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We won the internet back

We won the internet back

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This is going to be short since I'm on a train — headed to DC, of all places — but today's momentous net neutrality news deserves a moment to state the obvious: we won. I asked my friend Julie Samuels from Engine Advocacy for a comment, and all she said was "this is fucking awesome."

It was almost exactly a year ago that I was so dismayed at the state of the internet, the arrogance of the companies that operate it, and the government's seeming hesitation to regulate in the face of stagnant competition that I wrote The Internet is Fucked. That headline attracted attention; it's among the most-read things I've ever written.

If you're Comcast or Verizon and your customers trust the government more than you, well, you deserve it

I've always found it interesting that the subhead got less attention, though: "We can fix it."

And we did. The FCC's move to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act is a wonky legal maneuver — when I talk to people in Washington, they're amazed that so many people throughout the country know what it is and have demanded it so loudly. And it was demanded, and loudly: the FCC's computers crashed multiple times under the commenting load, John Oliver sent the entire agency into a tizzy, and eventually the president stepped in to reassure the people that they had been heard. Just a few months ago the FCC was still figuring out how to allow fast lanes and slow lanes, and the internet protested again — this time through newly motivated tech companies and an entirely new constellation of advocacy groups dedicated to preserving the open internet.

That's worth repeating: the hundreds of thousands of people who called and emailed and wrote to the FCC and their elected officials over the past year demanding that the government protect the internet were actually heard. Sometimes the system does work.

I'm not saying it's a perfect system — it's not — or even that this is the best possible outcome in the best possible world. I wish there was so much competition for broadband access that we didn't need additional regulation; I'd take a world where Verizon offered fast lanes and slow lanes if I could easily switch to a Comcast service that treated everything equally. That's how it's supposed to work; that kind of intense competition is why the tech industry moves so fast.

But we don't live in a world where anyone experiences that kind of choice for broadband — we live in a world where people feel so helplessly trapped by their internet providers that they loudly demanded the federal government pass additional regulations. That's crazy. If you're Time Warner Cable or Comcast or Verizon and your customers trust the government more than you, well, you deserve it. And if you're AT&T or T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless and you've been playing with sponsored data and zero-rated music services while making it harder to switch carriers and dragging your feet on open networks, well, the hammer just came down for you, too. Turns out wireless isn't all that different or special; wireless companies keep buying endless additional spectrum but much of it sits around unused.

You can't take the internet away from the people

There's a lot we don't know yet about the FCC's upcoming net neutrality proposal; there are a lot of Title II rules that need to be crossed out in the forbearance process for this to work, and Wheeler's indicated that he's going to do that. But it's amazing to know that the FCC is finally taking the steps former chairman Julius Genachowski proposed back in 2010 — steps that made perfect sense then, but were shouted down by greedy telecom companies eager to seize the internet from the people that have made it so powerful.

But you can't take the internet away from the people. The internet doesn't belong to Comcast or AT&T or Verizon or your local carrier or anyone else. The internet is us — it is the people who live and breathe and love and fight on it every day. The internet is the backbone of the economy. It is the foundation of the new (and old) media. It is home to hobbies and clubs and fools and dreamers alike; a million potential billionaires launching apps into the void. The internet is a basic, simple part of American life in 2015. It is freedom, and we deserve to be heard when our freedoms are under attack.

So yeah, it's nice to be heard. But it's even better to win.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed An hour ago Dimorphos didn’t even see it coming

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Thomas RickerAn hour ago
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.


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Twitter
Richard Lawler12:00 AM UTC
A direct strike at 14,000 mph.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) scored a hit on the asteroid Dimorphos, but as Mary Beth Griggs explains, the real science work is just beginning.

Now planetary scientists will wait to see how the impact changed the asteroid’s orbit, and to download pictures from DART’s LICIACube satellite which had a front-row seat to the crash.


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The Verge
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.


Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther WangSep 26
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Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.


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Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.


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External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?


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Youtube
Richard LawlerSep 26
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.


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External Link
Russell BrandomSep 26
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.


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External Link
Emma RothSep 26
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.


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External Link
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.


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James VincentSep 26
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.


Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
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The Verge
James VincentSep 26
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.


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Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.


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The Verge
Richard LawlerSep 26
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.