Tag Archives: google

Against SOPA and PIPA, for an open Internet

If you haven’t heard of SOPA and PIPA, you will today, as reddit, Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist, Free Software Foundation, and many other websites protest those Internet censorship bills today. The so-called Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a House bill (H.R.3261) and the so-called PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) is a Senate bill (S.968) (most recently renamed Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011). Both have nothing to do with promoting creativity and everything to do with giving a few large copyright holders priority over the Internet, requiring censorship of links to entire domains. Have you heard of the Great Firewall of China? That’s where the Chinese government censors entire domains such as facebook, youtube, and twitter because they contain some content that the Chinese government doesn’t want distributed. SOPA and PIPA would do the same thing, except putting Hollywood in charge of what would be censored. In a perfect example of the DC lobbying revolving door, former Senator Chris Dodd, now Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, called the anti-SOPA blackout an “abuse of power”. Funny how it’s only an abuse of power when we fight back.

If you don’t believe me, listen to Mythbuster Adam Savage.

Here’s a technical explanation. And here’s a letter of objection many of the engineers who built the Internet.

Here’s where the anti-SOPA blackout started: Continue reading

Duopoly Cons Congress Members

73 Democratic members of Congress signed a letter drafted by telco and cableco lobbyists against net neutrality. Save the Internet has sufficiently fisked it. My favorite point is that when AT&T was required as a condition of acquiring Bellsouth in 2006 to abide by net neutrality, it increased its infrastructure investments. As soon as that two year requirement was up, so were the investments. (And they didn’t even honor all the requirements, such as a low-end $10/month service.)

The simple fact is that net neutrality was the condition under which the Internet grew to be what it is today, which is the last bastion of free speech and a free press in much of the world, especially in the United States. The only reason net neutrality is an issue is that the duopoly (telcos and cablecos) succeeded in their regulatory capture of the FCC during Kevin Martin’s term as chairman and did away with much it. The U.S. used to have among the fastest Internet speeds in the world. Since the duopoly got their way, the U.S. has fallen far behind dozens of other countries in connection speeds, availability, and update. While the U.S. NTIA claimed at least one user per ZIP code counted as real service.

We can let the telcos and cablecos continue to turn the Internet into cable TV, as they have said they want to do. Under the conditions they want, we never would have had the world wide web, google, YouTube, flickr, facebook, etc.

And left to their plan, the duopoly will continue cherry-picking densely-populated areas and leaving rural areas, such as south Georgia, where I live, to sink or swim. Most of the white area in the Georgia map never had anybody even try a speed test. Most of the rest of south Georgia had really slow access. Which maybe wouldn’t be a problem if we had competitive newspapers (we don’t) or competing TV stations (we don’t). Or if we didn’t need to publish public information like health care details online, as Sanford Bishop (D GA-02) says he plans to do. How many people in his district can even get to it? How many won’t because their link is too slow? How many could but won’t because it costs too much?

John Barrow (D GA-12) has a fancy flashy home page that most people in his district probably can’t get to. Yet he signed the letter against net neutrality.

I prefer an open Internet. How about you?

Why did the 73 Democrats sign the letter? Could it have to do with the duopoly making massive campaign contributions to the same Democrats and holding fancy parties for them?

The same lobbyists are after Republican members of Congress next.

Call your member of Congress and insist on giving the FCC power to enforce net neutrality rules.


Japan Still Far Ahead of US in Internet Connection Speeds

While the U.S. still hopes to get up to 10Mbps Internet connection speeds by 2012, Japan already has such speeds for cable Internet service almost everywhere. And yes, I mean Internet connections, not just broadband.


But in Japan cable Internet service is of declining popularity, because 30 or 40 Mbps for $50 or $60 per month is not really fast there.

DSL in Japan goes up to 50 Mbps for also around $50-$60/month.


But for actual fast, cheap, Internet connections, people in Japan buy Fiber to the Home (FTTH), which actually costs less and delivers from 100Mbps to 1Gbps.


Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A., EDUCAUSE has proposed 100Mbps national broadband using a funding method that already failed in Texas.

Japan didn’t get to 100Mbps by a single government-funded network. It did it by actually enforcing competition among broadband providers. Why did it do this? Because a private entrepreneur, Masayoshi Son, and his company Softbank, pestered the Japanese government until it did so.

Thus it’s refreshing that these graphs laying out how far ahead of the U.S. Japan is come from the New America Foundation. Chair? Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google.

Google closing Austin, Trondheim, and Lulea offices

austingoogle.jpg I guess this makes it officially a recession:
NEW YORK (AP) — Google is closing three engineering offices and cutting 100 recruiters from its work force as the recession dampens hiring at the Internet search company.

“Given the state of the economy, we recognized that we needed fewer people focused on hiring,” Laszlo Bock, a Google vice president, wrote in a blog posting late Wednesday announcing the layoffs.

The moves follows news last week of a government filing from Google showing a significant cutback in temporary employees aimed at trimming costs. The company acknowledged in November that it would be looking to reduce contract workers while retaining full-time employees.

Google to cut 100 jobs, close engineering offices, AP, USA Today, 15 Jan 2009

Hm, looks like that Austin office lasted all of one year.


Rogers Hijacks Google Subdomains for Yahoo Ads

rogers-subdomains.png This is pretty blatant:
Rogers, a huge cable internet provider in Canada, has decided to hijack all unregistered domains, and replace them with Yahoo! advertisements. This means Rogers users who type in a domain that doesn’t exist, are now getting Yahoo ads instead of the normal “not found” error.

Interestingly, Rogers also decided to do this with subdomains. So for example, example.google.com now takes you to the following advertising:

Rogers Hijacks Domain Name System, Puts Yahoo! Ads on Google’s Subdomains, John, Blamcast, 20 July 2008

The author points out that this essentially the same thing Verisign did in 2003 until they stopped due to massive backlash.


Online Everyone: The Internet for Everyone, a new public/private coalition

internetforeveryone.jpg Google’s Vint Cerf, ZIPcar’s Robin Chase, FCC’s Adelstein: Internet for Everyone, a public/private coalition for getting everyone online:
It’s Google’s involvement in the deal that makes the new coalition something to keep an eye on. The company has expanded its Washington DC lobbying group significantly in the past few years.

“When you have a public interest community up against a massive industrial sector like the cable and telco companies, you’re going to likely fail because of the corrupted political system where money buys influence,” said Silver. “However, if you can align the public interest with major industrial sectors that also have an increasing influence in Washington, then you have something formidable, then you actually can beat the cable and phone cartel, and this is going to how its going to play out.”

Net Neutrality Advocates Call For Fast, Universal Access To The Net, By Sarah Lai Stirland, Wired, June 24, 2008,

Access, choice, openness, innovation: yes, those are the points (plus speed), without being weighed down by the albatross of the clunky “net neutrality” malnym.


PS: Free Press: if you’re going to put a video up front, pick a fluent public speaker such as Robin Chase or Jonathan Zittrain to show first, eh? “Collective hallucination,” yes!