Saturday, April 05, 2008


We won't know what we never got

Damian Kulash of the band OK Go, in Op-Ed in today's New York Times:

. . . When the network operators pull these stunts [violations of neutrality -- David I], there is generally widespread outrage. But outright censorship and obstruction of access are only one part of the issue, and they represent the lesser threat, in the long run. What we should worry about more is not what’s kept from us today, but what will be built (or not built) in the years to come.

We hate when things are taken from us (so we rage at censorship), but we also love to get new things. And the providers are chomping at the bit to offer them to us: new high-bandwidth treats like superfast high-definition video and quick movie downloads. They can make it sound great: newer, bigger, faster, better! But the new fast lanes they propose will be theirs to control and exploit and sell access to, without the level playing field that common carriage built into today’s network.

They won’t be blocking anything per se — we’ll never know what we’re not getting — they’ll just be leapfrogging today’s technology with a new, higher-bandwidth network where they get to be the gatekeepers and toll collectors. The superlative new video on offer will be available from (surprise, surprise) them, or companies who’ve paid them for the privilege of access to their customers . . .
Exactly. Outright censorship is way too visible for them to get away with. Creeping proactive censorship built into a new infrastructure is a MUCH harder story to tell. And a MUCH bigger danger.

And they're building it. And at first it will look exactly like legitimate network management.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?