Websites Throttle FCC Staffers to Protest Gutting of Net Neutrality


#1

WIRED:

Websites Throttle FCC Staffers to Protest Gutting of Net Neutrality

People worry that new rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission will allow internet service providers like Comcast or Time Warner to throttle download speeds for the next YouTube or Netflix. And some are actively pushing back against the FCC through the press and political channels.
But that’s not the only way to protest the commission’s new rules. Various companies and organizations have added code to their websites that kicks in whenever there’s a visit from someone who works at the FCC. While everyone else is enjoying these websites at ordinary broadband speeds, this code ensures that FCC staffers view them at dial-up speeds reminiscent of the 1990s.
The online protest is the brainchild of Kyle Drake, a Portland-based software developer. “If it bothers you that I’m doing this, I want to point out that everyone is going to be doing **** like this after the FCC rips apart Net Neutrality,” Drake wrote on his blog.

He posted the code to his website on May 9, saying he would throttle the FCC’s bandwidth until the agency paid him $1,000 per year to get what he calls his “Ferengi plan,” a tip of the hat to the unscrupulous money-grubbing Star Trek aliens. Now countless others are using his code.
Drake’s code works with the popular Nginx web server, and now there’s a version for Apache, too. The software doesn’t actually slow the FCC’s internet. It merely serves webpages to the agency much more slowly, after checking a visitor’s IP address against a list of known FCC addresses.

Not sure how I feel about this. Sticking it to bureaucrats always sounds like fun but I assume the same software could be used against the FBI, DOD or any private group.


#2

One could only hope. Maybe they wouldn’t kill as many people or violate as many rights then.

Honestly, this is a very big deal and I think what’s going on is just plain wrong. Competition works only when there is a truly free market. Most people only have one to three choices in reliable broadband Internet, if they’re lucky, and many only have one option.

Allowing Internet providers to control the content delivery this way basically breaks the current concept of the Internet as a free marketplace and Internet providers as just connectors to that information marketplace. Now the Internet providers get to control what content you get and at what speeds.

They get to force Netflix and Hulu to pay a tax if they want a pass. Maybe Netflix pays, but not Hulu, so Hulu viewers get bad quality streaming. or maybe customers will have to choose between packages which allow them video streaming or gaming. Or maybe Netflix and Hulu will always take a backseat to the provider’s own video service. I don’t think they have a moral right to do this. Customers should pay for general access- the way the Internet is built-, not specific services.

As for the software itself, why not? It’s his website! If the FCC says its okay to throttle services to customers, why shouldn’t website owners be able to throttle content to end-users (in this case, the FCC)?


#3

Given that it’s meant to demonstrate the point that using that kind of throttling is annoying and bad, and that they are not using it against the FBI, DoD or similar, I don’t think it’s an issue. As to whether it could be in the future - well, maybe, but not for this specific type of software. Since it checks a known list of IP addresses, should someone use this type of thing to throttle or block the FBI (which would require knowing all IP addresses associated with the FBI, which I think they are not likely to make easy to find) and the FBI actually need to access that website, I’m sure the FBI could just access it from another IP address. It’d be mildly annoying, but it wouldn’t actually stop anything.


closed #4

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