Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

“Net Neutrality will die, so let’s take the profit out of killing it.” – Robert X. Cringely

Lobbyists for Big Business and Big Brother apparently have bought enough Congressmen and other officials that the FCC is about to rescind the Net Neutrality rules. Of course, the big losers in this action will be the consumers. That’s you and me.

Robert X. Cringely is the pen name of both technology journalist Mark Stephens and a string of writers for a column in InfoWorld. Cringely, whoever he is or they are, is generally recognized as one of the computer experts and leading consumer advocates of our time. Obviously, Cringely is strongly against this effort by big media companies and by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to decide for the rest of us which services we can access.

See for a description of what will undoubtedly happen once the Net Neutrality rules are rescinded.

Cringely writes, “No matter how many protesters merge on their local Verizon store, no matter how many impassioned editorials are written, it’s going to happen. The real question is what can be done in response to take the profit out of killing it? I have a plan.

He also writes:

We are being depended upon to act like sheep — Internet browsing sheep, if such exist — and without a plan that’s exactly what we’ll be.

“The key to my plan is that this is a rare instance where consumers are not alone. There are just as many or more huge companies that would prefer to keep Net Neutrality as those that oppose it. It’s just that the telcos and ISPs are more entrenched and have more political power. Those companies in favor of Net Neutrality obviously include the big streamers like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and a bunch of others. They also includes nearly every big Internet concern including Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft. Those are some pretty big friends to have on your side — our side.

You can read the details of Robert X. Cringely’s plan in his (their) blog at:

My own comments: While Cringely advocates the use of a specific VPN and for good reasons, I will point out that the use of any good-quality VPN will produce many of the same results. A VPN will block ISPs and others from knowing what you are viewing. However, the big media companies will still be able to block or slow down Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and a bunch of other streaming video services for ALL VIEWERS. Cringely’s plan involves the use of one particular VPN “that goes beyond what normal VPNs are capable of.”

Next, the VPN that Cringely recommends is available free of charge for individuals. The free version does require a bit of software to be installed in each computer that accesses the Internet via the VPN. However, the same company is also selling a hardware box for $150 that provides VPN services to every Internet-connected device in the home without installing any new software, including computers, cell phones, tablets, Roku boxes, Apple TV devices,  consoles, VoIP telephones, security systems and more. Even your Nest thermostat can be connected via a high-security, secure VPN! (I’m not sure there is any benefit to a thermostat connecting via a VPN but it is an excellent of example of how to have private, secure, high-speed connections for EVERY Internet-connected device in your home.)

Categories: Politics, VPN (Virtual Private Networking)

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