FCC Overwhelmed with 27K Comments on Network Neutrality

Ask and ye shall receive. After the close of the open comments period, the FCC had received over 27,000 comments on network neutrality, a few of them completely laughable claims by telecommunications companies. The most outrageous of these is the claim by AT&T that a neutral network would need double the bandwidth currently used, an amount they should have already been offering under the terms of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. (I suppose they're too busy trying to make up lame excuses for hiding the $10/mo DSL package, huh?) The MPAA also got in on the questionable claims by stating that network neutrality would actually decrease content (and by content, they mean their share of it).

I can see how telcos are scared. Over 75% of US Internet users watched some online video in May, an activity contributing to growing bandwidth usage. Maybe they can take some cues from "the 40Gbps grandma" in Sweden. Or maybe use some new wireless technologies to keep pace. You know, innovate for a change.

Even though the FCC doesn't appear poised to take any action just yet, ISPs are already starting to use deep packet inspection to peek in on your data and see not just what kinds of services you're using but what exactly you're downloading. You have to wonder how long it will be before they use this technology for evil, anything from providing logs of what you said in chat rooms to an unscrupulous employee gathering credit card data to buy a new XBox on eBay. Not only are ethical issues involved, but legal ones as well. This technology is envisioned to give feds the ability to wiretap Internet connections, a scary proposition considering that many wiretaps are now done without warrants.

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