Verizon’s Internet power-grab

July 16, 2012 | By | 3 Replies More

Verizon has just filed an appellate brief arguing that they have the right to tell you how to use the Internet. They are couching their thirst for power and control in Orwellian terms–they are claiming that the GOVERNMENT is trying to regulate the Internet. Don’t be fooled.


Category: Net neutrality

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Tony says:

    You write about regulation like it is a bad thing. The government is trying to regulate (I hope) – but the telcos, not “the internet”. But given Obama’s record of though on civil liberties, soft on corporations, I guess the telcos have little to fear…

    • Erich Vieth says:

      The Telco as arguing that the government is trying to regulate them as though it is telling them to do things that would restrict consumer choices and expenses. That is highly misleading. I believe that the job of a telco is to move data, and I get to choose what kind of data and I get to choose what kinds of devices I want to hook up to the Internet. The main emphasis of the FCC rule being challenged by the Telcos is to maintain net neutrality. Here are the main principles, which I fully support:

      We stand for a free and open Internet.

      We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

      Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.

      Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.

      Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.

      Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.

      Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Ah Yes, the greed factor, (a.k.a. profit motive). Will corporations ever learn from the mistakes of their industry.
    back around the year 2000, The idea of the Internet appliance became popular.

    Internet Appliances, circa Y2K, were usually set top boxes, with an on board modem, modest computing abilities designed to act as a dial-up web terminal using a TV as a monitor. Some alternative designs sported small built-in monitors.
    These devices would access the internet through a bundled dial up service, and allowed users to surf the web using a remote keyboard. The appliances would also briefly connect to the service to check email, and to upload information about the user’s web browsing history. The services sold browser history data to advertisers for targeted advertising.

    Philips Electonics pioneered the market with their WebTv device and service. The WebTv Terminal’s browser firmware included an extended Javascript interpreted called Jellyscript which, among other things permitted remote administration of the device through specially formed email messages.

    Microsoft bought WebTv from Philips, and the mismanagement caused a lot of problems. The WebTv service agreement required the user to give personal info to the service, and abuses by the service management lead to people loosing access privileges when they voiced their complaints with the service.

    Eventually, due to competition from the “Real Computer” market and independent ISPs, WebTv lost its appeal, and became a money pit for Microsoft. However, the idea of software as a subscription service was so appealing to the company that they reorganized WebTv, renaming it MsnTv and combing the service into a cable based service. he MsnTv set-top boxes, in addition to reporting your browsing habits, also report TV viewing habits.

    MsnTv is making a bit of a comeback with the HD tv technology and the Digital Living Network Association creating standards for integrating web based media with broadcast media.

    My understand of Verizon’s claim is the assertion that the first amendment extends the right of censorship to publishers in that they, as content distributors are not required to distribute information they disagree with.

    To all you Verizon customers, it looks like a good time to drop Verizon. There are other cellular providers you know, and if others follow Verizon drop them too. Phone nad internet service providers are a venue, and if they keep exploiting their customers, they will cause a change in the nature of the nation that may favor the complete nationalization of phone system.

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