Tech

The long, painful path of net neutrality

What happens next?

Probably more states will follow California in pressing for their own net neutrality rules, or the F.C.C. will push national rules that pre-empt the states. Groups that want net neutrality laws will be happy with either. Telecom companies prefer a national law or none at all.

Internet providers, public interest groups, some tech companies and a bunch of our elected leaders have been screaming holy war about an issue for 13 years without a resolution. Can they reach a middle ground and we’ll all move on?

There probably isn’t much of a middle ground. There are either net neutrality rules or there aren’t. And the internet service providers see net neutrality as a slippery slope that leads to broader regulation of high-speed internet services or government-imposed limits on prices they can charge. They will fight any regulation. And that’s true, too, of the lobbyists who are hired to argue against anything.

Cecilia, that’s the absolute worst.

Yeah, totally cynical. Welcome to Washington!


Facebook on Thursday introduced a campaign to convince the public that how it makes money is good for us. But it’s not telling the whole story.

To remind you: Facebook compiles information on what we do on its apps, all over the web and in the real world. It uses that data to help Nike or the local coffee shop pitch ads to people who are likely potential customers. Google operates similarly, and lots of companies try to do versions of this.

These targeted advertisements, which are based on our behavior or computer-aided inferences about what we’ll like, benefit both us and businesses. We probably get cheaper picture-framing services or hotel rooms because Facebook gives businesses a relatively affordable way to pinpoint the most receptive customers.


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