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New Network Neutrality Squad — Users Protecting the Net 168

Lauren Weinstein writes in to announce the new "Network Neutrality Squad" — NNSquad. Joining PFIR Co-Founders Peter G. Neumann and Weinstein in this announcement are Vinton G. Cerf, Keith Dawson (, David J. Farber (Carnegie Mellon University), Bob Frankston, Phil Karn (Qualcomm), David P. Reed, Paul Saffo, and Bruce Schneier (BT Counterpane). The Network Neutrality Squad ("NNSquad") is an open-membership, open-source effort, enlisting the Internet's users to help keep the Internet's operations fair and unhindered from unreasonable restrictions. The project's focus includes detection, analysis, and incident reporting of any anticompetitive, discriminatory, or other restrictive actions on the part of Internet service Providers (ISPs) or affiliated entities, such as the blocking or disruptive manipulation of applications, protocols, transmissions, or bandwidth; or other similar behaviors not specifically requested by their customers.
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New Network Neutrality Squad — Users Protecting the Net

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  • Great idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Facetious ( 710885 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:10PM (#21268953) Journal
    ...awful name. I can't help but think of Geek Squad, and that doesn't make me happy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by d34thm0nk3y ( 653414 )
      ..awful name. I can't help but think of Geek Squad, and that doesn't make me happy.

      We already understand the issues surrounding network neutrality (and Best Buy). To a normal person a name reminding them of the people who fixed their computer adds credibility.
      • ...the people who fixed their computer...

        I don't think Geek Squad has such a shining reputation that this is a good defense for the Net Neutrality Squad's choice of name. From what I've heard from personal word of mouth, even 'normal people' don't have the best successes with Geek Squad. And then we all know the exceptional stories, like the guy who was collecting porn off of each client he visited.

        I'd let 'Squad' rest a few more years. In the mean time, there are lots of other options.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by widget54 ( 888141 )
      I for one welcome our unlikely super hero's
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think it looks really interesting. Too bad Comcast won't let me access their sites. :-/
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tkdtaylor ( 1039822 )
      When I see NNSquad I think Non-Nude ... helping to keep porn of the tubes everywhere!!!
    • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @02:02PM (#21269795) Homepage Journal
      ...or something that evokes the Internet Protocol.

      People need to be reminded of what the ISP's role is: The offer Layer 3 service in the form of IP. Muck around with the protocols above that and you've not only stepped outside the bounds of an ISP, but are guilty of false advertising and data falsification.
    • by Zenaku ( 821866 )
      Agreed. The should have called it the Crush Comcast Coalition.
  • by Pantero Blanco ( 792776 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:13PM (#21269007)
    They certainly have some big names on the list. I hope that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and they're more effective at getting politicians to listen than they were when standing apart.
  • expand their mandate (Score:5, Informative)

    by FLoWCTRL ( 20442 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:35PM (#21269333) Journal
    The formation of this group is an excellent idea.

    Once they start finding and pressuring individual ISPs found guilty of "non-neutral" behavior, it will create incentive for customers to leave that ISP and go to a competitor. Sometimes there won't be a competitor, such as in many rural areas.

    The logical progression is to encourage consumers to form their own local groups and move to community-owned Internet access []. This new NNSquad should expand their mandate to provide resources that help and encourage communities to achieve network independence.
  • I wonder if the big telecoms realize how badly they will be entrenched in cyber-guerrilla warfare with people like you and me if they somehow pull off grasping control of the net. It would be nice and a hell of a lot of fun to have a fully morally justifiable reason to engage in offensive action against the people trying to control information. I just imagine a Thermopylae style engagement between the two sides, and it sends shivers down my spine when I think about what we are actually trying to defend.
  • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @02:09PM (#21269895)
    Its all great running around banging the drum and asking users to 'join the war on non-neutrality' but it's all for nothing if you cannot DETECT non-neutrality in the first place.

    I recall some discussion a while ago here on /. where someone was writing an application to detect non-neutrality... but it went quiet very quickly. Now the way I see it is that the list contains people that have the skills, or know the people who could write an application that could aid in the DETECTION of unfair practices from the ISP's.

    The application could be used by the volunteers, and test the various protocols to various hosts (Skype, Google, youtube, TPB) and between the users themselves with various traffic (p2p, ping, tcp/ip, udp etc...) and see if any 'delay' occurs specific to one type of traffic. If it contained an automated reporting tool (OMG Tinfoil hat!!), then the aggregators could see trends across the various providers and not rely solely on one or two users. Of course you're entering a war of cat and mouse....

    Before we can go accusing ISP's on non-neutrality, we need the tools to detect unfair play in the first place... anyone know of any?
  • There are two issues which network neutrality avoids, which are only loosely related. Suppose ISP A calls up site S and says "your site's traffic will get low priority unless you pay us". Now, you might think that if site S wants fast Internet access, they should pay for it. The thing is, site S is already paying for fast access - to ISP B, which is ISP A's competitor. The first consequence of network neutrality is that you can't try to bill your competitors' customers. (In this case, ISP B would probably h
    • by pavon ( 30274 )

      Customer C sees that an ISP is advertising x MB/s connections for y dollars

      Show me a single ISP that says that. The all advertise up to X MB/s and it is rare for any of them to actually reach that speed on a consistent basis. I have never seen a consumer grade ISP actually advertise a minimum guaranteed bandwidth, and there is no reason (legally or competitively) for them to do so. As long as you can get X MB/s in some situations you have no legal recourse against throttling, and potentially no recourse at all if there is only broadband provider.

    • from the fifth amendment "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

      look at the events detailed in my sig. I guess microsoft is now "due process of law".

      H.R. 1201 is supposed to require labeling and help prevent this, but it shouldn't be necessary if judges weren't deliberately ignoring the fifth amendment.

      redundant laws have to be passed because if not, self interested parties will simply imply the original broader law did not apply to them. NOTE: there is a minimum wealth
    • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 )

      Customer C sees that an ISP is advertising x MB/s connections for y dollars, says "great, I'll be able to download z really fast!", and signs up. Then he finds out that he can't download z as fast as he thought, because BitTorrent/sftp/whatever is blocked or throttled.

      You've just caused another issue to occur to me which I hadn't really thought about until now. Currently, I can assess the likely speeds from ISPs based on the deal I sign with them (Comcast out and out lies not withstanding). If ISPs are a

  • ISPs claim they need to end Net Neutrality because third-party websites (and pirate networks) are abusing their bandwidth. Don't let them fool us.

    Conversely, some people have tried to use the free speech angle in order to defeat ISPs. I believe it is a mistake. Politicians read a letter about ISPs harming free speech, think "raging liberal", and promptly ignore it. That's counter-productive.

    The ISPs' assault on Net Neutrality is not about costs. It is not about free speech. It is all about anti-competitive
  • That web site is.....well.....It should be called "The Glorious People's Revolutionary Website for Network Neutrality".
    • Their HTML is actually very clean and beutiful. The layout of the page on the otherhand could use some work.
  • Natural Monopoly (Score:2, Informative)

    by blitzkrieg3 ( 995849 )
    Have you guys heard of the term Natural Monopoly? [] The telcom infrastructure is a classic example. I know everyone here on slashdot likes to think less regulation solves everything, but some cases require it. There is NO free market solution to this problem because there will never be enough competition, so we need the government to step in and protect the consumer. Otherwise, the monopolies (telcos) are free to go on limiting capacity, price gouging, and (just now) implementing packet filtering if they
  • are they gonna ride around in a psychedelic painted heavily armed RV? filled with routers and other crap?
  • Another loud, annoying special interest group that will be beaten into irrelevancy by 2008. Film at 11.
  • by hey ( 83763 )
    I was hoping they had a daemon we could volunteer to run.
    All the daemons would create a mesh which would be used to measure ISPs speed automatically.
    Any unfairness would be quickly spotted.
    Who knows maybe the mesh could even be used to escape a limiting ISP?
  • Will they have enough clout to do something about the rampant port blocking? After all, this is against the main things that the Internet was designed for.

  • Please start here...
    International list of "Bad ISPs" that throttle torrent protocols, and god knows what else... []


All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford