much rather have a budding authoritarian Mayor than President.
I believe large parts of the various communications acts are unconstitutional and I don't see how light crossing state borders is construed as commerce.
"If two parties want to communicate with each other, why does it matters which side gets what percentage of the bill?"
Some Internet applications are unidirectional and can in principle (and sometimes in practice) can use datagram-oriented communication, without necessarily including information about the sender IP address; in other words from the ISP's perspective it may not be clear who the other party even is. The Internet is designed to support applications in general, including applications that have yet to be invented and which we may not be creative enough to even imagine. New protocols and applications are deployed with regularity.
All of that innovation and generality is dependent on net neutrality. Without net neutrality it is possible that deploying a new protocol would require coordination with one ISP after another. It is possible that an application that works at my house will fail to work at your house because your ISP refuses to provide service for that application. Maybe your ISP refuses to forward packets without a return address, or only supports two-party protocols (nobody said we cannot have a three-, four-, or N-party application -- except maybe some ISP).
"It makes sense for the health of the network for big companies like Netflix to have business relationships with the ISPs to push the servers closer to the edges"
That has nothing to do with net neutrality.
"The main argument for net neutrality is they are monopolies so we should beat them up"
No, the argument is that the utility of the Internet to society as a whole is maximized by neutrality and that the benefits far outweigh the cost of possibly lower ISP profits. It makes no difference if net neutrality is achieved by a regulation or by a competitive market, but for the vast majority of Americans there is no competitive market for ISPs. If you think a competitive ISP market is better than regulating a specific outcome, you need to have some proposal for setting up that market -- for example, re-instating the line-sharing requirements that gave rise to a competitive DSL market in the late 90s (a market which completely disappeared when those requirements were rescinded).
If you are not going to impose a line-sharing rule, then for the majority of Americans who have to deal with a local monopoly there will be abuses. Before net neutrality regulations, this was happening:
Yes, that is Comcast blocking VPN protocols for residential customers, because if you want to work from home you have to buy their "professional" service, where VPNs are not blocked, because VPNs are only for professionals. I do not want to "beat up" Comcast just because they are a monopoly, but I do want to stop them from abusing their monopoly power by arbitrarily limiting the Internet applications their customers can use.
"legal power over the conduits of free speech and media."
Net neutrality promotes free speech on the Internet. Why should your ISP allow you to visit independent media websites? Why should an ISP allow anyone to exercise their free speech rights on The Daily Stormer? Net neutrality, of some form, is the reason you can consume whatever media you want to consume and freely engage in whatever form of speech you wish to engage in on the Internet without having to get your ISP's permission or to pay extra for the privilege (or maybe just having your ISP say, "sorry, we do not support Hacker News; have you tried Reddit or Slashdot?"). Maybe you are lucky enough to have a competitive ISP market in your area and you would just find another ISP, but, again, most Americans have either no choice or a very limited choice (e.g. one can either have Cable or DSL, which are not comparable, and a duopoly is not even remotely a competitive market).
Even without the Title II rules, the FCC still has the very legal power you object to; it is simply choosing not to exercise that power. The law as it is currently written allows the FCC to change the classification of ISPs back to Title II by following the same process used by Pai to reclassify ISPs under Title I. The courts found that the FCC had acted appropriately and within their power when ISPs were reclassified as Title II services. If you think that power is not something the FCC has then the burden is on you to change the law (good luck).
>> Even without the Title II rules, the FCC still has the very legal power you object to; it is simply choosing not to exercise that power. The law as it is currently written allows the FCC to change the classification of ISPs back to Title II by following the same process used by Pai to reclassify ISPs under Title I. The courts found that the FCC had acted appropriately and within their power when ISPs were reclassified as Title II services. If you think that power is not something the FCC has then the burden is on you to change the law (good luck).
Exercising the legal power I object to is something I object to. It is on me to object and bring up my opinions in the forum in which this is being debated.
>>"It makes sense for the health of the network for big companies like Netflix to have business relationships with the ISPs to push the servers closer to the edges"
>> That has nothing to do with net neutrality.
How can an ISP get Netflix to pay it, or lean on Netflix to install new servers in their network, if it is illegal to use their own bargaining position?
>>"The main argument for net neutrality is they are monopolies so we should beat them up"
>>No, the argument is that the utility of the Internet to society as a whole is maximized by neutrality and that the benefits far outweigh the cost of possibly lower ISP profits. It makes no difference if net neutrality is achieved by a regulation or by a competitive market, but for the vast majority of Americans there is no competitive market for ISPs. If you think a competitive ISP market is better than regulating a specific outcome, you need to have some proposal for setting up that market -- for example, re-instating the line-sharing requirements that gave rise to a competitive DSL market in the late 90s (a market which completely disappeared when those requirements were rescinded).
So we agree that, 1) ISPs are monopolies, 2) monopolies find ways to abuse their power, 3) regulation could help achieve net neutrality. However, I do not agree that the current "net neutrality" situation is so bad so as to require a stopgap fix and I definitely do not think the federal government should be the level of government doing the fixing.
> How can an ISP get Netflix to pay it, or lean on Netflix to install new servers in their network, if it is illegal to use their own bargaining position?
ISPs don't have to lean on Netflix to install CDN nodes within the ISP's network. If Netflix finds that it's cheaper for them to do so rather than buy transit to the last-mile ISPs from Netflix's existing ISPs, then Netflix will come to those ISP's offering money and begging for the rack space. If, on the other hand, it turns out that Netflix doesn't need the low latency that CDN nodes afford and that they can more cheaply obtain the necessary bandwidth indirectly through Level3, etc., then the last-mile ISPs should not be empowered to distort that market outcome.
So lets say the ISP does not have a business relationship with either Netflix (because its illegal under net-neutrality) or with Netflix's existing ISPs because there are others in between. But the path used to route movie packets is expensive. How does the ISP lean on Netflix to pay for its part of their operating costs?
"lets say the ISP does not have a business relationship with either Netflix (because its illegal under net-neutrality)"
That is not illegal under net neutrality, and it is basically irrelevant. Netflix, like any Internet user (yes, that is what Netflix is) must contract with some ISP (probably many ISPs given their scale). Net neutrality does not prevent ISPs from selling rack space in their data centers and allowing companies to colocate their servers with the ISP's routers.
Net neutrality is really about the logic ISPs use for routing, and the basic requirement is that routing decisions should not be based on the sender address or the application. There is plenty of room for argument about how strictly that should be enforced e.g. some experts support different priority classes for different application types while others believe in a stricter form of net neutrality. The general idea is that the performance of Internet applications should depend solely on technical details and that ISPs should not be allowed to impose artificial or arbitrary restrictions. There are plenty of legitimate questions over what is truly a technical reality and what is artificially imposed by an ISP (e.g. if an ISP uses the same physical infrastructure for Internet and non-Internet services, is it artificially constraining the Internet users by denying them capacity that is not being used for the non-Internet services?) but for colocation there is no real debate and nobody is claiming that is a NN violation.
> some experts support different priority classes for different application types
That's a thoroughly outdated QoS paradigm. It's almost impossible to make rule-based traffic classification neutral and fair, because it always privileges existing applications and protocols over upstarts that aren't correctly identified by the ruleset. It's also far too easy for ISPs to "forget" to properly classify their competitor's traffic when the ISP is also a content provider, and poorly-designed rulesets can be gamed by using protocols/applications on non-standard port numbers.
Fortunately, this QoS paradigm is no longer necessary and the state of the art for QoS has moved on to techniques that only need to look at the quantity and size of packets in order to correctly infer the correct latency vs throughput tradeoffs for each traffic flow. Packet scheduling is now much more like CPU scheduling, in that it works well enough out of the box without requiring manual tuning or prioritization.
> How does the ISP lean on Netflix to pay for its part of their operating costs?
They don't. It's purely your accounting fiction that is attributing those costs to Netflix instead of to the ISP's customers who are using Netflix.
If streaming video increases the ISP's operating costs, they can simply increase prices, preferably through a fair metered usage model that can address all of the video streaming usage costs together, instead of just the Netflix costs.
> So if data from company A costs the ISP more that the same quantity of data from company B to get a hold of,
Expand that hypothetical a bit more, so that we can determine if the situation you're asking about is one that ever happens in the real world. Are you asking about traffic imbalances at peering points? If so, the agreements in those cases are between ISPs and do not include end users like Netflix as a party to the negotiations or payments. The primary purpose of an ISP is to ensure that their subscribers don't have to worry about whose lines their packets might travel on to get to their destination.
Not traffic imbalances at peering points. Rather a situation where data has to travel further, through more nodes from source to destination. Shouldn't a logical system allllow that data to cost more? Or for example through the same number of nodes but more expensive source nodes.
Beyond that, there is some "discrimination" I would be just fine with. For example why should the end consumer pay the cost of YouTube ad data?
The fear is of course discrimination on political or ideological grounds, not just economic. but it would be fairly obvious and nearly impossible technically for an isp to pull that off. And a net neutrality regulation or even ownership at the state or local level would be perfect. You only need net neutrality at the end points where there is no competition, not in the network at large
> Rather a situation where data has to travel further, through more nodes from source to destination. Shouldn't a logical system allllow that data to cost more?
That's not what the cost structure looks like for ISPs, so you would need a pretty good justification for making the price structure look like that. It doesn't necessarily cost the ISP more to have packets travel across more hops within their network; it's more likely to reduce the ISP's expenses by reducing the amount of traffic they have to buy transit for. Where a packet is within the network really only matters and becomes worth tracking when a link gets congested.
It didn’t bother you that someone impersonated tens of thousands of Americans and the FCC ignored that fraud and voted anyways? People shouldn’t get death threats, but we shouldn’t act like it doesn’t happen on all sides of every dispute. People on reddit received threats from anti-NN posters, doesn’t that de-legitimize their stance?
"However, based on what you just said, the pro-NN people might ought to consider other views as well."
What makes you think we haven't? What makes you think that we haven't thought about what the removal of net neutrality means, and that's why we feel the way we do?
"The pro-NN crowd is guilty of one-sided thinking"
This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. "The side that's for something is guilty of only wanting that to prevail!"
When have you given serious thought to having net neutrality and the benefits it will bring?
"at least a few of those supporters engaged in credible death threats against Pai and his children"
So because a few bad people are out there, we should fuck over the entire country? How many death threats have journalists received from GOP supporters? Does that mean we should abandon everything they stand for?
Don't underestimate the magnitude of the difference in skills & knowledge required to script an HTTP request vs. buy Captcha solves. Basically everybody in America would know a friend who could help them submit an HTTP form in a loop. I don't think everybody in America would know somebody who knows how to orchestrate the contracting of a Captcha farm.
Any discussion of security should include a discussion of the threat model. A captcha is quite effective at dissuading abuse by casual or unsophisticated parties. It's not at all effective against a sophisticated and well-funded adversary.
Adding a captcha seems nice but will hardly prevent fake comments.
I doubt there is any online comment system that could prevent people’s names from being misused really. It’s not like we have a national ID card with private crypto keys issued to every citizen or something.
How are you supposed to verify someone’s identity online without going through a laborious and expensive process (e.g. an in person interview, or requiring upload of a state or military ID number that is then used to send a postcard to the address on file asking for verification) that would then be criticized as discouraging public comment?
I think the problem here is that whoever submitted those fraudulent comments impersonated tens of thousands of Americans. They assumed the identities of unwilling Americans to push an agenda without their consent.
Whoever was responsible for pushing those fake comments deserves a couple decades in federal prison for mass identity theft. Instead, the FCC used those fraudulent comments to push an unpopular agenda forward, pretending that they were legitimate despite the mountain of evidence that they were not.
As far as I am concerned, Pai is an accomplice to the crime of identity theft, as he knowingly benefitted from it and used it to his advantage, despite not orchestrating it.
> whoever submitted those fraudulent comments impersonated tens of thousands of Americans
I think it was a lot more though. Something tells me I'll never know for sure.
> Whoever was responsible for pushing those fake comments deserves a couple decades in federal prison for mass identity theft.
I fully concur, and especially so if there's more than one person. Conspiracy laws, anyone?
> the FCC used those fraudulent comments to push an unpopular agenda forward, pretending that they were legitimate despite the mountain of evidence that they were not.
This is absolutely the problem here. Damn the cost to the economy and ISPs for uncertainty: this is a Very Serious Problem and Congress should seriously undo the changes that Ajit Pai has put forward. Or is the government not of, by, and for the people?
> As far as I am concerned, Pai is an accomplice to the crime of identity theft, as he knowingly benefitted from it and used it to his advantage, despite not orchestrating it.
I'm not saying it is the solution but the government already has systems which let you log in securely and verify identity, such as the IRS and SSA websites. Neither of them are much of a hassle to sign up for.
I think a slight inconvenience to signing up is better than having your comment drowned out in useless noise.
Recently, the federal government has been internally promoting https://login.gov as an single sign-on system for all government services to the public.
I don't know how good it is at preventing fake accounts, but in my experience, it does get the basics right, with no max password length or character restrictions, and 2-factor authentication through phone calls or texts.
>Neither of them are much of a hassle to sign up for.
When I signed up for the IRS's website I had to verify my mailing address by receiving a letter in the mail. It's not a huge hassle but it delayed my account creation by about a week, and someone could argue (fairly, imo) that this would create a large enough barrier-to-entry to dissuade people from leaving their opinions.
In general having a good national ID or at least national single-sign on solution might be the answer. Edit: It could take advantage of the IRS and social security verification paths (I believe they require a SSN and verification of a previous year’s tax return values).
There would still be some fraud, just as social security and the IRS both suffer from identity theft and fraud today, but the barrier to entry might be higher and in theory having a unified system would allow citizens to manage their identity and safety more easily.
Considering the FCC is having to ask for permission just to add a captcha I doubt our government is capable of anything like this right now though.
>It’s not like we have a national ID card with private crypto keys issued to every citizen or something.
Good luck with that. Every so often it is suggested that voters should verify their identity when going to the polls. Just presenting a drivers license, passport, state ID or social security card should suffice. It's a similar policy as in many European countries. And every time, there is a huge number of people who oppose it. A very surprising amount of otherwise reasonable people fight tooth and nail against any forms of verification.
If they created a national ID card that was mandatory for all citizens to have at all times I would agree with your sentiment but without one an ID is often seen as a cost for voting. When you live in poverty it's very easy to simply decide not to vote, especially when you already have to travel take time off work. It seems like a lot of us on HN haven't experience or don't understand what it's like to be so poor that you don't need an ID and don't have a bank account.
You're also comparing European nation-states to the United States which isn't fair in this case. US states have a great deal of autonomy and latitude. Since they issue their own IDs they can, and do, have their own requirements. First make a mandatory national ID a thing then you can complain about unreasonable people.
Because there are a significant amount of people who don't have any. Seriously, there are a lot of elderly people who simply have no need for a driver's license, so they don't have one. And if they're old enough, it's possible their birth certificate is not easy to get, or may even require traveling across state lines to do so. Where's the money for that trip going to come from? And for people who work, they're not always able to just take a day off to go to the DMV. And the DMV is only open during... working hours.
I know there are lots of rational arguments, but it's still funny to picture a vocal, outspoken radical voter worrying that if ID was required, the government might be able to figure out they voted for the vocal, outspoken radical candidate.
(I assume it's the more outspoken, more radical voters who do most of the objecting to ID laws- as it is typically those voters that get involved in just about any policy fight)
> How are you supposed to verify someone’s identity online without going through a laborious and expensive process
In Poland they have ceded the identity verification to banks since they do this anyway when you open an account and are quite diligent because, well, they are banks :)
If I need to send on-line communication to the government which requires my identity to be confirmed, I can sign it by going trough my on-line bank as if I were making a money transfer (login, password, 2FA using sms code).
> Alex Howard, an open-government advocate and founder of e-PluribusUnum.org, which has urged safeguards in the comment system, said the FCC fixes are a small step. “Adding a Captcha to try to prevent spam, unfortunately, sounds like a solution from the last millennium to a decidedly 21st century set of problems,” Mr. Howard said.
What they really need to do is check to see if the referral header is also from the FCC site to make sure people are using the website and not just hitting the API.
Umm this is an internet problem .. as long as their isn’t a verified identity system on the web then fake comments/news will remain an issue.
Either govt mandated or something the public embarrasses something commercial like twitter verified identities where posting anonymously no longer holds any weight vs. using your verified Twitter identity.
I may be cynical but when I read they want a new system to create 'safeguards against abusive conduct', I really think they mean they want a system to suppress the sudden influx of actual public opinions (similar to that of the rush of traffic Last Week Tonight referred during their segment on Net Neutrality) and not flood out the machine driven comments supporting their decisions.
Kinda sad that a group with “communications” in its very name was able to let communication break down so much.
There is no way to “rebuild” a comment system without solving more fundamental security problems first, as it is simply too hard to believe what you read online.
- Costs have to be ingrained in the system. It can’t be “easy” to spout crap in forums, nor should the hurdles be resolvable through traditional advantages (like having enough money to pay lots of people). One example would be: in order to post, you must donate X CPU cycles to Y.
- Webs of trust, one of which would be run by the government itself, seem like a reasonable step toward being able to partially verify where stuff even comes from. The webs must be decentralized so they are hard to bias, where the reliability of a circle is decided by the network at large. If Anonymous Poster X doesn’t have many reliable circles associated, that is equivalent to “take this comment with a grain of salt” (if not “ignore this drivel”).
The federal government had already decided to get rid of net neutrality so the number of comments for or against it was irrelevant at that point. So this strikes me as a whole lot of who gives a damn and is a distraction from the actual issue.
There seems to be a weird tendency to use the regulator (FCC) as a scapegoat and to give the actual people making the unpopular decisions a free pass. It's as if the actual political process has become entirely invisible...
Someone had a site where you could search to see if your name was used when it came to the Net Neutrality comments. I was horrified to find mine was on there .... then I realized no wait. I actually did sign a thing about it and it appeared to be an appropriate comment that was associated with a petition that I agreed with. I think, it was actually hard to tell....
A new comment system won't cure any of their ailments. So long as Pai and other industry lobbyists remain at the helm of the very organization that polices them, nothing will change. This is true for every agency of this administration. A coal lobbyist is running the EPA. A cable lobbyist is running the FCC. etc etc.
But didn't they KNOW which comments were fake? Or that at least an estimate? Captchas don't stop internal malice. That's why everyone was mad. It was easy to tell it was happening and a large number of comments could be identified as fake. This more seems like they are trying to save face.
Sounds reasonable, except it would still backfire when those in power believe their "feelings" are more important than widely acknowledged and vetted scientific data like many appointed in the current administration. And when need be, any corrupt official can buy an "expert" to tout whatever point of view fits them.