Right Wing Bullshit About Net Neutrality Dispelled

Grothesk's picture

Ben Shapiro debunked by a network engineer on net neutrality.

Of course Ben Shapiro (a guy who should be vehemently supporting net neutrality because his origins are from a small, independent news organization) whores out to the corporations.  This Youtuber, Scott Hunt, created this video to dispel his bullshit point by point.  In the description of this video the Youtuber mentions that he is a conservative as well but he has a brain and recognizes that the repeal of net neutrality principles actively harms consumers and small businesses.

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skeptoid's picture

This was frustrating to watch. Ben's critic is right about the dangers of paid prioritization. It can benefit the little guy or squeeze them out depending on how it's implemented. Ben is correct about Netflix and other adaptive video OTT applications aggressively reserving bandwidth in a manner that can crowd out everything else if not managed. But managing Netflix was technically already allowed under the 2015 regulations - most ISPs were often just too skittish to try that because the requirement was to be transparent about it.

 

In other words you've always been allowed to shape specific application data for specific reasons, but you have to admit to the public openly that you're doing it and explain why. Whether or not an ISP service is considered a utitlity shouldn't change that, but I'm not plugged in directly anymore so I can't say that for certain. The real danger, as the video author notes, is economic censorship of the small guy's free expression. In a practical sense, I don't see an immediate threat - if you're on YouTube then your exposure doesn't change. But if Verizon begins charging YouTube based purely on how much bandwidth Google uses to serve video then that cost will roll downhill. In fact the goal here is actually mainly to create more opportunities to extract additional revenue from both business and residential subscribers - a walled-garden for content based on economice prestige is one of the possible shitty side-effects of this.

 

But the network engineer is wrong about something important - ever since Comcast was sued for TCP-resetting every bitTorrent flow in 2008 the biggest thing keeping ISPs inline has been public awareness and pressure. The threat of simply being caught doing something like resetting every bitTorrent TCP connection (kind of hard to hide that, or baseless throttling) has been enough to keep ISPs ethical with regard to network policy control. Grothesk's argument I believe is that unlike 2008 we now live in a more monopolized service delivery environment. In Canada things have resently diversified after decades of monopoly by the few semi-state-run companies that owned the infrastructure in this socialist paradise.

 

The video author may be a network engineer but that expertise only came into play to help him deflect away from rather than clarify some of Ben's points, which he could have done. When Ben said "All pages load the same" I think he was fucking up an attempt to say "All protocols be treated equally in terms of priority". This network engineer knows that all protocols are already not treated equally - under the right conditions your VoLTE packets are treated differently from your Skype packets, which have a higher priority than your web browsing packets, which have a higher priority than your torrent packets.

 

What could change here is that Comcast could start charging Netflix a premium to deliver the same quality of experience to Comcast subs that Netflix has always delivered while prioritizing Comcast's own on-deck services. Netflix uses 70% of Comcast's premium well water, and Comcast has been denied the ability to make extra money off that somehow. When the designation of utility is taken off next year, Comcast will be able to leverage the demand placed on its capacity delivery to make more money from Netflix, to prioritize it's own offerings, etc. I see this as actually bad for the little guy's pocket book because additional charges for OTT apps will roll down onto the subscriber. As Rogan says here the squeezing of alternative or non-mainstream expression, and it's capacity to be seen by anyone, is not the goal of a more wild-west network policy control industry but it could be one of the negative outcomes if Grothesk's concerns about monopolies are valid:

 

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eh's picture

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scruples's picture

Where I live there's only 1 isp, public awareness doesn't do shit. Our internet here has been so oversold that during holidays the internet doesn't work, the government has actually had to basically threaten the local isp to get them to upgrade our infrastructure. Personally I don't want access to the internet to be controlled by a corporate entity no more than I want my drinking water being provided by McDonalds.

 

"It can benefit the little guy" Ha, fucking, ha, THE LITTLE GUY?!! Google can't even muscle their way into areas controlled by the other telecoms.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/08/google-fiber-stalls-in-nashv...

And abolishing Net Neutrality has no effect in this area.

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skeptoid's picture

As one example, service plans based on paid prioritization tiers have driven a lot of Internet growth in Latin America, where prepaid services tend to dominate for economic reasons. People pay for what they can afford right now, with some basic level of service (texting, limited browsing) always supported. In certain South American countries having the internet means having an data-enabled flip phone; having a smartphone is middle class. Having a laptop and a postpaid monthly bill is for the rich rolk, etc. That's all I meant by situations where legal paid prioritization and tiered services can serve a "little guy" market.

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scruples's picture

Everything you've mentioned is currently possible with Title 2 Net Neutrality.

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skeptoid's picture

Not true - ISPs have always been advised and have believed that paid prioritization and charging for stacked apps is illegal in the United States.

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sato's picture

hello fellow socialist! do you have download limits in canada like we have in australia? basically you pay for a 20gb plan and you can download at broadband speed up to 20gb of data, then you're throttled back to 56k, which on the modern internet with pages not optimised for low-bandwidth, means it's almost unusable - click a link, minimize and do something else, and when you come back it may have loaded or timed out. customers complained of course, so isps started their own services on their own servers that don't count to you download limit. they have a news site, gaming servers, all kinds, and you don't have to worry about going over your limit and getting throttled as long as you use those instead of any of the other choices that are out there.

it was god awful and it infuriates me every time i go back to aus. without net neutrality though, any isp will be able to do that to any site any time, not just when you go over a limit, and not just "our servers" vs "wider internet", but a bandwidth influence on every site and service for the entire month every month.

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skeptoid's picture

No we briefly had quota-based charging and got rid of it - no one likes it. You end up with quota-based charging when traffic management is heavily suppressed due to overzealous network neutrality laws. You get a stunted internet with really pissed off subscribers who are charged for every packet they send. We saw that coming and pulled out of it and clarified that responsible traffic management was allowed and things improved here. 

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Grothesk's picture

Here's how you cut through the Republican propaganda:

 

How does the repeal of net neutrality benefit you personally?  How does the repeal of net neutrality harm you personally?  

 

There is absolutely no way to answer these questions without admitting that the repeal of net neutrality hurts individual citizens.  Right wingers have to deflect at this point and talk about gummamint overreach and other bullshit so they don't have to admit they're just corporate shills.

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skeptoid's picture

LOL There is a non-deflective answer to the first question: "Because I work in that industry."

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thegent's picture

It seems to be working fine...lets just stick our finger in it and see what happens..

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PizzaBoi's picture

I like Ben on most economic, social, and geopolitical issues. He's dead wrong on abortion, gay rights, and and now net neutrality.

 

He was very good at attacking left wingers when they stray a bit too far. However, now that he's successful and has real power in his words, you start to see a bit of his opinions seeping into an onstensibly level headed persona. Mark my words, in about 3-4 years, many of his positions will come back to haunt him. He will go the way of TYT when the next Democrat gets the presidency.

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sato's picture

yeah i started to like what he had to say too, then watching more i noticed on more than one occasion his only counter-argument was "that is so silly it doesn't warrant any of my time to refute it." came to the same conclusion you seem to have come to, that he's thoughtful on some issues, and not on others.

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xerofdv's picture

skeptoid i was reading your paper Reasonable Network Management: Best Practices for Network Neutrality and from what i understand it takes an approach more akin to this youtube videos Hidden Game Mechanics: Design for the Human Psyche - Extra Credits (TLDV the video basicly explains that even though game mechanics appear to be fair to npcs and the player it is almost aways skewed towards the player, ie a 50% chance to kill in fallout is more biased in favor of the player instead of statistics) the reason why I think this is relevant is because there actually is a LOT of bandwidth shaping going on, in favor and against the consumer but mostly to appear as Net Neutral as possible on behalf of the ISPs' as similarly stated in your paper, yes surges in internet use and blackouts and any other Unforeseeable events can cause bottlenecks in service and even more so trying to comply with Net Neutrality but that does NOT account for more than 20% of uptime or 100% of the infrastructure. A recent trend in tech heavy industries is following to a T the quarterly bottom line instead of a long term profit, if this trend continues as planned there is no reason to expect ISPs will benefit the little guy and just squeeze every last dollar out of that pocket, there is no true incentive to offer a better service if you can now charge extra for the same service, most areas in the USA only have 1 or 2 ISPs (in a specific las vegas area highspeed internet is solely provided by comcast) so without "gubmnt intervention" i fail to see the "free market" there, (and for those thinking that the government can enter the game Comcast sues Vermont to avoid building 550 miles of new cable lines and https://www.vox.com/2016/8/10/12427462/municipal-broadband-fcc-chattanooga)

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CombatGod's picture

These companies have way too much fucking power... You wanna see just how badly Comcast can fuck you? Just google "comcast 1775" this is the bullshit I had to deal with. They literally STOLE $1775 from me. Created a blank contract without my signature then charged me the entire balance minus 1 month. I couldn't go to the police. At the time small claims court couldn't handle that amount of money. It took over 2 years for them to return a fucking dime. I had to go to the press to get my story out. The next day I got a call from the Comcast rep in my region who drove over a check personally. If you think giving them more power and authority will have positive benefits you are simply fucking retarded.

These corporation have nobody to report to for illegal business practices.

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