Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet
by Matt Stoller, Wed Jun 21, 2006 at 07:47:18 PM EDT
It appears that the Net neutrality proponents have been caught in a flagrant lie in their effort to scare the public...
MyDD.com and SaveTheInternet.com along with many other Net neutrality activist sites have accused Cox Communications of deliberately blocking the website Craigslist by quoting a report from our own Tom Foremski.
Well I suppose that would be a lie if I had accused Cox of deliberately blocking Craigslist. Only I didn't. Here's what I wrote.
Big companies, through incompetence, malevolence, or economic choice, can control the internet. Without legal protections, they will. So if you like dropped calls and crappy cable service, you'll love what the non-neutral net will look like.
The point I was making is that there is an incentive problem. Without net neutrality enforcement and with the current non-competitive state of the consumer broadband access market, large network operators won't have a real incentive to fix problems like this one.
Of course, it's easier to pretend like I was claiming that Cox was intentionally blocking Craiglist. But that is a lie.
I wish the debate weren't this muddled, but it's been a strategy of the network operators to make this issue as confusing as possible. I've now been called a partisan, a socialist, and a liar. The Handsoff the internet folk have even bought Google adwords for the search result 'Matt Stoller'.
The reality is that this is a fight that the lobbyists never wanted to have publicly. They never expected to have to deal with the public, and they're muscling their insider connections as aggressively as possible to prevent us from having a voice. Even as the telecom companies talk of their commitment to the principles of network neutrality to assuage critics, their front groups are asking constituents to send letters that start with the sentence 'I am writing to ask you to oppose "Network Neutrality." This type of flackery seems to be par for the course.
What's really going on is that there is a conflict between two different ways of doing business. One way is open to the public. The other is private, secretive and controlled by lobbyists. These insiders are reacting aggressively and dishonestly against people advocating for the public's right to participate in determine how we talk as a nation. It's how DC works right now. Or rather, doesn't.
Update: The telco trolls in the comments have brought a different post of mine to my attention, which makes it more obvious they are lying. Here's what I wrote back when the Craiglist problem came out:
There's a pervasive myth that there has been no discrimination on the internet against content companies. That is simply untrue. For one, Craigslist has been blocked for three months from Cox customers because of security software malfunctions.How does this square with me and "many other Net neutrality activist sites have accused Cox Communications of deliberately blocking the website Craigslist"? It doesn't, but I guess that doesn't matter to McCurry and his merry band of liars.
Update, again: Ok, the situation seems to be resolved. The reason some Cox customers couldn't get to Craigslist was due to a software malfunction on Cox's end, which is what I originally wrote. The makers of Cox's security software are even buying Craig a steak dinner as an apology for the error. And Craig Newmark backs me up here on the larger point, saying that what happened to Craigslist is exactly what could happen "if the big guys ignore net neutrality".