Sunday, February 9, 2014

Loss of Net Neutrality leads to Extortion.

I control your access.
Let's say that I run an internet service; we'll make up a name for it ... Infinity. You and your students design this really cool bit of software that allows any kid to practice their driving skills using a nearly perfect simulation. You include weather and road condition variables, radio stations and other distractions that need to be managed, random people walking in crosswalks. In short, you make this cool game.

Or you're Netflix. Or Amazon. Or a Hospital software company.

I purposely slow down the data from your servers going to anyone on my network, making it look bad, with jumpy video and poor response times. I program my servers so that data from my customers going back to your server is misdirected or slowed down as well. In fact, I slow it down so much that your software never catches on and your VC funding goes away.

Why would I do that?
Pay for the Fast Lane even though
I'm the one that dug
the potholes in the road.
  • It takes a lot of data and I don't like that.
  • I don't like that you are using my network and pumping tons of data across it and I don't get a cut of the income you're pulling in. Pay me 10% and I'll let it go unobstructed.
  • I just don't feel like going to the effort of upgrading my network.
  • A group making similar software is paying me and you're not. It's just capitalism, baby.
  • Maybe I just don't like you because you're Indian, or a woman.
  • Maybe you look like a sucker from whom I can extort money.
  • Maybe I'm going to take your idea and make it myself - I slow you down but not my affiliate.
We'll also charge our own customers in the same way, "Pay extra for higher speed Internet" even though we deliberately caused the slowdowns to give them an "incentive" to pay us more. Our customers don't have a choice, anyway; it's not like there's an alternative to cable for them.

Capitalism, baby.

Understand, you'll have to pay protection money to every internet service provider in the country, negotiate separate deals with each one, ... but I don't care. If you pay me, then my customers will like me more because this game runs better on my servers, I get more subscribers ... Capitalism, baby.

That's what Net Neutrality denies and forbids:  Internet Protection Rackets. Digital Extortion.

I'd call it organized crime, but the mob at least protects you from more than just their own enforcers. Sure, they'll break your front window if you don't pay them but they'll also keep other gangs from damaging your place.

INFINITY Internet services, on the other hand, can't even do that much. We are going to charge you extra so that your driving simulator doesn't get "damaged" by INFINITY's own deliberate slowdowns. We make no guarantees about preventing malware attacks or damage from other gangs.

We're making money by the truckload. You've already paid us plenty. We just figured out this way to get you to pay more.

Capitalism, baby. Screw you.

Ever wonder why Americans pay up to ten times as much as citizens of other countries, yet get service that's only one-twelfth as fast?

Capitalism, baby. Screw you.

That's why we need Net Neutrality.

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