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People might yell at me saying this, but neutrality has been one of America’s longest-running and most pointless battles over technology.
The principle is correct: Companies like Comcast and AT&T that sell us home internet services should not push some of the online data into computers and TVs any faster than others. (Internet companies say it is counterproductive for the government to impose this.)
So since Napster we have been stuck in an endless loop of abolished arguments, laws and laws. California this week passed to enforce its own net neutrality rule, which was (of course) opposed in court. This is now a distraction for our elected leaders and corporations as more pressing issues arise.
I talked to my colleague Cecilia Kang about the origins of the war for neutrality online (barbershop music!) And what’s at stake.
Shira: How long have we been fighting for neutrality?
Cecilia: Forever. It’s probably the oldest tech policy issue I can remember and I’ve been doing this for a long time. The idea of network neutrality goes back and forth, but it actually started in 2008. An article discussed a man whose Internet service Comcast appeared to be blocking him from his quartet music. Barbershop on peer file sharing. The Federal Communications Commission sanctioned Comcast. That started a war of federal rules and a battle between telecom providers and technology companies.
Why is the war so important to us?
Many Americans have only one or maybe two home internet provider options. In theory, those companies can decide whether we can watch Netflix or YouTube as crystal clear or if we can see a spiral of death as those sites come into play. You can see the appeal of rules that make sure internet providers don’t stagnate web traffic unless it’s from their preferred business partners or their streaming services. their own.
However, the debate now feels much less pressing when we’re talking about the threats of misinformation online about vaccine deployments and elections. The debate about true neutrality focuses on internet service providers as strong internet information protectors. That term now seems to better apply to Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
When Google has its own undersea internet cable, it is not Some internet services reach us faster No matter what the law says?
Yes, but internet providers like Spectrum, Verizon and Comcast have a direct inbound pipeline that is most concerned for managers. They also surprise Silicon Valley, because every online company needs those internet providers to enter American homes.
What happens next?
It is possible that there will be more states following California in enforcing their own net neutrality rules, or the FCC will push national rules imposed before the states. Groups that want a net neutrality rule will be satisfied with either. Telecommunication companies prefer national laws or don’t have any.
Our Internet providers, public interest groups, some tech companies, and a bunch of our elected leaders have been jubilant about a problem for 13 years with no resolution. Will they be able to achieve the GPA and will we all move on?
Probably not much mean. Have a rule of net neutrality or none. And internet service providers see net neutrality as a steep path leading to broader regulation on high-speed internet services or government-imposed limits on the price they can charge. They will be against any regulation. And the same is true of lobbyists, who are hired to argue against anything.
Cecilia, that’s the worst.
Yes, completely skeptical. Welcome to Washington!
Facebook’s wrong choice
On Thursday, Facebook introduced a campaign to convince the public that the way it makes money is good for us. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Remind you: Facebook aggregates information about what we do on our apps, on the web, and in the real world. It uses that data to help Nike or a local coffee shop advertise to potential customers. Google works similarly, and lots of companies try to implement versions of this.
These targeted ads, based on our behavior or computer-aided inferences about what we like, benefit both us and the business. We can get cheaper framing services or hotel rooms because Facebook provides businesses with a relatively affordable way to identify the most receptive customers.
But Facebook is also making the wrong choice between old and wasteful advertising types, and the current regime is to record every hamburger you’ve eaten since 2001 to identify the ad. No no no no no.
Facebook is effectively saying that the only alternative to its invasive, data-storage status quo is a pre-internet system in which magazines, news organizations and television networks are more or less correct. the audience for a Nike ad.
But the way Facebook and Google designed their advertising systems is not the only alternative to the cumbersome old ways.
Here are a few questions that we and policymakers should ask Facebook and other ad sales companies: What if companies collect less than data about us? Does Facebook really need to know every time we visit a Starbucks for the milliseconds? What is an effective intermediary?
We will benefit from fewer Facebook ad campaigns and more informative debates on how advertising can best serve us all.
Before we go …
Shares of online life, encapsulated in one country: Facebook banned Myanmar’s military from operating after it led a coup. My colleagues have written that this decision “leaves a bit of doubt that the company is on the side of a pro-democracy movement”.
Take part in North Korea’s nuclear energy discussions and karaoke competitions: Kevin Roose, technology columnist at the Times, explained the appeal of Clubhouse, the noisy chat room app, but also says it’s running very fast in the typical internet lifecycle from fun. to the point of terror.
Companies cannot remove the plus sign: My colleague, Tiffany Hsu tells us why every video streaming service is named “[something]”It’s not that ‘plus’ is the best name,” one source told Tiffany. “That is what survives, because everything else is removed.” Related: This Meme.
Look at World Championship Slippery Stairs from 2019. Because, why not.
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