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Thread: The End Of The Internet?

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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    Default The End Of The Internet?


    Google-Verizon Pact: It Gets Worse




    So Google and Verizon went public today with their "policy framework" -- better known as the pact to end the Internet as we know it.
    News of this deal broke this week, sparking a public outcry that's seen hundreds of thousands of Internet users calling on Google to live up to its "Don't Be Evil" pledge.
    But cut through the platitudes the two companies (Googizon, anyone?) offered on today's press call, and you'll find this deal is even worse than advertised.
    The proposal is one massive loophole that sets the stage for the corporate takeover of the Internet.
    Real Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers can't discriminate between different kinds of online content and applications. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. It's what makes sure the next Google, out there in a garage somewhere, has just as good a chance as any giant corporate behemoth to find its audience and thrive online.
    What Google and Verizon are proposing is fake Net Neutrality. You can read their framework for yourself here or go here to see Google twisting itself in knots about this suddenly "thorny issue." But here are the basics of what the two companies are proposing:
    1. Under their proposal, there would be no Net Neutrality on wireless networks -- meaning anything goes, from blocking websites and applications to pay-for-priority treatment.
    2. Their proposed standard for "non-discrimination" on wired networks is so weak that actions like Comcast's widely denounced blocking of BitTorrent would be allowed.
    3. The deal would let ISPs like Verizon -- instead of Internet users like you -- decide which applications deserve the best quality of service. That's not the way the Internet has ever worked, and it threatens to close the door on tomorrow's innovative applications. (If RealPlayer had been favored a few years ago, would we ever have gotten YouTube?)
    4. The deal would allow ISPs to effectively split the Internet into "two pipes" -- one of which would be reserved for "managed services," a pay-for-play platform for content and applications. This is the proverbial toll road on the information superhighway, a fast lane reserved for the select few, while the rest of us are stuck on the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.
    5. The pact proposes to turn the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing consumer complaints but unable to make rules of its own. Instead, it would leave it up to unaccountable (and almost surely industry-controlled) third parties to decide what the rules should be.
    If there's a silver lining in this whole fiasco it's that, last I checked anyway, it wasn't up to Google and Verizon to write the rules. That's why we have Congress and the FCC.
    Certainly by now we should have learned -- from AIG, Massey Energy, BP, you name it -- what happens when we let big companies regulate themselves or hope they'll do the right thing.
    We need the FCC -- with the backing of Congress and President Obama -- to step and do the hard work of governing. That means restoring the FCC's authority to protect Internet users and safeguarding real Net Neutrality once and for all.
    Such a move might not be popular on Wall Street or even in certain corners of Silicon Valley, but it's the kind of leadership the public needs right now.
    If you haven't yet told the FCC why we need Net Neutrality, please do it now.

    Follow Craig Aaron on Twitter: www.twitter.com/notaaroncraig


    Source: Craig Aaron: Google-Verizon Pact: It Gets Worse
    Also covered at: Net Neutrality Threatened by Google and Verizon Pact | The Vigilant Citizen
    Sounds horrible. But yet it makes no sense. I got to thinking, theyre going to start policing the internet? Dont they already do that? Even a comment on the site said Comcast does that now. And this whole thing about seperating the internet, is it really that serious? Or am I just not understanding how serious this really is?

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I was wondering about the technical aspects of this story, because from the beginning of applications like Voice over IP, different tiers/priorities of network traffic have been required.

    Voice traffic uses a CBR (constant-bit-rate) priority, because a voice conversation cannot tolerate dropped or delayed frames -- the conversation becomes intolerable. So, that traffic (which would also include live video presentations) gets prioritized above VBR (variable-bit-rate) traffic, the best examples of which would be bit torrents, JPG images, etc.

    If data is lost or delayed between two points with VBR traffic, most people hardly notice because you are transferring a file or an image. It might seem to load slowly for a couple of seconds, but transport-level protocols, like TCP, would ensure that all pieces dropped pieces get re-sent, thereby making sure you get the whole photo, video, etc.

    So, what I am saying is that there has to have been a low-level prioritization scheme in effect already. Because of that precedent, I think it would be difficult for the courts to weigh in and statutorily tell service providers how to handle their traffic.

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    prince already called the end of the internet.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Damn, is Prince the new Miss Cleo?
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    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I was wondering about the technical aspects of this story, because from the beginning of applications like Voice over IP, different tiers/priorities of network traffic have been required.

    Voice traffic uses a CBR (constant-bit-rate) priority, because a voice conversation cannot tolerate dropped or delayed frames -- the conversation becomes intolerable. So, that traffic (which would also include live video presentations) gets prioritized above VBR (variable-bit-rate) traffic, the best examples of which would be bit torrents, JPG images, etc.

    If data is lost or delayed between two points with VBR traffic, most people hardly notice because you are transferring a file or an image. It might seem to load slowly for a couple of seconds, but transport-level protocols, like TCP, would ensure that all pieces dropped pieces get re-sent, thereby making sure you get the whole photo, video, etc.

    So, what I am saying is that there has to have been a low-level prioritization scheme in effect already. Because of that precedent, I think it would be difficult for the courts to weigh in and statutorily tell service providers how to handle their traffic.
    The difference is that CBR, VBR-rt, VBR, etc. are prioritized based on protocol. Most carriers do not have rules that look beyond the protocol encoding, so all VOIP traffic is treated the same depending on whether it is encoded as CBR or VBR-rt and is given higher priority than VBR.

    The difference now is that Google and Verizon are saying that they will sell the priority to the highest bidder - so instead of the customer deciding what we want to access, they'll decide what they'll allow us to access based on how much a third party is willing to pay them. That will basically starve out the small developers since they won't be able to pay to get the priority or a large company can pay to block them entirely.

    Factor in that most people still do not have much choice when it comes to their service providers. For example, where I live, there is only one company that provides high-speed internet access. Most of my family and friends only have one choice for high-speed internet. If the ISPs start selling priority based on highest bidder, then they've created virtual monopolies because the customers don't have the ability to move.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    How is that supposed to work, technically, though? As far as I know, Google owns no part of the Internet that has to do with either switches or routers. They have no ability to direct traffic. Verizon does have a huge amount of infrastructure, including switches and routers, especially at ILEC points, but they only control a very small part of the equation.

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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    I dont understand how this will work at all. Im sure it will cut into torrenters but who cares about that? Im more so worried about things like updating my iTouch and even playing my game systems online. If they split it like that Im assuming the ones with less money get less internet. Not many people have money right? Hence the recession? So Im assuming if this goes through alot of people are going to get messed over and it may even cut into sales deeply for the companies.

    Im picturing cable internet becoming like good old dial up. Very few people use that anymore. I have a family member who uses it because its all she can get in her area, it took her all night to get one 50MB file and IIRC it was an update to some software on her computer. If were going back to that, well I have no clue whatll happen.

    Then again Im getting everything wrong here.

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    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    How is that supposed to work, technically, though? As far as I know, Google owns no part of the Internet that has to do with either switches or routers. They have no ability to direct traffic. Verizon does have a huge amount of infrastructure, including switches and routers, especially at ILEC points, but they only control a very small part of the equation.
    Verizon is an ISP, so their priority routing scheme would affect their customers. If you're in a market where Verizon is your one option, then you're screwed - you get what Google and the big guns pay for you to get. They are also a carrier, so they can even affect the speeds of customers outside of their ISP.

    Add in the snowball effect where other ISPs start doing the same, and pretty soon, the Internet becomes like everything else - controlled by big business and for sale to the highest bidder.

    Consider also the fact that you're not just talking about people surfing the web. More and more, tv, radio, phone, and other services are being delivered through the internet. What do you think will happen if companies like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Google get to pick who wins and loses and what services get fast access? IMO, it won't be the consumer.
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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    But wont that be a horrible idea in the long run? If no one can afford it then whos going to buy it? Kinda like the radio, if Sirius online is only available to the big spenders then Sirius will have a serious problem on their hands.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I could see a big problem for people who have only one ISP to choose from. And I'm definitely not defending this situation. However, where I am there are at least three different ways of accessing the Internet through a high-speed interface. I would imagine that there would be a selling point/marketing advantage for a particular ISP who says that they don't prioritize traffic other than by CBR/VBR protocol.

    The weird thing to me is that I don't see why this plan would be needed in the first place. If traffic were totally jamming certain areas of the Internet backbone, or certain users are just gluttonous with their data transfers, I could see the impetus. However, capacity is very, very high. DWDM technology gives you at least 10 Gigabits/second of capacity on a single strand of long-haul fiber. But maybe it's just a cynical plan to soak the consumer for some more money.

    By the way, isn't most torrenting used for illegally transferring huge data files of copyrighted movies and other material?

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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    Yeah thats what Im saying. I can see itll kill that for sure, and there will no doubt be an outcry somewhere, but can people like me still listen to the radio, watch clips on E!, play our games online, you know, the legal stuff. Or will we end up screwed too?

    BTW, where I lived there was only one option. Comcast. I think we would have been better with nothing sometimes. Cable flickering like no one paid the bill, internet going in and out, that mess was just uncalled for.

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    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I could see a big problem for people who have only one ISP to choose from. And I'm definitely not defending this situation. However, where I am there are at least three different ways of accessing the Internet through a high-speed interface. I would imagine that there would be a selling point/marketing advantage for a particular ISP who says that they don't prioritize traffic other than by CBR/VBR protocol.
    There are still a lot of places that only have one ISP because the only way other options become available is by companies building or expanding their infrastructure, which isn't happening very quickly. It's easier to upgrade lines that you already have (i.e. increase service where you already have the infrastructure) than it is to build a brand new infrastructure in a new location, which usually involves not just a huge capital investment, but dealing with the cities/towns to get the permits/approvals. It's not like dial-up where a company can just set up a modem bank and use the existing phone lines.

    The weird thing to me is that I don't see why this plan would be needed in the first place. If traffic were totally jamming certain areas of the Internet backbone, or certain users are just gluttonous with their data transfers, I could see the impetus. However, capacity is very, very high. DWDM technology gives you at least 10 Gigabits/second of capacity on a single strand of long-haul fiber. But maybe it's just a cynical plan to soak the consumer for some more money.

    By the way, isn't most torrenting used for illegally transferring huge data files of copyrighted movies and other material?
    It's not about what's needed. It's about money. One of the arguments that the industry uses to justify the action is to say that the amount of traffic is expected to increase by X% over the next N years, but that argument assumes that while the traffic is increasing the capacity is remaining constant, which isn't the case. The capacity is increasing all the time, and as long as the demand is there, it will continue.

    As for torrents, piracy is the use that gets the most attention, but it is a legitimate distribution method for any large amounts of data. For example, most Linux distributions provide torrent downloads. They're great for customers because you can control the speed of the download, pause it, and you don't lose everything if your connection drops. They're also great for the companies supplying the content because they don't have to worry about the bandwidth drain from large downloads - the downloading is spread among the seeds. It's a huge asset for legitimate business, but it's easier to label it evil because people can use it for illegal activities.

    It's also ironic that companies that bitch-and-moan about the evils of torrent don't have a problem using it to get the 171M Facebook profiles that was made available on sites like Pirate Bay. So for them, Pirate Bay is the scum of the earth except when it has something they want - then it's just a business tool.

    It's unnecessary for ISPs to block torrents because ISPs have safe harbor protection. It's usually laziness or overzealous management that leads to blanket bans like that. It's also pretty much useless to throttle or ban because there are ways of getting around it, as has been proven by the fight against Comcast's ban.

    Quote Originally Posted by NVash View Post
    Yeah thats what Im saying. I can see itll kill that for sure, and there will no doubt be an outcry somewhere, but can people like me still listen to the radio, watch clips on E!, play our games online, you know, the legal stuff. Or will we end up screwed too?

    BTW, where I lived there was only one option. Comcast. I think we would have been better with nothing sometimes. Cable flickering like no one paid the bill, internet going in and out, that mess was just uncalled for.
    The point of this is that you may be able to listen to the radio, but what you can listen to will be determined not by what you want, but by what companies pay for you to get. For example, you may like to view clips on E!, but TMZ pays for priority access. So, you might still be able to view clips on E!, but it will be slow because TMZ (and others that are paying) get priority. This means that the ISP gets to decide what content you get based on who pays them the most. So, big companies will smother small companies, who can't afford to pay. Content may even be blocked because some large company pays to keep you from being able to access a competitor's site.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albatross View Post
    As for torrents, piracy is the use that gets the most attention, but it is a legitimate distribution method for any large amounts of data. For example, most Linux distributions provide torrent downloads. They're great for customers because you can control the speed of the download, pause it, and you don't lose everything if your connection drops. They're also great for the companies supplying the content because they don't have to worry about the bandwidth drain from large downloads - the downloading is spread among the seeds. It's a huge asset for legitimate business, but it's easier to label it evil because people can use it for illegal activities.
    It's unnecessary for ISPs to block torrents because ISPs have safe harbor protection. It's usually laziness or overzealous management that leads to blanket bans like that. It's also pretty much useless to throttle or ban because there are ways of getting around it, as has been proven by the fight against Comcast's ban.
    I'm not particularly moved by the justification for torrents. Massive amounts of data, far larger than Linux OS files, can be moved through tried-and-true FTP sites, and your browser can support multiple simultaneous downloads. There is basically nothing that torrents can do that other sites haven't already achieved a long time ago.

    Whether ISP's are legally culpable for copyrighted material being torrented or not, it is very likely an unnecessarily huge drain on their servers and switches, since people are busily transferring multi-GB hacked blue-ray movies, warez, and other files. And following up with CALEA requests to track down ISP customers who torrent is probably a drain also.

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