miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2014

Beyond #NetNeutrality (III): The new Internet data flow intermediaries

Returning again to the need to go beyond Net Neutrality. As I stated in a past post, Internet would not be what is now if net neutrality have not be adopted as one of its cornerstone principles, the problem starts when we think that it is enough to ensure free surfing in the web. Net neutrality aims to ensure that our internet service providers treat all data in the internet equally. Nevertheless, as the internet evolves, new intermediaries of the flow of data appears, and sometimes we accept this intermediaries without full knowledge of our acceptance. And these interemediaries do not have any obligation of neutrality.

One of this new intermediaries is Google. And it is begining to be in a subtle manner.

Maybe, some of you has accepted without any doubts the optimisation option for your chrome browser in your smartphone. Who would not like to decrease the amount of data, whether because we would like to decrease our mobile phone bill or because we would like to surf faster the web. Unfortunately for you, this means that you are begining to provide Google more information about yourself. First, you tell google what you search for in the web. Now you are begining to tell him all the details of your life as an internet user. Are you shocked? Take a view to this information page from google that could be sum up in the following picture. It describes how SPDY (the protocol used for the optmisation of traffic) works, because the optimisation you accepted its is not based only in the local features of your mobile phone.

What it is called a "Data Compression Service" makes Google the intermediary of all your surfing, with all the implications. It can decide which is your view of the web or which services you can access with better quality than others. And this is not a question of the SPDY protocol, the theory is that SPDY could be implemented by any server. It is because Google does not allow to configure the SPDY proxy in an easy manner (I have not discovered it yet), and this proxy is the one that makes the data compression if the original server is not SPDY compatible (which is the case of the majority of the servers, only 0,9% of the servers are using SPDY).  

How this "Data Compression Works" makes futile any enforcement of net neutrality at the internet access level. I have not found in the FCC Net Neutrality proposal or the European Commission net neutrality proposal any way to guarantee net neutrality in this new scenario. This a new case that prove the need to advance towards a principle of digital neutrality that at the same encompass net neutrality and goes beyond it.

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