Perhaps the time has come to tell EFF what Barlow told lawmakers in 1996: “On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone.” The future of networking is intermodal competition between networks and services that control their destinies.
The Obama FCC admitted that it could not find the sweet spot. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, former Chairman Wheeler simply claimed regulatory authority to sanction firms for behaviors he could not anticipate. Rather than creating bright line rules, Wheeler raised his voice and issued threats. Angry threats have subsequently become the preferred way to regulate not only the Internet but its regulators as well. This is not productive, but it’s the road chosen by many.
Their problem in the long tail of pirates, scammers, and amateurs who impose costs on the platform but don’t generate revenue. That’s a business model issue that should concern Alphabet. It’s not an excuse for making artists pay for YouTube’s content-related costs out of their own pockets to support piracy.
The disconnect between the way the Internet really is and the way neutrality advocates wish it were came into stark relief today: while some Congressmen were outside the Capitol giving speeches on the importance of net neutrality, those inside the building voted to make significant, harmful changes to Section 230, the real protector of Internet speech. And they didn’t even notice.
End-to-end is part of Internet history, but so is traffic differentiation. On the one hand, some forms of discrimination at the packet level are constructive. Applications have different needs and it’s good for networks to provide them with the type of service they desire.