Furthest Right

Net Neutrality: Not What You Think It Means

As part of the progressive dumbing down of our society, we live by political “issues.” These are clever symbols for problems we need to solve. They are usually framed by whoever comes up with them first.

This framing puts a spin on them so that it’s hard to disagree. When one side calls itself “pro-life,” who are the others supposed to be? If one group of people decide they are pro-democracy, the implied adverse is that the other group is anti-democracy. Popular terms to use in creating successful spin: free, freedom, peace, love and neutrality.

Neutrality sounds good to us because it’s the absence of conflict. It also means an absence of bias, and with that, oversight. When we talk about neutrality, we talk about that moment when the teacher leaves the room “for just five minutes” and tells us to be good. Then the door closes and anarchy begins. Sure, the honor students study, but they’re so outnumbered if it comes down to the line they’re doomed in thirty seconds.

You’re going to see more of the word “neutrality” soon. As the topic of net neutrality again hits the news and the campaign trail, just about every pundit and his dog will offer an opinion on it. Most are going to take advantage of the fact that English is divided into dialects. There’s a technical dialect in which the term “neutrality” means a lot less than it implies in the terms you hear on the news.

In the technical dialect, “network neutrality” means no site can refuse to forward traffic to another, as web founder Tim Berners-Lee states:

Net neutrality is this:

If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.

That’s all. Its up to the ISPs to make sure they interoperate so that that happens.

Yes, regulation to keep the Internet open is regulation. And mostly, the Internet thrives on lack of regulation. But some basic values have to be preserved. For example, the market system depends on the rule that you can’t photocopy money. Democracy depends on freedom of speech. Freedom of connection, with any application, to any party, is the fundamental social basis of the Internet, and, now, the society based on it.

In the common dialect of the Oprah-watching Facebook-posting useless modern corporate feudal peasant, “network neutrality” means no oversight and that Big Daddy Government is going to stop ISPs from demanding we stop downloading gigabytes of horse anal porn when little old ladies need to check their email.

Yet now that the FCC has formally issued draft net neutrality regulations, they have a huge copyright loophole in them — a loophole that would theoretically permit Comcast to block BitTorrent just like it did in 2007 — simply by claiming that it was “reasonable network management” intended to “prevent the unlawful transfer of content.”

The internet works like a giant game of secret, but with a twist. Instead of passing messages straight across the room, you tell your the person next to you “Hey, tell Dave that he’s a fag.” They then tell the person next to them to pass that message to Dave, and it goes through a bunch of people before someone finally gets punched out.

Network neutrality means that Susie, who is running for class president against Dave, can’t suddenly decide to stop passing on messages to Dave. Engineers designed the internet to be flexible and resilient in case of attack, so that if the guy who sits next to Dave gets shot, the message can still reach Dave another way. The net only works because every site talks to every other site, in theory.

In reality, that’s inconvenient. If you’re a big media giant like CNN, and you make a deal with Comcast, you want people to be able to get to your site first and every other big media giant’s site second, if at all. A recent example can be found in the case of AT&T and Apple, who signed an exclusive agreement. If your testosterone drops and you buy an iPhone, you will be using AT&T service.

Network neutrality proponents hate the idea that if you sign up for one service over another, it limits the parts of the internet that you can connect to. However, there is nothing in network neutrality as a technical concept that implies ISPs have to let you keep downloading those gigabytes of midget rape porn.

ISPs still have the ability to offers tiers of service and to decline service to people who cost more than they are worth. Telling people that they’re fags causes fistfights and is the preference of only a small part of the population. There is no reason to guarantee you that “right.”

As with all concepts thrown at the feet of the thronging masses, network neutrality is a good concept that has been perverted into the usual demand. They’re expanding the definition of net neutrality from a technical one to the usual touchy-feely political bullshit. If you offer everyone the right to do whatever they want without oversight, they like it — and we all suffer when the teacher comes back into the room.

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