Industry heavyweights ride out for net neutrality

Industry heavyweights ride out for net neutrality

Cerf and Schneier fight for open access

Some of the biggest names in the computing industry have teamed up to form the Network Neutrality Squad.

The group will set up an open forum of volunteers to monitor the activities of telecoms companies, and name and shame those that start to block open access to all internet sites.

Founding members include Google web evangelist Vint Cerf, security guru Bruce Schneier, Qualcomm vice president of technology Phil Karn, Slashdot moderator Keith Dawson and Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People For Internet Responsibility.

"Recent events, such as Comcast's lack of candour regarding its secretive disruption of BitTorrent protocols, and Verizon's altering of domain name lookup results to favour its own advertising pages, are tip-of-the-iceberg examples," said Weinstein.

"They show how easily internet operations can be altered in ways that may not be immediately obvious, but that still can have dramatic, distorting and, in some cases, far-reaching negative consequences for internet users.

"The project's focus includes detection, analysis and incident reporting of any anticompetitive, discriminatory or other restrictive actions on the part of ISPs or affiliated entities.

"These include the blocking or disruptive manipulation of applications, protocols, transmissions or bandwidth, or other similar behaviour not specifically requested by their customers."

The move follows decisions by the US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission that there is no need for net neutrality.