Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged Net Neutrality

In 2010, after two years of preparation and a fierce battle, the Dutch
parliament accepted a change to the Telecommunications Act which made net neutrality a principle that was protected by law. In this talk we will take stock after two years of legal protection of net neutrality in The Netherlands. Did it work and do the Dutch now have undiscriminated access to all services on the internet? Has the doomsday scenario of the providers, that subscriptions would become outrageously expensive, become reality? In which cases was the Dutch law enforced?

Are there any loopholes in the Dutch implementation? If others are to fight for net neutrality, what are the pitfalls to avoid? And, on a more meta-level, is it enough? Will net neutrality protect your freedom to access websites and services, or do we need a broader type neutrality?

More.

Video.

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Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest telecommunications carrier is set to start charging subscribers extra money for using services, such as Skype, in an effort to boost revenues.

internet or data plans that give customers discounted rates will only be valid for internet browsing and will exclude Voice over IP services (VoIP).

VoIP services include those such as Skype, Line and Viber that typically let users make free calls through the internet.

An Airtel spokeswoman said the charges will only apply to pre-paid customers and will be implemented soon.

More at Slashdot.

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In a new report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns that Internet service providers (ISPs) may use data caps to impose higher prices on home users.

ISPs have argued that consumers could benefit from caps or “usage-based pricing,” because consumers who use small amounts of data would pay less than customers who use a lot more, similar to how the cellular market works. But there isn’t enough competition in all cities or towns to prevent ISPs from abusing data caps, the GAO wrote.

“Although few fixed Internet customers are affected by UBP [usage-based pricing] at this time, the number could grow to the extent that fixed Internet providers increase their use of UBP and data use grows,” the GAO wrote. “Providers could implement UBP in a way that benefits consumers—for example, by offering low-data, low-cost plans for customers who do not want to pay for an unlimited data plan they do not need. However, providers—especially those facing limited competition—could use UBP as a means to increase their profits which could result in UBP having negative effects, including increased prices paid by consumers, reductions in content and applications accessed by consumers, and increased threats to network security.”

Comcast is already testing usage caps and plans to roll it out nationwide to consumers.

In this trial, XFINITY Internet Economy Plus customers can choose to enroll in the Flexible-Data Option to receive a $5.00 credit on their monthly bill and reduce their data usage plan from 300 GB to 5 GB. If customers choose this option and use more than 5 GB of data in any given month, they will not receive the $5.00 credit and will be charged an additional $1.00 for each gigabyte of data used over the 5 GB included in the Flexible-Data Option.

For those who are concerned, there is something you can do to tell the FCC this is a problem.

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After learning where your state stands on municipal broadband, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

Some tips in writing your complaint include the fact that the average cord cutter uses 328 GB of data per month just with Netflix and referencing some other statistics from this site.

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In a new trial, Comcast has found yet another way to screw its customers.

In this trial, XFINITY Internet Economy Plus customers can choose to enroll in the Flexible-Data Option to receive a $5.00 credit on their monthly bill and reduce their data usage plan from 300 GB to 5 GB. If customers choose this option and use more than 5 GB of data in any given month, they will not receive the $5.00 credit and will be charged an additional $1.00 for each gigabyte of data used over the 5 GB included in the Flexible-Data Option.

This is considered a deal to the customers. Reduce your data cap by 295 GB per month for a $5 discount. If you use those 295 GB, it will cost you $1 per gigabyte or $295. Fifteen years ago, heavy users used around 300 GB per month. Today, that is easily used up with the multiple choices in a short amount of time.

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Do you browse websites, such as Reddit? That’s going to be about 3-7 GB a month depending on the subreddits you visit.

Netflix HD stream is about 5 GB every two hours.

YouTube and Twitch? That’s 2GB per hour.

In college and need the Internet at your apartment for research? Better take out extra student loans.

Do you use Dropbox, Carbonite or some other online backup service? Plan on paying extra to access the data.

Do you play games online? Steam has games available that are 5-60 GB in size. It will only take a year to download larger games. Don’t try to download Titanfall or FF13 all at once. Halo: MCC had a 20 GB patch download. That’s $15 just to download it under the Comcast plan.

The average American watches four hours of television per day. Your entire cap is going to be used up in a single day. What will you do the rest of the month? You’d better go outside or plan on hefty bills from Comcast.

This is Comcast’s poorly disguised attempt to keep people from cutting the cord and leaving cable. It’s also their way of sticking a middle finger at net neutrality. Instead of trying to improve their a la carte offerings and listen to the customer, Comcast decided they can’t compete with services like Netflix and are going to screw the customer, who often has no other choice for cable or Internet.

First they double dipped in payments from Netflix and customers and are now out to make customers pay even more for wanting to have a choice in entertainment.

Simply surfing the web is going to be a huge problem, particularly with sites like CNN that insist on autoplay video ads for every video you try to watch. You will hit your data cap just watching those commercials. Music, gaming, file transfers, backups, remote desktops, online meetings, etc. will be unusable if you intended to stay within that 5 GB cap. Want more bandwidth? You’re going to pay dearly for it.

If you go with one of their other plans, you’ll pay $10 per 50 GB over the cap. Customers wouldn’t have to be in this position if the money they were given 20 years ago by Congress was actually used to improve networks instead of being pocketed by the companies.

If you click on Why are you making this change? you get the following response:

As the marketplace and technology change, we do too. We evaluate customer data usage, and a variety of other factors, and make adjustments accordingly. Over the last several years, we have periodically reviewed various plans, and recently we have been analyzing the market and our process through various data usage plan trials.

There is no reason other than we want more money, but they can’t come out and say that. If net neutrality is killed, just watch how fast Comcast and other cable companies start offering Netflix in the “special delivery” section. Then, not only do they charge Netflix more to have access, you will pay your monthly fee to Netflix and an extra fee to Comcast.

These companies have monopolies in nearly every town they are in. They have no competition and do as they please, knowing you, the customer, are stuck with them. If you want to make a difference, call the FCC.

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Sen. Al Franken says Sen. Ted Cruz ‘s comparison of net neutrality as ‘Obamacare for internet’ is completely wrong.

Al Franken’s speech from four year’s ago on net neutrality is still relevant. The heart of it is around 11:30.

Franken made a PSA earlier this year explaining net neutrality. He’s been fighting for four years.

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