[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Here is a reply to the special issue
dealing with 'net neutrality' which was distributed Wednesday. PAT]
Various writers wrote:
> From Tech Soup, June 14, 2006
> By Henry Kumagai
> Imagine if your nonprofit had to pay a fee to your Internet service
> provider in order for your Web site to turn up on search-engine
> results. Or what if your constituents could only access your site on a
> slower, more unreliable connection -- unless you made a higher monthly
> payment to your ISP?
Actually, I thought that's how the world worked now. I see nothing
wrong with it.
Since when do "non-profits" get a free ride?
> The term "network neutrality" describes an Internet that does not
> discriminate based on the content or source of information. It is just
> as much an ideal as a practice: currently, users can go anywhere they
> want on the Internet, with phone companies and cable providers
> treating all traffic in a neutral manner.
No. Users can NOT go anywhere they want. I learned long ago to be
very suspicious of new sites which may be fronts for scams -- gambling,
porn, phishing, spyware, viruses, etc. It is NOT the ideal world
these people claim it is.
> The concept is similar to that of the common carriage provisions that
> govern the telephone system in the United States, whereby phone calls
> are treated with equal priority across a network, regardless of their
> source or destination.
That once was true, but with VOIP, cell phones, and brand-x local and
long distance carriers, it is no longer true.
Building an argument based on a utopia that doesn't exist is no way to
win a debate or earn credibility for your side.
Sorry, but I can't help but suspect all these writers -- that describe
the Internet in such warm and fuzzy terms -- have their own personal
agenda. I submit since they write for technology journals, it is in
their interest to promote and push technology, just as any other
advocacy magazine would. In a race car magazine I would not expect to
find an article touting streetcar service, but I know the race car
magazine is for a specific purpose.
One of the very first questions we were taught years ago was: How
(specifically) will the new technology make things better? What will
be all the costs? Might it be better to stick with pencil and paper?
A lot of technocrats -- like the writers of techno magazines -- don't
think in those terms. They assume immediately the newest features
(for which we all must buy new computers and software to use) will
improve our lives tremendously. (In a separate post I'll describe how
an innocent man was branded a predator thanks to the Internet and
ruined his life.)
In conclusion, making a solid established company the "gatekeeper" and
putting up a few tollbooths might not be such a bad idea. Putting in
some audit controls and audit trails may cut off some of the scams
we're flooded with and spend so much money defending against.
[public replies, please]