Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Authors: Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Leon Adato, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Network Neutrality, Victory or Disappointment? | Part 1

A January 14th ruling from the United States Federal Court of Appeals has stirred the pot once again

Despite the fact that the net neutrality debate is a discussion that has been ongoing for years, a January 14th ruling from the United States Federal Court of Appeals has stirred the pot once again. The court's decision has created a renewed upsurge in comments, opinions and future-gazing, with debate squarely landing in two very different camps. And, as is to be expected, there is actually very little neutrality.

One is left to ask if it is in fact possible to look at this topic objectively, without taking sides from the outset. Perhaps the passage of time has helped to put the topic in perspective. It may be that the Internet itself, which plays such a central role in our daily lives, has achieved a sort of self-defining momentum that will in due course make some of the net neutrality debate academic.

In this blog and follow-up posts, I'll try to keep the discussion of the recent court decision short and to the point. The actual decision document is here for you to read if you have a couple of hours to spare, and it's worth reading closely to get the true sense of what this decision is all about. Strangely enough, it's not really about net neutrality at all.

The Appeals Court decision is really all about the FCC's Open Internet Order. Essentially, it tears down the Open Internet Order's rules that prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from site blocking and from providing preferential service to chosen edge providers. It does not overrule the transparency requirement, which says that ISPs must disclose their traffic management policies. If this federal court decision stands, it essentially means ISPs are allowed to block sites and provide preferential service to some edge providers, but if they do so, they must tell us all what they are doing.

The basis for this decision is important. The judges did not closely examine the pros and cons of Internet openness because that was not what the case was about. The complaint against the FCC is that it overstepped its jurisdiction and that it was not in fact legally entitled to make these rulings. The judges for the most part agreed with the complaint and struck down two significant rules that, in the eyes of the FCC, sought to preserve the "continued freedom and openness of the Internet."

The Wall Street Journal proclaims this decision as a "Victory for the Unfettered Internet." The New York Times, in contrast, describes this as a "Disappointing Internet Decision" on the grounds that it "could undermine the open nature of the Internet." Most vocal opinions are divided along these lines. They are all reading the same decision, but one group believes this will make the Internet more unfettered and open while the other believes the opposite.

Advocates on each side assert that they uphold the principle of an open and unfettered Internet, but their interpretations of what "open and unfettered" means in practice leads (or drives) them to conflicting conclusions. Since different takes on this concept help drive the debate, let's look at those perspectives to see what light they cast on the outcome.

Some people regard "open and unfettered" as meaning that governments should leave the Internet alone. That means no government censorship, no blocking of sites and no monitoring user activity. The traffic must flow unimpeded. Most participants in the U.S. debate would agree on this, so perhaps some meeting of the minds is possible? Not likely, because there is also an opinion that "open and unfettered" means no government regulation either. That means no control of pricing, no rules that specify in any way how ISPs deliver their parts of this immense global cooperative enterprise, and certainly no treating Internet access like a phone service.

To some others, "open and unfettered" means that the corporations that provide Internet services should themselves play by these rules. In other words, they too, just like governments, should refrain from censorship, blocking and tracking what users do (at least without consent of each user). If those companies do not allow traffic to flow unimpeded, then the Internet is in reality not open and unfettered.

Let's be clear that not everybody views a completely open and unfettered Internet as a good idea. Various governments around the world limit Internet access with various forms of site blocking, censorship, user tracking and traffic interception. Presumably the officials and politicians responsible for this believe that their individual varieties of fettering are a good thing, overall.

We also know that some Internet service providers engage in, or have engaged in, site blocking, port blocking and scrutiny of user activity, again presumably because decision makers in those companies and organizations see benefits to doing so.

Where do the various parties fall in the spectrum as a result of the recent ruling? And how will it impact the existing system? I'll get into that in Part II. In the meantime, check out our other thoughts on the latest technology trends for the coming year.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@BigDataExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
SYS-CON Events announced today TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business-to-business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the com...
Unless you don’t use the internet, don’t live in California, or haven’t been paying attention to the recent news… you should be aware that self-driving cars are on their way to becoming a reality. I have seen them – they are real. If you believe in the future reality of self-driving cars, then continue reading on. If you don’t believe in the future possibilities, then I am not sure what to do to convince you other than discuss the very real changes that will roll out with the consumer producti...
In the rush to compete in the digital age, a successful digital transformation is essential, but many organizations are setting themselves up for failure. There’s a common misconception that the process is just about technology, but it’s not. It’s about your business. It shouldn’t be treated as an isolated IT project; it should be driven by business needs with the committed involvement of a range of stakeholders.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
Based on the open source Cloud Foundry technology, IBM Bluemix is an open-standard, cloud-based platform for building, managing, and running applications of all types such as web, mobile, Big Data, and new smart devices. Bluemix abstracts and hides most of the complexities that are associated with hosting and managing cloud-based applications. As an application developer, you can focus on developing your application without having to manage the infrastructure that is required to host it. For mob...
As you respond to increasing requests for new analytics, you need fast and flexible technology in your arsenal so that you can deploy the right workload to the right platform for the need at hand. Do you need self-service and fast time to value? Do you have data and application control and privacy needs, along with strict SLAs to meet? IBM dashDB™ is data warehouse technology powered by in-memory computing and in-database analytics that are designed for fast results, scalability and more.
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
The paradigm has shifted. A Gartner survey shows that 43% of organizations are using or plan to implement the Internet of Things in 2016. However, not just a handful of companies are still using the old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways, unaware of the critical barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can you become a winner? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan will present a methodical approach to guide the holistic adoption and enablement of IoT implementations. This ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...