When Is Simple Not Simple? When It’s Not Simple

Over the weekend, the Washington Post ran two articles that delved into the weighty issue of Net Neutrality.  The first, by Bob Pegoraro (“It’s put-up or shut-up time for the FCC’s net-neutrality advocates”) is self-explanatory – the FCC must act and now to regulate the Internet via Net Neutrality regulations.

Pegoraro’s article reads almost like a Free Press press release (but I digress). In it, he blithely opines:

The issue here is simple: Should the government prevent Internet providers from discriminating for or against legitimate sites, services and applications?

In the next line, he basically contradicts himself:

That’s not a theoretical risk. Telecommunications firms and some networking experts have argued for the right to charge other sites more for faster delivery of their data or put the brakes on some online uses that they feel clog their networks.

The writer then crudley concludes:

If the commission can’t or won’t [impose Net Neutrality regulations] now that every other remedy appears exhausted, it should admit the obvious, end this farce and stop wasting everybody’s time.

If it’s a simple issue but the details aren’t, is it in fact a simple issue?  The second article, by the Post’s Cecilia Kang (“FCC’s Julius Genachowski struggles between roles of regulator, innovator“) answers that.  In explaining to the Post’s audience why Net Neutrality regulations haven’t gone forward, FCC Chairman Julius Genachoswki says:  

“There is no clean solution because we have a Communications Act that wasn’t written for broadband.”

No. It wasn’t.

Kang continues, noting:

[Genachowski] said complex questions about how net neutrality can be a rule for wireless phones requires more thinking. There [also] needs to be more examination of a pitch by Google and Verizon to allow companies to pay for better delivery of some content on networks.

The truth of the matter is the (stalled) plan offered by the Chairman, and endorsed by such groups as the Free Press, is anything but simple.  It’s radical – especially given that the Internet works.  As this video I cut last week illustrates, it’s a throwback to 19th Century transportation regulation…for 21st Century communications networks. 

A never-ending onslaught of regulations has resulted over the past 75-years from the “limited and sensible” powers the Free Press and others now ask for the FCC. Rightfully, the FCC has slowed the train down to take a closer look. Contrary to Pegoraro’s contention, every other remedy hasn’t been exhausted. The market already regulates itself, keeping the Internet open and free. De facto Net Neutrality – without expansive rule or regulation – is embedded into industry practice. Consumers have reaped tremendous benefits as a consequence.

How’s that for simple?

Media Freedom

Charice Pempengco Rocks in New York K Festival

International singing sensation Charice continued to capture the hearts of Americans as she joined the 14th K Festival for the first time last Sunday.

She performed her hit single “Pyramid” for the annual KFest. She also performed a pop medley – Just Dance by Lady Gaga, Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus and Rock With You by Michael Jackson – and a remix of Pyramid and I Love You which is included in her debut self-titled album.

“Nakakatuwa po kasi ang mga Americans dahil kumakanta din po sila, sumasabay sa akin sa pagkanta ng Pyramid and I Love You. Sobra po yung pagtanggap nila sa akin. Nakakatuwa po, talagang ginawa nila ung PYRAMID sign,” Charice told abs-cbnNEWS.com.

According to her, K Festival is a big music event that gathers some 40 big artists each year and this year they include American Idol winner Adam Lambert, American rock band Train, Ludacris, B.o.B and rapper Iyaz. “Masaya po talaga ako kasi ngayon po ay nakakasali na po ako sa mga ganitong kalalaking event,” Charice said.

Charice is still busy doing her radio tours to promote her album. She also performed on Disney Radio last week. Next week, she will be appearing on “Live with Regis and Kelly” to promote her album.

Charice will be on the following places:

  • Toronto, Canada: June 3-5
  • Paris, France: June 17
  • London: June 20
  • Germany: June 22

Charice will be back to Manila on the second week of July after promoting the album.

One Minute Blog

Breaking News: Breaking news: Sally Bercow threatened with libel action

Breaking News: Sally Bercow threatened with libel action
The Free Speech Blog: Official blog of Index on Censorship

The Pacific’s new PacMA – a vision for media freedom

A FLURRY of messages. First the announcement of yet another Pacific media freedom group – PacMA, born in Samoa. Plus backpatting messages from supporters around the region. And then a riposte from the incumbent media “freedom” body, PINA, in Suva, claiming it has the strongest membership it has had for five years – 21. One wit from the Solomon Islands wrote:First we started the PFF which was to
Café Pacific | Media freedom and transparency

Mexico: provincial journalists debate protection

Ana Arana: Mexico’s provincial journalists debate protection
The Free Speech Blog: Official blog of Index on Censorship

Whatever happened to climate change?

Brian Cathcart: Whatever happened to climate change?
The Free Speech Blog: Official blog of Index on Censorship

Eric Schmidt against Anonymity

In this interview with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, comes out very strongly against anonymity starting at about 5:10 in the video. His argument is that: ”If you are trying to commit a terrible evil crime it is not obvious that you should be able to do so with complete anonymity.”

The problem is that absolute and complete anonymity is easy for criminals. There is a robust economy in stolen account, botnets, stolen credit cards, open networks and other capabilities that enable absolute anonymity for anyone willing to violate the law. It is only anonymity for the law abiding that is difficult, and the reason Anonymizer exists. Arguing against anonymity is, for all practical purposes, only arguing against anonymity for legitimate purposes while it thrives for illegitimate purposes.

I will spare you the lecture on the history of anonymity and anonymous speech dating back to the founders of the United States.

BTW, this was delayed for a while while I struggled with getting embedding working within WordPress. It seems to be working now on FireFox, but not when I view in Safari. Please comment with how I am being stupid if you know what is going wrong.

The Privacy Blog

U.N. Report Highlights Need For U.S. Civil And Human Rights Commission

U.N. Report Highlights Need For U.S. Civil And Human Rights Commission: Via ACLU online newsroom.

U.S. Should Implement Working Group Recommendations, Says ACLU

(212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org
(202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org 

NEW YORK – A report examining the state of human rights of people of African descent in the United States was presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council today. The U.N. Working Group on the Rights of People of African Descent reported that, while the U.S. government has taken some steps to promote the rights of people of African descent, much more needs to be done to bring the U.S. into compliance with international treaty obligations. The international group of experts visited the United States last January at the invitation of the U.S. government, meeting with local, state and federal officials and human and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and conducting a thorough examination of laws and policies and their impact on people of African descent.

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Privacy Digest

Facebook’s bill of rights and responsibilities

Facebook’s new Bill of Rights and Responsibilities group (80k members and counting) which was set up to debate how it should communicate its terms of service to users is a positive step. On the group, Facebook has responded to the most common questions asked by members:

1. You own your information. Facebook does not. This includes your photos and all other content.

2. Facebook doesn’t claim rights to any of your photos or other content. We need a license in order to help you share information with your friends, but we don’t claim to own your information.

3. We won’t use the information you share on Facebook for anything you haven’t asked us to. We realize our current terms are too broad here and they make it seem like we might share information in ways you don’t want, but this isn’t what we’re doing.

4. We will not share your information with anyone if you deactivate your account. If you’ve already sent a friend a message, they’ll still have that message. However, when you deactivate your account, all of your photos and other content are removed.

5. We apologize for the confusion around these issues. We never intended to claim ownership over people’s content even though that’s what it seems like to many people. This was a mistake and we apologize for the confusion.

Facebook Privacy Watch

Ben Bohane’s retrospective on Pacific war reporting

BEN BOHANE is travelling from Vanuatu to Brisbane tomorrow for an exhibition launch of his photo collective with a retrospective of his best war reportage over the years. He is without peer in South Pacific photojournalism, but his remarkable career actually began with a five-year stint in South-East Asia covering warfare in Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia.According to his profile on Degree South:[
Café Pacific | Media freedom and transparency