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Negroponte on Neutrality: 'Maybe Streaming Should be Illegal'
by Karl Bode 08:46AM Friday Aug 15 2014
One of Verizon's big arguments against net neutrality rules is that if you have a truly neutral network, the bits managing grandma's pacemaker or services for the deaf will somehow get lost in the shuffle. That of course is a massive red herring, given that informed neutrality supporters obviously don't oppose reasonable network management, as long as it's fair and transparent.

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MIT Media Lab founder, industry veteran and co-founder of Wired Nicholas Negroponte seems a little confused on this subject as well, despite an obviously rich history in technology. Speaking over at Big Think, Negroponte chimes in on a number of subjects, though it's his comments on neutrality (which begin at the 3:04 mark in this video) that get interesting.

After claiming that you can't really have a truly neutral network because e-book bits aren't the same as pacemaker bits, Negroponte seems to go off the rails a little bit. Like Verizon (who is a MIT Media Lab donor, coincidentally or not), Negroponte seems to think that net neutrality is about forcing equality among all traffic and services with a total disregard for reasonable network management, creating this network dystopia where important services get obliterated by your Netflix streaming:
quote:
to argue that they’re all equal is crazy. So how do you reconcile that and still say neutral in some sense where some aren’t charged and some are charged and so on. What I can assure you on the topic is those of us who were there at the beginning of the Internet never imagined that Netflix would represent 40 percent of it on Sunday afternoons. It was just off the charts. We just didn’t think that. There is, to me, a certain morality in that because why the hell are you streaming video. Maybe streaming should be illegal. But the point being that all bits aren’t created equal and whether that resolves itself into net neutrality or not net neutrality is a separate story.
Maybe a service that consumers are requesting from their ISPs is immoral and should be illegal because it consumes a larger portion of the network in a way you didn't foresee? Really? Again, nobody that is actually informed on the issue of neutrality is arguing that there can't be reasonable and transparent network management when it comes to some services. The goal of neutrality rules is to prevent larger ISPs from abusing the uncompetitive last mile with anti-competitive behavior, not to give grandma a heart attack from collective obtuseness.


88 comments .. click to read

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xthepeoplesx

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reply to toejam

Re: Stupid

I am going to recommend STP's fluid, it works very well for me. Be careful though to only use the blinkers in dire needs because it is expensive and you will need to have your blinker lines flushed atleast once a year or every 10,000 miles.


workablob

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reply to anderboy

Re: all bits ARE equal

said by anderboy:

What the hell does this have to do with anything?

Why so rude?

Blob
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toejam

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reply to LTE4LIFE

Re: Stupid

Funny you should say...I'm out of blinker fluid myself.

elefante72

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reply to anderboy

Re: all bits ARE equal

Well if the pacemaker pushes out the bits, it has a processor on it. So theoretically there can be many ways to deal with it. Maybe someone designs a defibrillator that takes action in the body. I mean M2M communications doesnt presuppose local intelligence and actions.

This is well overblown. I have had VOIP for almost 10 years. In the last 7 I can't recall even a smidgen of problems and I was streaming Netflix since it came out.

"Real time" communications aren't real-time. Streaming, VOIP, Skype uses buffers, etc and almost all use UDP which by default is not guaranteed transmission. But yet it works and life goes on.

Look at the Nest. Great it's internet enabled, but it can still function w/ local intelligence or ye olde regular thermostat.

elefante72

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East Amherst, NY

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reply to pumpkinhead7

Re: Stupid

Not ignorant. When you live in PRC (Peoples republic of Cambridge) its all gumdrops and lollipops. Reality is from a frame of reference.

10 years ago P2P was taking up 40% and it was going to doom the internet. Yawn. It got faster and transit costs have plummeted. In 10 years maybe M2M (machine to machine--those pacemaker bits) will dominate. So what. It will get faster and cheaper.

The real crux is say why Comcast has a 300GB cap which ORIGINALLY (at 250GB) hit maybe 1%, but now is in the middle of the bell curve. That is not net neutrality, its simply monopolistic pricing power.

LTE4LIFE

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reply to pumpkinhead7
pacemaker bits?!? dear jeebus what a tool!!!

if you believe his argument, then perhaps I can sell you on needing some muffler bearings or blinker fluid for your car....


Jason Levine
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Neutral

So how do you reconcile that and still say neutral in some sense where some aren’t charged and some are charged and so on.

This is sneaking in the "we'll charge for fast lane access" argument right here. He's assuming "fast lane access" will be done and then asking "How can you have the bits be neutral when some of them paid for fast lane access?" He might as well ask "How can everyone be equally represented by politicians when we bribe the politicians to put our needs first? It's just not fair!"

What I can assure you on the topic is those of us who were there at the beginning of the Internet never imagined that Netflix would represent 40 percent of it on Sunday afternoons. It was just off the charts. We just didn’t think that.

No, they didn't. They also didn't envision social media or rich web applications. I'm sure they didn't think that you could work on a spreadsheet on Google Docs while you watch cat videos on YouTube. They definitely didn't think you'd be able to click on a link and have Google Voice call a number for you. They sure didn't think we'd be accessing documents on the web via tiny, handheld, portable computers with touch screen displays and mobile Internet access (i.e. smart phones). Heck, the original designers of the Internet didn't think of the World Wide Web at first, either.

Just because the original designers of the Internet didn't think of something when they first created the Internet doesn't mean it should be illegal. It means that the Internet is growing and changing which is a good thing.
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limegrass69
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Research Bought and Paid For?

Hey, look! Verizon is a sponsor of the MIT Media Lab!!

»www.media.mit.edu/sponsorship/sponsor-list

What a surprise.