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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Network Neutrality and AT&T

The fight over Net Neutrality - the idea that Internet providers should remain neutral regarding the information or applications served over their networks, has been dealt an explicit blow in the new AT&T terms of service, as brought to my attention in a Boing-Boing post by Cory Doctorow. Paragraph 5.1 of this document warns that service can be cut "for conduct AT&T believes tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries."
So AT&T customers aren't allowed to write/podcast/vlog critical things about AT&T, its billing-practices, or its cooperation with illegal NSA wiretapping, on pain of having their connections disconnected.
Generally we've thought of this issue in terms of what services and programming would be available over a vendor's pipeline. But when a major corporation like AT&T simply protects its own reputation -- at first glance an irreproachable act -- the freedom to communicate over the net is significantly compromised.

The wikipedia article on Network Neutrality gives a nice introductory survey to this issue.


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