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Protecting 'Us' from 'Them'

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Monday, 31 January 2011

Can't push him too hard; he might break. You gotta’ remember who you're dealing with.” – Steve McCroskey, Airplane (1980), Paramount

Who Can Be Against Net Neutrality, Privacy Rules?

The government has finally proven the saying, “If you love something, set it free … if it comes back it’s yours.  If it doesn’t, hunt it down and kill it!!”

Back in the ‘60s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) had this idea to protect us from “them.”

Information and communications were the keys to survival.

Then, in the ‘80s, they privatized it.

In the ‘90s, it became commercial.

Today, billions of people and millions of organizations – good, bad, ugly – say it’s theirs.

The iNet, the Web didn’t go back to the government.

Obviously, it’s time to show them who knows best.

People who have grown up not knowing life without the iNet/Web are told they need to be protected from “them.”  So they invented new departments/offices with great sounding names – Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality and the US Commerce Department’s Privacy Policy Office.

Net Neutrality

Now, the FTC has dubious legal rights to lay down new regulations for the fixed wire and wireless net activities; but will that stop or slow them down?

Didn’t the government put the fun back into flying?

Imagine what they can do with Net Neutrality!

The FCC proposed "The Basic Rules of the Road,” a set of rules that create two classes of Internet access, one for fixed-line providers, one for wireless folks.

The proposed rules prevent the “old, bully” providers – Comcast, Qwest, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) – from blocking
access to sites and applications.
Big Old Meanies – Yes, those big “old” established Internet service companies could unfairly pick on the weaker, defenseless phone companies.  Obviously, the “hot, sexy” technology needs protection so it can build its own economy, its own infrastructure and stand on its own.  Phone folks stick repeaters up on poles while wired folks invest in laying miles and miles of fiber cable. 
Some people have better lobbyists.

The “weak, struggling” wireless folks, however, could limit access to services and apps.

The results?

Why, of course it would encourage Internet innovation and protect consumers from abuses!

Government policy makers help you really understand the old saying, Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.”

They never looked at the bullies infrastructure (which they built) to see if it could handle their weaker siblings.

No Speed Demon – While the government moves to protect the fledging wireless network and the investments providers have to make to expand, upgrade their services; they overlook the investment wired network providers made in fiber and cable over the years.  An equal investment will be needed to keep pace with bandwidth demand.  This includes 10s of thousands of miles of cable criss-crossing the oceans, seas of the world.  A tremendous U.S. investment will have to be made to keep pace with global leaders.  Source – Akamai

The underdogs – AT&T, Verizon – will have the right to “reasonable network management.”

That means they can do what service providers do in other countries--offer “paid prioritization” and tiered service offerings.

Translated that means:
-          Services can pay for faster transmission of data.
-          Users can choose metered service schedules – calls, data, video, music.

Most folks don’t really notice if any of these companies are slowing down the speed of peer-to-peer apps or giving their services more bandwidth.  (Do you really know the difference between 2G, 3G, 4G?)

As McCroskey said, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.”

Streaming Glee and Lady GaGa’s newest music videos to your phone is important.

You might notice you have to pay for more phone capacity/speed, but that’s different!

The government – any government – acting in the public’s interest make you feel all warm ‘n fuzzy.


The Commerce Dept is determined to show the FCC that they are just as interested in protecting people, and their privacy police is a super response!

They’re modeling it after the Department of Homeland Security rules (that makes us feel better) that govern the use of personally identifiable information.

The key points include:
-          Companies need to be transparent about data use.
-          Organizations should seek individual consent to collect, use, disseminate and maintain their information.
-          Companies should spell out how data will be used.
-          Data minimization should be deployed.
-          Companies should use personal data only for the use disclosed.
-          Personal data should be secure, accurate and audited.
They just figured out that no one really understands (even if you read them) those application, site agreements you accept.

True, but you tell them it’s free and they’re there!

That’s the way Google (home of the free stuff monitizer) racks up billions in revenue every year.

They’re not as outspoken as their nemesis, Facebook.

Zuck, who has gone to great lengths to clean up his image, blurted out what our kids have known for year of living on the iNet, “Privacy is dead.”

You’re Out There – People are willing to spread their information across the web on this site and that site in exchange for freebies.  However, they disagree with site marketers following their activities to offer them new products/services, coupons, etc.  Placing your information on Facebook, tweeting it around makes it tough for the Privacy Police to protect you.

Privacy became real important to them when WikiLeaks started throwing out all those dumb notes government folks were sending back and forth to each other being crafty, sneaky, snide, slippery, two-faced – you know human – in their dealings.

As Striker said, “It's a good thing he doesn't know how much I hate his guts.”

WikiLeaks survives, thrives basically because:
-          Someone is ticked off at someone and wants to make their statements, words public to embarrass them.
-          Someone feels someone isn’t acting in “the public’s interest” and wants to bare their evil doing to the world.

We’re not pessimistic, but even our kids realize that they have measured control over their privacy.


Private Suggestions – If you ask people if it’s OK for companies/organizations to follow your activities on the Web, there is a resounding NO.   Ask them if they want these same people to present them with special offers, coupons, enhanced service and it is a solid YES.  Unfortunately, even free costs something.  

When we asked our son for help, he quoted Rumack, “I'm doing everything I can... and stop calling me Shirley!”

Web users – especially kids who have grown up with the Web – are more educated about how much of their information is available online and they know how to control it.

The Social Scene – While people are increasingly comfortable using the iNet/Web, they are also smarter on what information they should make available and when they should opt out.  Younger adults have grown up with a healthy skepticism in products, services available around the Internet.  

Last year, Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that more than 30% of all Internet users ages 18 to 64 were worried about the amount of information available about them on the Web.

The young crowd takes a more Laissez-faire approach, they’re vigilant about their personal information.

Cripes, they share everything – photos, videos, status updates, life experiences, connections, etc on social network sites. 

They also how to tweak, tune their privacy settings to manage access to “their” information.

Our kids know Web sites drop cookies on computers/devices to track online preferences and activities.
Creative people have moved beyond cookies to device fingerprinting – tracking signals specific to your laptop or mobile device.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Flickr, thousands of other social sites reap huge databases of personal minutiae they sell to marketers and … governments.  
Their powerful (and getting better) software engines aggregate and analyze data to understand how you behave and interact with your connected world -- what you watch, what you click, what you don’t click, where you are, who/what you are near, what you buy, what you eat, like/dislike, you name it.

The better the job they do, the more relevant the ads, ideas, products they can encourage you to buy.  And, the more “free” services they can offer you to deliver more ads, ideas, products.
That’s called free enterprise with a huge emphasis on free, which folks like.
Of course, bad guys do the same thing.
You put enough personal and relationship data out there in 10s – 100s of locations, and they can ultimately find your specific personal identification information.

Security folks who are always one step behind cyberthieves agree with Striker, “No, I've been nervous lots of times.”
The Privacy Police’s “Privacy Bill of Rights” will limit data collectors and protect you.
Come on, how can you be against that?

Oh sure, Brits estimate that everyone in England is captured on camera 300 times a day, governments track online communications internally and externally but…that’s different.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take someone tracking me trying to sell me something over the government – any government – tracking me.

Seeing what most government departments and agencies do for us, we agree with the controller, “I know, but this guy has no flying experience at all. He's a menace to himself and everything else in the air... yes, birds too.”

But maybe the government will get Net Neutrality and Privacy right.

Government Arrival – Many people get a little frightened when they hear someone say, “Hi I’m from the government and am here to help you.”  Give some departments an inch and … Photo Source – Paramount Pictures
After all, we now meet really fun, interesting people when you decide to fly today!
Hits: 1955

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