I don’t like political rants, and I try to avoid them like the plague. That is why I try to present both sides of every argument. I realized, in posting twice about the upcoming Net Neutrality hearings by the US Government Agency FCC, that I was close to rant and hadn’t presented both sides. Based on that realization I want to clarify both positions being presented and the “discussed” intent of both sides. I am not going to describe the personal intent, just the broadly listed positions.
- Security and the implementation of security
- Privacy and the loss of privacy
Look let’s not hide the fact that both sides think the other is completely wrong. But let’s argue the two points that are publically shared today. Information should be easily and readily available to all, but it isn’t, and it hasn’t been in a long time. Let’s talk about why each side is wrong, and what we can do to avoid getting caught up in a mess.
- More information isn’t going to improve security. Having access to and control of more aspects of any one person doesn’t increase the ability to act and react to the actions of that person. I always tell people about the windows computer tech support scam. There is more than 1 billion computers running form of Windows in the world. Each of them, on a good day, generates 7-10 messages a day. Sorting through that many messages is impossible today. The same is true by the way for all the information sources on the internet. Yes making them only available as a premium service would reduce the number of users and therefore increase the likelihood of finding or catching abnormal behaviors. Even with the reduced access, it doesn’t solve the security issue. The dark web is called that because it is un-routed. That means only people that know the IP address of a website on the dark web can use that website. You can’t assign additional costs to sites that don’t follow the IP rules of the DNS world.
- Privacy is a painful issue. If you think you will lose all your privacy because Net Neutrality is removed, then you are in for a shock. In the past year, I have run into three different selfie drones. Each of them captured a picture of me, without my permission. There are laws about public locations and images captured, but the reality is those laws need to be changed. The other day I watched a video from south beach of a tiger shark swimming within 5 feet of beachgoers who were unaware of the shark. The photographer using a drone said, “I was too far away to warn them about the shark.” Those images, however, made it to the national news. While it is a free-use issue, it is still a loss of privacy. Ask anyone after a crime is committed in their neighborhood if they would be willing to allow the police into their home in the event of an attempt to capture a criminal. Before a horrible crime more than ½ the people would say no, or something even stronger. After a crime (and there are some studies to support this) more than ½ would say yes please do.
The world is evolving. Net Neutrality is a very complex issue. If someone says to you about Net Neutrality “it is all about this,” and point to a single issue pause and smile. Walk away, they are wound around that issue and not going to budge. Reality is both sides have strong points and extremely weak points.
Net Neutrality is an extremely complex problem. It is more than privacy, it is more than security, and it is more than a way to raise taxes and a way to increase the revenue of network providers. I think what people are missing right now on both sides, is that advertising will suddenly change the cost of the internet. Where today you can log in and use the side you want, tomorrow you may have to wade through 10, 12 ads before you are allowed to use the site you want to use. But we also have to consider the impact of terrorists and other criminals.