Call it a sign of the times, when those in power don’t to worry about people fact checking. They use their platform to say whatever they want, and assume people will believe it. Verizon, one of the biggest opponents to net neutrality, has posted a video claiming to not be working against net neutrality. In fact, we’re supposed to believe that the company that sued the government over net neutrality laws, won, and lead to companies instantly taking advantage of the lack of net neutrality isn’t against internet freedom. The entire reason the internet had to be declared a Title II protected service was because of Verizon’s lawsuit. To claim now that they’re not against net neutrality is preposterous on its own, but this video is something else entirely. It completely misrepresents public property as their own private property, ignores their monopolies, and completely misrepresents the issue and the conflicts of interest of those involved.
Verizon is trying to have their cake and eat it too. They’re trying to fight net neutrality while simultaneously retaining a public image that won’t disgust people. They may be underestimating our intelligence by just a little bit.
The video is attached below. You can find a full breakdown of every misleading comment or outright lie over at The Verge. If you care about internet freedom, you likely won’t be able to make it through the video without feeling uncontrollable rage, so you’ll want to check out The Verge’s breakdown.
Scott Stantis/Chicago Tribune
Zero rating may be a term you’re not used to hearing yet, but it’ll be the next great battle for proponents of an open and free internet and those who are against net neutrality, large corporations, our new president, and his FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. Zero rating is a new attack on net neutrality, which varies slightly than simply charging customers or companies for access to webpages at fair speeds. It’s the practice many large cellular service providers have begun using to entice customers to sign up for their services. AT&T owns DirecTV, so when you stream DirecTV on your AT&T plan, it’s “zero rated,” as in, it doesn’t count against your data caps. Verizon owns AOL and the go90 platform, so using services from those could be free, but accessing DirecTV on Verizon will cost data like it would anywhere else. Verizon even took this a step further, charging corporations for zero rated data. So if Netflix wants users to be allowed to continue streaming shows on Verizon for more than a few hours, they have to pay Verizon a hefty sum for zero rated data.
Just like the standard violations of net neutrality we’re used to, zero rating hurts competition, aids in the creation of monopolies, benefits large corporations while hurting small business owners, and limits consumer choices. But is it something Americans want?
Samsung announced that they plan to release an update that will brick the explosive Galaxy Note 7 on December 19th. AT&T and T-Mobile were quick to tell customers that they intended to push the update out to users, however Verizon did not do the same. Instead, they announced that they did not believe releasing the update (which is for the safety of Samsung’s users) was actually in their best interests. Verizon pointed out that many people travel during the holidays and will likely need access to their phones. While some may see this as a good reason to upgrade before traveling (especially since the phones are banned from U.S. flights), others are still dragging their feet when it comes to the returns.
Verizon will push Samsung’s update out to users on January 5th. After that, the device will stop accepting electricity, and will eventually run out of battery power. After that, users will have no choice but to bring the device in for a replacement, one that won’t explode.
The explosive Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been recalled, repaired, and recalled again. It features a design flaw that cannot be repaired without dramatically reducing battery life. Samsung wants everyone to return their Note 7s, because the devices are dangerous. They could explode, causing injury, disfiguration, or even death. Samsung is now taking drastic measures to ensure that no one will be hurt by their devices. Their next update will make the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 impossible to charge. Once the battery is drained, it’ll be useless. That should push people to exchange their useless bricks for a new phone or refund. But the danger of the Note 7 may not be completely mitigated, not all cellular carriers are behind Samsung’s decision.
Trump’s presidential win may spell bad news for anyone who’s not white, not straight, not cisgender, not male, an immigrant, or not Christian, but now his presidency could prove to be bad for another group: internet based businesses and internet users. Basically, all of you. That’s because Trump has chosen two men to serve as FCC transition advisors who are against net neutrality. Trump himself has called net neutrality an “attack on the internet,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s net neutrality? To sum it up quickly, it’s the idea that the internet should be free for everyone to purchase access to, without restrictions, and without discrimination. It prevents internet service providers like Comcast from slowing down speeds of websites or services of their competitors. It prevents Time Warner from charging Netflix more to use their network than a different streaming partner. Comcast can’t favor their own streaming service, Hulu, over Netflix, thanks to net neutrality. They also can’t create internet “fast lanes” that large companies can pay to use, which would stifle competition and keep small business from being able to compete. Imagine trying to start your own streaming service, but you can’t afford AT&T’s fast lane. No one would use your service. Or imagine a mom & pop electronics store trying to challenge Best Buy. They can’t afford to make their website load as quickly as Best Buy’s, and they’ll lose business.
Donald Trump’s picks for FCC advisors are both outspoken against the free, open, and equal internet. They’ll turn the tide of the FCC to the Republicans, who wish to dismantle net neutrality.
That’s right, internet users, Donald Trump is coming after your Netflix binges and cat memes now.
Last year around this time, I was working for AOL. Then, Verizon bought the company. I got a tablet, which turned out to be a parting gift, as I was laid off just a few weeks later, just as I was beginning to think I was safe. This is likely the fate of many Yahoo employees right now although I hope, at the very least, they get a better tablet than the Ellipsis 8. Verizon isn’t just buying Yahoo, one of the oldest staples of the web, they’re merging it with a former Yahoo competitor, AOL, also a well-known staple of the web. Verizon is hoping that with Yahoo and AOL combined, they can have an internet multimedia company that can rival Google and Facebook in advertising. Can merging these two former giants do that? Possibly. Both AOL and Yahoo are larger and more influential than people realize. For example, AOL was the owner of some very popular websites, such as Huffington Post and TechCrunch. Yahoo owns the incredible Flickr photo hosting service, which gives away terabytes of storage, and allows photographers to upload high resolution images, unlike Facebook or Instagram.
Can Verizon merge AOL and Yahoo to make a new, powerful media company, or will they fail to bring life to the two companies?
Net neutrality is what keeps all websites equal. Without it, Comcast could slow down competitors sites, or overcharge Netflix for the same traffic speeds they give Hulu, their own Netflix competitor. Net neutrality also protects consumers, who could have their rates increased if they access certain websites. It’s the only concept that ensures all users of the web are equal. As usual, the business version of the boogeyman isn’t happy. Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and other internet service providers recently challenged the FCC’s classification of Internet service as a utility, which protected the Internet from being used for extortion. Since Internet service providers stood to profit from web extortion (and the only ones who could profit, at that), they’re unhappy. But the rest of the country can rejoice knowing that their access to the Internet has been protected.