August 10, 2007  ·  Lessig

In October, 2002, I testified before the Senate Commerce Committee about “network neutrality.” (Here’s the article referenced in the testimony.) I believe it was the first time Congress heard the term “network neutrality,” but the message was just a continuation of the story many of us had been pushing since circa 1998 about preserving the “end-to-end” principle on the Internet.

After my testimony, an economist/lobbyist approached me and asked: “Do you really believe there is any threat that broadband network owners would discriminate in either the content they carry, or the applications they allow? After all, first, none will have enough market power to be able to do this without consequence, and second, even if they did have enough market power, what possible incentive would they have?”

I remember then thinking — this is the life of the theorist. They have a simple economic theory about how people will behave. When mixed with large lobbyist fees, it becomes impossible for them to imagine how anyone could behave inconsistent with the theory.

I don’t know what theory would explain the extraordinary stupidity of AT&T in censoring certain anti-Bush Pearl Jam lyrics.

But the important points to remember are these:

(1) This is precisely the behavior we e2e/NetNeutrality advocates have been warning about for almost a decade. And not just (or even most importantly) in this explicit form. Much more important are the games played more subtly, to push innovation and content in the direction that benefits AT&T.

(2) This is precisely the behavior cable companies have demonstrated from the beginning of cable. They live in a culture in which they own the lines, so they believe they have the absolute right to control the content/application on those lines. Whether or not that culture is harmful for cable deployment, it will be deadly for Internet innovation.

(3) This is precisely the environment that raises the cost of application innovation for the cell phone industry. As many VCs have explained to me, innovating in the cell phone application space is deadly, because every innovation needs the approval of the network owner. Again, maybe Steve Jobs is right, and this kind of control is necessary for cell phones (though I don’t believe it). But bringing the culture of the cell phone network to the Internet is a great way to increase profits to the network owners while reducing innovation on the Net.

This censoring event, whether AT&T’s “mistake” or not, should be a rallying point for this movement. Let it be remembered a million times until we get an administration willing to do something (finally) to protect the promise of the Internet.

  • http://www.opengeek.org Doug Dingus

    Just point them toward the closed cell phone networks, for all the examples they need.

    IMHO, cell phones are a very nice reality check. The phones are actually produced open –as in people could do stuff with their phones. Companies here in the US, own the networks and get to pick and choose what connects.

    What do they do?

    Lock down the phones, limit features, charge per feature, etc…

    It’s not just a money thing, it’s a control thing. This is the part I think is missed.

    Having control means being able to scale more easily. Essentially high consumer choice means high variance in the business consumer use case. This variance costs money.

    Also, control means limiting competition. If one takes the very long term view, keeping competition to a minimum, coupled with control, means stability and our markets like that, along with steady growth. It’s all about managing expectations.

    If things are open, people do stuff and that can change the game. This raises risk and that’s not always a good thing either.

    Bottom line: Control is a powerful incentive.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Sigh … it’s not worth it … I’m underpowered and overmatched … the world can get along without me … when elephants fight, the grass suffers (and an ant sure shouldn’t be running into the battlefield) … :-(

  • HH

    There are two ways to fight restriction of digital media access: political and technological. The current state of corruption in American politics makes the political path dubious. Bypassing political and commercial choke points through technological means is more likely to bring success. There is nothing to stop communities and progressive institutions from adding non-discriminating routing capacity to the public Internet, and this will occur to the degree that pernicious choke points develop.

  • http://www.115volts.org/voltage/ Chris Andrichak

    Eliot van Buskirk has been following this story very closely at Wired. Apparently ATT has admitted to censoring politcal speech from past webcasts…

    http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/ListeningPost/~3/142912915/att-admits-to-e.html

    They of course claim that it won’t happen again. Of course.

  • Evan M

    How is this at all about net neutrality? AT&T isn’t using their power as a network provider to violate the end-to-end principle — it’s censoring a performance it (I assume) had contracted the rights to broadcast, under its own terms. I fully agree this is tasteless and perhaps evil on AT&T’s part, but this is not net neutrality whatsoever, and claiming this should be a rallying cry of net neutrality serves to obfuscate the real issue further.

  • Fred Blasdel

    This censoring event, whether AT&T’s “mistake” or not, has absolutely nothing to do with net neutrality.

    Thanks for muddying the waters even further with this misinformed marketing of the issues, asshole Lessig.

    Do you guys understand anything? Unless there was a contract between AT&T and Pearl Jam stating otherwise, AT&T is free to webcast (or not) whatever the fuck it wants. They have free speech too. It’s not like they couldn’t have just webcast it themselves or through any of thousands of hosts, it was through AT&T likely because AT&T paid for the privilege as advertising.

  • HH

    The notion that ATT’s suppression of content in a webcast is an instance of “free speech” is exceedingly bizarre. When one party completely controls the means by which speech is heard or read, then it is reasonable to insist that that party will not abuse that control for political or monopolistic purposes. That is what the Net Neutrality controversy is about. The webcast censoring was simply a demonstration of the enormous power a communications carrier has to control information flow, and a warning of abuses that may arise if Congress gives a small number of corporations total control over the transmission of Internet information.

  • http://www.opengeek.org Doug Dingus

    Absolutely.

    Sorry for duping the cell phone bit above. Was just kind of thinking out loud and hit the post button!

    Individuals should remain free to consume what they will, barring this does not violate some law. There was no violation here, just speech being rendered for entertainment. At&t has no business filtering it for anything, period, end of story. -without permission that is.

    Now, if they want to offer that as a value add service, I’m ok with that. I’m sure there are plenty of people, however foolish it may be, who would pay for such editing to take place. Having it be legal is another matter completely… I’m willing to bet such a service would require the artists permission to re-render their performances in such a fashion. That’s a viable option, but it’s gonna take some work. It’s that work that At&t does not want to have to do.

    IMHO, we’ve got some censorship codified into the law. Kiddie porn is a really great example. If kiddie porn is permitted, kids will be harmed period. Totally defensible. We’ve no real problem with that on all levels.

    There are some solid reasons for profanity being limited, based on age, etc… I personally maintain this to be something people decide –or not, as they see fit. This is not really a known always harm, like kiddie porn is. So it’s more dynamic. We can’t just say profanity is not permitted, because there is no real justification for that. We don’t know someone will be harmed over profanity; thus, this remains a personal choice.

    That means At&t cannot just engage in this kind of filtering as it sees fit.

    Why should Pearl Jam –or any artist, be forced to project an image that is not accurate? If they employ profanity in their performance, then that’s their image. If they engage in pointed political speech, that too is their image.

    Cleaning that up is something artificial and harms the artist as much as anything else. Should one be a person not tolerant of profanity, maybe it’s worth it to not consume Pearl Jam, huh? Additionally, why should we permit At&t, or any corporation, to manipulate their image without their permission to do so? Said manipulation might even be in the artists best interest, but that’s their choice, not any Internet carriers choice.

    If we permit this, Pearl Jam then loses some of the impact they would otherwise have. Co-mingling political speech, with compelling performance, is an act of advocacy. They are on the hook for how well it is received and do not need companies “regulating them for the greater good.”. Whose greater good, what speech and for what reasons are all serious questions and we’ve not even started on the hard stuff!

    Filtering profanity in general is somewhat of a non-discriminatory thing. If all profanity is filtered, like we see on Comedy Central, for example, the goal is not political. (or not very political) Comedy central is pushed into a lot of homes via pricing tiers. I don’t like this aspect, but understand it and have no problem tolerating it. Smaller matters come into play here as well. Parental controls are coarse enough to see a decision to either allow Comedy Central or not. Breaking it down by program is tedious and likely not worth the time to do, given the gear even works to that level. IMHO, this is defensible.

    The webcast is something people elect to do. It’s not pushed anywhere, not bundled, etc… People then are completely free to choose what they consume and what they don’t. Choice is granular right down to every single person making every choice.

    At&t is trying to, once again, treat the Internet like it does it’s cable services and that’s the crux of the matter right there. This is not a free speech matter, on the part of At&t, but a control matter; namely, their excessive control combined with considerable market size and influence. IMHO, it’s also a matter of exploitation in that At&t wants to leverage Pearl Jam for their compelling performance, but without the political speech. I think they need permission to do that; otherwise, At&t is getting something for nothing.

    Another point to consider: Maybe this was a mistake! In fact, I think it likely was. The mistake being to allow people that level of control over Internet content productions! Somebody somewhere didn’t like that expression, so they marginalized it. Now the political views of some At&t employees have placed the company in the hot seat. At&t is now in a defensive position, where had they towed the line on Net Neutrality (I like to call it Net Equality), this whole discussion would be moot, and At&t would likely be working hard on getting a “clean” service, that people could pay for and permission could be granted for, up and running.

  • http://www.bärwolff.de/ Matthias Bärwolff

    Okay, so ATT cut anti-Bush lyrics from a Pearl Jam performance on their broadband web portal which they presumably payed the band for (the performance). After all, Blue Room looks like MTV transferred to the net, loads of if not solely ads. Now Pearl Jam complain about being censored and the net neutrality outcry commences, predictably. But we should not let preferences in implications obscure clarity of analysis of the facts.

    Two random thoughts spring to my mind, but I might be completely wrong with this: First, one wonders why they don’t just complain to ATT for performance of contract or sue them in this regard. This looks to me so much more like a contract issue than one of “infrastructure”, “enormous social benefits”, or “spillovers” to use the net neutrality terms currently en vogue.

    Second, considering what has happened from a law and economics perspective I can hardly see the harm done. Was this “deadly for Internet innovation”? I doubt so. Was there any harm for Pearl Jam? You answer this yourself. Was there harm prevented for ATT? Probably so, and they were, in fact, the only party that could reasonably prevent that harm. But maybe I am wrong, maybe the big companies behind net neutrality would have reimbursed ATT for their loss in goodwill with the conservative majority of American customers ;-)

  • HH

    Concern for “facts” is something that ATT does not seem to share, because it has not been forthcoming with an explanation for the suppression of the anti-Bush statements. You see, public corporations are not obliged to be honest or ethical. Their only duty is to satisfy the desires of their stockholders. Since stockholders are usually motivated by pursuit of financial returns, they are happy to be kept in the dark about any dirty work that improves profitability.

    In short: CORPORATIONS HAVE NO MORALS. Comparing them to individuals is fallacious, and expecting them to act consistently to protect constitutional rights is foolish. A manager in a public corporation will be rewarded and promoted for violating the spirit and letter of the law – if he or she can get away with it. Lawbreaking is viewed as calculated risk in the business world. Whether it is backdating options, fixing prices, bribing politicians, or punishing whistle-blowers, the common denominator is making more money without getting caught in a crime.

    Expecting public corporations to fairly administer equal access to the Internet, when it would be profitable to discriminate and charge premiums for preferential access, is naive at best and self-serving at worst. The Bush administration has shown us what unchecked corporate control of government can do. Shall we invite a further demonstration affecting the public Internet?

  • poptones

    I have to agree with HH and others in that this has pretty much zip to do with “net neutrality.” The broadcast was censored (or not) no matter what network you view it from because it was censored AT THE SOURCE. How is this any differnt at all than what happens all the time on NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, MTV or whatever?

    If the artists dislike what was done they have a simple response available to prevent this from happening again: don’t allow AT&T to broadcast future performances from them. If the people watching have a problem, they too can make the simple choice to not return to this “Blue Room.” Simple. Done.

    Now, if this had been a broadcast from, say, House of Blues, and only AT&T customers got to enjoy these specially edited broadcasts… well, then what? That might at least make it a relevant net neutrality issue, but even then I’m not sure. Local ISPs filter stuff all the time – many local ISPs refuse to to DNS resolution on domains “they don’t like,” whether it be (what they have decided is) kiddie porn or whatever… is this a neutrality issue? The whole thing is specious to me- how can you argue for “net neutrality” and then rationalize censorship? The entire “neutrality debate” seems to me little more than two sides, each with their own agendas, demanding the right to decide what we should be able to access. Far too many seem to think it our duty to refuse business with nations like China when they don’t do what we want and then turn right around and defend the high mindedness of our own laws. Does anyone in this debate understand the concepts of consistency and logic?

    Argh. It’s turtles — all the way down, I tell ya!

  • Tom

    Corporations and free speech is like oil and water.

    And right now, it seems like our government and net neutrality is the same way.

    People this issue is too important to let it just slip away: http://www.unboundedition.com/content/view/1958/50/

    Fight for this cause.

  • wallace

    poptones, it seems that you don’t understand how net neutrality works. Quick lesson here: http://www.unboundedition.com/content/view/1958/50/

    Freshen up, and I think you’ll be pissed again.

  • poptones

    Ummm what? Look, I’m a 44 year old engineer with (no, I’m not making this up) 24 years experience. So you link me to a propoganda page about a bunch of hippie musicians?

    Look, there are literally megabytes of stuff out there I’ve written about free expression. I thrive on free expression in ways that most of the folks even here at this blog would rebuke. I pride myself on being an asshole and pushing people’s buttons and intentionally offending sensibilities and then defending with every fiber the beliefs of those I just offended and their right to practice those beliefs.

    If you have a side in this, then you’re already wrong. Legislating “net neutrality” is like trying to legislate free expression – as soon as you start writing laws someone loses, because the only people allowed to be “free” are those who can buy the most power with the legislators.

    So piss off with your whining about how we need to legislate the kinds of freedom you want in preference to the other kinds of freedom you don’t want. AT&T no more “controls the channels of communications” than Yahoo, Google, UUNET or any other single organization. I rely on DSL for my broadband connection but I don’t tithe a penny to AT&T – if my ISP has to deal with them, fine. But I pay my ISP for the service I get because dealing with the phone company is as miserable as – well, dealing with the phone company. And if my ISP drops the ball, there are a half dozen others I can choose from here on my dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Might be the same physical wires but, gee, you know it’s the strangest thing how that just doesn’t matter because – NEWSFLASH – the internet is not a telephone!

    Lessee…. how many hops does it take to get to the lessig pop…

    Hop Hostname IP Time 1 Time 2
    1 grumpy3.local 10.0.0.5 0.151ms
    1 10.0.0.2 10.0.0.2 0.409ms
    2 10.0.0.2 10.0.0.2 asymm
    3 core-fe0-0.jxn.xxxxxx.net xxxxxxxxxx asymm
    4 core2-fe0-0.jxn.xxxxxxx.net xxxxxxxxx asymm
    5 121.5.19.209.transedge.com xxxxxxxx asymm
    6 no reply *
    7 POS3-1.border1.eqx.iad.transedge.com 216.217.2.167 asymm
    8 g4-0-6.core01.iad01.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.10.81 asymm
    9 v3496.mpd01.dca02.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.5.45 asymm
    10 t8-3.mpd01.dca01.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.6.25 asymm
    11 t9-3.mpd03.jfk02.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.6.137 asymm
    12 t7-2.mpd01.ord01.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.6.154 asymm
    13 t8-2.mpd01.mci01.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.5.173 asymm
    14 t9-4.mpd01.sfo01.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.6.161 asymm
    15 t7-4.mpd01.sjc01.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.6.134 asymm
    16 t4-1.mpd01.sjc05.atlas.cogentco.com 154.54.6.70 asymm
    17 SiliconValley_WebHosting.demarc.cogentco.com 38.112.9.214 asymm
    18 ve900.e1-5.edge01.sjc01.svwh.net 208.166.59.18 asymm
    19 vl905.g1-0-3.core01.sjc01.svwh.net 208.166.59.13 asymm
    20 6.59.166.208.svwh.net 208.166.59.6 asymm
    21 2.ctyme.com 69.50.231.2 asymm

    Hmmm. I see lots of companies on there but I don’t see no AT&T. Maybe some of those companies are running their nets over AT&T’s fiber.. ooh, and maybe AT&T would even decide to dictate to them what sort of data is allowable over their fiber!

    Take off the tinfoil hat. Perhaps there’s someone at AT&T with a finger on the button who just loves this idiot president and his band of merry men – that doesn’t mean AT&T, the corporation, gives a shit what data gets carried over its pipes any more than Master card, the corproation, gives a shit what transaction it finances. All that counts is the bottom line and, so long as the traffic isn’t costing that bottom line in fines, it’s in everyone’s interest to let freedom ring. Its when you start INVENTING laws and regulations that the things become corrupt and the calls go out to send lawyers, guns and money (cuz) the shit has hit the fan.

    News flash: if big brother wants to spy on you, “net neutrality” legislation isn’t going to stop it. It isn’t even going to delay it. In fact you can bet your ass any such legislation is going to explicitly include permissions to do just that.

    Jeezus, was yesterday everyone’s birthday?

    Sorry, but I just cannot feel sympathy for people who live in cities surrounded by a wealth of options but can do nothing but whine about how they’re being victimized and controlled – especially when they’re successful musicians who have made the choice to sign with record labels and enter into broadcast contracts while they lounge in dressing rooms and basically live like rock stars. If things are really so bad then turn the tinfoil hat back over to your agent, get the hell out of the city, and move somewhere you have choices… that is, if you can deal with the real world responsibilities such choices bring.

  • HH

    The operating system on most of the world’s personal computers is sold by one corporation, Microsoft. The television news, which most Americans use as their primary source of information is controlled by five corporations. The telecommunications industry is reconsolidating, with the “new” ATT now larger than the much diminished precursor organization.

    Corporations seek to perpetuate and aggrandize themselves. Absent effective government regulation, they would quickly return America to the gilded age of trusts, in which the steel, oil, financial, and railroad industries were controlled by single massive corporations. We would then have to re-bust the trusts. The naive believe that the market takes care of itself if minimally regulated is simply bogus.

    The notion that Internet freedom will take care of itself if left unregulated is similarly bogus. Absent effective regulation, the dominant and steadily consolidating media companies would create a premium channel of high-production-value Internet content in which political expression would be tightly controlled by the corporatocracy. Free speech would be available on “samizdat” sites deliberately starved for bandwidth and suffering frequent “accidental” outages.

    If you don’t think this can happen, you need to read about the antics of the unregulated US business community circa 1900. They didn’t call them the “Robber Barons” for nothing.

  • poptones

    What if we discovered via statistical analysis that green cars (one of the most popular colors) were involved in more accidents than any other color. What do we do then? Lobby for fewer green cars? Require special safety equipment on green cars? Charge green car owners special taxes so as to discourage them from buying more green cars? Of course not – it’s a stupid premise that does nothing to solve the real problem. It’s a band-aid to make people think you’re doing something when the goal is to do nothing.

    Competition is the key to ensuring no single entity has such control. And we already have laws and regulations in place to prevent giant corporations from becoming one giant corporation – AT&T has to go back to the fed and ask permission every time it seeks a new merger. And yet… it seems no one dare stop them.

    Busting monopolies has nothing to do with green cars…. or with “internet neutrality” legislation.

  • HH

    Evidently poptones has not been observing the antics of the Bush administration. Starting with the “settlement” of the antitrust action against Microsoft and continuing with the approval of almost every merger scheme to come before them, the color green has been quite visible in the regulatory traffic signals of this “business-friendly” administration. poptones would probably assure us that it is a good thing that Rupert Murdoch is adding the Wall Street Journal to his empire, because he will have one more outlet with which to exercise his right to free speech.

    The ability of powerful corporate interests to corrupt the agencies of the US government has been demonstrated with almost clinical precision over the last six years. Yet poptones argues for legislative restraint, because market forces are presumably more trustworthy than politics – even when they throughly corrupt the government.

  • poptones

    ROTFL. That’s quite a strawman you’ve set torch to there. I make the point that regulations are already in place and existing laws are being disregarded and so that means I’m defending it?

    But of course… diversion is needed since you still haven’t even begun to make a sound case for new “net neutrality” regulations. What other unrelated issue shall we discuss next as a motive for these new regulations regarding internet speech?

  • HH

    “Its when you start INVENTING laws and regulations that the things become corrupt”

    poptones appears to find the notion of regulatory machinery more noxious than unfettered capitalism. Although the efficacy of any law is subject to the integrity of its enforcers, I fail to see how barring discriminatory handling of Internet traffic will have negative consequences.

    In today’s news is a report of postal rate changes that favor large magazine publishers and hurt small publishers. This is a preview of coming attractions on the Internet if steps are not taken to assure net neutrality.

  • poptones

    Dude, you’re being intellectually lazy and stupid. Yes, it’s all part of a conspiracy – it’s the lizard king demanding these things be done so he can accumulate more gold to be hied off to his homeworld so they can build that much need time portal.

    I’ve seen the errors of my ways; You’ve run me off and I’ll waste no more time on your lame attempts at discussion. Congrats, You win!

  • HH

    This dispiriting exchange illustrates why blog discussion so often fails to achieve constructive dialog. If poptones and I lived on the same block, or even in the same town, and were discussing this issue face to face, we probably would have had a much more productive exchange. Unfortunately, poptones developed hurt feelings and decided that I was trying to “run him off.” I accept some of the blame if my posts were too brusque.

    We have a long way to go before structures of trust evolve sufficiently in online meeting places to foster the regeneration of America’s depleted social capital.

  • http://robdubinski.wordpress.com/ Rob D.

    Now AT&T is moving from censorship to surveillance. All the more reason to spread the word about Net Neutrality!!

    http://robdubinski.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/att-from-censorship-to-surveillance/

  • poptones

    ROTFL. Another great example to prove my argument…

    This stuff is already illegal. We know it’s illegal because the news agencies are telling us it is and because the administration is defending it while refusing to verify they’re even doing it – exactly the pattern they’ve used the last 6 years as they whittle away at our rights.

    So yes… I’m sure “net neutrality” legislation would have prevented any such happenings. Because more laws that contain more loopholes to protect those in power is a way better defense against tyrants than simply enforcing existing laws that already defend us against such erosions of our liberties. Isn’t that what our patriots told us? More laws = freedom; fewer laws = tyranny.

    Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly the formula…

  • HH

    One wonders when the magical moment occurred when there were just enough laws. poptones seems to believe that each new law or regulation makes things worse. Unfortunately for this argument for stasis, new things continue to be invented. Professor Lessig has devoted an extraordinary amount of effort toward preventing industrial era property laws from being misapplied to the information age.

    As the structures of society evolve, the laws and regulations governing those structures must also evolve. Before the advent of aviation, there was no need for the FAA and international protocols and conventions governing aircraft flights. The public Internet is a radically novel feature of modern society. It is entirely reasonable to expect new laws and regulations to emerge to keep its functions efficient and equitable.

  • poptones

    If we exclude the moronic 18th amendment, then I’d say 1920. But thanks to the busybodies meddling in people’s personal lives, I’d have to say 1933…

    And professor Lessig is a lawyer. A lawyer not lobbying for new and more laws would be like a wolf lobbying for fewer sheep.

  • HH

    In 1933, the golden moment when regulation was just right, according to poptones, the US was in the grip of the Great Depression, a catastrophe brought on by insufficient regulation of the financial markets and the inadequacy of government intervention to restore economic growth. But leaving aside poptones nostalgia for the Depression era, consider that in 1933 there was no airline industry, no television, and no nuclear power. There was also widespread and systematic discrimination against black people. Had the legal and regulatory framework of the United States been frozen at that time, minorities would still be using segregated restrooms.

    poptones has yet to confront the awkward question of what happens when the legal structure is frozen and technology continues to evolve. Do conflicts outside the law get resolved by combat again? Or do the economically strong simply force their will upon the weak? Perhaps the writings of Ayn Rand are not the best guide to management of a modern society.

    Regarding Professor Lessig’s interest in improving the law, I believe the record speaks clearly in his favor. His heroic effort, in arguments before the Supreme Court, to check the expansion of copyright duration is but one example of his energetic advocacy of sound public policy in the United States.

  • poptones

    “Do conflicts outside the law get resolved by combat again? Or do the economically strong simply force their will upon the weak? …”

    You mean like now? When existing laws are not enforced in order to protect the corporate interests of those modern day robber barons?

    Again, I’ll point out your logic is entirely flawed. In a political climate where we are not even enforcing laws that already exist, what possible value will new laws have to anyone except those already being shielded from the existing laws?

  • HH

    The Bush gang definitely pushed the evelope of abuse and avoidance of existing laws and regulations. But in many cases, courts decisions beat back their schemes, notably in the areas of environmental protection and due process for accused individuals. Many cases are still working their way through the courts and the Bush style of gangster government is now widely discredited. An imperfect set of laws beats anarchy and/or mob rule.

    I agree that we cannot rely solely on the law to protect network neutrality, but abandoning the regulatory path is exactly what the most powerful media corporations would wish. This would allow them to rig Internet communications to favor those who can pay the most, and thus further concentrate power in the hands of the plutocracy.

  • http://www.wiremeshdir.com Wire

    If poptones and I lived on the same block, or even in the same town, and were discussing this issue face to face, we probably would have had a much more productive exchange.

  • Carla

    You’ve goofed again, Larry.

    Nothing to do with Net Neutrality – but because us bloggers are nice and kind, we’ll help you put the toys back in the pram. Nice to hear you were famous back in 2002.

  • Walmer

    Poptones, I don’t understand your comparison of Net Neutrality and free trade. How is it considered free speech, to be able to buy stuff made by those in slave labor, under governments which don’t allow them to have free speech. Also if Green cars really were that bad, then there should be regulation. Sure the market should get rid of them fairly quickly, but in the meantime, deaths would be caused, not just for those who buy them, but for those who would get hurt by those driving them. Also, don’t relate those who don’t think corporations work in our best interest to conspiracy theorists.

  • http://www.oled-display.info nicole

    @Tom Corporations and free speech is like oil and water this really true!

    Finally another hint at moving in the right direction by negotiating a free trade agreement with the USA. After all, we’re not a member of the EU for reasons. One of them being Freihandelsneutralität – a new chapter in the concept of “Staatsidee Schweiz”.