Local Presentation on Net Neutrality

EFF-Austin President, Kevin Welch, will be discussing the importance of Net Neutrality on June, 28th, 2018.

Though a hot topic, it may help to freshen up on the who, what, when, where and why of the subject.

Who/When/Where

The idea of Net Neutrality was developed by American lawyer Tim Wu, in his 2003 paper, Net Neutrality. Since then, the FCC as adopted its principles and used them as guidance for regulating Internet Service Providers.

In 2017, FCC chairman Ajit Pai argued that Title II, another piece of legislation in the evolutionary line of Net Neutrality,  had hampered infrastructure investment. “Among our nation’s 12 largest Internet service providers, domestic broadband capital expenditures decreased by 5.6% percent, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016, the first two years of the Title II era,” he stated. “This decline is extremely unusual. It is the first time that such investment has declined outside of a recession in the Internet era.”

Pai and his cohorts proceeded to begin repealing Net Neutrality Laws that same year, thus bringing us to the ongoing battle to keep it alive.

Why

Essentially, the goal of Net Neutrality is to ensure that the internet remains a fertile grounds for innovation and growth.

Wu explains that in the habit of ignoring long-term growth ISPs have “shown a tendency” to ban new and emerging applications/network attachments, out of “suspicion or an interest in price discrimination.”

He stresses that ISP operators and prospect holders have a cognitive bias that makes it unlikely for them to come to the ‘right decisions,’ in terms of the development for the optimal path of innovation, that could minimize the excesses of innovative competition.

What

Net Neutrality is an attempt at striking a balance, as Wu states in the original paper: “To forbid broadband operators, absent of a showing of harm, from restricting what users do with their internet connection, while giving the operator general freedom to manage bandwidth consumption and other matters of local concern.”

Plain and simple, this translates to making sure that users and customers are able to continue using their service without ‘discrimination’ against their apps, programs etc, while ISPs are able to still police only their own local network.

Wu explains that ISPs have every right to police their local networks, but most importantly, that there shouldn’t be ‘restrictions’ across the ‘inter-network’.

Because of Net Neutrality regulations, we are able to freely and efficiently use the internet as the public utility that its become. Join us for our presentation, for these ideas help uphold the structure of the internet and its ability to nurture growth and development. Information on the event can be found here.

August 14th Meetup – Building the Indieweb

Our speaker this month is Tom Brown. Tom Brown is an open source software developer interested in digital identity, and he often attends Internet Identity Workshop and more recently IndiewebCamps. Tom has added open standards related to identity to several popular software projects. He can be found online as herestomwiththeweather.

Tom will be speaking to us about the Indieweb, a version of the internet that puts people and their direct social interactions at the center of its design. For more than 25 years, the web has provided us tools to be social online. However, as we adopt the same closed platforms, we see our experience change without our consent and we see the terms and services become increasingly antagonistic. This is often a gradual bait and switch by the platform which has locked us in as we were drawn in by network effects. In these silos, we are not in control of our conversations online as Kafkaesque algorithms decide what is seen. What should be a public space is not controlled by the public. Often times, the decentralized systems that try to address these problems are developed by a limited group of people and subsequently may not offer the user experiences sufficient for adoption. There are trade-offs in every design and we can choose which principles to follow.

The Indieweb is a people-focused alternative to the “corporate web” and is motivated by a set of principles including encouraging a plurality of projects, modularity and prioritizing user interface and design before protocols. It is possible to talk to each other online even when we’re on different sites and be in control of our social web software. In this meeting, we’ll see how the emerging Indieweb is expanding our options to regain control of the web and what that experience looks like.

Join us for the discussion from 7:00PM-9:00PM, followed by drinks and camaraderie from 9:00PM-10:00PM at Firehouse Lounge (605 Brazos St).

Capital Factory is located at 701 Brazos Street, on the 16th floor of the Omni Hotel. Once on the 16th floor, there should be a sign at the front desk directing you to our meetup. If there is no sign, and no one is on duty at the desk, we are usually in the room to the left of the front desk.

Talk will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/austintechlive

Parking for the Omni Garage can be validated at the Capital Factory front desk, reducing the cost from $16 to $5. Details: https://capitalfactory.com/parking/

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https://www.facebook.com/events/1774392195912231/

Building The Indieweb

Monday, Aug 14, 2017, 7:00 PM

Capital Factory
701 Brazos Street, Suite 1601 Austin, TX

15 Activists Attending

Our speaker this month is Tom Brown. Tom Brown is an open source software developer interested in digital identity, and he often attends Internet Identity Workshop and more recently IndiewebCamps.  Tom has added open standards related to identity to several popular software projects.  He can be found online as herestomwiththeweather.Tom will be sp…

Check out this Meetup →

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Stop Media Consolidation

Stop Media Consolidation - infographic

From FreePress.net: “If the FCC proposal passes, one company could own the major daily newspaper, two TV stations and up to eight radio stations in your town. And that one company could be your Internet provider, too. What is the FCC thinking?!?”