December 14, 2007

Rogers Replies re Web Ambushing: White is Black, Up is Down, Ignorance is Strength

Greetings. Since the controversy was touched off last weekend regarding Rogers of Canada's testing of a system to modify the content of Internet traffic by inserting their own messages into Web data streams, Rogers has been busy at damage control.

Their take on all this, in both public statements and in replies to outraged customers that have been forwarded to me, is straightforward in an Orwellian Newspeak sort of way.

Rogers' view appears to be that it's perfectly acceptable for them to insert additional content of their own choosing into the private communications between Web services and those services' users on a widespread basis, and that they don't consider their actions to be modifying content at all -- despite the fact that the look of received pages is changed in major ways, such as by pushing significant parts of the original Web pages to the bottom of the display screen or off the displayed area entirely, adding logos for competitors onto the original sites' pages, and so on.

By Rogers' sort of twisted interpretation, if the postal service steamed open letters, stuffed in their own announcements, promotional and third party materials, resealed the envelopes, and then delivered them, this wouldn't be modifying or tampering with the mail. Insanity.

The same sort of Bizarro World party line is echoed over at the "unlimited potential of In-Browser Marketing" PerfTech equipment site, where text (reportedly added after this controversy began, I'm told) also takes the view that splicing all manner of ISP-provided content into users' Web communications isn't "modifying content" at all.

It isn't even necessary to get into the technical intricacies of the Network Neutrality debate for most Internet users to intuitively recognize that the most basic function of an ISP is to completely and accurately pass Web services' data to users, and vice versa -- no more, no less.

The sort of Felliniesque content modifications reasoning that ISPs appear poised to widely inflict onto the Internet is an affront to the intelligence of their subscribers, and a gross interference with communications (from both business and personal standpoints) that cannot be tolerated.

Even Big Brother would have had trouble getting people to buy into such unadulterated ISP-based nonsense, whether it's in 1984 or the early 21st century.

ISPs continue to unwittingly provide the best examples of why Network Neutrality is so important. Thanks, guys!


Posted by Lauren at December 14, 2007 12:10 PM | Permalink
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