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Net Neutrality:
Consumer Rights,
or Consumer Lies?

An Open Letter By Punkerslut
to American Consumer Institute (ACI)

From RadicalGraphics
Image: From RadicalGraphics

Start Date: January 11, 2011
Finish Date: January 11, 2011

"In a study Darby prepared, released this month by the American Consumer Institute, he estimates that consumers would be worse off by $24 billion to $32 billion if the government imposed net neutrality regulations because individuals would be picking up the tab for the heavy content providers."
          --Fox News, 2006


     This is interesting. You allege to be a "Consumer Rights" group, and you say that you're "... founded on the belief that consumers’ interests are not satisfactorily represented the wide variety of advocacy and consumer organizations that often represent small subsets of consumers and special interests; ignore distant, collateral and unintended consequences of importance to consumers; and too often mirror advocates’ political views rather than an empirical analysis of consumers’ economic welfare." This is from your about page. But then I keep reading, and I find that you support packet-shaping. That is, you support the right of cable companies, which are renting cable lines from the city, to openly discriminate against its consumers, because of what they decide to download. That is to say, you support government-sponsored, forced censorship.

     Here's the articles... TheAmericanConsumer.org and FoxNews.com ... And here's the most ignorant statement I have heard recently: “Over the last five years there has been extensive evidence demonstrating that Internet regulations would reduce consumer welfare and impede broadband deployment. Over the same time period, there has not been a single empirical study showing that Internet regulations would benefit consumers or increase broadband investment,” said Steve Pociask, president of The American Consumer Institute.

     You mean regulations like TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6, and all the other standards that are absolutely essential so that Internet today can run as fast possible? Regulations which have been in development, use, and deployment for more than three to four decades? With multi-billion dollar research groups, like the respectable Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), setting regulatory standards on how information should be transferred between computers? And with them publishing hundreds of studies each year on how certain types of standardizations we use are essential to everything we do on the internet?

     Dear sirs, are you familiar with the OSI model of Internetworking and the standardization of Layer's 1-7, Physical to Application, that every single manufacturer of electronics has to use? What about the standardization of IPv4 addressing between different backbone routers? What about the standardization of the issuing of Media-Access-Control (MAC) addresses so that no two companies accidentally share the same address?

     In short, saying "there are no studies showing the use of regulations and protocol in the Internet," is like saying "Newton and Galileo never tried to produce any evidence to prove gravity." If you really can say that, then you're definitely not the person qualified to make any statements whatsoever on the topic. But, your conclusions are wonderful...

"...consumers would be worse off by $24 billion to $32 billion if the government imposed net neutrality regulations..."

     Net neutrality, as in everyone has a right to download whatever they want, whenever they want, without being censored. For someone who doesn't believe in any of the science that makes the internet possible, could you please explain to me why you think net neutrality will cost $24 billion? Net neutrality means the right to download and look at anything on the internet, without being impeded. That's how the internet is supposed to work. To abandon net neutrality, you must HIRE censors, and you must HIRE a censor board, and they need computers, cars, and all that fun stuff.

     So, hiring people, to slow down the internet, without receiving any increase in speed for the other people, sounds like it will COST MORE MONEY, NOT LESS. You know, either that, or you should have a study to back up how hiring more people, to obstruct other people, will cost more money than giving everyone equal rights. Oh, here is the reasoning: "...individuals would be picking up the tab for the heavy content providers." The so-called 'heavy content providers' actually can't buy and use the public lines for their transmission of data. For example, the company Media Defender uses 10 Gb/ps regularly, but a regular user, well, you're talking at most 200 Gb/ps, and note these are BITS and not BYTES. (You wouldn't get something like that mixed up, would you?)

     So, I agree with you: so-called consumer-rights groups "too often mirror advocates' political views rather than an empirical analysis of consumers' economic welfare" and "consumers’ interests are not satisfactorily represented." How typical. Just make the same warcry as everyone else, "we want to stop abuse of consumers," and then turn around and do the exact opposite. Are you capable of shame, or little more than an object that can be purchased?

     I'll allow you some time to review your textbooks on internetworking before I publish my review your organization. Please, let me know when you expect to have a response. You had time to talk to Fox News -- please, explain your ideas to a humble computer scientist.

"Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got... an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.... They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."
          --Ted Stevens, 2006
          Former US Senator

Andy Carloff

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