“Fast Lanes” Coming to the Internet – Thankfully

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Media Freedom

Video: Naive Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley lobbied its rear end off to get the twice court-rejected Net Neutrality regulations on the FCC rulebooks. Why such efforts? Well, because Net Neutrality represents a free-ride for the Valley, one which many of its biggest players have built their businesses upon.

As the FCC embarks on its third bite of this rotten apple, many of those same Silicon Valley players want more – that is, they want the FCC to impose antique telephone regulations on network providers in order to, well, shield them from having to pay fully for the network services they use.

Though Silicon Valley might think it has found a tactical nuke to protect itself, NetCompetititon’s Scott Cleland outlines some reasons why its calls for utility regulation will likely backfire, directly subjecting edge companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix to costly, anti-innovation rules they thought would apply only to the ISPs.

Be careful what you wish for, Silicon Valley. You might actually get what you asked for.  (I hope not)

Media Freedom

Video: Ex-FCC Official – Fred Campbell – Says Title ll Doesn’t Close Door on “Fast Lanes,” Opens Edge to Possibility of Regulation

The Left these past couple of weeks has gone crazy over the suggestion that Chairman Tom Wheeler’s new “Section 706″ plan to protect Net Neutrality would allow “fast lanes” (among other forms of reasonable discrimination).  In the Left’s view, the only “safe” Internet is one which regulates broadband access providers under Title ll regulation, which it believes precludes “fast lanes” and the like.  But you know what?  As ex-FCC official, Fred Campbell, explains in the following video, not only does Title ll fail to close the door on “fast lanes,” it also opens up the very real possibility that the edge will be regulated like phone companies someday, too.

Wow, that can’t be good for permissionless innovation.

Section 706 and Title II have a lot in common, with Fred Campbell, Director, CBIT from Mike Wendy on Vimeo.

Media Freedom

Timor-Leste raises bar in media suppression with new law

Graphic from the latest edition of Index on Censorship with a profile on the new law.
Image: Shutterstock/Index on Censorship

JOURNALISTS and civil society critical of the flawed Fiji mediascape in the lead-up to the first post-coup general election in September should also be up in arms over the attempts to muzzle the press in Timor-Leste.

A new law passed by the National Assembly in Dili
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency

More thoughts on TrueCrypt, with archives, from GRC

Truecrypt flurry icon by flakshack d4jjwdo

GRC’s | TrueCrypt, the final release, archive

Steve Gibson shares recent messages exchanges with some of the developers of TrueCrypt. These further suggest a boring explanation of the shutdown, as opposed to more nefarious explanations.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Privacy Blog

Healthcare IT News: Security: healthcare’s fixer-upper

Healthcare IT News discusses information technology security and what needs to be done to better protect individuals’ medical data: Healthcare’s all about the patients, right? Earning their trust so they return for annual checkups, delivering high-quality care while respecting their medical privacy at the highest level. But far too often, there’s a disconnect – the […]
Privacy Lives

YouTube unblocked by Turkey

Turkey-map-flag.jpgTurkey lifts its ban on YouTube-agency | Reuters

Several days after the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled the blocking of YouTube to be unconstitutional, it looks like the block has been removed.

YouTube said that they are getting reports from users that they are once again able to access the site. YouTube was blocked since May 2008.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Privacy Blog

The Privacy Blog Podcast – Ep. 20: Censorship, passwords, NSLs and cash

Standard-Profile-Picture.jpgIn episode 20 of our podcast for May I talk about:

  • The need to target your privacy efforts
  • Why your secrets may not be safe with secrecy apps
  • The possibility of more light shining on National Security Letters
  • Conflicted feelings about censorship in the Russian government
  • Google and the right to be forgotten
  • What you need to do to deal with all these password breaches
  • A demonstration of a stealthy camera snooping app for Android
  • and a quick announcement about Anonymizer

The Privacy Blog

Vodafone shows global scope of surveillance

Vodafone logo

Vodafone Lays Bare Scale of Phone Tapping – WSJ

Vodafone recently released a “Law Enforcement Disclosure Report”. Because Vodafone provides services in so many countries, this provides a unique  insight into the range of surveillance capabilities and requirements across a spectrum of nations. In six countries they are required to provide direct connections to their network for the local government. This allows those governments to capture content and meta-data without making individual requests to Vodafone. They are not saying which 6 countries those are out of fear of penalties or retaliation.

In Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey it is illegal to reveal information about various kinds of intercepts, so the report does not provide information on those countries.

The report also provides good information on the frequency of requests for information from various countries.

One lesson from this is, despite the impression one might have gotten from the Snowden leaks, the US is far from the only country doing this kind of surveillance. 

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Privacy Blog

Not So Fast, Europe – No, Really, It Isn’t, Says Prof. Chris Yoo

Though groups like the Internet Society cling to the notion – “Why is European broadband faster and cheaper? Blame the government” – and traffic in the meme that the only true broadband experience is government-pushed fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP), University of Pennsylvania’s Christopher Yoo sees it differently.

In Yoo’s new data-driven study, “U.S. vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do the Data Say?,” the Professor puts the European myth to rest, finding, among a host of other observations, that:

• High-Speed Access: A far greater percentage of U.S. households had access to Next Generation Networks (NGA) (25 Mbps) than in Europe. This was true whether one considered coverage for the entire nation (82% vs. 54%) or restricted the analysis to rural areas (48% vs. 12%), suggesting that the U.S. approach proved more effective than the European approach at narrowing the digital divide. (Emphasis added)

• Fiber and LTE Deployment: Turning to specific technologies, the data indicate that the U.S. had better coverage for FTTP (23% vs. 12%) and for the fourth-generation wireless technology known as Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE) (86% vs. 27%). Furthermore, empirical analysis claims the position that the provision of high-speed Internet depended exclusively on fiber. In short, FTTP remained a minor contributor to NGA coverage, and those countries that emphasized fiber were the bottom broadband performers among the eight European countries studied. (Emphasis added)

• Regulatory Policies and Competition Models: Disparities between European and U.S. broadband networks stemmed from differing regulatory approaches. Europe has relied on regulations that treat broadband as a public utility and focus on promoting service-based competition, in which new entrants lease incumbents’ facilities at wholesale cost (also known as unbundling). The U.S. has generally left buildout, maintenance, and modernization of Internet infrastructure to private companies and focused on promoting facilities-based competition, in which new entrants are expected to construct their own networks. Regression analysis indicates that the U.S. approach has proven more effective in promoting NGA coverage than the European approach. (Emphasis added)

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Why is this study important?

As you may know, the FCC has embarked, yet again, on trying to impose Net Neutrality regulations on the Internet ecosystem  in order to boost broadband deployment and uptake.   Many pushing for these rules want a European-styled / FDR-era approach to regulation, which treats network providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, as well as 1,500 other U.S. ISPs, as heavily regulated, old-fashioned telephone providers.

Yoo’s work suggests that that regulatory approach hasn’t worked in Europe, and it likely won’t work here either.

Last June, Verizon’s CEO, Lowell C. McAdam, made a similar observation, stating in a New York Times opinion piece:

Since 1996, as America encouraged the growth of its broadband industry, European regulators have adopted policies that generally limited network infrastructure deployment to a single facility in a given country or region. Other companies were allowed to “resell” broadband services to consumers, but only if they used the same infrastructure. This “retail” competition resulted in prices that may have covered the costs of operations but left little capital or other incentive for companies to invest in improving these networks. In other words, a decade ago the European broadband market may have looked healthy from the standpoint of consumer pricing, but after 10 years of underinvestment, European households (only half of which have access to networks capable of speeds of even 30 megabits) have far fewer broadband options and innovations than their American counterparts.

Regulatory prudence is the only way to keep up the momentum in broadband innovation.

Whatever (needless) Net Neutrality rules emerge from the FCC by year’s end, one hopes that they are, at the very least, prudent, and, most certainly, not European in flavor and approach.

U.S. broadband growth will not continue via the Old Country’s “faster-cheaper,” Title ll-like model.  That is a false economy we cannot afford.

Media Freedom