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Freedom of Speech

FreePress' tantrum over Comcast-Pando agreement progress shows its not constructive/reasonable

FreePress' antagonistic and borderline hysterical response to the legitimate consumer-friendly progress made in the Comcast-Pando agreement to lead a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" shows FreePress' and the net neutrality movement's true colors and suggests that they are not interested in really advancing their stated goals, but in scoring political points and advancing their broader political agenda. They don't seem interested in solutions, because it appears that they are in the business creating and grandstanding about problems. 

Amazing that FreePress and SaveTheInternet had nothing good to say about this breakthrough agreement that finds common ground to start working towards what FreePress et al say they care about. Any reasonable person can see their are positive developments here and progress being made. See my post on this agreement highlighting its significance.

  • If Net neutrality proponents were genuinely interested in achieving or making progress towards their stated goals, they would have found something ositive to say about the clear progress the agreement made towards their stated goals and not had a knee jerk ad hominem attack that impugned the integrity of Comcast and Pando Networks.

As I said in my post, no good deed goes unpunished.

Seems like another observer agrees with this take:

New York Times op ed on net neutrality uses the wrong analogies

Successful Internet musician, Damian Kulash wrote for the New York Times, the standard pro-net neutrality op ed -- Beware the New Thing.

  • It looks like its was ghost-drafted by the FreePress/Moveon.org media machine, because it lip-synched SaveTheInternet's standard chorus -- that because the monopoly phone system was regulated as a common carrier... all internet service providers should be regulated like common carriers!

There are two big flaws in that logic.

Google Board recommmends against applying Net Neutrality to Google

Per Reuters, Google's board is recommending that its investors vote against a shareholder proposal from the New York City Employee Retirement System that asks Google to commit to abiding by Net Neutrality.

  • Why would Google, which avidly supports:
    • All pending net neutrality legislation in Congress;
    • the Save the Internet and Open Internet coalitions which were created to promote net neutrality;
    • Open access/Net neutrality rules for wireless in the FCC's 700 MHz auction;
      • oppose living by the same rules as it wishes to apply to its competitors?
  • Why would Google avidly support the FCC's net neutrality principles, which explicitly apply to: "network providers, application and service providers, and content providers", but not agree to apply them to Google itself? 

Bottom line Questions:

House Judiciary Free Speech hearing a yawner; Christian Coalition couldn't answer simple questions

The House Judiciary hearing on "Free Speech and the Internet" this afternoon was perilously close to being a non-event.

  • While Net neutrality activists will claim and spin victory and momentum in getting a congressional hearing on the subject, anyone who listened to the hearing would have been surprised by how little actual support net neutrality got out of this hearing

What I found most interesting and telling at the hearing is that Michelle Combs of the Christian Coalition, who testified in support of net neutrality, was completely unable to answer simple softball questions by Ranking Member Sensenbrenner. Like a proverbial "doe in headlights" she could not answer the simplest of questions for a witness; she had to ask for help from her fellow panelists, which made it obvious that she was only a symbolic figurehead on the subject and did not understand even the most basic parts of the net neutrality issue. These were the two questions and answers paraphrased:  

Politicizing the Internet -- why net neutrality is not about free speech

Politicizing the Internet

Fabricating a Free Speech Threat to Justify Regulating the Internet and An“Information Commons”     American ISPs are facilitating an unprecedented explosion of free speech.

Exposing the sanctimony of net neutrality activists

Enough of Net neutrality activists' hypocritical sanctimony over freedom, free speech and democracy! It is sickening.

Net neutrality activists claim to support freedom, free speech, and democracy, but they really don't in practice.

First, let's look at the recent activist whining from FreePress/SaveTheInternet about how the FCC network management forum at Harvard was somehow hijacked by Comcast sympathetic attendees or who these activists have derisively called "seat fillers."

Google caught censoring free speech... again -- where's the indignance from net neutrality supporters?

Fox News reported that Google quietly reinstated an Inner City Press news service that specializes in UN corruption news, that Google had previously censored from its search engine and from Google news.

  • Per Fox News: "The reaction to the de-listing, however temporary, had been furious. The non-profit Government Accountability Project lambasted the company, calling Inner City Press "the most effective and important media organization for U.N. whistleblowers.""

Important Questions:

Google humor: "human review trumps technology" in filtering for copyright

I had to stop myself from bursting out laughing when listening to Google-YouTube's product counsel, Mia Garlick, speak on the Internet Caucus panel on "Internet Copyright Filters: Finding the Balance."

  • Google-YouTube's representative said with a straight face: "human review trumps technology" in copyright filtering.  

Let that little quote sink in for a moment.

Google...

  • the self-described technology company,
  • the algorithm leader,
  • the company that automates virtually everything internally,
  • the company that is not interested in pursuing businesses or tasks that cannot be automated or condensed to an algorithm,
  • the company that has taken innovation and technology to a new level on the Internet,
  • the company that uses technology for customer service not humans...
    •  is saying that "human review trumps technology"?

If human review of content trumps technology, why doesn't Google rank/filter all the world's content in its search process with human review rather than technology -- if human review is better?

ACLU kneecaps argument that net neutrality implicates First Amendment freedom of speech

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) entered the fray on net neutrality yesterday in an important ACLU blogpost: "Free Speech and Net Neutrality: Separating fact from fiction."

While the ACLU predictably voiced strong POLITICAL support for net neutrality, the ACLU Blog surprisingly and effectively eviscerated the LEGAL and practical case for using the analogy that "Net Neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet."

  • ACLU blog: "At the same time, the First Amendment is not directly implicated because unlike the government, your ISP is not a traditional "state actor" — a requirement for triggering First Amendment cases."
    • Duh.
    • The ACLU makes plain what any junior high civics student knows -- that the First Amendment is there to prevent the Government from abridging individuals freedom of speech -- not companies or other individuals.
    • This badly flawed "First Amendment" analogy only highlights how net neutrality proponents are loose with the facts and analogies. 
      • The net neutrality movement is "all slogan and no substance."

Net neutrality is not about free speech. It's classic buzzword political blackmail. Proponents cynically believe that if they repeat the conspiracy theory that big corporations want to systematically take away their customers freedom of speech -- that some people will believe it.

Has Tim Wu lost his credibility? in his tunnel-vision piece: "Has AT&T lost its mind?"

Tim Wu is losing credibility fast. 

  • His new piece in Slate: "Has AT&T lost its mind? A baffling proposal to filter the Internet" is myopic, uniformed, and borderline hysterical.

Mr. Wu please calm down. Put away any sharp objects and please listen to some reason. 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths