Free Press continues the Scare Tactics

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.

“In October 2007, the Associated Press busted Comcast for blocking its users’ access to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks like BitTorrent and Gnutella. This fraudulent practice is a glaring violation of Net Neutrality.”

Nope. Comcast slows BitTorrent seeding, but doesn’t interfere with BitTorrent downloads. And it doesn’t interfere with Gnutella (a piracy tool) at all. No violation of any law.

“In 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.”

Nope. Verizon didn’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.

“In August 2007, AT&T censored a live webcast of a Pearl Jam concert just as lead singer Eddie Vedder criticized President Bush.”

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.

“In 2006, Time Warner’s AOL blocked all emails that mentioned — an advocacy campaign opposing the company’s pay-to-send e-mail scheme.”

This was simply a spam filter run amok. It happens.

“In 2005, Canada’s telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a contentious labor dispute.”

One word: CANADA.

“In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.”

No, they blocked VoIP, not a “web-based” anything. The FCC fined them for it, and they stopped, proving that existing law is sufficient.

“Shaw, a major Canadian cable, internet, and telephone service company, intentionally downgrades the “quality and reliability” of competing Internet-phone services that their customers might choose — driving customers to their own phone services not through better services, but by rigging the marketplace.”

Nope, Shaw sells (in CANADA) a service that prevents P2P degradation of VoIP. It’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.

2 thoughts on “Free Press continues the Scare Tactics”

  1. Thanks for the factual response. I’m afraid that my own postings on this have been less reasonable, as when I christened the whole Network Neutrality movement as a “coalition of the deranged” (see

    Neither Free Press nor its paid puppets seem to care a whit for facts or the truth, which is why I am beginning the think that their 15 minutes of fame will soon be at an end.

    Interestingly enough, the people who post to most of the tech sites (and even to free press, when their responses are not censored) do understand what is at stake in this battle, and want no part of the “neutrality” they offer.

    Unless or until advocates can give a clear example of how the current system has failed to address legitimate needs of Internet users, the issue of “network neutrality” needs to be retired.

    Dave McClure

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