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Steven Farnell
Software Test Engineer | Seattle, WA | Open Source Advocate
Software Test Engineer | Seattle, WA | Open Source Advocate

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Ted Cruz is such a disgusting liar. The FCC began enforcing net neutrality rules in 2001, until it was found in 2014 that the FCC could only enforce Net Neutrality under Title 2. At which point, the FCC used it authority to reclassify broadband under Title 2 in 2015, so it could continue to enforce the same rules it had been enforcing for the previous 14 years. Cruz says that the Title 2 reclassification was illegal, but the job of classifying Internet Access is in fact the duty of the FCC; furthermore, prior to 2001 - when Cable Modem was reclassified under Title 1- all Broadband Internet was considered Title 2, and prior to 2005, DSL was classified under Title 2. So, pretty much everything Ted Cruz says in this clip is a lie.

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This study shows a very high parking density in Seattle (largely due to garage parking under large buildings downtown). There is a 5:1 parking:household density in Seattle, but this article failed to ask one REALLY important question... how many people work in these areas? The Seattle Transit plan is woefully inadequate to get commuters to work in a reasonable amount of time. A 9 mile commute is frequently over an hour and a half if you live next to a major transit hub with a direct bus. God help you if you need to transfer or find a spot in a park and ride.

On top of that, a $7 round trip commute cost (~$120/month with a bus pass) makes it tempting to pay $100 a month for parking and drive to work in 20 minutes.

So, yea, with a million commuters all looking park downtown, it's reasonable to think that there would be 1.3 million parking spaces generating $103+ million dollars a month scattered around the downtown area.

So, about that whole $117.677 per household cost... I think that is severely blown out of proportion. I think 1.3 million spots generating $1.2+ Billion per year probably covers the replacement cost of the parking spaces without government assistance.

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This is not surprising at all. I suspect that speeds in the US would drop by way more than 41% if they enacted this type of law in the USA... however, at least we would get honest advertisements from our ISPs.

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Well, wouldn't you know... Trickle down still doesn't work. Besides, you don't need a raise because you got a tax break!

So, like many people said would happen, the Trump tax cuts are being used for stock buybacks and CEO bonuses, but not many people expected wages to be slashed by nearly 2% at the same time.

At least the stock market is doing well... even if it's just a temporary change caused by artificial scarcity in the market. It's unfortunate that people will see the stock prices as an indicator of economic prosperity, but in reality, stock prices rarely align with actual economic performance.

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These EU "antitrust" cases just piss me off. I feel like they are inventing new laws just to charge American companies huge sums of money. Operating Systems like Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iOS, Android... have always included a core set of programs that come with them. Google Android is probably the most open of the proprietary operating systems out there. Have you ever tried to remove Edge from Windows 10? How about just not use it? You can't. Windows Universal Apps (from the Microsoft App Store) require it for links to websites, and it's something a typical user can't change.

Google wants to tell developers that they can depend on a core set of features. As a result, if an OEM wants to install the Google Play Store on a phone, they need to agree to use a specific version of Android, install a core set of apps, and not change the of code in the Android source code; however, they can add to it.

Anyway, this will end bad for EU developers and customers. Google will lose tons of money due to the reduced quality of Android - on top of everything else. Android fragmentation will get even worse.

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I love George Carlin! "It's called the American Dream, because you need to be asleep to believe it."

Recently, it has been interesting to hear people say things like "we only had net neutrality for 2 years" or "we have done fine without it for all these years," but how long has the FCC really been protecting us from ISPs?

TLDR: Before June 11th 2018, ISPs had always been operating under the threat of punishment for violating net neutrality rules. Even during the collective 18 months over the years that the FCC didn't have rules on the books, the FCC had stated an intent to create meaningful regulation. Now that the FCC won't fight for you, ISPs have already started bullying video streaming service providers, and you should expect that trend to continue getting more aggressive over the next couple years.

Well, the real answer is a little muddy. You see, prior to 2003 Tim Wu didn't coin the term Net Neutrality. This is probably because Internet Access was regulated as a Title 2 Telecommunications service prior to 2002, so any debate about the issue was limited to an extremely niche crowd and purely theoretical. Then, when the FCC Brand X Decision reclassified Cable Modem as a Title 1 Information Service, it sparked need for public discussion on what policies were appropriate. I think it's important to remember that this reclassification was done as a result of lobbying efforts by ISPS, and it happened shortly after AOL's acquisition of Time Warner Cable in 2000 – remember, AOL was a service that offered a lot of curated content over an Internet connection in the form of packages (a lot like Cable TV.) This meant that for the first time, companies would try to subdivide the Internet into a series of paid services rather than one paid service. In theory, anything that restricted one user from accessing any other user's IP address would have been illegal under Title 2, much the same way that a phone company cannot prevent you from calling certain phone numbers. Also, the technology for an ISP to filter, block or otherwise discriminate against certain Internet traffic either didn't exist or wasn't feasible to install. So, in that sense, I claim we had net neutrality before 2002.

So, after 2000, when the International Telecommunications Union classified Internet access as a Telecommunications service, AOL was pissed that they would have to open Internet Access up to all these pesky websites and services that competed with their own offerings. AOL pretty much went down the drain from here. However, the lobbyists wanted the Internet to be divided up like Cable TV, and they wanted the right to distribute their own advertisements to website visitors. So, Internet and Cable Lobby pushed to reclassify, and they sort of won in 2005.

So, what happened in 2005? Well, the FCC issued an order to a North Carolina based ISP, Madison River Communications, stating that they couldn't block VoIP services their Internet customers chose to use rather than Madison River's phone service. You see, the DSL service was still regulated under Title 2, which meant that it was illegal to discriminate against network traffic. This is a hugely important action, and if you have ever used Facebook, Skype, WeChat, Telegram, or Google Chat/Talk/Hangouts for voice/video chat, then you benefit from this first time the FCC tried to protect you from ISPs.

In fact, 2005 was when the FCC started to protect Americans by enforcing Net Neutrality rules. In 2005, then FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, issued an Internet Policy Statement that laid out "proto-net neutrality rules." In short, these rules meant Internet customers could: purchase their own network equipment, connect to which ever sites they choose, use any services they choose, and choose whichever ISP they want to use. Because the technology for throttling individual sites didn't exist, there was no demand for it, but I certainly feel like that would be within the spirit of the law.

Almost immediately, ISPs were furious. Then AT&T CEO, Ed Whitacre, came out claiming that websites were using their service for free, and expressed an intent to charge individual sites to access their system because that's how Cable TV worked. A small niche of people followed debates, but when the Senate proposed a bill mentioning Net Neutrality in 2006, the grumbling fell mostly silent.

Then, Comcast blocked bittorrent in 2007, and the debates flare up again. By the end of 2008, the FCC once again steps in by ordering Comcast to stop discriminating; Comcast appeals this order, and eventually wins in 2010. Another attempt by the FCC is made by issuing the Open Internet Order in 2011, but Verizon immediately challenges it in court. During the trial a number of interesting things happen: Comcast strikes a deal with Netflix, effectively extorting money from Netflix so that Comcast customers can access the service; Verizon and Google enter into talks to guarantee access for Verizon's customers to Google services, again, the ISP was extorting the service provider; and AT&T blocks Apple Facetime, but is then forced to stop blocking after public outcry. In September of 2013, during the oral arguments for Verizon's challenge to the Open Internet Order, Verizon concedes that the FCC's Open Internet rules are the only thing preventing it from charging websites from reaching Verizon subscribers. Eventually, in 2014 the D.C. Circuit overturns the Open Internet Order.

2014 was an interesting year when we really got to see what would happen without net neutrality. AT&T announces sponsored data, which allowed service providers to pay to be excluded from data caps; also, T-Mobile exempts certain music streaming services from data caps. There was a lot of talk about Internet fast lanes, where websites would pay to get priority access to customers, and ISPs were talking about creating lightweight packages for minimal service offerings.

By May of 2014, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler determined that, as proposed in the verdict to overturn the Open Internet Order, the FCC could legally enforce net neutrality if Internet access was governed as a Title 2 Telecommunications service; as a result he proposes the reclassification. Around 3.7 million public comments are submitted, and they are overwhelmingly in favor of the change. Then President Barack Obama endorses the change, and FCC Chairman Wheeler endorses it. By the end of 2015, Internet access is again classified under Title 2, and the Open Internet Order is reissued; this time, with legal precedent to back it up. Regardless, ISPs bring the case back to the D.C. Circuit, but this time, the court affirms the order is legal in about the middle of 2016. The order remains in effect until June 2018, when Ajit Pai's repeal of the order went into effect.

So, there is a more detailed history of this issue than you probably ever wanted to think about, but I think it's important to consider it in its entirety. Because, when it comes down to it, ISPs have lived under the threat of net neutrality enforcement up until June 11th 2018. It's just that technically, those threats had no teeth from 2005 until 2015. The FCC issued rules that were not enforceable under Title 1, so when Cable Modem was deregulated in 2002 and DSL was deregulated in 2005, the FCC couldn't enforce the Proto Net Neutrality rules or the Open Internet Order. However, before 2005, Cable modem providers were incentivized to follow Title 2 regulations, or they would have been reclassified as Title 2 in 2005; rather than DSL being reclassified as Title 1. The general view at the time, was that the Title 1 classification was an experiment. So, prior to 2005, there was incentive for Cable Modem to prove that Title 1 classification was a safe thing for the FCC to do.

However, after the experiment ended, and DSL was classified as Title 1, the FCC threw a curve ball. The Internet Policy Statement defining the proto-net neutrality rules spurred outrage with DSL providers, which, is best summarized when AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre said “Anybody who expects to use pipes for free is nuts!” Just to be clear, he wasn't talking about AT&T customers not paying their bills, he was referring to websites and service providers that AT&T customers were accessing.

Over the next 10 years there were court battles, but with the exception of 6 months in 2010 and pretty much the year of 2014, the FCC had rules in place to enforce net neutrality. Even during those 18 unregulated months, the FCC was actively pushing to enact new rules that would stand up to the scrutiny of the courts. Besides, all of the crazy arrangement and deals that were made in 2014 just go to show us the truth about what the world will look like without net neutrality.

So, now that the FCC isn't here to help us, what can we expect? Well, we should look to everything the FCC prevented. We can probably expect ISPs to:

* Block competing services that compete with their own offerings, just like Madison River Communications tried to do with VoIP in 2002.

* Charge websites and web service providers just like AT&T wanted to do 2005. Also, Verizon stated they fully intended to do this during their oral arguments in court against the Open Internet Order in 2013.

* Block services that use large amounts of bandwidth like Comcast did with bittorrent in 2007, and like AT&T did with Apple Facetime in 2012. It's also possible that ISPs would charge a premium for these services now that the technology to do so is readily available (it wasn't available in 2007.)

* Create special pairing arrangements like Comcast forced Netflix to do in 2014 and Verizon was pressuring Google into in 2010. These would drive up consumer costs for those services, and possibly prevent competition for future better services that could supplement the currently popular services.

* Create Sponsored data agreements that exclude certain services from data caps, like AT&T and T-Mobile did in 2014.

So far, in 2017 Verizon started throttling Netflix and YouTube because they knew Ajit Pai's FCC would not enforce the law, and in April 2018, Comcast forced Netflix into a billing arrangement where customers can pay Comcast for Netflix service (it’s assumed that Comcast collects a fee from Netflix out of that deal, and Netflix has stated that it is not favorable for them.) This is just the beginning though. I imagine you won't see any major changes right away. The cable and telecommunications lobbies are playing the long game, and you should expect to see changes over the next couple years rather than months; however, they will transform Internet access into something like cable TV.

In the short term, there is still hope in a Congressional Review Act repeal of the FCCs actions, and that has already passed in the Senate; however, it would still require people who have republican representatives to make phone calls. The Republicans control the house, and it's hard to get the GOP candidates on board.

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By far, my biggest problem with Trump's candidate for Supreme court is his view on Net Neutrality. He believes that ISPs have a constitutional right to block, throttle, package, and edit content they provide to their customers. This goes well beyond what most people think about when they talk about Net Neutrality.

Imagine, if you depend on ad revenue for your income, like a youtube creator, blogger, newspaper, or even an ad platform like Google or Facebook. Now, Comcast comes up to you and says, we are going to replace all of your advertisements with our own, and you won't get any of that money unless you pay us for access to your customers. It would model the Internet exactly like Cable TV, (I.E. basic Internet sites need to pay to be listed, and they can allow the cable company to insert their own advertisements on top of the ads in the original content; only premium websites will be able to display their own advertisements.)

However, things get even more complicated than that. Let's say you are selling merchandise on your website. Well, your customer's ISP could come to you and say that you need to pay to be included in the "home shopping" package, and if you don't pay (or even know that ISP exists), then you might still get stuck paying a company like Google or Facebook for ad clicks even if those customers can't get to your site because you aren't included in a potential customer's Internet package.

Trump's nominee for the Supreme court thinks that is an acceptable way for the Internet to operate... Just read what he has said about it:

"the First Amendment bars the Government from restricting the editorial discretion of Internet service providers, absent a showing that an Internet service provider possesses market power in a relevant geographic market," Kavanaugh wrote. "Here, however, the FCC has not even tried to make a market power showing. Therefore, under the Supreme Court's precedents applying the First Amendment, the net neutrality rule violates the First Amendment."

"Internet service providers may not necessarily generate much content of their own, but they may decide what content they will transmit, just as cable operators decide what content they will transmit," Kavanaugh wrote. "Deciding whether and how to transmit ESPN and deciding whether and how to transmit are not meaningfully different for First Amendment purposes."

However, you don't need to take my word for it... just read it from his dissenting court decision from the DC federal circuit court:$file/15-1063-1673357.pdf

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Interesting food for thought. As we move to the age of robots and computers taking jobs from people, I wonder if we would choose to make these machines the "slave" class of a utopia, or if we will handle the massive wave of unemployment my persecuting the people who are replaced by machines. I don't just mean the factory jobs this time either, I mean all of the more advanced jobs that people think can't be done by machines... taxi drivers, truckers, legal assistants, layers, researchers, doctors, software engineers, store clerks, tour guides, etc... many of these jobs are already done - in part - by machines - legal analysis systems, disease diagnosis systems, software defect systems - and it is not unreasonable to expect a massive wave of unemployment will sweep the globe as computers advance faster than we will be able to comprehend. Never before now have we witnessed exponential growth in intelligence, and unless an unforeseen limit stops it, we will be caught off guard.

"We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."

-- Buckminster Fuller, New York Magazine - 1970
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