Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by CoolHand on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:02PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the dealing-with-hypocrites dept.

From CNET:

Angry Netflix customers are a force to be reckoned with, and they're the ones owed an explanation about why the company would slow the transmission of video streams to some wireless customers without informing them.

Netflix found itself in the hot seat after admitting, in a Wall Street Journal story Thursday, that for five years it had been tamping down service to Verizon and AT&T customers. What's more, the Los Gatos, California, company said the policy excluded customers of T-Mobile and Sprint.

Critics immediately cried foul on Netflix, seeing hypocrisy on the part of a company that two years ago led a fight to require the Federal Communications Commission to adopt "strong" Net neutrality rules that would ban Internet service providers from slowing traffic under almost any circumstances. Netflix also wanted the FCC to require operators to be more transparent in how they manage their networks.

But the most galling aspect may be that Netflix never notified its customers that it was imposing a slowdown.

"There is nothing wrong with what Netflix is doing," said Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom, a group that has opposed the FCC's Net neutrality regulations. "Except for not making it public."


Original Submission

Related Stories

Politics: FCC Guards Eject Reporter 37 comments

John M. Donnelly, a senior writer at CQ Roll Call, said he was trying to talk with FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly one-on-one after a news conference when two plainclothes guards pinned him against a wall with the backs of their bodies.

Washington Post

“Not only did they get in between me and O’Rielly but they put their shoulders together and simultaneously backed me up into the wall and pinned me to the wall for about 10 seconds just as I started to say, “Commissioner O’Rielly, I have a question,” Donnelly said Friday.

Donnelly said he was stopped long enough to allow O’Rielly to walk away.

Los Angeles Times

Donnelly, who also happens to be chair of the National Press Club Press Freedom team, said he was then forced out of the building after being asked why he had not posed his question during the news conference.

O'Rielly apologized to Donnelly on Twitter, saying he didn't recognize Donnelly in the hallway. "I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff. I didn't see anyone put a hand on you. I'm sorry this occurred."

Politico

According to the publication for which the reporter works (archived copy),

Senators, including Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, are warning the Federal Communications Commission about its treatment of reporters after a CQ Roll Call reporter was manhandled Thursday.

“The Federal Communications Commission needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. As The Washington Post pointed out, it’s standard operating procedure for reporters to ask questions of public officials after meetings and news conferences,” the Iowa Republican said. “It happens all day, every day. There’s no good reason to put hands on a reporter who’s doing his or her job.”

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 2) by GungnirSniper on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:09PM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:09PM (#324461) Journal

    Does it really matter if I'm watching on a handheld device? Artifacts that would be obvious on a laptop won't appear, typically.

    • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:21PM

      by butthurt (6141) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:21PM (#324468) Journal

      True, and if T-Mobile and Sprint allow tethering, but Verizon and AT&T forbid it, then this is fully justifiable.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:39PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:39PM (#324508) Journal

        AT&T and Verizon have no business disallowing tethering. If you have a limit on how much bandwidth you can use, then it is none of AT&T's business how you use it.

        --
        You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
        • (Score: 1) by butthurt on Wednesday March 30 2016, @04:04AM

          by butthurt (6141) on Wednesday March 30 2016, @04:04AM (#324662) Journal

          I only meant that the action by Netflix would be justified, not necessarily the overall situation.

          Most likely Gravis has it [soylentnews.org].

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday March 31 2016, @09:50PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday March 31 2016, @09:50PM (#325488) Journal

        True, and if T-Mobile and Sprint allow tethering, but Verizon and AT&T forbid it, then this is fully justifiable.

        That *might* justify it if there was no way to get video from your phone to a larger screen without tethering. But plenty of phones support direct HDMI output.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Tork on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:05PM

      by Tork (3914) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:05PM (#324492)
      Speaking as someone who has streamed from their phone to the TV... yes, it can matter.
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by jmorris on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:34PM

    by jmorris (4844) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:34PM (#324474)

    Netflix made decisions. Period. They decided to lower the data rate to some customers for whatever reason. Perhaps they did it to avoid those customers hitting the cap, getting billed for the overage and complaining to Netflix. Perhaps it was some dark plot with AT&T and Verizon. Doesn't matter. Tech decisions being made by the tech people are generally the right way to solve these sort of problems. If they can easily expose a control to let the customer opt to use more bandwidth and Netflix is OK with pushing more bits, something they apparently are since they do for everyone else, then why not. But if they have some sort of arrangement with AT&T and Verizon, like a free colo, and they don't want that and have come to a different understanding with Netflix then that is ok too. Customers can vote with their wallet and sign up for Amazon or Hulu. Let the market work these things out.

    Your cable company makes the same sort of decisions. The feeds they take from the dish are big beautiful streams that they decide how much to recompress to fit the channels they want to deliver into the bandwidth they have available. A few providers (ESPN, HBO, etc) stipulate minimums, most don't. They don't disclose any of those decisions and I certainly wouldn't want the government wading into it. Explain the difference here.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by tibman on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:39PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:39PM (#324476)

      Yeah, it really doesn't seem that big a deal if i'm understanding correctly

      Netflix already lets customers adjust the settings to stream their data at a higher or lower quality, which could help them manage their data. What's more, the service automatically adjusts its stream to a higher or lower quality when the service detects network congestion. The problem lies in the fact that Netflix defaulted to a lower quality for all customers across the board on only two carriers without informing them.

      So they defaulted a user setting to lower than normal? Quite a bit different than net neutrality issues!

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Tork on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:56PM

      by Tork (3914) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:56PM (#324486)
      The market can decide whether to use Netflix or Hulu, most of the market can't decide which ISP they use.
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 30 2016, @12:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 30 2016, @12:14PM (#324775)

      The problem is that if 2 customers are paying the same rate for a service, they should receive the same service.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday March 30 2016, @06:21PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday March 30 2016, @06:21PM (#324940) Journal

      Netflix made decisions. Period. They decided to lower the data rate to some customers for whatever reason.
       
      Agreed, and in this case it was a decision Netflix made with relation to direct customers. That's a bit different than some tangentially-involved third party making the decision for both of them.

  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:56PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:56PM (#324487)

    ... said the policy excluded customers of T-Mobile and Sprint.

    isn't it obvious? they are reducing the amount of data being sent so they don't blow up your data cap and leave you with a $50 overage fee. T-Mobile and Sprint are the ones with the "zero-rated" data options which is why they are excluded from the quality reduction schemes.

    • (Score: 2) by SrLnclt on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:20PM

      by SrLnclt (1473) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:20PM (#324526)

      IMHO allowing "zero rated" streaming services is a violation of net neutrality rules. It's still allowing ISPs/wireless caries to create fast/slow lanes that prioritize some services over others. I'm actually one of the idiots with T-Mobile that disabled this feature because of my views on Net Neutrality, even though it costs me nothing and could save me from hitting data caps. I'm actually curious why T-Mobile hasn't had their hand slapped yet for this. Is it because they offer this feature for free? Because you can opt out? Or are they waiting for someone with cause to sue?

      • (Score: 2) by slinches on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:56PM

        by slinches (5049) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:56PM (#324538)

        What complaints do you actually have with T-Mobile's video zero-rating feature? I mean it may violate the letter of net neutrality, but it doesn't appear to violate the intent, IMHO. The most questionable aspect I see is that streaming video providers must sign up to get the zero rating, but all streaming video protocols are throttled whether it's from a participating provider or not. But that seems a relatively minor quibble since the requirements to sign up are clear and non-restrictive.

        Over all, it really does seem like the most reasonable and customer friendly approach to managing congestion due to the increases in video streaming that I can think of. And the ability to opt-out does make a big difference to the point that I probably would be against it without that option. Nobody should be forced into a deal, even if it's likely in their best interest.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Tuesday March 29 2016, @10:00PM

          by Tork (3914) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @10:00PM (#324541)
          The complaint is that if T-Mobile can do it then so can AT&T, aka the new owners of a television service that competes with Hulu, Netflix, and the like.
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
          • (Score: 2) by slinches on Tuesday March 29 2016, @10:16PM

            by slinches (5049) on Tuesday March 29 2016, @10:16PM (#324545)

            I don't know if the slippery slope argument works here. The neutrality issue only comes into play if competing services are unfairly disadvantaged or a web service's customer base is held for ransom by an ISP. If AT&T or Verizon implement that feature the same way T-Mobile has, they wouldn't be giving their own services an advantage at all since there's essentially no cost to participate and there are no unnecessary limitations to participation in the program.

            • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday March 31 2016, @10:51PM

              by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday March 31 2016, @10:51PM (#325515) Journal

              The neutrality issue only comes into play if competing services are unfairly disadvantaged or a web service's customer base is held for ransom by an ISP.

              Whether or not that is true in this situation depends on how you define "competing services". Competing video services? Competing entertainment services? Or competing network services? If I want to stream home videos to my relatives from my own server, that video counts while Netflix doesn't. If someone is nearing their bandwidth cap they might skip an online game in favor of a free video stream. Or a VoIP call might get throttled because the network is over capacity serving all those free video streams. Seems like any data flowing over those pipes is competing in some way.

              The point of net neutrality, as I understand it, is that since all these various services are all utilizing the same infrastructure, they should all get equal access to it. Not merely that you can't privilege your own video streaming service over others. If I pay for x GB a month, it shouldn't matter if I use that to stream video, play games, or download research papers. Net neutrality means the service provider gives me a dumb pipe that just carries whatever bits I tell it to carry.

              Of course...if ANY streaming video service can so easily become zero-rated...seems like there's a good market for an app to encode large downloads as YouTube videos or something. Where's that stenography guy? :)

      • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Thursday March 31 2016, @09:10PM

        by Gravis (4596) on Thursday March 31 2016, @09:10PM (#325471)

        IMHO allowing "zero rated" streaming services is a violation of net neutrality rules.

        i agree but that is not the issue at hand.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:09PM (#324497)

    So what. I manage my websites bandwidth too. Peering agreements from my upstream provider cause me to try to keep the amount going between the networks about equal. This means if there is far more demand on one side than the other I may have to rate limit that side to avoid paying for the disparity.

    One big fucking meh. Most people are just idiots. "Net Neutrality" WAS about making sure preferential treatment of content producers didn't exist. However, the legislation was changed. Now "network neutrality" is about Internet censorship. Go read the damn regs, idiots. Pay close attention to the use of the terms: "Lawful content" and "Unlawful Content". These terms have been conflated to appear as "Legal Content" and "Illegal Content", especially by the fucking retards at the EFF -- who are lawyers so they should know better, I'm assuming malicious intent because I can't explain this level of idiocy.

    The term "Lawful" means that which is explicitly permitted by law. That means my new protocol for remote desktop over UDP is "Unlawful". There is no law explicitly granting this type of content as acceptible, and indeed it is thus grouped with "hate speech" as "unlawful content" under the FCC's new "network neutrality" regulations. They could ban my packets from the web as "unlawful", even though the data is perfectly "Legal" (they aren't breaking any laws). Did you dummies forget that the FCC is in the business of fining TV stations for swear words?

    "I'm from the FCC, and I'm here to help!", and you fucking morons believed them. You all disgust me.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:21PM (#324502)
      > Did you dummies forget that the FCC is in the business of fining TV stations for swear words? If that were actually true then HBO would be a very different animal. You do know that it's just about the airwaves, right?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:13PM (#324524)

        You do know that it's just about the airwaves, right?

        True, but any such government censorship at all is intolerable and must be ended.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:46PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @09:46PM (#324533)
          The government isn't preventing you from hearing swear words or seeing nipples, they're preventing it from being broadcast on the airwaves in a way that you haven't opted into.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:05PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:05PM (#324558)

            The government isn't preventing you from hearing swear words or seeing nipples

            No censorship is 100% effective, so using this logic, censorship simply doesn't exist. Even if the government were to only censor a single messenger or source, it would still be censorship and therefore intolerable and unconstitutional.

            And who are they to decide which words or things are bad? It is subjective. Tyranny of the majority doesn't make it any better, either.

            they're preventing it from being broadcast on the airwaves in a way that you haven't opted into.

            I also didn't opt into hearing the word "the". Better censor that, too. Better censor anything anyone could conceivably object to, following this line of reasoning.

            You heard something that offended you? Too bad. Deal with it. You don't get to have the government silence others simply because you don't like what they say or were offended by it.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 30 2016, @01:15AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 30 2016, @01:15AM (#324617)
              > No censorship is 100% effective, so using this logic, censorship simply doesn't exist.

              This censorship isn't even 1% effective. The reason for that isn't even government incompetence. They're not going after the messenger or the source, rather just that particular avenue. You can't take a skateboard on the highway, either, that's not the government censoring skateboards.

              > Better censor anything anyone could conceivably object to, following this line of reasoning.

              It's easy to picture you picketing at McDonalds over their no-pants policy.
    • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:42PM

      by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:42PM (#324571)

      Instead of being arrogant, I'll try to be inquistive...

      Would you consider the possibility that (if you are not a communications-related lawyer) that your interpretation (or, more likely, the interpretation that your information source adopted) may be less knowledgable than you seem to believe?

      "[...]my new protocol for remote desktop over UDP is "Unlawful". There is no law explicitly granting this type of content as acceptible."

      For some reason, I seriously doubt that Microsoft's RDP is somewhere in the books of law - assuming there must be a "law explicitly granting this type of content as acceptable," - and assuming it isn't, that M$ would be freaking the fuck out over this. Imagine Google needing to pass a fucking law in order to throw some new beta project on the internet.

      Doesn't that sound a little implausible?

      Don't you think that M$/Google/Verizon/everyone's lawyers were looking over the regs and if something like this were present would be thinking, "Fuck, we're going to have to quadruple our lobbying budget over this" and have a slight problem with that?

      I'm not saying it's outside the realm of possibility, but I seriously doubt that it is.

      No, "Look at the regs idiot" is not a valid retort. You are the one making the claim that corporations will need to pass fucking FEDERAL LAWS to put new projects online so the burden of proof rests on you.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:22PM (#324503)

    They had to lower the Verizon service because that network was already overloaded with people downloading all that Enterprise Solutions personal information.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:37PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 29 2016, @08:37PM (#324506) Journal

    How dare Netflix throttle its own traffic!

    Doesn't Netflix know that the only proper way to throttle traffic is to throttle someone else's traffic?

    If you are just one of the end points of a connection, why should you be allowed to decide how much traffic you want to send over the wire to the other party?

    Throttling of internet traffic should ONLY be allowed when you are being paid by one or both ends of a connection, and none of the data being throttled is coming from or intended for you. (eg, when the content itself is none of your business, then you can throttle it.)

    Doesn't Netflix throttling violate some kind of right that is exclusively reserved to networks?
    /s

    --
    You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.