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  • Indivisible New Rochelle

Actions to Protect Net Neutrality

Updated: Dec 17, 2017

A Translation of Net Neutrality:


The carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast) cannot violate our rights without violating our privacy. All Internet information travels in unique individual packets with your address on them, like mail. Net Neutrality comes in the form of a law that says don't study my packets, just deliver them. If that happens, the Net will be Neutral.


We have requested that Congressperson Eliot Engel author a “Net Neutrality” law protecting the privacy of packets, after the example of the privacy of the mails, and the tradition of non-discriminatory common-carry (from the land grants to western railroads).


Tell Your Representative to Overrule the FCC Vote


Even though the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality, by a 2 to 1 vote along partisan lines, Congress can still stop this vote. Call your Representative and urge that her/him to overrule the FCC vote. Call or tweet your Representative directly from this page.



Our Letter to Representative Engel


The action we are seeking is to request that Eliot Engel write and pass a law on Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality is about much more than Internet speed. The very dangerous aspect of this has to do with privacy. Here is a link to the letter that was drafted by Tom Dargan and signed by three Indivisible groups, including Indivisible New Rochelle.


Here is what was included in the letter:


The law:

“Uniquely addressed Internet packets are the private property of the addressee, from the instant they are presented to the carrier network, through delivery to the device. The address, return address, and the contents may not be recorded nor tabulated nor kept by the carrier, nor inferred by external observation (like shaking a package or “candling” a letter), except as immediately and temporarily needed only to accomplish delivery.”

  1. Conveyed over public property. To transmit packets, the Internet packet carriers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and cable, deploy their physical infrastructure on public property. Over 90% of cable and telco investment is in “outside plant,” the local lines and boxes everyone can see on the streets. This investment is 90% of carrier capital, whether calculated by cost, or by line mileage. The carriers also transmit over the public airwaves.The public has always had the right (and obligation) to keep order and protect freedom on public property.

  2. Self-driving. The “packets” (carefully patterned electrical bursts of digits) that carry Internet information are self-navigating. These packets, by strict national and international specification—by a UN treaty, in fact, initiated by the American National Standards Institute—are programmed specifically to traverse “unreliable” networks. They are created in and by the communicating computers, outside of (at the “edge” of) the carrier network, not by the carrier network itself. Packets self-check for bugs, instruct “dumb” carrier routers where to direct them, bypass bad links, spread traffic to avoid congestion, and call for re-sends when they collide or get lost (each one has a “time to live”), on their own, independent of carrier support.

  3. Private property. Every important packet you receive—voice, video, and data—has your address on it, exclusively, just like your mail. The packet carrier adds nothing, only provides routing (sorting and switching, as instructed by the packet). Your packet, like the physical postal mail it increasingly replaces, is logically yours alone, and private, from the instant it is dropped into the carrier network- just the same as physical mail is yours alone, not the property of the U.S. Post Office.

In other words, the carriers (Verizon, AT&T, cable) cannot violate our rights without violating our privacy. If carriers cannot record and analyze our packet addresses and return addresses, if they cannot read our private packet contents, then they cannot identify which packets to slow, block, or shunt to premium tiers. If they cannot copy and compile, in order to sell, the information inside our packets, they will have no business reason to invest in the smart routers that can. Everyone can sense that the carrier promise of fast lanes means relatively fast lanes anyway, only fast compared to the slow lanes created by restriction around them. We’ve all seen this, in “executive” bank lines, airport lines, and highways. In fact, all that a smart carrier can do is to restrict contents, or to shunt or copy them- it cannot improve them.


We aim to remove the business reason for replacing today’s dumb routers with smart routers. Smart routers can read and copy and shunt packet contents based on the profit motive, and not just sort and route them based on the instructions in the packets. Without smart routers, carriers will default to network neutrality. This is proper. The First Amendment consequences otherwise are not hard to imagine. So, our Internet information travels in unique individual packets with our address on them, like mail, and over public land, and in a self-driving manner that requires no carrier processing, nor interference, beyond prompt delivery. The besieged network neutrality we enjoy today, which is due to complex and brittle regulation, would be secured by this straightforward new law: Don't study our private Internet communications, just deliver them.


A simpler translation of the essential aspects of Net Neutrality:


The carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast) cannot violate our rights without violating our privacy. All Internet information travels in unique individual packets with your address on them, like mail. Net Neutrality comes in the form of a law that says don't study my packets, just deliver them. If that happens, the Net will be Neutral.


So, Congressperson Engel is being asked by Indivisible groups to write a “Net Neutrality” law protecting the privacy of packets, after the example of the privacy of the mails, and the tradition of non-discriminatory common-carry (from the land grants to western railroads).

We are signing on.



Many thanks to Tom Dargan for synthesizing this information and drafting the letter to Eliot Engel.