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[ NNSquad ] Re: CNN's use of "Octoshape" slips live video P2P into users' PCs
This seems more like the same old fear mongering we're used to from the carriers. Perhaps one can argue against the particulars of Octoshape but the story attacks the entire category of applications and, perhaps, the very idea of running third party applications on our PCs.
I'm more concerned about Daschle's patron, Leo Hindrey of Excite@Home, than I am about CNN's attempt to advance connectivity. After all, it was Exite@Home that warned us against abusing our privileges by using webcams. Why suddenly this sympathy for that position? Shouldn't this administration be stimulating use instead of giving into fear?
How different is this from the many other applications we install such as flash players, Skype, Quicktime etc? If we couldn't run third party applications at all we'd be safe and stagnant. Flash is of particular interest since peer video is a key new capability. Skype 4 also makes video more usable. All of these have an impact on a participants' (not just user, but participant).
Is the privacy issue any different from the myriad of applications and services that are monetized by reporting our what we are seeing, reading, thinking? I'm more concerned with how much we should trust our sources of information like CNN and Fox. They can already track our reading habits.
Shouldn’t we be applauding any effort to make use of (what should be) abundant capacity and encouraging innovation rather than cowering before the byte cappers and the EULAs? After all we also violated the prohibitions against home networking and webcams that were common and we all benefited. How can we be responsible for all the bits sent from our machines when we host many applications -- often within the sandbox of browsers. Do we know what our children, visitors and others are dong with every applications and every byte? For that matter how many people have a clue as to what is happening within their own machines? What about the first amendment issues requiring we police all the public speech that happens to go over providers’ paths just because the government has sold off our rights to free speech?
The providers can blithely ignore our first amendment rights because our legal system has accepted the premise of scarcity and ignores egregious violations of antitrust principles by providers using their control of the transport to control content. Why should we accept this?
The cost shifting arguments ring hollow as the backbone providers costs' accounting artifacts. Yes, to local ISPs these may be real costs but that's because they are wholesalers and more like users than providers.
Let's not participant in ad hominem attacks asking why a small company from Denmark has managed to gain exclusive contracts -- next we'll wonder why a small company from Denmark has such control over the plastic block market. Is it a surprise that a company in the business of assisting video distribution has a connection with a company that does video distribution?
I'm cc'ing Stephen Ronan because of his heroic effort to provide access to users in apartments in some of the Boston housing projects. He has to share a pair of small DSL connections because the all the available fiber is off-limits thanks these arbitrary restriction on usage lest they threaten the incumbents 19th century business models. Do we solve this by blaming his users for using too much or the carriers for taking 100% of the capacity off of the table. (OK, 99.99999% -- a few fibers vs 7Mbps of DSL).
The potentially negative implications of Octoshape seem quite serious
in a number of ways and from a variety of bandwidth use, privacy, and
security standpoints. Given the reported lack of obvious, fully
informed disclosure to users about what this software is really doing
(language buried in the usage "fine print" doesn't fulfill this
requirement), one wonders if there might also be some interesting legal
issues as well in various locales.