Vint Cerf, Steve Wozniak, and other tech luminaries call net neutrality vote an ‘imminent threat’ (The Verge)

Vint Cerf, Steve Wozniak, and other tech luminaries call net neutrality vote an ‘imminent threat’

A group of early internet and computing pioneers have called on the Senate’s FCC oversight committee to censure next week’s net neutrality vote. In an open letter to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, 21 signatories said that FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s “rushed and technically incorrect” plan to repeal net neutrality “is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create.” They want the committee to ask Pai to cancel the vote, which is currently scheduled for December 14th.

The list includes some of the people responsible for creating the internet as we know it. That includes Steven Bellovin, a former FTC chief technologist who helped develop Usenet; Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Vinton Cerf, who co-created the internet’s underlying TCP/IP protocol; Steve Crocker, who helped develop the protocols for internet predecessor ARPANET; and Stephen Wolff, who helped transform the military ARPANET into a civilian research and communications network.

Other signatories include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mozilla Foundation executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, and Betaworks CEO John Borthwick.

This group points to a 43-page comment submitted by internet experts in July, which was critical of Pai’s early rulemaking notice. Among other things, it said the notice put forward a flawed definition of how the internet works, suggesting that people already expected ISPs to manipulate their data. “Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings,” they write. “The current technically-incorrect order discards decades of careful work by FCC chairs from both parties, who understood the threats that Internet access providers could pose to open markets on the Internet.”

The letter also raises objections we’ve seen from other groups. It notes the millions of seemingly bot-generated submissions that polluted the online comment system, and more generally claims that the FCC has failed to engage with the public: it “has not held a single open public meeting to hear from citizens and experts about the proposed order.”

Like previous calls to delay or cancel the vote — including ones from public interest groups, lawmakers, and two FCC commissioners — this probably won’t sway Pai. His office called another recent request a “desperate” attempt to stall the vote, and the agency intentionally ignored even valid comments unless they included “serious legal arguments.” But it adds some more voices to the long chorus of objectors.


via The Verge

December 11, 2017 at 07:07AM

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