Save the Internet, the front group for Free Press and Google’s main organ in the net neutrality campaign, never ceases to amaze me. They’ve got another bizarre piece of paranoia on their blog about the “closed” network that the Internet will soon become without some random piece of ill-formed regulation. Brett Glass questions them for some evidence, and they offer the following, which I’ve annotated with corrections.
â€œIn October 2007, the Associated Press busted Comcast for blocking its usersâ€™ access to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks like BitTorrent and Gnutella. This fraudulent practice is a glaring violation of Net Neutrality.â€
Nope. Comcast slows BitTorrent seeding, but doesnâ€™t interfere with BitTorrent downloads. And it doesnâ€™t interfere with Gnutella (a piracy tool) at all. No violation of any law.
â€œIn September 2007, Verizon was caught banning pro-choice text messages. After a New York Times expose, the phone company reversed its policy, claiming it was a glitch.â€
Nope. Verizon didnâ€™t block a single text message. There was a 24-hour delay in issuing a shortcode to NARAL; shortcodes enable people to setup the equivalent of an e-mail list of SMS addresses. It had nothing to do with the Internet.
â€œIn August 2007, AT&T censored a live webcast of a Pearl Jam concert just as lead singer Eddie Vedder criticized President Bush.â€
This was a concert AT&T streamed from its own web site, not something Pearl Jam did on its own. This is no different from STI censoring comments on its blog, which it does all the time.
â€œIn 2006, Time Warnerâ€™s AOL blocked all emails that mentioned http://www.dearaol.com â€” an advocacy campaign opposing the companyâ€™s pay-to-send e-mail scheme.â€
This was simply a spam filter run amok. It happens.
â€œIn 2005, Canadaâ€™s telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a contentious labor dispute.â€
One word: CANADA.
â€œIn 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.â€
No, they blocked VoIP, not a â€œweb-basedâ€ anything. The FCC fined them for it, and they stopped, proving that existing law is sufficient.
â€œShaw, a major Canadian cable, internet, and telephone service company, intentionally downgrades the â€œquality and reliabilityâ€ of competing Internet-phone services that their customers might choose â€” driving customers to their own phone services not through better services, but by rigging the marketplace.â€
Nope, Shaw sells (in CANADA) a service that prevents P2P degradation of VoIP. Itâ€™s a good service.
So the bottom line is: STI offers only exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies. Everyone should oppose any campaign built on such a foundation.