Tim Wu, who first popularized
the term 'net neutrality,' writes a passionate opinion piece in the New Yorker on new rules proposed by Obama’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
, Thomas Wheeler, which amount to "an explicit and blatant violation" of the president's promise to keep the internet an equal playing field for all.
In fact, it permits and encourages exactly what Obama warned against: broadband carriers acting as gatekeepers and charging Web sites a payola payment to reach customers through a “fast lane.” Late last night Wheeler released a statement accusing the Wall Street Journal of being “flat-out wrong.” Yet the Washington Post has confirmed, based on inside sources, that the new rule gives broadband providers “the ability to enter into individual negotiations with content providers … in a commercially reasonable matter.” That’s telecom-speak for payola payments, and a clear violation of Obama’s promise.
This is what one might call a net-discrimination rule, and, if enacted, it will profoundly change the Internet as a platform for free speech and small-scale innovation. It threatens to make the Internet just like everything else in American society: unequal in a way that deeply threatens our long-term prosperity.
Read: "Goodbye, Net Neutrality; Hello, Net Discrimination." [The New Yorker]
Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School and wrote “The Master Switch.” He is a former senior advisor to the FCC and chairman of internet advocacy org Free Press, which is running a campaign to let the FCC know about public opinion on the proposed new rules. Let your voice be heard.
Previously on Boing Boing: "FCC planning new Internet rules that will gut Net Neutrality. Get ready to pay more for the stuff you love online."
The European Parliament has voted to allow the telcos who supply European Internet access to hold their customers to ransom. When Europeans request data from Web sites and services that didn’t pay the ransom, EU rules will let telcos slow down the reply, while traffic between bribe-paying customers and Europeans will flow at normal speeds.
Barbara van Schewick from the Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society sums up the problems with Europe’s impending Net Neutrality rules, which are anything but neutral, and have loopholes in them you could squeeze a continent through — and then, she suggests some simple, sensible amendments that would fix them.
Wu, a protege of Larry Lessig who coined the term “Net Neutrality,” will be on sabbatical from Columbia Law while he works for the AG: “If I have a life mission, it is to fight bullies”
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