FCC’s Open Internet Order Is Turning the Internet of Things into a Hal 9000

by Mike Wendy on March 20, 2017

Your home or office is quietly undermining the Internet, like a low-tech version of Hal 9000?

As the Wall Street Journal reports:

While Bea Lowick ’s customers were busy folding clothes last year, the security system at her Carbondale, Colo., laundromat was also hard at work.

Though she didn’t know it, Ms. Lowick’s Digital ID View video recorder was scanning the internet for places to spread a strain of malicious software called Mirai, a computer virus that took root in more than 600,000 devices last year.

Expect more of this to occur as our appliances and other household items go online with the Internet of Things.

Although the information and communications industry works 24 / 7 / 365 to combat cyber scourges, those efforts could be better. According to the report, “[b]roadband providers say their hands are tied because their customers choose what to plug into the internet.

The Internet of Things does not need to be a Hal 9000.

Their hands are also tied by the last FCC’s Net Neutrality / Open Internet Order, which forbids ISPs to do anything more than reasonable network management to buckle down on security threats. This means that priority service / “paid prioritization” cannot be employed to innovatively beat back at malicious Internet actions.

Wouldn’t it be great if your ISP partnered with a company like Brinks – through a priority agreement or “fast lane” of a sort – to help you lock down your home or office system, alerting you to potential intrusions, blocking bad actors, and otherwise improving your Internet experience?

You bet it would.

“The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made,” said Hal flatly in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  “No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.”

“Now, the fridge over there – I can’t vouch for that.” (No, Hal didn’t say that, but…)

Call your Congressional Representatives and Commissioners at the FCC, and urge them to get rid of Net Neutrality / utility regulation of ISPs. Help them help network providers create a better, more secure Internet for all Americans (especially for the average Dave).

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Arthur Rhodes March 20, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Aren’t you a libertarian? (I ask that in jest, I know you aren’t despite what you claim on twitter) Are you saying people are too dumb to get their own free anti virus software? That they need their local regional monopoly to protect them? I love that add on they tried to sell me. Why would I buy their overpriced malware detection/anti virus when there are plenty of great free tools to use, or even paid tools that cost a lot less than what the ISP’s are selling.

But if the FCC wants to protect their privacy, you cry foul, they don’t need the FCC to protect them. They shouldn’t make it “opt in”.

So to recap, people are savvy enough to know what to do with their online privacy, but aren’t savvy enough to get anti virus.

This blog just keeps getting funnier.


Mike Wendy March 20, 2017 at 9:03 pm

They’re smart enough to choose the tools available to them. The FCC’s order limits those options because, ostensibly, it knows better – how to design products / services / devices / etc. to serve a market.

That FCC-branded phone I had last year was awesome, right?



Arthur Rhodes March 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm

They didnt limit anything, if the consumers are smart enough like you say, then “opting in” into the selling of data shouldn’t have been a problem right?


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