Strong opinions, weakly held

Grassroots Network Neutrality

People for Internet Responsibility has launched a new effort to monitor network providers for violations of network neutrality called NNSquad. It seems unlikely that we’ll ever see a law enforcing network neutrality, and there are very good arguments that such a law would be impossible to enforce or would hurt more than it helps.

Network providers aren’t going to post on their Web sites when they discriminate against various forms of traffic or against various content providers, so it’s up to users to keep an eye on them and gather the information that enables markets to work. That’s where NNSquad comes in:

The project’s focus includes detection, analysis, and incident reporting of any anticompetitive, discriminatory, or other restrictive actions on the part of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or affiliated entities, such as the blocking or disruptive manipulation of applications, protocols, transmissions, or bandwidth; or other similar behaviors not specifically requested by their customers.

Other key aspects of the project are discussions, technology development and deployment, and associated activities — fostering cooperation and mutually agreeable methodologies whenever possible — aimed at keeping the Internet a maximally unhindered, useful, competitive, fair, and open environment for the broadest possible range of applications and services.

PFIR has lined up a number of notable people to head up the group. Hopefully the effort will turn out to be productive.

1 Comment

  1. There’s no law, but the FCC is legally in charge of regulating telecoms, and the FCC says that network providers should operate under network neutrality, and the FCC has pursued at least one provider who failed to operate under such terms. So there is some legal or regulatory framework already in operation.

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