“The real question is what to do about industry,” McConnell told
me. “Ninety-five per cent of this is a private-sector problem.”
He claimed that cyber-theft accounted for as much as a hundred billion
dollars in annual losses to the American economy. “The real problem
is the perpetrator who doesn’t care about stealing—he just wants to
destroy.” The plan will propose restrictions that are certain to be
unpopular. In order for cyberspace to be policed, Internet activity will
have to be closely monitored. Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on
the plan, said that would mean giving government the authority to examine
the content of any e-mail, file transfer, or Web search. “Google has
records that could help in a cyber-investigation,” he said. Giorgio
warned me, “We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security
are a zero-sum game.’ ”
Telecoms already have immunity under existing FISA law where they acted pursuant to written government certification or where they prove they acted in good faith (see
18 USC 2520 (d)). There is no reason that the federal courts presiding over these cases can’t simply make that determiniation, as they do in countless other cases involving classified information.
In Canada, an ISP has even gotten up to blocking striking employees’ website:
During the Telus strike in 2005, the corporation blocked access to a website run by striking Telus employees called “Voices for Change” (and at least 766 other websites). Those familiar with network-control issues in Canada also accuse Rogers and Bell of limiting peer-to-peer (P2P) applications, which people use to share audio, video and other digital data with one another. So, here we have ISPs blocking or at least limiting the use of what is likely the most innovative, creative and participatory use of the Internet. In response to customer concerns, Bell recently admitted that they “are now using Internet Traffic Management to restrict accounts that are using a large portion of bandwidth during peak hours. Some of the applications that are included are the following: BitTorrent, Gnutella, LimeWire, Kazaa….”
In France, for example, the regulator forced France Télécom to rent
out its lines. One small start-up firm benefited from this opportunity
and then installed technology that was much faster than any of its
rivals’. It won so many customers that other operators had to follow
suit. In Canada, too, the regulator mandated line-sharing, and provinces
subsidised trunk lines from which smaller operators could lease capacity
to provide service.
Chances are that as you read this article, it is passing over
part of AT&T’s network. That matters, because last week AT&T announced that it is seriously
considering plans to examine all the traffic it carries
for potential violations of U.S. intellectual property
laws. The prospect of AT&T, already accused of spying on our telephone calls, now scanning every
e-mail and download for outlawed content is way too totalitarian for my
tastes. But the bizarre twist is that the proposal is such a bad idea that
it would be not just a disservice to the public but probably a disaster
for AT&T itself. If I were a shareholder, I’d want to know one thing:
Has AT&T, after 122 years in business, simply lost its mind?
No one knows exactly what AT&T is proposing to build. But if
the company means what it says, we’re looking at the beginnings of a
private police state. That may sound like hyperbole, but what else do
you call a system designed to monitor millions of people’s Internet
consumption? That’s not just Orwellian; that’s Orwell.
Metered Internet access is a fact of life for many broadband users
around the world, but has been largely a nonfactor when it comes to
wired broadband in the US. That may change, according to a memo leaked
to the Broadband
Reports forums. If the memo is to be believed, Time Warner Cable
will be rolling out what it calls "Consumption Based Billing"
on a trial basis in the Beaumont, Texas area.
Under the proposed scheme, new customers will be able to choose from a
couple of different plans with varying bandwidth caps. They'll be
given online tools to monitor usage and will be able to upgrade to the
next higher tier of service to avoid charges for exceeding their monthly
bandwidth limit. If the trial works well, Time Warner would then roll out
bandwidth caps to current customers: "We will use the results of the
trial to evaluate results for possible future nationwide rollouts,"
reads the memo.
Bandwidth caps have been a sore subject for some users who have
found themselves bumping into mysterious, undefined limits. This
past fall, a number of Comcast subscribers complained that their service
was cut off after having reached Comcast's bandwidth limit.
If the memo is legitimate, it’s good that Time Warner is going for
Although if they want transparency, why don’t they just come out
and announce what they’re doing?
Continue reading →
It’s not about network management. It’s about a few corporations and
their political allies trying to stifle net neutrality and Internet
freedom against the best interests of everyone else, including their
Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched
an investigation of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday,
three weeks after the agency’s controversial vote to ease media ownership
In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, the committee asked that
all electronic records and personal e-mails related to FCC work be saved.
The committee has “initiated a formal investigation into FCC regulatory
procedures to determine if they are being conducted in a fair, open,
efficient, and transparent manner,” said the letter written by Chairman
John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, and ranking Republican Joe Barton
“This investigation will also address a growing number of allegations
received by the committee relating to management practices that may
adversely affect the agency’s operation,” the letter said.