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Obama pledges Net Neutrality, Ewok safety

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"What you've been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and the various portals through which you're getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different Web sites, so you could get much better quality from the Fox News site and you'd be getting rotten service from the mom and pop sites," he said.

But ... well, you can guess, by now.

In the now famous interview, Whitacre never mentioned websites: he indicated that Google and Yahoo! for example, shouldn't be allowed to launch TV services on his expensive new high speed IPTV network for free: a defensive, not an offensive remark.

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Obama's finger-on-the-button pledge may have been a waste of virtual time, though - for "neutrality" has fallen off the agenda for a number of reasons - Despite the dogged efforts of Ars Technica's Nate "Neut" Anderson to try and breath some life into it.

Perhaps the idea of one slow lane for everyone doesn't really hold much appeal. Or perhaps the it's because each new "scare" turns out to be hokum, and the public is growing tired of the Chicken Little scares.

For example, a fortnight ago Comcast put a cap on Bittorrent uploads, so Bittorrent downloads could continue. And that's a clue to why "Neutralists" now meet with such indifference - perhaps there's a realisation that in a shared resources network, rationing actually means there's more to go round.

There's one aspect to this virtual campaign that's been overlooked however - the sheer improbability of the nightmare.

To believe the campaigners, you need to believe that a net with differential treatment (eg, "No YouTube for You") is sellable at any price: in other words, you need to believe ordinary people are stupid.

Unfortunately, this comes naturally to the Neutralists, and their paranoid narratives.

They're capable of imagining all kind of satanic machinations from up on high. But they're incapable of believing that their fellow citizens are able to make the simplest and most rational decision, and just say No. ®

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