Net neutrality rollback: is the open internet under siege? (The 3:59, Ep. 325)
Welcome to the 3:59, I'm Roger Cheng.
I'm Ben Fox Rubin.
The net neutrality debate is heating up.
Over the last few days, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been on a media tour defending his proposal to roll back the existing rules.
He actually points his finger at Twitter, says it's really the source of the real problem.
For the opener at, it is an easy target, At & t, Reynolds Stevenson, yesterday it said.
There's no need for bomb shelter can goods.
So I mean we want to really kind to get into this.
And this, especially this point that Audrey Pie kind of brings up.
That Twitter is actually more of a problem for the open Internet.
His justification is You know Twitter is now taking a little bit more active hand again in kind of censoring and definitely stopping content that is deemed inappropriate or removing.
They are in the process of reviewing the verification of certain accounts right, depending on who you are on the context of.
Ajit Pai's argument here is that they are actually They are censoring what you see on the internet, more or so what an ISP would.
More than a repeal would be, yeah.
And I quote from Ajit Pai, the company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.
The problem is that they're not the government, right?
So, Twitter is obviously an easy target.
There are a lot of problems with Twitter.
But at the same time they're a private industry and there are alternatives to the Twitter.
Yeah, exactly and I think that's the biggest thing.
Is that, Facebook and Twitter, I mean, they call themselves platforms but really these are companies.
They're not beholding to the public, they're beholding to the share holders.
And if they wanna flex their legal perspective or their political perspective.
The government and the whole point the government shouldn't be able to do that.
Okay, but that being said I would probably agree to a certain point with
AT&T CEO Ajit Pai that the rhetoric has absolutely reached a pretty intense froth.
And Pai goes out of his way to call Alyssa Milano-
Who for some reason is now an expert on net neutrality.
We all are.
Saying that it will destroy democracy itself.
That's very, very questionable in my opinion.
Again these are my opinions on this
But at the same time I don't, like my central issue with this is that net neutrality started in 2015.
A lot of the gloom and doom
That was supposed to happen.
Due to net neutrality, it didn't happen in prior years before this regulatory regime was created.
Well, okay, two points on those points which are, they're all fair.
I don't think the world is gonna go crashing down when these rules get repealed because as you said, before 2015
Nothing terrible is happening.
There were steps that the carriers were starting to take that showed that in terms of prioritizing traffic.
That was the thing they were going to do.
I think that it is still a thing they will do.
The world is gonna come crashing down the day after, or maybe the week or the year after.
What the concern, I think, is over the longer term.
Some of these actions the ISPs would be free to take would have longer term, lasting damage to the Internet and how it works.
Such as pay prioritization, the idea of creating these fast lanes to basically give preference to their own services.
Maybe this doesn't happen right away but it happens down the line.
Theoretically, I'm not saying AT&T will do this, but giving priority access to DirecTV Now, to make sure that That video service always streamed super clearly, whereas competitive services like Netflix or YouTube, have to either pay, or end up with buffering or quality issues in the video.
Right, and that sounds crappy, obviously, for consumers, but is it destructive to democracy?
It is debatable, and look, the,
The fact here is that with the repeal of these rules, there will be no guideline.
There are no consequences for these companies.
And I think that's what's for me more worrisome, that these companies, basically we have to trust these companies to do the right thing.
I don't know.
I trust Comcast, I can't even say that with a straight face.
[LAUGH] Well look, the issue is these companies, and I've always said this, companies aren't inherently evil or good, they just make money that's their entire purpose, right?
And so whatever it takes to make more money is what they're probably gonna end up pursuing, right?
So For things like fast lanes and paid prioritization.
That's a lucrative potential business with these companies.
We couldn't get to all of this in 40 minutes I'm shocked
It's a complicated issue.
We're probably going to have another discussion ahead of the Net Neutrality Though, which is on December 14th.
But 'til then check us out and see you then.
I'm Roger Chang.
I'm Ben Fox Urban.
Thanks for listening!