Thursday, June 29, 2006


Is the Stevens Bill stopped?

The vote on the Network Neutrality amendment to the Stevens telecom bill was 11-11 in the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday. Even though this tie means that the NN amendment was not adopted, it is a show of strength that will not be ignored by the full Senate. USAToday has a good article on the increased resistance to the Stevens Bill. The WSJ says, " . . . disagreement over [net neutrality] now threatens to scuttle Congress's effort to rewrite the nation's telecommunications laws this year." Senator Ron Wyden, who introduced the first NN amendment in the Senate, has promised to hold the bill -- a privilege that any Senator can exercise single-handedly. And Stevens said yesterday that he does not have the 60 votes needed to force a Senate floor vote. So it looks good.

In fact, six weeks ago, I couldn't have dreamed it'd look this good! Woo hoo!

New allies are still arriving in the Network Neutrality camp daily. Recently the Joint Powers Authority of 17 Silicon Valley cities and San Mateo County, representing some 600,000 silicon valley citizens, announced support for Network Neutrality. Every customer of a connection provider could, potentially, be affected.

Beware! The bill is not dead yet. Do BOTH of your senators know how you feel about Network Neutrality? Does your employer understand the impact of telco gatekeeping on its business? Does your organization have an Internet presence that could be slow-laned? Make sure they (and you) go public, soon, before the Senate floor vote!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Quote of Note: Michael J. Copps

"Are we just going to transform the whole nature of the Internet from where the pipe in the middle was dumb and the intelligence was on the ends--are we going to reverse that and give all the control and intelligence to the pipe and network operators and relegate ourselves to less of a role on the edges?"
FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps, quoted here.

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Another 'toon for Net Neutrality

Matt Wuerker's effort for (the Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IAC, eBay, etc., coalition).


Quote of Note: Christian Coalition

" . . . under recently enacted federal regulations there is nothing to stop cable and phone companies from not allowing you to access speech that they oppose!. . . we need conservatives everywhere to contact the Senators listed below and let them know that we favor 'net neutrality'."
Christian Coalition "action alert", dated today.

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"Incompetence" is the wrong frame

In an article entitled, "Bush is not incompetent," George Lakoff and colleagues list ten major Bush Administration conservative-agenda successes, including:
* Centralizing power within the executive branch to an unprecedented degree

* Starting two major wars, one started with questionable intelligence and in a manner with which the military disagreed

* Placing on the Supreme Court two far-right justices, and stacking the lower federal courts with many more

* Cutting taxes during wartime, an unprecedented event

* Passing a number of controversial bills such as the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Medicare Drug bill, the Bankruptcy bill and a number of massive tax cuts

* Rolling back and refusing to enforce a host of basic regulatory protections

* Appointing industry officials to oversee regulatory agencies

* Establishing a greater role for religion through faith-based initiatives

* Passing Orwellian-titled legislation assaulting the environment - "The Healthy Forests Act" and the "Clear Skies Initiative" - to deforest public lands, and put more pollution in our skies

* Winning re-election and solidifying his party's grip on Congress

Lakoff et al point out

Incompetence obscures the real issue . . . The issue that arises every day is which philosophy of governing should shape our country.


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John Doerr & Reed Hastings for Net Neutrality

John "you can't overhype the Internet" Doerr and Reed "netflix" Hastings on Network Neutrality:

In part they say,
This is not a debate about imposing new regulations on the Internet. This is a debate about preserving a fundamental principle of openness and non-discrimination that has always been a foundation of the Internet's growth and vitality. At its core, this is a debate about competition, consumer choice and above all, the innovation that has been a hallmark of the Internet.

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Monday, June 26, 2006


Sometimes Ed Whitacre says too much, and sometimes too little . . .

Must-see TV:

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Rejected comments

I hate to reject comments. But recently I've two comments -- one ad hominem at me, another a misplaced anatomical reference to Amanda Congdon, that also alleged lies but failed to explain -- that I've rejected. If I've rejected your comment, and you'd like to discuss that, my email is isen at


Live in West Virginia, Florida, Nebraska, New Jersey or Arkansas?

If you live in one of these states, you have a senator that might support Network Neutrality. Unfortunately, that senator is besieged by telco lobbyists, whose only job is to get in their face until they oppose Network Neutrality. Your call will make a difference!

West Virginia: John Rockefeller -- 202-224-6472
Florida: Bill Nelson -- 202-224-5274
Nebraska: Ben Nelson -- 202-224-6551
New Jersey: Frank Lautenberg -- 202-224-3224
Arkansas: Mark Pryor -- 202-224-2353

It is easy. Just dial the number and tell the nice person on the other end that you SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY. When you vote, you're one of millions. When you call, you're one of hundreds. What else easy can you do that makes you 1000 times more powerful?

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Live in Arizona, Texas, Oregon or Virginia?

If so, you have a senator on the Commerce Committee that might, just might, support Network Neutrality. Tomorrow the Commerce Committee votes on Network Neutrality. You can have a huge influence on how this vote comes out by CALLING YOUR SENATOR and telling him or her (or the aide that answers the phone) that you SUPPORT NETWORK NEUTRALITY and you're watching how he votes.

Arizona: John McCain -- 202-224-2235
Texas: Kay Bailey Hutchinson -- 202-224-5922
Oregon: Gordon Smith -- 202-224-2753
Virginia: George Allen -- 202-224-4024

Really. Call. It'll take just a minute or two, and these days it costs nothing. And you'll have a LOT more influence than when you vote.

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Quote of Note: Cory Doctorow

"It's a dumb idea to put the plumbers who laid a pipe in charge of who gets to use it . . . Practically everyone agrees on this. Only the carriers oppose it, and their opposition is so lame it'd be funny if it wasn't so scary."
Cory Doctorow, writing in Information Week -- perhaps the most clueful article on Network Neutrality written so far. Read it!

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AT&T's New Privacy Policy

[Previous on this] [Source] Thanks, Steve!

Friday, June 23, 2006


Quote of Note: George Gilder

"When your product is stolen by thieves, you have a
police problem. When it is stolen by millions of honest
customers, you have a marketing problem."
George Gilder in Gilder Technology Report, December 2001

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Beautiful babe on righteous rant

Why Network Neutrality is a Necessity, by Amanda Congdon. No lies here.

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Handsoff is lying (caught 'em in the act)

Seems that nobody over at is monitoring what the message is. Matt Stoller points out that they, "Oppose Network Neutrality" and "Support Network Neutrality" simultaneously. One of them is a lie.

The second assertion is the lie. It is a TV ad that endorses the Martin FCC's four watered down consumer entitlements, formerly known as The Four Internet Freedoms. [my analysis here] It opens by saying that these entitlements protect network neutrality. False. They're a band-aid. Most importantly, they don't address content or service CREATION!

Also, the TV ad mischaracterizes what the four entitlements actually say.

Also, the four entitlements are limited by (a) the needs of law enforcement, (b) a requirement that they "don't harm the network", (c) reasonable network management. Who decides what these mean? "The needs of law enforcement," are pretty broad these days. And, since Congress refuses to give the FCC rule making authority to enforce the entitlements, then what law enforcement doesn't prohibit is up to the telco based on "harm to the network," and "reasonable network management."

In other words, the TV commercial is a double lie. a) The four entitlements don't support network neutrality, and (b) Handsoff doesn't either.

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Net Neutrality: How bad could it get

Here's a little Pogue parable about a trip to Kinkos [link to original]:
I wanted to duplicate the script of a satirical musical I wrote in college. . . [the Kinkos worker] pointed to the script. “I can’t print that. That’s copyrighted.” I pointed out that *I* was the copyright holder–said so right on the title page. I offered my driver’s license. He sighed regally, fished through drawers on a quest for a waiver form, didn’t find it, gave up . . . [Next, I handed him a flash drive with a jpeg on it.] “It’s a Mac? We can’t print that,” he said.
Now suppose this wasn't just some Kinkos guy trying to follow company policy, but the corporate policy, implemented in code, of your mono- or duo-poly Internet connection provider. Just one suggestion of, "How bad? That bad."

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Thursday, June 22, 2006


Net Neutrality petition tops 1,000,000!

Check it out! Better yet, sign it yourself!

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Tim Berners-Lee on Network Neutrality

Sir Tim writes:

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.
And he concludes:

Let's see whether the United States is capable as acting according to its important values, or whether it is, as so many people are saying, run by the misguided short-term interested of large corporations.

Whole thing here.

If you have not called BOTH of your senators to tell them, "I SUPPORT STRONG NETWORK NEUTRALITY RULES," do it today. Really, today, please.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Free Book!

Bruce Kushnick has made his book, The $200 Billion Broadband Scandal available for free download (normally a $20 value!) this week only. Download here [.pdf].

Update: Link fixed. Thanks Jorge & Anonymous.

Send a copy to each of your senators!

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Quote of Note: AT&T

"While your account information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T."

AT&T's recently updated privacy policy for video and Internet services, quoted here.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006


Radio Deliro

Can't remember where I learned about this eclectic, engaging music stream. Wonderful background music for a Saturday morning. I am glad that the 'net (and the intellectual property system) is still open enough for little gems like Radio Deliro.

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Friday, June 16, 2006


Fanboy "Comics Radio" podcast on Net Neutrality

Popular 'toonist Scott Kurtz, who called me up a couple weeks ago, invited me to do a program on Network Neutrality on Fanboy Radio [link to program] a couple days ago. The podcast came out alright.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006


Quote of Note: Tom Evslin

"Unless your livelihood depends on preventing further creative destruction resulting from Internet innovation, it’s almost impossible to be against the principle of Internet neutrality . . . "

Tom Evslin, in his blog [link -- worth reading!]

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Letter to Senator Biden

In the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday, Joe Biden [D-MD] seemed jocularly unconcerned about the possibility that broadband connection providers might violate Network Neutrality. He was like, if they block Google then people will scream and we'll do something then. Right, speedy Congress to the rescue, fer sure.

So I just wrote this letter to Senator Biden via his Web site:

Senator Biden,

Your promise (at the Judiciary hearing yesterday) that Congress would address the network neutrality problem if telcos actually started blocking web sites misses the point. The real danger is that the telcos will block or impair sites that ARE NOT YET POPULAR, therby inhibiting innovation. This is not near as easy to notice -- the first sign might be that the U.S. economy is gradually falling behind the rest of the developed world.

By the way, one ISP has been blocking a popular site, Craig's List, for three months. Where's Congress???

Please change your mind. Please support Network Neutrality to preserve U.S. economic leadership. And our Freedom of Speech.

Biden said Congress would act if we screamed. Let's hold him to his word.

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Quote of Note: John Rennie

"If [AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, et alia] have their way, the Internet’s next slogan might borrow from George Orwell’s Animal Farm: 'All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.'"

John Rennie, editor of Scientific American, in editorial entitled Keep the Net Neutral. [Link]

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Don't Change My Reality, Keep Net Neutrality (the Internet song)

Jill Sobule is one of my favorite people of all time. Even though her biggest hit to date is, "I kissed a girl," I can tell you first hand that she kissed a boy too (moi, how's that for onomatopoeia). A perceptive, quirky, tongue-in-cheek, heart-on-sleeve songwriter, she has teamed up with Kay Hanley and Michelle Lewis (who I don't know) to write a Save the Internet anthem! In part it goes,

Don't change my reality, keep Net Neutrality . . .
the free market kicks ass as long as the free market means give all your money to them . . .

must we remind you it's election year?
Update 6/15: The song borrows shamelessly (in the folk music tradition), e.g., "Hey Mr. Telecom Man," but it is catchy. I can't get it out of my head. But "God save the Internet?" Really? That'll be up to us mortals now.

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NN Debate at Network World

I've been invited to be an "expert" over at Network World where they're hosting a debate on Network Neutrality. Bell sympathizer Scott Cleland (a genuine beltway insider, btw, whose insights into inner FCC machinations I respect and appreciate) is the other "expert." People write in with comments. Cleland and I comment on the comments. And on each others' comments. You can contribute too, here.

Cleland threw a revealing idea into the mix when he said,
"Any entrepreneur worth their salt, neither expects or wants government subsidies and the government interference that comes along with that government control."

Hmmm. Since the telcos expect and want government subsidies like the Universal Service Fund, E-911 subsidization and actively cooperate with government interference like CALEA, 911-for-VOIP and spectrum licensing, I guess they're not "entrepreneurs worth their salt" in Cleland's book. So he's better not make the "innovation at the pipes level" argument, because I'd want entrepreneurs worth their salt doing the innovation, not the govt-dependent, interference-loving telcos.

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Bell Labs Holmdel Building to be torn down

I held several jobs in my 12+ year career at AT&T Bell Labs, but I spent the most time based in the Holmdel building. It was designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, a fact I only learned when I visited Helsinki. Its internal catwalks, which faced an internal courtyard, reminded those of us who worked there of a space station. It was easy to imagine that we all wore Star-Trek type color-coded jumpsuits as we hiked from quadrant to quadrant. Now the building is being torn down to make way for . . . some other kind of development. Dave Farber published this rather cursory NYT article. If only buildings could tell stories!

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How to tell the truth with statistics!

plf515 over at dailykos has a great series of posts on Statistics 101, "for those who want to be able to understand some basic statistics, without a lot of heavy-duty math . . . including how to tell when someone is misleading you with statistics." [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Washington Post gets it wrong on Network Neutrality

Yesterday's editorial in the Wash Post, like the blind man and the elephant, gets a few things right, a few things wrong and draws the wrong conclusion. A few observations:

1) The Post editorial points out that Verizon's P/E is 12 while Google's is 69. True. Telcos have, except for the mania of 1998-2001, always been utility-like plodders. But the Post argues that,
"charging the Googles and Amazons for use of their network would balance the incentives for innovation more closely.
Horse hockey! The telcos will never be innovative, no matter how they're incented. Should the makers of paint and canvas charge more because they need to "balance the incentives" with today's Dalis and Picassos?

The crux of the matter is that the telcos almost-always-modest P/E is now shrinking because the telcos earnings are shrinking because the telco business model is obsolete.

2) The Post editorial says (I'm heavily editing here to bring out a buried point):
The serious argument for net neutrality . . . [is] that a non-neutral net will raise barriers to entry . . . enough to be alarming.
That's right, but here's the full Post quote:
The serious argument for net neutrality has nothing to do with the cable TV boogeyman. It's that a non-neutral net will raise barriers to entry just slightly -- but enough to be alarming.
The Post claims that the "cable TV boogeyman" is a "doubly false" argument raised by Net Neutrality proponents because a non-neutral net (a) would deliver more than purely corporate content, and (b) because now that technology prices are falling, "the Internet will always be a relatively democratic medium."

In other words, the Post acknowledges the "alarming" nature of the entry barrier issue, while burying it in verbiage like "slightly," and "relatively democratic." Indeed, when entry barriers are raised, "relatively democratic" becomes amazingly relative.

On the other foot, network neutrality proponents should be clear: A non-neutral net is like cable TV only in that the user is no longer the sole chooser; the wire provider exerts significant control over the content.

3) The Post editorial contains another distortion. It says that Internet access is competitive because,
". . . more than 60 percent of Zip codes in the United States are served by four or more broadband providers . . ."
So lessee, if 60% of all Zip codes have four or more Mercedes Benzes in them, does that mean that there are plenty of Mercedes for all of us? This "logic" is reminiscent of the cigarette industry in the 1980s.

Here's a more accurate way to characterize the state of broadband competition in the U.S.: 95% of U.S. Internet customers have access to zero, one or two broadband providers.

The Post editorial paints that if a broadband provider impaired access to one sector of bloggers, the rest of us,
" . . . would rise up in protest, and the provider would lose customers."
Where would these customers go? I, for one, unhappy when my cable provider blocked my Port 25, was fortunate enough to have a second provider to switch to at my house, but if this second provider begins behaving badly what am I going to do?

4) The Post editorial drags out the old incentive-to-invest argument and dresses it in innovative clothing.
"If you want innovation on the Internet, you need better pipes . . . the lack of incentives for pipe innovation is more pressing than the lack of incentives to
C'mon! If we see an innovative artist, do we need to balance that innovation with better paint? If we can buy innovative cars, does this demand better roads? If we like innovative electronics, do we need better electricity?

5) The Post editorial closes with an old telco clinker, saying,
"The dangers . . . are speculative. It seems unlikely that broadband providers will degrade Web services that people want . . . [Congress] should not burden the Internet with preemptive regulation."
Why not, instead, follow the Precautionary Principle? Let's have regulation that definitively outlaws the speculative nightmare scenarios that "seem unlikely," while permitting the benign activity that the telcos say they want. Perhaps the opponents of Network Neutrality have a feeling that what the telcos are planning is not as benign as they're letting on.

In the entire Post editorial there's one buried word that rings true -- alarming.

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Net Neutrality Hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee

Tomorrow, 9:30AM. Vint Cerf and Blair Levin testify, among others. [Link]

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Monday, June 12, 2006


Welcome to the Stupid Internet

At least Tom Giovanetti, of the Institute for Policy Innovation, a Bell-Funded Tank, writing in Friday's Mercury News, didn't call it a "dumb" network when he wrote the following science fiction . . .

Fast forward a few years to 2009 . . . Suddenly, the TV image goes pixilated, and then dark. The phone call drops. You hear yelling from your teenagers' rooms. But that's not all.

Across town, police on the beat suddenly can't reach headquarters on their radios. In an ambulance, the EMTs are trying to call in vital signs for a patient they are transporting to the hospital, but they can't get through.

Is it an alien invasion? A convergence of planets or some other astral phenomenon? No, it's a convergence of a different sort. Turns out that tonight is also the night of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, as well as the night Coldplay releases its latest song online. And YouTube has just released embarrassing video of a major Hollywood star having a ``wardrobe malfunction.'' Extremely high demand on the Internet is overwhelming available bandwidth, and regulations passed back in 2006 make it illegal for network operators to differentiate and prioritize content.

Welcome to the world of network neutrality, where all content is treated exactly the same . . . where somebody decided that a stupid network is better than a smart network.
Actually, Tom, I *noticed* that a stupid network was better than a smart network. I looked at "reality." I saw email, and the Web, and eCommerce, and Mapquest, and blogging, and Instant Messaging, and streaming audio on demand, and multiplayer online games, and many other miracles too numerous to list here, miracles that never arrived via "intelligent" networks.

Too bad Tom G didn't hear about what Internet2, the premier U.S. post-Bell-Labs network research effort found [.pdf]. (Research is how we learn about "reality.") Let's hum a few bars of Internet2:
“. . . our engineers started with the assumption that we should find technical ways of prioritizing certain kinds of bits . . . we seriously explored various “quality of service” schemes . . . [but] all of our research and practical experience supported the conclusion that it was far more cost effective to simply provide more bandwidth. With enough bandwidth in the network, there is no congestion and video bits do not need preferential treatment.”
In other words, when Tankers like Tom Giovanetti or Austrian-style economists like Alex Jacobson ask who decides how to allocate scarce bandwidth, they're asking the wrong question. Most of the cost of a network is obtaining right of way and constructing the poles, conduits, towers, antennas, cables, etc. Whether you provide a kilobit or a terabit is rounding error. Nobody needs to decide how to allocate scarce bandwidth. It is more expensive to allocate it than to simply provide more. Again, heed the research findings of Internet2 [.pdf]:
Simple is cheaper. Complex is costly.

In fact, Internet2 finds that GigE with reasonable service decisions is 10x more costly than simple GigE where the user decides what service to buy. GigE is enough bandwidth to run a telephone network for a city of 100,000 people, yet we have GigE interfaces on our computers. We could have GigE in our houses for little more than we now pay for 1000 times less capable services. Backbones are even cheaper than access networks.

Thus, the only reason to ask, "How do we allocate scarce bandwidth?" is if we're behind on technology. Even then, it is far more reasonable to ask, "How do we get ahead on technology?"

And if the telcos and cablecos won't get us ahead on technology, we should be asking, "How should we replace the telcos and cablecos?"

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Howard Dean Resigns from NCBCP over Network Neutrality

I posted this when I learned that DNC head and former presidential candidate Howard Dean was on the board of the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, an organization that is opposed to Network Neutrality. In my post I detailed his promise to either get NCBCP to change its position or resign.

I guess Dean was unable to get NCBCP to change its position, because I got a brief email from Howard Dean last Friday saying,
I have resigned from the board as of June 9 and asked that my name be taken off all correspondance and websites.
As of this morning, Dean's name was still listed on the NCBCP's Board, but I expect this will change presently.

Also, seems that Howard Dean endorsed Network Neutrality at the YearlyKos Conference. One paraphrase said,
Dean touched on [network neutrality] and stated his commitment to keeping phone companies from controlling the internet and essentially limiting access and regulating the internet.
Good for him. I was starting to worry . . .

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Friday, June 09, 2006


House Votes Against Internet Freedom

Last night the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of an Internet where it would be legal for a monopolistic gatekeeper to stand between us and our medical information, us and our financial transactions, us and our travel plans, us and the information we try to find, us and the news we choose to read and watch, us and our leisure time activities, us and our intimate correspondence with our friends, us and our creativity, us and our political expression.

The vote was 321 to 101. Majorities from both parties voted for a bill that essentially gives the Bells everything they want.

Now eyes turn towards the Senate, where another telecom bill, with even weaker protections against monopolistic behavior, grinds towards a vote, perhaps in July. If that passes, the real telecom law will be shaped by a secret conference committee in lame duck session. (Think things are ugly now?)

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Thursday, June 08, 2006


Important House Vote Today!

Yesterday, according to sources at, the House Rules Committee voted to allow two attempts to add meaningful Network Neutrality rules the Barton-Rush COPE Act. One proposed amendment, by Representatives Markey, Boucher, Eschoo and Inslee, is, apparently, sufficiently strong. Another, by Lamar Smith, is much weaker.

Update: Text of the two amendments -- Markey, Smith.

Please call your Representative today. Ask him/her to support the Markey Network Neutrality Amendment to the COPE Act.

Find your Representative and his/her phone number here. Today is the critical day to call.

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Lessig & McChesney on Network Neutrality

From today's Washington Post (reprinted in entirety):

No Tolls on The Internet [link to original]

By Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney
Thursday, June 8, 2006; Page A23

Congress is about to cast a historic vote on the future of the Internet. It will decide whether the Internet remains a free and open technology fostering innovation, economic growth and democratic communication, or instead becomes the property of cable and phone companies that can put toll booths at every on-ramp and exit on the information superhighway.

At the center of the debate is the most important public policy you've probably never heard of: "network neutrality." Net neutrality means simply that all like Internet content must be treated alike and move at the same speed over the network. The owners of the Internet's wires cannot discriminate. This is the simple but brilliant "end-to-end" design of the Internet that has made it such a powerful force for economic and social good: All of the intelligence and control is held by producers and users, not the networks that connect them.

The protections that guaranteed network neutrality have been law since the birth of the Internet -- right up until last year, when the Federal Communications Commission eliminated the rules that kept cable and phone companies from discriminating against content providers. This triggered a wave of announcements from phone company chief executives that they plan to do exactly that.

Now Congress faces a legislative decision. Will we reinstate net neutrality and keep the Internet free? Or will we let it die at the hands of network owners itching to become content gatekeepers? The implications of permanently losing network neutrality could not be more serious. The current legislation, backed by companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, would allow the firms to create different tiers of online service. They would be able to sell access to the express lane to deep-pocketed corporations and relegate everyone else to the digital equivalent of a winding dirt road. Worse still, these gatekeepers would determine who gets premium treatment and who doesn't.

Their idea is to stand between the content provider and the consumer, demanding a toll to guarantee quality delivery. It's what Timothy Wu, an Internet policy expert at Columbia University, calls "the Tony Soprano business model": By extorting protection money from every Web site -- from the smallest blogger to Google -- network owners would earn huge profits. Meanwhile, they could slow or even block the Web sites and services of their competitors or those who refuse to pay up. They'd like Congress to "trust them" to behave.

Without net neutrality, the Internet would start to look like cable TV. A handful of massive companies would control access and distribution of content, deciding what you get to see and how much it costs. Major industries such as health care, finance, retailing and gambling would face huge tariffs for fast, secure Internet use -- all subject to discriminatory and exclusive dealmaking with telephone and cable giants.

We would lose the opportunity to vastly expand access and distribution of independent news and community information through broadband television. More than 60 percent of Web content is created by regular people, not corporations. How will this innovation and production thrive if creators must seek permission from a cartel of network owners?

The smell of windfall profits is in the air in Washington. The phone companies are pulling out all the stops to legislate themselves monopoly power. They're spending tens of millions of dollars on inside-the-Beltway print, radio and TV ads; high-priced lobbyists; coin-operated think tanks; and sham "Astroturf" groups -- fake grass-roots operations with such Orwellian names as Hands Off the Internet and

They're opposed by a real grass-roots coalition of more than 700 groups, 5,000 bloggers and 750,000 individual Americans who have rallied in support of net neutrality at . The coalition is left and right, commercial and noncommercial, public and private. Supporters include the Christian Coalition of America,, National Religious Broadcasters, the Service Employees International Union, the American Library Association, AARP and nearly every consumer group. It includes the founders of the Internet, the brand names of Silicon Valley, and a bloc of retailers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Coalitions of such breadth, depth and purpose are rare in contemporary politics.

Most of the great innovators in the history of the Internet started out in their garages with great ideas and little capital. This is no accident. Network neutrality protections minimized control by the network owners, maximized competition and invited outsiders in to innovate. Net neutrality guaranteed a free and competitive market for Internet content. The benefits are extraordinary and undeniable.

Congress is deciding on the fate of the Internet. The question before it is simple: Should the Internet be handed over to the handful of cable and telephone companies that control online access for 98 percent of the broadband market? Only a Congress besieged by high-priced telecom lobbyists and stuffed with campaign contributions could possibly even consider such an absurd act.

People are waking up to what's at stake, and their voices are growing louder by the day. As millions of citizens learn the facts, the message to Congress is clear: Save the Internet.

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Captain Copyright meets Private Infringer

Says here:

Private Infringer isn't a super hero like Captain Copyright of course. He is just a lowly private who wants to know why everybody keeps trying to tell him what to do, even in the privacy of his own home . . . Yesterday he downloaded a copy of DJ Dangermouse's Grey Album. When [Captain Copyright] showed up to lecture him in his usual condescending way, Infringer tried explaining that DJ Dangermouse put it on the web for free himself.
Will General Intelligence save the day?

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Sock-Puppet Blog Comments

Seems there's lots of anonymous blog comments going around. [Good article on this.] Especially when the topic is Network Neutrality. Did you know that Issue Dynamics, where the Bells outsource their Astroturf, has a "Blogger Relations" service? Worth reading what they do!

My comment policy has always been:
a) It's my blog.
b) Honest dissent and disagreement is welcome.
c) If it feels slimy, I won't publish it.

I'd like to add a couple of criteria:
d) Real names and email addresses get priority.
e) If you're "anonymous" saying why you chose that option will help.

I'm not going to be an unwitting target for Bell shills. Unless they say transparently who they work for, in which case I'll be happy to talk to them.

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How Lieberman Lies

Senator Joe Lieberman's recent Swiftboat-style attack ad on Democratic challenger Ned Lamont made four claims, all of them spun, or downright false. I've been following the work of a small group of volunteers led by Greenwich land use expert Peter Berg, who have been tracking down the facts behind each of Lieberman's claims.

In his ad, Lieberman claimed that, "when Lamont had the chance, he voted to cut education." Lieberman's campaign put out a "fact sheet" that cited a Lamont vote for a $150,000 budget cut. The real fact is that Lamont voted to cut a proposed increase by $150,000. The budget at issue, the 1993 (!!!) Greenwich school budget, actually increased by 4.2%, adding 17 new teaching positions. Lamont supported the final budget.

The other three claims, that Ned Lamont voted to (a) cut the budget for the town's health department, (b) force town employees to pay more for health insurance and (c) cut the asbestos cleanup budget for town schools, are also false. Lieberman only neglected to claim that Ned Lamont bites the heads off cute puppies.

Lieberman is so desperate he is stooping to the lowest kind of politics. He's not even "truthy."

Here are some Real Facts from 2006: Lieberman supports the Bush war. Lieberman supports Bush attempts to gut Social Security. Lieberman abandoned "advise and consent," and rolled over on Alito and Roberts Supreme Court nominations. Lieberman is against guaranteed health care for all Americans and supports Big Pharma and Big Helathco. Lieberman voted for Alberto "torture-is-good" Gonzalez for U.S. Attorney General.

Joe Lieberman is too ashamed to put this attack ad on his campaign website. But you can see his shameful attack-lie footage here.

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Friday, June 02, 2006


Comments on comments

I've just published three comments on Another Anti-Network-Neutrality Distortion. I received these comments days ago, but I am not sorry about the delay. I only have so much bandwidth. Since these people are not "preferred customers," and since they understand the idea of tiered services, surely they will not mind. If they'd like future comments published with less delay, all they need to do is come work out a commercial arrangement with me.

Specific responses:

Comment 1 by NSP Strategist: Huh? Seriously I am having trouble understanding your point. NSP Strategist has made some good comments in the past, so I'm hoping that he or she will come back and explain further.

Comment 2 by Anonymous: You say, " The Barton bill in the House would actually create a national franchise, which would open up the telcos to true competition." Uh, the national franchise provision of COPE would open up cable TV to the telcos, so the cablecos would actually experience increased competition.

Comment 3 by Anonymous: You say, "Allowing the government to regulate an industry which has flourished while remaining free of red tape . . . " Which industry are you talking about? Telecommunications? Free of red tape? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha . . . ROTFLMAO.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Lieberman begins with Lie

I couldn't believe Joe Lieberman's swiftboat-style commercial against Ned Lamont on the tube the other day. It was, in fact, not to be believed.

Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut who registers Democrat and votes Republican opened his primary campaign against real Democrat Ned Lamont by telling whoppers about Lamont's record. He dug up details on Lamont's voting record, stripped them of context, and . . . well, watch the ad yourself. Whadaya think? I think the ad would make Karl Rove Barbara Bush blush.

In fact, in direct refutation of the Lieberman commercial's lies, Ned Lamont is pro-education, pro-affordable health care, and against asbestos in schools. (The Lamont campaign says that Lieberman's asbsetos lie stems from the fact that once, over 10 years ago, Lamont voted against an entire school budget with a single asbestos line item.)

Ned Lamont is also anti-stupid-war, pro-Internet-freedom and anti-blatant-lying. Lieberman isn't.

UPDATE: If you want to know what Ned Lamont believes, here's an extended interview.

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