Net Neutrality: Who Controls the Communications of the Communications Controllers?
By Duane Thresher, Ph.D.
August 10, 2019
Answer: Proofpoint Inc. of Sunnyvale California, just minutes
down the road from Google, Facebook, and Twitter. The
question more specifically: Who controls the email of the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)? Your question: What
does this have to do with net neutrality? My answer: Read
The Internet in the United States has a backbone. It's fiber
optic cables able to carry massive amounts of data, starting
with voice, across the country (note: I'm a certified
fiber optic technician
). These fiber optic cables, or at
least their copper predecessors, were laid by AT&T back when
it was a government-authorized monopoly -- so could more
easily get rights-of-way, the most valuable asset -- long
before the Internet started in the early 1990s.
In the early 1980s AT&T, a.k.a. Ma Bell, was broken up into
Baby Bells, due to an early 1970s Department of Justice
anti-trust lawsuit. The trust busting led to many new
telecommunications companies, many tracing their origins to
the Baby Bells, including the current AT&T. These companies
ended up with the cross-country fiber optic cables and became
(and/or sell use of the cables to) Internet Service Providers
(ISPs), like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. I've had all three
of these as ISPs so I know, from painful experience, quite a
bit about them (Comcast was so notoriously bad they had to
rename it Xfinity).
Being an ISP is an expensive investment, and these days far
more hindered by the government than helped. Like it or
not -- and I don't either -- ISPs thus have both the need,
having invested so much, and the right, as non-government
businesses, to charge as much as they can, however they
Enter "net neutrality", which you've probably heard bandied
about but have no idea what it is. Sure sounds good though,
doesn't it? You impulsively support it. (Should we ban the
deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide? If you said, "yes, of
course", look up dihydrogen monoxide.)
Companies that provide content over the Internet, like Google,
Facebook, and Twitter coined the self-serving term "net
neutrality" to prevent ISPs from charging them higher prices
for higher Internet speeds when their customers access their
This standard-everywhere-else pricing structure would hurt the
content providers' profits since they can't have slower
Internet speeds because it means fewer customers. This has
been proven and we all know it from our own experience: if a
webpage takes too long to load we simply skip it.
What we also know from our own experience is that we have to
pay higher prices to our ISP for higher Internet speeds (I can
give you quotes for AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon). But these
ridiculously-rich frighteningly-powerful content providers
think they shouldn't be subject to such realities that we mere
These content providers try to scare their customers by saying
that without net neutrality their websites would be unusably
slow. But this is utter nonsense. They would never allow
their websites to be so slow, since they would lose too many
customers, they would just have to pay more to the ISPs to
keep them fast.
And who can more easily afford to pay more to the ISPs, us or
the massively-wealthy content providers, like Google,
Facebook, and Twitter? If the ISPs got more money from the
content providers, we would have to pay less.
The content providers pretend "net neutrality" means that all
content providers get treated the same on the Internet in
order to ensure the freedom of speech, against abridgment by
the U.S. Government, guaranteed to U.S. citizens in the First
Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the
However, the First Amendment only applies to the
U.S. Government, not companies like ISPs. And who's more
interested in the content of speech: content providers or
ISPs, who don't see speech, only bits?
These frighteningly-powerful content providers are far more
likely to abridge others' freedom of speech than they are to
have their own abridged. In fact, this is exactly how they
make their money. For example, only those who can afford to
pay Google will have their message seen in a Google search.
And Google, Facebook, and Twitter have shown that they want to
abridge others' freedom of speech not just for money but for
You are forgiven if you don't care which side wins. You're
going to get screwed no matter what. Choosing between Google
and Comcast is like choosing between Stalin and Hitler, who
both killed millions of innocents (excuse the hyberbole, but
it makes the point well).
But who does get to decide the case, Content Providers
v. ISPs, a.k.a. Google, Facebook, Twitter v. Comcast, AT&T,
and Verizon? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
However, they are not a court who can decide once and for all.
Their decisions change with the political winds, since
presidential administrations pick the FCC leadership. Under
Obama, the FCC was on the content providers' side, which makes
sense because the content providers essentially created Obama.
Under Trump, who the content providers hate, the FCC is on the
ISPs' side, which makes sense because Trump is a
However, the content providers have a secret weapon that I'll
bet the FCC does not even realize: Proofpoint Inc. of
Sunnyvale California, just minutes down the road from Google,
Facebook, and Twitter, provides supposedly-secure email
service to the FCC.
You say, "Oh no, no email service provider would ever read the
email of its customers, not for profit or political reasons".
You're a fool if you believe that. Google is the biggest
email service provider and reading your email is standard
practice. It claims it only does this by computer to target
ads at you but Google humans program these computers. And
Edward Snowden proved Google provides emails to the National
Security Agency (NSA). It really is the fox guarding the
You say, "Well maybe Proofpoint has no profit or political
reasons to read the FCC's email". Don't be silly. For
profit, at the very least Proofpoint could sell the
information to the content providers like Google, Facebook,
As for political reasons, Proofpoint is in the most solidly
leftist liberal area in the United States: Silicon Valley,
home of Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Conservatives have
been violently driven out. No, Proofpoint is not the
exception. To see this, let's look at who leads
is Proofpoint's Senior Vice President for Global
Operations and Information Technology. She is IT
in the extreme. She only has a BA in English.
Before fleeing to Proofpoint in May 2014 she worked in
engineering at Yahoo! for 7 years. She was one of the IT
incompetent clowns who let hackers destroy Yahoo! in a series
of massive data breaches starting in 2013 -- the bad IT was in
place long before that -- and she was one of the rats who then
swam away as Yahoo! sank.
Lyn Campbell was obviously not hired for her IT expertise.
She clearly has neither the expertise nor the desire -- they
usually go together -- to provide secure
. It must be something else; see Principles
of IT Incompetence (IT Hiring: Trading IT Competence for
. Being an English major her desire
is to get what she wants to say, however stupid, to a wider
audience. And given that her BA in English is from the
University of California Berkeley, home of violent anti free
speech protests (only leftist liberals can speak), what she
wants to say is very leftist liberal. Campbell would
certainly read the FCC's email to help out Google, Facebook,
Twitter, and the leftist liberal cause.
is Proofpoint's Executive Vice President of
Cybersecurity Strategy (e.g. deciding how to secure email).
He seems to have a fake
, from Stanford University, making him both IT
incompetent and a liar. Given that, he may have other
motivations; see Principles
of IT Incompetence (IT Hiring: Trading IT Competence for
. In fact, according to the Federal
Election Commission, in July 2016 Kalember donated $2,700 (the
max) to Hillary Clinton's presidential election campaign. And
Stanford is a well-known leftist liberal university, Silicon
Valley's university. Kalember would certainly read the FCC's
email to help out Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the leftist
And yes, emails to and from the FCC would be extremely
valuable to content providers in undermining the FCC.
Remember, the FCC is not a court who can decide once and for
all. And many battles have been decided by intercepting enemy
Thus it looks like the content providers -- Google, Facebook,
Twitter -- are going to win, again, which is usually what
happens to the side that cheats.