Libertarians are against net neutrality

This post claims to be by a libertarian in support of net neutrality. As a libertarian, I need to debunk this. "Net neutrality" is a case of one-hand clapping, you rarely hear the competing side, and thus, that side may sound attractive. This post is about the other side, from a libertarian point of view.That post just repeats the common, and wrong, left-wing talking points. I mean, there might be a libertarian case for some broadband regulation, but this isn't it.This thing they call "net neutrality" is just left-wing politics masquerading as some sort of principle. It's no different than how people claim to be "pro-choice", yet demand forced vaccinations. Or, it's no different than how people claim to believe in "traditional marriage" even while they are on their third "traditional marriage".Properly defined, "net neutrality" means no discrimination of network traffic. But nobody wants that. A classic example is how most internet connections have faster download speeds than uploads. This discriminates against upload traffic, harming innovation in upload-centric applications like DropBox's cloud backup or BitTorrent's peer-to-peer file transfer. Yet activists never mention this, or other types of network traffic discrimination, because they no more care about "net...
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A Thanksgiving Carol: How Those Smart Engineers at Twitter Screwed Me

Thanksgiving Holiday is a time for family and cheer. Well, a time for family. It's the holiday where we ask our doctor relatives to look at that weird skin growth, and for our geek relatives to fix our computers. This tale is of such computer support, and how the "smart" engineers at Twitter have ruined this for life.My mom is smart, but not a good computer user. I get my enthusiasm for science and math from my mother, and she has no problem understanding the science of computers. She keeps up when I explain Bitcoin. But she has difficulty using computers. She has this emotional, irrational belief that computers are out to get her.This makes helping her difficult. Every problem is described in terms of what the computer did to her, not what she did to her computer. It's the computer that needs to be fixed, instead of the user. When I showed her the "haveibeenpwned.com" website (part of my tips for securing computers), it showed her Tumblr password had been hacked. She swore she never created a Tumblr account -- that somebody or something must have done it for her. Except, I was there five...
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Don Jr.: I’ll bite

So Don Jr. tweets the following, which is an excellent troll. So I thought I'd bite. The reason is I just got through debunk Democrat claims about NetNeutrality, so it seems like a good time to balance things out and debunk Trump nonsense.The issue here is not which side is right. The issue here is whether you stand for truth, or whether you'll seize any factoid that appears to support your side, regardless of the truthfulness of it. The ACLU obviously chose falsehoods, as I documented. In the following tweet, Don Jr. does the same.It's a preview of the hyperpartisan debates are you are likely to have across the dinner table tomorrow, which each side trying to outdo the other in the false-hoods they'll claim.Need something to discuss over #Thanksgiving dinner? Try thisStock markets at all time highsLowest jobless claims since 736 TRILLION added to economy since Election1.5M fewer people on food stampsConsumer confidence through roof Lowest Unemployment rate in 17 years #maga— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 23, 2017What we see in this number is a steady trend of these statistics since the Great Recession, with no evidence in the graphs showing...
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NetNeutrality vs. limiting FaceTime

In response to my tweets/blogs against NetNeutrality, people have asked: what about these items? In this post, I debunk the fourth item.The FCC plans to completely repeal #NetNeutrality this week. Here's the censorship of speech that actually happened without Net Neutrality rules:#SaveNetNeutrality pic.twitter.com/6R29dajt44— Christian J. (@dtxErgaOmnes) November 22, 2017The issue the fourth item addresses is how AT&T restrict the use of Apple's FaceTime on its network back in 2012. This seems a clear NetNeutrality issue.But here's the thing: the FCC allowed these restrictions, despite the FCC's "Open Internet" order forbidding such things. In other words, despite the graphic's claims it "happened without net neutrality rules", the opposite is true, it happened with net neutrality rules.The FCC explains why they allowed it in their own case study on the matter. The short version is this: AT&T's network couldn't handle the traffic, so it was appropriate to restrict it until some time in the future (the LTE rollout) until it could. The issue wasn't that AT&T was restricting FaceTime in favor of its own video-calling service (it didn't have one), but it was instead an issue of "bandwidth management".When Apple released FaceTime, they themselves...
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NetNeutrality vs. Verizon censoring Naral

In response to my anti-NetNeutrality blogs/tweets, people ask what about this? In this post, I address the second question.The FCC plans to completely repeal #NetNeutrality this week. Here's the censorship of speech that actually happened without Net Neutrality rules:#SaveNetNeutrality pic.twitter.com/6R29dajt44— Christian J. (@dtxErgaOmnes) November 22, 2017Firstly, it's not a NetNeutrality issue (which applies only to the Internet), but an issue with text-messages. In other words, it's something that will continue to happen even with NetNeutrality rules. People relate this to NetNeutrality as an analogy, not because it actually is such an issue.Secondly, it's an edge/content issue, not a transit issue. The details in this case is that Verizon provides a program for sending bulk messages to its customers from the edge of the network. Verizon isn't censoring text messages in transit, but from the edge. You can send a text message to your friend on the Verizon network, and it won't be censored. Thus the analogy is incorrect -- the correct analogy would be with content providers like Twitter and Facebook, not ISPs like Comcast.Like all cell phone vendors, Verizon polices this content, canceling accounts that abuse the system, like spammers. We all agree...
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NetNeutrality vs. AT&T censoring Pearl Jam

So in response to my anti-netneutrality tweets/blogs, Jose Pagliery asks "what about this?"The FCC plans to completely repeal #NetNeutrality this week. Here's the censorship of speech that actually happened without Net Neutrality rules:#SaveNetNeutrality pic.twitter.com/6R29dajt44— Christian J. (@dtxErgaOmnes) November 22, 2017Let's pick the first one. You can read about the details by Googling "AT&T Pearl Jam".First of all, this obviously isn't a Net Neutrality case. The case isn't about AT&T acting as an ISP transiting network traffic. Instead, this was about AT&T being a content provider, through their "Blue Room" subsidiary, whose content traveled across other ISPs. Such things will continue to happen regardless of the most stringent enforcement of NetNeutrality rules, since the FCC doesn't regulate content providers.Second of all, it wasn't AT&T who censored the traffic. It wasn't their Blue Room subsidiary who censored the traffic. It was a third party company they hired to bleep things like swear words and nipple slips. You are blaming AT&T for a decision by a third party that went against AT&T's wishes. It was an accident, not AT&T policy.Thirdly, and this is the funny bit, Tim Wu, the guy who defined the term "net neutrality",...
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The FCC has never defended Net Neutrality

This op-ed by a "net neutrality expert" claims the FCC has always defended "net neutrality". It's garbage.This wrong on its face. It imagines decades ago that the FCC inshrined some plaque on the wall stating principles that subsequent FCC commissioners have diligently followed. The opposite is true. FCC commissioners are a chaotic bunch, with different interests, influenced (i.e. "lobbied" or "bribed") by different telecommunications/Internet companies. Rather than following a principle, their Internet regulatory actions have been ad hoc and arbitrary -- for decades.Sure, you can cherry pick some of those regulatory actions as fitting a "net neutrality" narrative, but most actions don't fit that narrative, and there have been gross net neutrality violations that the FCC has ignored.There are gross violations going on right now that the FCC is allowing. Most egregiously is the "zero-rating" of video traffic on T-Mobile. This is a clear violation of the principles of net neutrality, yet the FCC is allowing it -- despite official "net neutrality" rules in place.The op-ed above claims that "this principle was built into the architecture of the Internet". The opposite is true. Traffic discrimination was built into the architecture since the beginning. If...
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Your Holiday Cybersecurity Guide

Many of us are visiting parents/relatives this Thanksgiving/Christmas, and will have an opportunity to help our them with cybersecurity issues. I thought I'd write up a quick guide of the most important things.1. Stop them from reusing passwordsBy far the biggest threat to average people is that they re-use the same password across many websites, so that when one website gets hacked, all their accounts get hacked.To demonstrate the problem, go to haveibeenpwned.com and enter the email address of your relatives. This will show them a number of sites where their password has already been stolen, like LinkedIn, Adobe, etc. That should convince them of the severity of the problem.They don't need a separate password for every site. You don't care about the majority of website whether you get hacked. Use a common password for all the meaningless sites. You only need unique passwords for important accounts, like email, Facebook, and Twitter.Write down passwords and store them in a safe place. Sure, it's a common joke that people in offices write passwords on Post-It notes stuck on their monitors or under their keyboards. This is a common security mistake, but that's only because the office environment is widely accessible....
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Why Linus is right (as usual)

People are debating this email from Linus Torvalds (maintainer of the Linux kernel). It has strong language, like:Some security people have scoffed at me when I say that securityproblems are primarily "just bugs".Those security people are f*cking morons.Because honestly, the kind of security person who doesn't accept thatsecurity problems are primarily just bugs, I don't want to work with.I thought I'd explain why Linus is right.Linus has an unwritten manifesto of how the Linux kernel should be maintained. It's not written down in one place, instead we are supposed to reverse engineer it from his scathing emails, where he calls people morons for not understanding it. This is one such scathing email. The rules he's expressing here are:Large changes to the kernel should happen in small iterative steps, each one thoroughly debugged.Minor security concerns aren't major emergencies; they don't allow bypassing the rules more than any other bug/feature.Last year, some security "hardening" code was added to the kernel to prevent a class of buffer-overflow/out-of-bounds issues. This code didn't address any particular 0day vulnerability, but was designed to prevent a class of future potential exploits from being exploited. This is reasonable.This code had bugs, but that's no sin....
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How to read newspapers

News articles don't contain the information you think. Instead, they are written according to a formula, and that formula is as much about distorting/hiding information as it is about revealing it.A good example is the following. I claimed hate-crimes aren't increasing. The tweet below tries to disprove me, by citing a news article that claims the opposite:Ugh turns out you're wrong! I know you let quality data inform your opinions, and hope the FBI is a sufficiently credible source for you https://t.co/SVwaLilF9B— Rune Sørensen (@runesoerensen) November 14, 2017But the data behind this article tells a very different story than the words.Every November, the FBI releases its hate-crime statistics for the previous year. They've been doing this every year for a long time. When they do so, various news organizations grab the data and write a quick story around it.By "story" I mean a story. Raw numbers don't interest people, so the writer instead has to wrap it in a narrative that does interest people. That's what the writer has done in the above story, leading with the fact that hate crimes have increased.But is this increase meaningful? What do the numbers actually say?To answer this,...
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