In the war against free speech on the internet the Telcos are quietly winning. Here’s the latest blows:
- In December, Rogers Communications ( a Telecommunications and Internet Service provider), essentially hacked Google, adding a message to Google’s home page that appeared to it’s customers that where getting close to the ISP’s bandwidth limit.
- Comcast has admitted to blocking file-sharing traffic. link
- Comcast is discovered to blocking non file-sharing software as well. link
- — BTW, the methods they use are illegal (packet forging and/or spoofing) are not just illegal but felonies (each act) under federal law.
- — Ironicly, comcast reported this story on their own site, I quess they are proud of their censorship efforts
- Time Warner/AOL blocked e-mails from and to subscribers that were critical of thier “pay-to-send” (a method that ensure that spam will reach AOL users for a fee) email plan. link
- Verizon prevented the abortion rights group Naral Pro-Choice America from getting a “short code” that would allow the group to send text messages to supporters. They claim they have a right to block anything they’d like.link
- Comcast blocks other companies VOIP traffic a few days before they begin offering their own VOIP services for twice as much as others. link
- Telus (an ISP in Canada) blocked 766 websites in an effort to block one Pro-Union web site during a lock-out by the company. link. NOTE: This is a very extremely sloppy and lazy way to block one site.
- AT&T cut off the webcast of a Pearl Jam concert just when lead singer Eddie Veder was critical of U.S. President George Bush. link
The Telco’s argument in justification of all this is twofold as is their battle plan:
Legislation battle: They are actively trying to get the US Legislature to set up two “tiers” of internet traffic. One tier will be like it is now (mostly) unfiltered and un-slowed. The other will be slowed drastically. Of course this isn’t how they word it but it what the are wanting nonetheless. Their proposed legislation would allow them to charge whatever they want, in individual deals for web site owners to be on the normal tier. All other would be slowed down as much as the ISP saw fit.
As any web master will tell you a page load time of 3 seconds or more will absolutely kill your amount of visits.
The meaning between the lines of this law: If they don’t like what you have to say, you have a product that competes with one of theirs, have political views they don’t like or are affiliated with any of these you will in the slow lane.
Google, youtube and other sites use too much bandwidth, they should have to pay extra.
Their Defense instantly debunked:
Web site owners already have to pay for bandwidth according to how much we use. The more visitors we have and the more files (and/or the larger they are) the more it costs us. We pay by the Gigabyte usually. They can just raise the price if they want more money.
Secretly Blocking certain types of traffic used by their customers:
They say they do this because a small portion of their customers use far more than the rest of their customers put together.
Their Defense debunked:
- They haven’t shown any data to show this is true or it’s as bad as they say it is
- They could just charge by the bandwidth used if they want to.
- They could just charge more to all customers if they want to.