"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Monday, September 21, 2009

Net Neutrality - a bad idea

This article in Wall Street Journal Online describes an upcoming battle over new regulations being proposed by the FCC.

For those not technically inclined, the new rules sound like they would enforce "fairness", but in reality would leave network operators without the ability to manage their networks.

To illustrate this point, note that viruses are "applications". Viruses sometimes use so much bandwidth that users become unable to use the internet. A network operator, like Comcast, under these new rules, would be prohibited from "interfering" with such an "application". It is likely that exceptions would be devised for this case, but there are many others that are just as problematic. It is currently common for network operators to restrict "abusive" traffic on their networks in order to ensure that their users get adequate service. It is up to the judgement of the network operators, on their private networks, to do what they think best.

Imagine a virus outbreak on Comcast's network, and needing to wait days or weeks to get a decision from the FCC before the network administrators can get started in blocking its spread.

These rules are a very bad idea, pushed largely by people who do not understand the technology. In essence, "Network Neutrality" is the cyber equivalent of eminent domain, confiscating some portion of "the internet" in the "public interest".

These new FCC regulations are a new form of Network Neutrality, which is a Bad Idea in all its forms.

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