Net Neutrality — It’s Importance, It’s History and A Call To Action

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Net Neutrality. Its important

The short answer is the internet was founded on neutrality. The internet, at least for its first two decades since its evolution from ARPANet, was a government run institution, that connected formerly separate networks into a single entity of information sharing. Universities and Scientists where among the first non-government users, and until 1994, there was even a “no-commercial activity” rule. Up until 1996, the “Backbone” of the Internet, was by definition, still a government network. This government run, but loosely regulated peer-centric network, was opened to the public in 1991 for the benefit of the world. Later commercial development happened because it let small actors create without having to go through established government or corporate authorization chains. In those days, Net Neutrality was the unspoken law of the land. It was the driving force that allowed competition and innovation. It is what made the Internet fun, because it in theory, allowed anyone to host content. Regulation, per se, was not needed because the backbone was in fact the government. Restricting access to a government network would be unthinkable in the 1990s.

Everything was great, because the Internet was in the hands of Internet people. The soft handed nerds in the Internet’s small official organizations, or small internet start ups, end users, and newly minted commercial carriers all had a stake in “keeping the Internet, the Internet”. This all changed when all of a sudden, when residential broadband, in the form of cable modems, and later fiber to the premise run by cable companies. All of a sudden, existing companies now had mind to shuffle the Internet into their existing business model, where they could both regulate content, and eliminate competitors access. The magic that made the Internet is snuffed out, then the Internet dies, and the Internet is replaced with a digital cable subscription service. A digital cable subsciption service is many things, but it certainly is not the internet, and everything about it tends to run contrary to how the internet works.

The only entities that want this are the cable companies that control the end points in people’s homes. They do not produce, nor host the content, or even own most of the networks attached to the Internet, all of which want and rely on Net Neutrality. Many times they get away with this solely because they have a monopoly on end user access to the Internet. Against the wishes of all other stake holders, including content creators, carriers or the networks in the “middle” of the internet, universities, and long standing internet enthusiasts, along with everyone who values “fair play”.

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On behalf of DEFCON 201, and through our membership of the Electronic Frontier Alliance, (a subset of the EFF) we urge you to contact your local congress critter to take action to save the internet. You should also talk to your friends, make some noise, and bring up the topic with your friends.

In New Jersey, there are two Senators, Cory Booker, and Robert Menedez . There in addition 12 congressional districts. You can use this tool to find your representative. Remember.

Contact info for senators:

Cory Booker:
Robert Mendez:

Finding contact info for Representatives:
You can type “Office <name of Representative>” into search engine of choice.

  • GI_Jack: All American Zero

EDITORS NOTE: If you are a citizen of the Internet in New Jersey and want to speak out about keeping the net neutral, please stay tuned for future events that will allow your voices to be heard. If you want to help us please contact us: INFO {at} DEFCON201 [dot] ORG

North East New Jersey DEFCON Group Chapter. Dirty Jersey Represent! We meet at Sub Culture once a month to hack on technology projects!

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