Tag Archives: peer networks

Fight for your right to Internet. Net neutrality threatened.

Net neutrality is under attack.

Net neutrality is under attack.

Trolling my tech news sites yesterday, I came across a story that is most people probably missed.

Did you know that the phone and cable companies are now legally able to block internet sites?

Or charge different rates for access?

I’m not talking China or some other draconian foreign communist regime that you would expect to restrict access to the internet.

This is happening right here in the good ole US of A.

What am I talking about?

Net neutrality, of course.

Yesterday a D.C. Circuit Court issued a decision striking down much of the FCC’s network neutrality rule.

What’s net neutrality?

Per Wikipedia:

Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.

Net neutrality=free, open and equal access to the net.

Why is net neutrality important?

Without net neutrality, cable and phone companies can use differential treatment in the application of their policies.

They can elect to give preference to whoever pays them more.

Worse than that, phone and cable companies can legally block certain sites wholesale, preventing internet browsers from accessing content at any time for any reason.

And who loses?


For some of you, this may be news.

But the reality of the situation is that this fight has been brewing for years.

This issue goes all the way back to 2007 when Comcast tried to block user access to peer-to-peer networks.

The FCC stepped in and told them that they couldn’t restrict user access, and Comcast sued – and won.

At that time, it was determined that the FCC while they had overstepped their bounds with respect to how they responded to Comcast’s restriction of user access, the FCC did have the ability to regulate internet access, but they had to go about it a certain way.

The rules they issued, were challenged by Verizon, and the ruling yesterday, struck down major aspects of the net neutrality rules.

Now the FCC must act expeditiously to protect Internet users from the (potential) arbitrariness of cable and phone companies.

Although many analysts suspect that the cable and phone companies won’t necessarily block access to sites, they do believe that there is very real incentive (read “$”) for throttling certain sites in favor of others.

In the final analysis, if the FCC doesn’t immediately move to reclassify certain types of cable and phone services, and thereby bring them squarely under their jurisdiction and rule-making authority, we could all be screwed royally.

Mind you, this post is really an extremely abbreviated summary of the Court’s decision and it’s impact on net neutrality.

For a more comprehensive dive into this issue and the court’s ruling, check out SlateFree Press or Wired’s reviews of the case and it’s implications.

But, all is not lost.

There are folks out there fighting to ensure that this eventuality never comes to pass.

Organizations like Free Press, Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation, are Internet crusaders devoted to ensuring unfettered access to the internet for all.

And now that you know, perhaps you too could get involved.

Don’t be one of those cats who sits by idly in the sidelines thinking it’s someone else’s resposibility.

Or one day you may wake up to find the internet you once knew and loved – gone.


Filed under advocacy, digital advocacy

Peer-to-peer. The (past and) future of social.


Do you remember Morpheus?

How about Bitorrent?

Who can forget Napster?

Why am I asking about obscure software companies?

Peer-to-peer, that’s why.

These now mostly-defunct software companies were trail blazers, the precursors to modern-day social media networks.

What’s peer-to-peer?

Only the most important thing in the world, that’s what!

Wikipedia describes peer-to-peer networks as follows:

peer-to-peer (P2P) network is a type of decentralized and distributed network architecture in which individual nodes in the network (called “peers”) act as both suppliers and consumers of resources, in contrast to the centralized client–server model where client nodes request access to resources provided by central servers.

In a peer-to-peer network, tasks (such as searching for files or streaming audio/video) are shared amongst multiple interconnected peers who each make a portion of their resources (such as processing power, disk storage or network bandwidth) directly available to other network participants, without the need for centralized coordination by servers.[1]

When you think peer-to-peer, it probably conjures up images of networks of interconnected servers, passing digital files between them.

And you wouldn’t be far off.

The internet did start off as a collection of interconnected computers, sharing data, after all.

But I’m not talking about the hardware (or software) itself.

There’s more to social media than file sharing.

Don’t get it twisted.

Social media is about sharing.

Whether its a gif, photo, video, song or simply information, social media is THE way information gets disseminated online.

But that’s just one part of the equation.

The bigger issue are the peer networks – the underpinnings of social.

pure peer network

At its core, social media relies heavily on peer networks.

Nodes exerting influence on and over one another.

Without the cooperation necessary to allow one computer to access another, peer-to-peer networks would never have come to be.

Similarly, social networks work because of the inherent trust that exists between people.

Even if only loosely.

For the most part, being connected to someone (in a social media context) is like being vouched for in the Mafia.

You’re vetted by who you’re connected to.

The more connected you are, the more trusted you’re perceived as being.

Sure, social media is (somewhat of) a popularity contest.

But online, this popularity translates into trust.

Or credibility, rather.

I feel like I’m rambling.

There was a point to make in there somewhere…

Oh right!

Social has its origins in peer-to-peer networks.

Think about Facebook.

It was originally designed as a peer-to-peer network of Harvard students.

Now it’s a collection of numerous peer networks.

And all other social networks work in much the same way.

LinkedIn. Twitter. YouTube. Instagram. Pinterest. Google+.

As soon as you set up your account, what do you do?

Find and follow all your friends.

The folks most reach out to first are invariably people you already know.

Not to say that we don’t extend our virtual reach beyond the safe confines of people we know.

But when we do, there are usually less than six degrees of separation between us.

What was the point I was trying to make again?

Oh yeah…peer-to-peer networks are the underpinning of all modern day social networks.

If you’re interested in building a successful social network presence, focus first on your peers.

Those people closest to you, who you can rely upon to follow you, like your content and share.

Without a whole bunch of cajoling, bribery and/or sexual favors.

Once your peer network is in place, the sky’s the limit.

Or at least getting that next batch of friends/likes/followers won’t be quite as difficult.

Note: If this post comes of as rambling and incoherent, that’s because it is. But read it, re-read it, and re-read it again. It will eventually make sense.

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Filed under advocacy, digital advocacy, social media