Category Archives: Stakeholders

a worldwide social network that has fomented revolution in multiple countries

Who would have thought that twitter and facebook could foment a revolution? Yet Wael Ghonim says it did. He’s one of the people behind the “We are all Khaled Said” facebook page, and he spent a dozen days in jail for it: Here’s his TED Talk:
“Because of the Internet, the truth prevailed.
And everyone knew the truth.
And everyone started to think that this guy can be my brother.”

Here’s a post from that facebook page on 3 March 2011:

“I really want you ALL to understand that your support to Free Egypt & Egyptians is vital. Don’t you ever think that sitting on FaceBook supporting & commenting help help Egypt. A whole revolution started on Facebook & is now bringing Freedom & starting a new modern Egypt.”

Other Egyptian organizers say similar things:

“Online organising is very important because activists have been able to discuss and take decisions without having to organise a meeting which could be broken up by the police,” he said.’
( “Internet role in Egypt’s protests,” by Anne Alexander, BBC, 9 February 2011.)

Many of the Egyptians involved were poor and not usually thought of as Internet users, but David D. Kirkpatrick expalined that in the NY Times 9 Feb 2011, Wired and Shrewd, Young Egyptians Guide Revolt:

The day of the protest, the group tried a feint to throw off the police. The organizers let it be known that they intended to gather at a mosque in an upscale neighborhood in central Cairo, and the police gathered there in force. But the …organizers set out instead for a poor neighborhood nearby, Mr. Elaimy recalled.

Starting in a poor neighborhood was itself an experiment. “We always start from the elite, with the same faces,” Mr. Lotfi said. “So this time we thought, let’s try.” ‘

The NY Times story goes into detail about how the online organizing interfaced with and instigated the initial meatspace protests.

And you don’t need a laptop or a desktop computer to use social media. As Reese Jones points out,

in 2010 75% of the population of Egypt had cell phones (60 million phones in service likely with SMS) possible to message via Facebook via SMS at
And this was all after similar efforts in Tunisia had successfully exiled their tyrant and inspired the Egyptians, who in turn inspired the Lybians, etc. And what inspired the Tunisians to start was Wikileaks posts of U.S. cables showing the U.S. thought the Tunisian dictator was just as clueless and corrupt as the Tunisians thought.

So yes, social networking on the Internet has fomented multiple revolutions.


Woz to FCC: Save the Internet

Wozniak to the FCC on net neutrality:
Imagine that when we started Apple we set things up so that we could charge purchasers of our computers by the number of bits they use. The personal computer revolution would have been delayed a decade or more. If I had to pay for each bit I used on my 6502 microprocessor, I would not have been able to build my own computers anyway.
He also details examples of how difficult it was to start a new service the way the telephone system used to be, how radio used to all be freely receivable, and how cable TV is mis-regulated. He summarizes his case:
I frequently speak to different types of audiences all over the country. When I’m asked my feeling on Net Neutrality I tell the open truth. When I was first asked to “sign on” with some good people interested in Net Neutrality my initial thought was that the economic system works better with tiered pricing for various customers. On the other hand, I’m a founder of the EFF and I care a lot about individuals and their own importance. Finally, the thought hit me that every time and in every way that the telecommunications careers have had power or control, we the people wind up getting screwed. Every audience that I speak this statement and phrase to bursts into applause.
Then he asks for all that not to happen to the Internet:
We have very few government agencies that the populace views as looking out for them, the people. The FCC is one of these agencies that is still wearing a white hat. Not only is current action on Net Neutrality one of the most important times ever for the FCC, it’s probably the most momentous and watched action of any government agency in memorable times in terms of setting our perception of whether the government represents the wealthy powers or the average citizen, of whether the government is good or is bad. This decision is important far beyond the domain of the FCC itself.
Ain’t that the truth.


NPRM Diagram 2: scope of rules

Here’s the diagram from the NPRM that the FCC folks mentioned frequently at the NANOG panel (The Regulators Meet the Operators, at NANOG 48, Austin, Texas, 22 Feb 2010) regarding scope of net neutrality rule making:


It does seem to clarify some of the points made by the panelists.

More Liveblogging from NANOG Net Neutrality Panel

The Regulators Meet the Operators, at NANOG 48, Austin, Texas, 22 Feb 2010. Notes continued from the previous post. See the pages 37-51 of the NPRM.

Question from a provider: VoIP traffic prioritization from essentially our own service?

Moderator: One thing that won’t be allowed is prioritizing your own service over someone else’s similar service; that’s almost the whole point. FCC person: This is contemplated in the document. Existing services wouldn’t have to be reworked rapidly. Seeking input. Reasons to be concerned. Monopoly over last mile has a position to differentially treat such a service. This is one of the core concerns.

Q: Giving the same priority to somebody else’s similar VoIP service is essentially creating a trust relationship; how much traffic will the other service provider send? Continue reading

Liveblogging from NANOG Net Neutrality Panel

The subtitle is The Regulators Meet the Operators, at NANOG 48, Austin, Texas, 22 Feb 2010. The ground rules of the panel are that it’s not about politics or policy. It assumes there will be net neutrality, and it’s about getting actual network engineers and architects involved in implementing it. Prior reading: pages 41-51 of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). I’d actually recommend starting at page 37, which is where the NPRM discusses codifying the existing four Internet principles (see below).

A huge number of comments have been received already, by Jan 15 deadline. More comments are solicited. See also

The general idea is to take six proposed principles and turn them into rules that are enforceable and not unreasonable:

Proposed Rules: 6 Principles

  • Access to Content
  • Access to Applications and Services
  • Connect Devices to the Internet
  • Access to Competition
  • Nondiscrimination
  • Transparency
The first four principles have been around for several years. The last two, nondiscrimination and transparency, are the same as the ones Scott Bradner’s petition recommended back in June 2009. Back then I mentioned as I always do that the FCC could also stop talking about consumers and talk about participants. Interestingly, their slide at this talk did not use the word “consumer”, so maybe they’ve gotten to that point, too.

The FCC is also making a distinction between broadband and Internet. There are existing rules regarding “managed” vs. “specialized services” for broadband Internet access, but for net neutrality in general, maybe different rules are needed. Continue reading

Google v. Verizon v. FCC + Lobbyists

lock.png Verizon is suing the FCC about the watered down rules the FCC passed recently. Now Google has filed a complaint with the FCC about that. And apparently Verizon has been having private meetings with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Could this be one source of the illegal leaks the GAO finds the FCC providing to lobbyists?
While Verizon’s court case proceeds through the legal system, the company’s competitors have grown unhappy with the way that Verizon has handled its FCC lobbying. Frontline Wireless has gone so far as to ask the FCC to bar Verizon from the auction because Verizon has allegedly not disclosed some of its lobbying contacts with the agency quickly enough or in enough detail.

Despite Verizon’s reticence to spell out exactly what it has been talking about with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin in private meetings, Google believes that it has pieced the conversation together. Google’s understanding is that Verizon wants the FCC to impose the open access requirements only on the network, not on the devices. That is, Verizon could still sell handsets that are locked and controlled by the company, but its network would have to be open to unlocked handsets from any operator.

According to Google’s new public statement on the issue, “From our perspective, this view ignores the realities of the U.S. wireless market, where some 95 percent of handsets are sold in retail stores run by the large carriers. More to the point, it is simply contrary to what the FCC’s new rules actually say.” Those rules focus on customer freedom to access content and applications from any device.

In a filing with the FCC, Google asks the agency to stick to its original plan. The company points out that while the open access rules might make the spectrum less attractive to Verizon (and thus might bring in less money at auction), the rules actually make it “more attractive, not less” to Google.

Google attacks Verizon’s attempt to water down 700MHz “open access” rules, By Nate Anderson, ars technica, October 04, 2007 – 11:11AM CT

Silly Google! Verizon is part of the incumbent duopoly, and you’re not!


FCC Investigating Wiretapping?

ejm_crop.jpg Now this would be a good thing if it happened:
House telecom subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) repeated his call for the Federal Communications Commission to investigate widespread allegations of telecom privacy law violations by intelligence agencies that received cooperation from telecom carriers in anti-terrorist surveillance efforts.

Markey renews calls for FCC investigation into wiretapping, By Jeffrey Silva, RCCWireless News, September 12, 2007 – 2:13 pm EDT

That would be about as likely as Gonzales starting such an investigation.

Oh, wait:

After Markey wrote Martin in March to ask him to launch an investigation into whether telecom privacy laws have been broken, the FCC chairman wrote Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to verify that the agency could not conduct such a probe because it would violate federal laws governing disclosure of state secrets. Gonzales, who recently announced his resignation, has yet to respond to Martin.
Markey points at a number of events since his first request, such as that it’s not a secret anymore that the government has been using telcos to wiretap.

It would be good if the FCC were to represent the public interest, rather than just the telco and cableco and the administration’s interest.


PS: Seen on Fergie’s tech blog.

Retailing Net Neutrality

At the FTC Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy workshop, Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of the Electronic Retailing Association, gave some good arguments for net neutrality:
Ms. Tulipane also stressed the importance of innovation for Internet content providers. As today’s Internet is comprised of interconnected networks that do not distinguish service based on source or content, providers have been forced to innovate in order to meet consumers’ changing shopping habits. However, prioritization based on source or content will result in a closed network, and will stifle the innovation of both large and small e-retailers. Ms. Tulipane continued, “What’s interesting about the ERA membership is that the small players today may very well be a Google, or an eBay, tomorrow. Their model for success is their ability to innovate.”

Google, eBay, EarthLink, Amazon, Discuss Net Neutrality, Washington, D.C. – (Website Hosting Directory) – February 20, 2007

She recommends treating video and TV as value added applications on top of a net neutral broadband service, if I understand the writeup correctly. Continue reading

Hands Off the Internet

You’ve got to hand it to Hands Off the Internet for being proactive in seeking out net neutrality blogs and commenting on them, as they did with my Non-Neutral Grammies post.

They say:

ISPs aren’t dumb–they realize that they make their money from people like you and me subscribing to their services. If they were to block something, it wouldn’t take long for the story to get out, and consumers the world over would be furious about the censorship. The ISP’s business would be hurt as people looked to their competitors for an uncensored access to the internet.
Hm, for years now the Dixie Chicks have been saying and it’s been written up in books such as Rednecks and Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music, that ClearChannel and Cumulus banned the Chicks’ music from their radio stations, yet even after the Chicks won five Grammies, last I head neither ClearChannel nor Cumulus have relented. People might look to their competitors, if there were any. In many markets, one or the other of those two big radio chains is the only choice. Continue reading