Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Network Neutrality, Victory or Disappointment? | Part 1

A January 14th ruling from the United States Federal Court of Appeals has stirred the pot once again

Despite the fact that the net neutrality debate is a discussion that has been ongoing for years, a January 14th ruling from the United States Federal Court of Appeals has stirred the pot once again. The court's decision has created a renewed upsurge in comments, opinions and future-gazing, with debate squarely landing in two very different camps. And, as is to be expected, there is actually very little neutrality.

One is left to ask if it is in fact possible to look at this topic objectively, without taking sides from the outset. Perhaps the passage of time has helped to put the topic in perspective. It may be that the Internet itself, which plays such a central role in our daily lives, has achieved a sort of self-defining momentum that will in due course make some of the net neutrality debate academic.

In this blog and follow-up posts, I'll try to keep the discussion of the recent court decision short and to the point. The actual decision document is here for you to read if you have a couple of hours to spare, and it's worth reading closely to get the true sense of what this decision is all about. Strangely enough, it's not really about net neutrality at all.

The Appeals Court decision is really all about the FCC's Open Internet Order. Essentially, it tears down the Open Internet Order's rules that prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from site blocking and from providing preferential service to chosen edge providers. It does not overrule the transparency requirement, which says that ISPs must disclose their traffic management policies. If this federal court decision stands, it essentially means ISPs are allowed to block sites and provide preferential service to some edge providers, but if they do so, they must tell us all what they are doing.

The basis for this decision is important. The judges did not closely examine the pros and cons of Internet openness because that was not what the case was about. The complaint against the FCC is that it overstepped its jurisdiction and that it was not in fact legally entitled to make these rulings. The judges for the most part agreed with the complaint and struck down two significant rules that, in the eyes of the FCC, sought to preserve the "continued freedom and openness of the Internet."

The Wall Street Journal proclaims this decision as a "Victory for the Unfettered Internet." The New York Times, in contrast, describes this as a "Disappointing Internet Decision" on the grounds that it "could undermine the open nature of the Internet." Most vocal opinions are divided along these lines. They are all reading the same decision, but one group believes this will make the Internet more unfettered and open while the other believes the opposite.

Advocates on each side assert that they uphold the principle of an open and unfettered Internet, but their interpretations of what "open and unfettered" means in practice leads (or drives) them to conflicting conclusions. Since different takes on this concept help drive the debate, let's look at those perspectives to see what light they cast on the outcome.

Some people regard "open and unfettered" as meaning that governments should leave the Internet alone. That means no government censorship, no blocking of sites and no monitoring user activity. The traffic must flow unimpeded. Most participants in the U.S. debate would agree on this, so perhaps some meeting of the minds is possible? Not likely, because there is also an opinion that "open and unfettered" means no government regulation either. That means no control of pricing, no rules that specify in any way how ISPs deliver their parts of this immense global cooperative enterprise, and certainly no treating Internet access like a phone service.

To some others, "open and unfettered" means that the corporations that provide Internet services should themselves play by these rules. In other words, they too, just like governments, should refrain from censorship, blocking and tracking what users do (at least without consent of each user). If those companies do not allow traffic to flow unimpeded, then the Internet is in reality not open and unfettered.

Let's be clear that not everybody views a completely open and unfettered Internet as a good idea. Various governments around the world limit Internet access with various forms of site blocking, censorship, user tracking and traffic interception. Presumably the officials and politicians responsible for this believe that their individual varieties of fettering are a good thing, overall.

We also know that some Internet service providers engage in, or have engaged in, site blocking, port blocking and scrutiny of user activity, again presumably because decision makers in those companies and organizations see benefits to doing so.

Where do the various parties fall in the spectrum as a result of the recent ruling? And how will it impact the existing system? I'll get into that in Part II. In the meantime, check out our other thoughts on the latest technology trends for the coming year.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
Providing the needed data for application development and testing is a huge headache for most organizations. The problems are often the same across companies - speed, quality, cost, and control. Provisioning data can take days or weeks, every time a refresh is required. Using dummy data leads to quality problems. Creating physical copies of large data sets and sending them to distributed teams of developers eats up expensive storage and bandwidth resources. And, all of these copies proliferating...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...