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ISPs should own your eyes and ears, say AT&T, Cisco, McCurry
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 05:32:53 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: "David P. Reed" <dpreed () reed com>
Date: September 26, 2008 9:23:25 PM EDT
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: ISPs should own your eyes and ears, say AT&T, Cisco, McCurry

Dave - new post on my blog, if you want to share with IP.

Permalink: http://www.reed.com/blog-dpr/?p=36

ISPs should own your eyes and ears, say AT&T, Cisco, McCurry
The hottest new faux-digerati lobby firm in DC in the communications field is Mike McCurry’s new firm Arts+Labs. McCurry is an old political hand, Bill Clinton’s press secretary, looking for a second career after the Clintons. Apparently there’s no big cash to be had protecting our freedom of speech, but Cisco and AT&T are happy to fund him to run a firm to defend ISP’s right to do “deep packet inspection” (DPI).

Only Arts+Labs doesn’t dare call it DPI, which sounds just a bit scary and Big Brotherish. Instead they call it the “intelligent network” that will smooth our experience, cleansing it of all those uneven experiences. Those of us who are as old as I am - 56 - might remember that the term “Intelligent Network” was a Bell Labs idea that failed due to the success of the Internet. As David Isenberg told it, the Internet was the “Rise of the Stupid Network“.

The Internet is a simple network, a stupid network, that just connects your computer to another computer with no interference. That’s opposed to old smarty-pants networks that tried limit users to those things that maximized the operators’ monopoly profits, by taxing the content providers and preventing innovators from attaching new devices, inventing new services at the edges, etc. The Internet won, for a good reason: it enabled innovation, and it kept busybody operators from having to tinker with or spy on their users’ traffic. It delighted users, rather than holding them hostage.

The Arts+Labs site looks cool, very Web 2.0′ish. But hidden in that beautiful design, behind the slick and seductive words, is a dangerous idea, one that the founders of the United States rejected in the First Amendment. The Arts+Labs site tries to convince you (and Congress) of the idea that it’s a “good thing” to allow your ISP to decide what you can see or hear or use. That’s the same ISP that is given by Fed, State, or local regulators a monopoly or oligopoly over your ability to connect at high speed to the Internet. For that monopoly to examine your traffic, make guesses as to what it means, and to decide for you which services you should connect to, using what protocols.

Don’t believe Mike McCurry, AT&T and Cisco’s new shill. He may be connected, but it’s pretty clear that he wants to disconnect us.

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