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Author Topic: bitcoin and net neutrality  (Read 1652 times)
chaord
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December 23, 2010, 06:15:33 AM
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I'm not incredibly versed on the inner workings of the proposed net neutrality legislation.  Frankly, handing any more power to the government and assuming they'll do "the right thing" is a pretty absurd thought in it of itself.  But that's beside the point.  I would like to open this thread to discuss the effect (if any) net neutrality actions might have on the bitcoin network.

If service providers can throttle bitcoin traffic, just like bit torrent traffic, what will the effect on the bitcoin network be? more block-chains? transaction delays?

Is the bitcoin network protocol set up to easily route around net neutrality type stuff?

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December 23, 2010, 06:22:10 AM
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I'm not incredibly versed on the inner workings of the proposed net neutrality legislation.  Frankly, handing any more power to the government and assuming they'll do "the right thing" is a pretty absurd thought in it of itself.  But that's beside the point.  I would like to open this thread to discuss the effect (if any) net neutrality actions might have on the bitcoin network.

If service providers can throttle bitcoin traffic, just like bit torrent traffic, what will the effect on the bitcoin network be? more block-chains? transaction delays?

Is the bitcoin network protocol set up to easily route around net neutrality type stuff?

Discuss Wink

throttle or block ?  If it's just throttle, I doubt it would have a major impact, since bitcoin doesn't use much bandwith.

Also, there is always the possibilities of bypassing restrictions, such as VPN, I2P, Tor etc.
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December 23, 2010, 06:25:29 AM
 #3

If its block we will just encrypt all the data it might slow down the actual transaction a bit but still be working. Unless they block all encrypted data then god save us all.

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chaord
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December 23, 2010, 06:30:30 AM
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If its block we will just encrypt all the data it might slow down the actual transaction a bit but still be working. Unless they block all encrypted data then god save us all.

Yeah, I thought about that.  However, that would potentially mean they would be blocking all corporate VPN's as well (correct?).  So, hopefully that will never happen.

Glad to know that there are pretty easy solutions waiting in the wings for this though.
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December 23, 2010, 07:22:21 AM
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If its block we will just encrypt all the data it might slow down the actual transaction a bit but still be working. Unless they block all encrypted data then god save us all.
Not even slower. Using encryption is cheap these days; it does not make a noticable impact on the transfer speeds or server loads anymore.
See also google's article on this:
http://www.imperialviolet.org/2010/06/25/overclocking-ssl.html

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December 23, 2010, 10:01:48 AM
 #6

Government prohibiting all cryptography? How is that supposed to work? Cryptography is just applied mathematics. The notion of making cryptography illegal is just absurd as, say, making calculus illegal.

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Mike Hearn
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December 23, 2010, 10:07:58 AM
 #7

The tl;dr version is "nothing to see here, move along".

The longer version is this. The net neutrality debate got a bit fuzzy over time as a bunch of people started bandwagon jumping - notably people who like file sharing.

But the original debate got started after Ed Whitacre, CEO of AT&T, made some comments implying that big content providers like Google, Facebook, Akamai etc should be paying for the right to "use his tubes". This was back in 2006.

http://www.saschameinrath.com/2006mar23the_ed_whitacre_at_t_ceo_network_neutrality_flip_flip_0

In fact the payment structure of the internet works just fine already, so this was seen as an attempt at double dipping .... the threat was to throttle companies that had plenty of money and bandwidth usage to squeeze some extra dollars out of them.

In other words the problems net neutrality legislation is trying to fix would not affect BitCoin as there's nobody to charge extra, and besides, this whole thing only really applies to really huge and latency sensitive consumers of bandwidth like YouTube. BitCoins is neither latency sensitive nor bandwidth intensive.

Now you'll see some people trying to claim that throttling file sharing traffic or other things is a violation of net neutrality, but it's not actually the case - if you don't like the QoS policies of your ISP you are after all free to go elsewhere. But if some big video site doesn't like the QoS policies of your ISP, there's not much they can do about it other than pay up .... or try to convince every customer of that ISP to leave.

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December 23, 2010, 10:22:07 AM
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Now you'll see some people trying to claim that throttling file sharing traffic or other things is a violation of net neutrality, but it's not actually the case - if you don't like the QoS policies of your ISP you are after all free to go elsewhere. But if some big video site doesn't like the QoS policies of your ISP, there's not much they can do about it other than pay up .... or try to convince every customer of that ISP to leave.
Throttling is not really the problem. The problem is if they start to charge extra for some kinds of traffic, or to some services.

And you can say 'just switch to some other provider' but that won't help as in some places there is only one ISP, or two/three that collude against the customer. That seems to be especially the problem in the US where the telecom companies are really powerful and it's almost impossible to start a competitor.

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December 23, 2010, 10:23:39 AM
 #9

Government prohibiting all cryptography? How is that supposed to work? Cryptography is just applied mathematics. The notion of making cryptography illegal is just absurd as, say, making calculus illegal.

They could eventually forbid all encrypted communication, except those listed as "legal". So, they would keep letting you access your bank with HTTPS, but you wouldn't go much further than the services the government control.

This would be quite a 1984 scenario, I don't think it will ever happen. Well, I hope...

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caveden
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December 23, 2010, 10:26:50 AM
 #10

And you can say 'just switch to some other provider' but that won't help as in some places there is only one ISP, or two/three that collude against the customer. That seems to be especially the problem in the US where the telecom companies are really powerful and it's almost impossible to start a competitor.

But then this is the true problem, not net neutrality. Enforcing net neutrality is like creating another problem to try to fix a previous one.
ISPs should be free to provide services as they want. At the same time, everyone should have the right to start an ISP....

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wumpus
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December 23, 2010, 10:28:15 AM
 #11

They could eventually forbid all encrypted communication, except those listed as "legal". So, they would keep letting you access your bank with HTTPS, but you wouldn't go much further than the services the government control.
But that would imply the internet is dead already. By definition, a government can only regulate what happens in their country. So the only way of enforcing this will be to block all communications to other countries? Even China doesn't do this (yet?).

ISPs should be free to provide services as they want. At the same time, everyone should have the right to start an ISP....
Yes, another possibility would be to allow everyone to be an ISP, that would commodize internet access enough for net neutrality to emerge out of itself. But looking realistically, I somehow don't see that happening... given the power blocks and vested interests it's much easier to add regulation then remove it.

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genjix
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December 23, 2010, 10:57:36 AM
 #12

> everyone should have the right to start an ISP....

How could that work???
caveden
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December 23, 2010, 10:59:23 AM
 #13

What you mean?

If you have the means to start your ISP, you should just be able to do it without having to ask any sort of permission/license, nor abiding to any imposed rules.

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wumpus
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December 23, 2010, 11:14:27 AM
 #14

> everyone should have the right to start an ISP....

How could that work???
A good start would be to 'open' the ether, or at least make it much less difficult to (locally?) get a part of the spectrum. Air waves are much too regulated.

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
Timo Y
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December 23, 2010, 11:27:16 AM
 #15

> everyone should have the right to start an ISP....
How could that work???

like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RONJA


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