Monday, January 22, 2007

Smart=anti-NetNeutrality, Dumb=pro-NetNeutrality

I love the quote from this link:

most of the senior engineers responsible for developing the packet switched internetworking of today oppose "Neutrality" legislation


It's only vapid populists (like the EFF) that believe Microsoft's conspiracy theories about how Evil ISPs are out to get the Internet; rational engineers know that NetNeutrality is a bad thing.

4 comments:

dre said...

my favorite quote on the matter comes from this article
http://bennett.com/blog/index.php/archives/2006/12/18/the-consequences-of-leaving-a-word-out/

"... It’s the height of arrogance for people unschooled in packet network engineering to denounce engineers for telling the truth, but that arrogance is the essence of net neutrality advocacy".

Tom said...

I must say that the unsubstantiated claim that "all engineers agree with me" is rather unpersuasive. Its like saying that four out of five doctors that I surveyed agree that cigarette smoking sooths the throat. I presume Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee know a thing or two about how the Internet works, and although I don't have any data myself, I don't think most network engineers view the EFF as "vapid."

While your opponents are quite dogmatic themselves, I have to ask, did you support SiteFinder? Do you think most network engineers supported SiteFinder? If not, certainly you must conceed that it is possible to do anti-competitive things with the Internet in a context where market forces are not going to resolve the problem readily...

Robert David Graham said...

I don't think most network engineers view the EFF as "vapid."

Right. I disagree with most engineers on this. I think the EFF has shown that they would rather fight AGAINST 'the man' than fight FOR our freedoms (and that they don't understand the difference). Lawrence Lessig, who is on the EFF's board, is an especially toxic populist who argues (among other things) that coders like me should have our civil liberties taken away.


where market forces are not going to resolve the problem

??? But they do. Every time an ISP has tried to create a non-neutral service in the past, they have lost (AOL is the biggest example). The essence of the NetNeutrality debate is that we must pass laws now BEFORE we let market forces have a chance to work.

As for your SiteFinder example, I hate it, but I think it's ICANN's job to deal with it, not Congress's.

Tom said...

I don't agree with your conception of the EFF, but without a specific example I've nothing to address. When I think about the fights they have engaged in; with regard to the ECPA, CALEA, the CDA, and the DMCA, these things typically have to do with defending Internet users from unreasonable regulation and surveillance.

As for Lessig, I don't agree with every postion he has taken, but then again, neither does he:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.01/posts.html?pg=6

ICANN is a strange entity because their authority comes from a contract with the U.S. Government but they need a certain degree of independence in order to satisfy the international interests in what they do. Regardless, they are clearly a regulatory body that has a transparent policy process that attempts to satisfy social stake holders. However, lets eliminate that from consideration. Would SiteFinder be OK if ICANN had agreed to it? Ultimately, you reach a point where either you have pressure from a Government, or the Internet fragments so the market can influence who is running DNS by making different choices. A lot of network engineers think the former option would be preferable.

The core question is whether it is ever possible for a monopoly to create anti-competitive barriers that constrain innovation. I personally think the network neutrality folks are jumping the gun in calling for a blanket policy, but I'm not convinced that it will never be a problem in any circumstance.