Last two weeks on net neutrality & surveillance: FCC net neutrality proposal open for discussion, Reset the Net on June 5th, 1 year after the first NSA leak
US, 15th of May: FCC voted to move forward with their proposed net neutrality regulations and the proposal is open for comments and suggestions for 120 days. However, FCC’s plan has been criticized of not actually following net neutralityprinciples. For exampel, it leaves open the discussion about “fast lanes” which upset a lot of activists. Moreover, 100 internet companies and have signed a letter asking the FCC to “suck it up and protect the open internet” since the proposed rules seem to tamper with the way traffic moves online, in what seems to be an attempt to reclassify broadband as a public utility. Also, 50 venture capitalist have joined the wave against the proposal and wrote their won letter warning about what bad rules can do to innovation and economy.
But if we pay a little bit of attention, we notice that paid fast lanes are already legal since 2010 and Netflix is just the first guinea pig of this net neutrality mess. Or better said, Netflix’s customers who have to pay more for the service after Netflix signed the deal with Comcast, which some see as being quite a good deal for the streaming service and not harmful at all. Anyway, fear not, Google Fiber, Google’s broadband provider, assures us it will never pull the schemes Comcast and Verizon do.
On June 5th we’ll celebrate one year from the first Snowden leak, a year in which we discovered a lot of new things about the world we leave in. We now know that NSA kills people just based on metadata (other still argue that “metadata is not surveillance”). We know that it is recording and surveying other countries’ officials – the latest country added on the list, Bahamas, where NSA records all cellphone calls – and that in doing so the organization just weakens the Internet.
As Cory Doctorow writes for The Guardian, everything about this is just wrong:
The longer the surveillance debate goes on, the more I realise that even if mass, total, continuous surveillance worked to catch terrorists, I would still oppose it. […]Putting whole populations – the whole human species – under continuous, total surveillance is a profoundly immoral act, no matter whether it works or not. There no longer is a meaningful distinction between the digital world and the physical world. Your public transit rides, your love notes, your working notes and your letters home from your journeys are now part of the global mesh of electronic communications. The inability to live and love, to experiment and err, without oversight, is wrong because it’s wrong, not because it doesn’t catch bad guys.
After one year, leaks keep leaking and the NSA doesn’t know how many files Snowden took; we know that there isn’t only one NSA, but more: GCHQ in UK or FRA in Sweden etc.; we know that not even Skype or Cisco hardware are surveillance free. The reasons to be angry are numerous! So, on June 5th, be angry, buy an anti-surveillance mask, or, better yet, Reset the Net: