Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More

With little hope, 21 of the people who built the Internet asked Congress to protect Neutrality. #Fail. The best Congress money can buy has long had a majority against meaningful rules on Neutrality. AT&T, Comcast, & Verizon spend $100+ plus annually, allocated by influencers that would put Ivy Lee to shame. For as much as $26M/year (David Cohen, Comcast) they hire people who know how to dominate the corridors of power. 

Democrats, as well as the now-controlling Republicans, follow the telco line. Legendary lobbyist Jim Cicconi persuaded 77 Democrats to question NN during the Broadband Plan. 

Here’s their note. Fortunately, they are probably wrong believing “is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create.” The carriers are probably smart not to avoid trouble by totally abusing the system.

For a while, the impact almost certainly be limited, aimed at video competition. No one is likely to redirect your search from the Washington Post to Breitbart News, or even from Google to Bing.

I hope.

Internet Pioneers and Leaders Tell the FCC: You Don’t Understand How the Internet Works

Internet creators and leading figures ask the FCC to cancel its vote repealing Net Neutrality protections

The Honorable Roger Wicker,
Chair Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

The Honorable Brian Schatz,
Ranking Member Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

The Honorable Marsha Blackburn,
ChairHouse Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

The Honorable Michael F. Doyle,
Ranking MemberHouse Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

Senator Wicker:
Senator Schatz:
Representative Blackburn:
Representative Doyle:

We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. We are writing to respectfully urge you to call on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the December 14 vote on the FCC’s proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order (WC Docket No. 17-108 ).

This proposed Order would repeal key network neutrality protections that prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers. The proposed Order would also repeal oversight over other unreasonable discrimination and unreasonable practices, and over interconnection with last-mile Internet access providers. The proposed Order removes long-standing FCC oversight over Internet access providers without an adequate replacement to protect consumers, free markets and online innovation.

It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.

Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order dismantles 15 years of targeted oversight from both Republican and Democratic FCC chairs, who understood the threats that Internet access providers could pose to open markets on the Internet.

The experts’ comment was not the only one the FCC ignored. Over 23 million comments have been submitted by a public that is clearly passionate about protecting the Internet. The FCC could not possibly have considered these adequately.

Indeed, breaking with established practice, the FCC has not held a single open public meeting to hear from citizens and experts about the proposed Order.

Furthermore, the FCC’s online comment system has been plagued by major problems that the FCC has not had time to investigate. These include bot-generated comments that impersonated Americans, including dead people, and an unexplained outage of the FCC’s on-line comment system that occurred at the very moment TV host John Oliver was encouraging Americans to submit comments to the system.

Compounding our concern, the FCC has failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about these incidents and failed to provide information to a New York State Attorney General’s investigation of them.

We therefore call on you to urge FCC Chairman Pai to cancel the FCC’s vote. The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed Order to abolish net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped.


Frederick J. Baker, IETF Chair 1996-2001, ISOC Board Chair 2002-2006

Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation

Steven M. Bellovin, Internet pioneer, FTC Chief Technologist, 2012-2013

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web & professor, MIT

John Borthwick, CEO, Betaworks

Scott O. Bradner, Internet pioneer

Vinton G. Cerf, Internet pioneer

Stephen D. Crocker, Internet pioneer

Whitfield Diffie, inventor of public-key cryptography

David J. Farber, Internet pioneer, FCC Chief Technologist 1999-2000

Dewayne Hendricks, CEO Tetherless Access

Martin E. Hellman, Internet security pioneer

Brewster Kahle, Internet pioneer, founder, Internet Archive

Susan Landau, cybersecurity expert & professor, Tufts University

Theodor Holm Nelson, hypertext pioneer

David P. Reed, Internet pioneer

Jennifer Rexford, Chair of Computer Science, Princeton University

Ronald L. Rivest, co-inventor of RSA public-key encryption algorithm

Paul Vixie, Internet pioneer

Stephen Wolff, Internet pioneer

Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer

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