I know I won't be the first to say it but...
Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle...
I'd be peeved too, though...
Rogers Communications, the Canadian cable and telcoms giant, has slapped the Yahoo! name onto the Google home page. And Google isn't too happy about it. As first revealed by Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of the People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR), Rogers is testing a new technology on its high-speed internet service that …
WELL DONE !
Virtually every business page you visit contains a link to google of some sort or another. Google slip in stuff all the time into pages you visit without your consent.
It's about time they realized, that the internet DOES NOT belong to them; it belongs to US!
Just like pc's don't belong to Big Bill.
Google puts ads on web pages at the request of webpage owners, who in turn get money for that. or when you use Google services, they get money from ads. This is totally different, and does begin to breach net neutrality.
Just think though, if your ISP can get away with "adding content" to your web pages, when will it end? Will every network that your data travels through get to start adding their own stuff too?
Google is already doing this for almost ten years now.
I don't like Google ads. I want to see the web pages only or the search results only and not interested in ads.
Google should give a way to hide the ads that it displays So that I don't see ads any more if I am not interested.
Google should now learn that displaying ads without user intent to see the ads is BAD. It affects internet experience.
Who cares about Yahoo! and Google - what a nice limit Rogers are offering! Here in New Zealand we have tiny data caps and hideously slow broadband (still on plain ADSL). Result is NZ$80 per month for 15 GB from Telecom NZ (the pigopolist who own most of the country's broadband). My line tops out at 1 Mbps download on the "high[est] speed plan". Not because I'm far away from the exchange but because Telecom NZ can't be bothered to install decent equipment in the exchange. Also, the DSL Access Modules (DSLAM's) don't have much throughput to the backbone. Crap, crap, crap.
This is NOTHING like google inserting targeted ads while you browse your google webmail. You're viewing a page of google's as google intended it to be delivered. This in no way resembles your ISP intercepting some content that you have requested from a remote host, modifying it, and forwarding it on to you.
I have no idea what you people are talking about. If google ran routers that held together the internet and they sat upstream from you, and they appended a little google ad to every piece of http traffic they see floating by, THEN it would be like what rogers is doing.
The closest thing google does to this can be seen when you search google video and you follow a link to a non-youtube, non-google site (say 56.com) and it leaves the frame at the top that provides related video links. This, AGAIN is not like the rogers deal because you are still on a google site, google is just loading the website that it referred you to in a frame. You can remove the frame to continue on to the actual site itself.
The only people who got it straight are Martin and Adam.
I agree! Google is SO wrong to shove ads in my face all the time!!! I hate ads!! Ads must be outlawed!!! I only want to see the ads I want to see, not the ones the webmaster wants me to see!!!
Furthermore, I demand that I still get all the Internet's free content, for free! Just without ads!
Oh, wait a second, am I being a selfish, unreasonable, freeloading twerp?
(No "withering sarcasm" icon, so I'll settle for "joke".)
They are not trying to insert adverts or anything into the pages, they are just advising the customer that they are nearly out of data transfer.
All these whining moaners here would no doubt be screaming that they were getting charged overage fees without any warning they were approaching their limit if they didnt do this.
Look, when you visit a web site and it has loads of adverts on it for Google ads, it is the web page creator who has decided to place these on their site. Google doesn’t just add stuff to other people’s web pages.
I agree they don’t really enhance a page but a lot of site owners are one man bands, offering stuff on a web site they are probably paying for out of their own pocket. Stick some Google ads on there and if someone "clicks through" they get a few cents. It is just one way for small people who produce content that most people think is useful and free to cover costs. OK so some people take this to extremes, some people make a living out of it but just blaming Google is not the way to go
What Roberts are doing is inserting a message onto ANY page that one of their customers is viewing. So this is not being targeted at Google. It just so happens that the example shows a Google page. It could have been any page on the 'net.
The medium is different, but it's not any different to receiving an email letting you know you're reaching your bandwidth limit - at least here you can see when you're reaching it rather than wait for an email to wing it's way to your account and by the time you read it, it might be too late. An alternative system (maybe I should patent it :-) ) would be to send their customers a SMS message when they're reaching their limit. Doesn't interfere with their web browsing of pron then! :-)
What Roberts should have done is updated their T&Cs first, then there wouldn't be any case to answer. Also, letting their customers know beforehand about this change in service. Though knowing journos, the fact that customers might have been notified doesn't stop them using it for a juicy story about how busy-body-interferring-high-handed ISPs are destroying "our" precious 'net as we know it.
So long as they stick to vital announcements then I don't see a problem with it. The moment it turns into advertising, THEN bring the full force of the blogging public down on them.
Can't help laughing at AC complaining about his 15Gb cap in New Zealand. Here in SA, the average is a 3Gb cap, and most people have 1Gb. The most common speed is 384Kb, with the highest being a non-guaranteed "up to" 4Mbs, which is generally nowhere near that. And the cost for a 384Kbps line with a 1Gb cap starts at ZAR170.
Don't get a "who's got the worst broadband" competition started, because us saffers will always win :-)
It is only a warning message but it does rather open the door to other things. I certainly don't want ISPs thinking they can go further and put ads into pages I'm reading.
On the other hand, if part of every page I see is clearly cordoned off on every page as a message are for an ISP I might be able to live with that, especially if I can close it.
At the end of the day I'd always choose an ISP who didn't do this.
What Rogers is doing is far worse than Google - if they're actually modifying the incoming pages then it's going to be impossible to filter unless they're nice and wrap up their bit in some comment tags that can be removed locally before viewing. I use Privoxy as an ad filter and it does a good job on removing Google ads - I rarely see them - but it would struggle if the pages had the stuff embedded as source rather than links or scripts.
Does this now mean that anything viewed on the internet using an account with Rogers is their responsibility? Could customers sue Rogers if they see any content they find offensive, or is the download malware from a maliciously-coded site? How about the flip side of this, are Rogers now responsible for any content uploaded by their customers, and any file sharing, etc.?
Am I the only one who noticed the fucking obvious link on the quota frame that says "Click here if you don't want to receive this message in the future"? Why oh why oh why did they make it so damn difficult to opt out! I hope nobody strains their finger clicking on the link, or Yahoo! and Rogers will really be in for a lawsuit!
Sheeeeeeesh. I hope they remove the damn frame with the original page at the bottom and but keep the warning page, that would surely shut people up about "net neutrality".
The insertions are currently informational, useful and opt-out-able. Any ISP that abused that would quickly find customers leaving in droves. Besides, ISPs have been manipulating content for years, e.g. AOL's image proxying. Sheesh, it's normally me accused of being in the tin-foil hat brigade!
My last ISP's contract had some interesting terms that allowed them to block or modify content effectively as they saw fit. I haven't bothered checking my current one as I'm not too worried about it - if they ever do start doing something I don't like I'll simply change ISP. Ah, the wonders of an open market (thumbs nose at Kiwis and Saffers).
I don’t buy the Google adds on web pages angle. The webmaster has chosen to allow Google to place the text adds there.
However Google does kind of modify pages when you use the Google images search. When following image links you are taken to a page with Google blurb at the top and the original page below. I realise you can follow the link to view the original page but then it also looks like you can close the ‘you are reaching your data limit’ notice.
Google don't place those ads there uninvited. The webmaster/designer puts them there.
You may think they are bad, but look at it this way. They pay for you to browse the site. Someone has to meet the costs associated with you viewing the site (server/space rental etc).
I help run a forum for UK cable users. We use google ads to pay for our server costs (which are not insignificant). We take no profit from them site, and spend many hours a week managing it. We charge the forum members NOTHING, and do not ask for donations. If we didn't use Google Ads (actually chosed because it was the least intrusive), how would we fund the site? Pay for it ourselves? Charge for membership?
I'm a Rogers customer and have not yet experienced this page modification by Rogers. Roger has many similar practices I personally hate; including the removal of tv network commericals to place their own ads. I'm sure Rogers is not alone in this practice. If I have paid for an American tv channel I have paid to see the American ads; not whatever Rogers deems I should see. That goes for the internet too. The problem is little choice here; either Bell or Rogers. I preferred BT and Sky Digital (in England) over Rogers and Bell.
No it bloody isn't, it's like your wireless provider intercepting the start of your call and impersonating the voice of the person calling you while reading out an advertisement. It is forgery and illegal interception.
Google inserts ads with YOUR consent - you know that's how they pay for the service when you sign up (it's also why I won't have a GMail account).
Stuffing ads onto any webpage the ISP chooses, without any attempt at obtaining prior consent, is very different. I can see why Google (and others) would be peeved.
The article quotes a Google spokesperson as saying that "As a general principle, we believe that maintaining the Internet as a neutral platform means that carriers shouldn't be able to interfere with web content without users' permission." This position seems a bit hypocritical from a company that developed Google.cn which is designed to censor and prevent access to content that the Chinese government deems controversial.
Okay, people don't need to be told when they're about to hit their transfer limits, it just promotes laziness, waiting until they get notified before they backpedal on their usage.
ANY user of ANY internet connection should keep an eye on their transfer themselves to see if they're doing any outrageous transfers. It should not be the ISP's responsibility to notify users of going overboard on transfer. Any ISP ToS/AUPs should state that it is strictly up to the subscriber to keep an eye on their own usage.
This is just a weak excuse to insert content into other pages. Soon enough these "notifications" will carry ads. Oh, wait, they do! the branding.
Modifying the content of a web page before delivering it to a user is not like google censoring search results obtained from google.cn.
In the first case, someone is CHANGING content. In the second case, they are choosing what they deliver to you as per the terms of their search engine. If you perform a search on google.cn, it searches the web for your terms and delivers the results to you after parsing them and filtering out those that "do not apply." In the case of google.cn, it's those that don't share the views and opinions of the government.
And... I don't think deploying that little "feature" into google.cn was google's idea. As I recall they put up more of a fight than MSN and Yahoo to keep Chinese searches neutral but somehow got the most flack for giving in. If an ISP denied access to certain portions of the web, it would be a different issue entirely; and a horrifying one at that.
The issue still remains that people shouldn't compare the behavior of ISPs to the behavior of providers of content on the web since they do not function at the same level. You go through your ISP to access content on the web. As long as all ISPs provide the same access to the web, you always have a choice about the content you're viewing; if a web site doesn't deliver what you like, you are free to visit another. Furthermore, you made the choice (and went out of your way) to visit the site in the first place. When ISPs start modifying/restricting content is when it gets a little more frightening. In many cases, people only have two ISPs to choose from (their local cable provider for cable internet and their local telephone provider for DSL). Even if you have "Wacky Willy's High Speed Internet Access," you're still at the mercy of someone like Verizon or AT&T because that's who Wacky Willy goes through to connect you to the internet. The structure of internet service providers is nothing like the structure of the web.
This seems as trivial as the google video (or google image) frame after you view a website but it is not. Google is not your gateway (in the sense of networking) to this content. Keep in mind what is at stake here. What Rogers appended to the web page is insubstantial, it's the fact that they did it at all. This could pave the way for ISPs to append whatever they want to web pages you're viewing.
Also, glad the second poster stuck around to read comments. I feel pretty passionately about this, as I'm sure many others do.
Sorry, I am unable to express my thoughts more concisely.
Brett Glass here.... You may remember me as a long time columnist for computer publications such as Infoworld, BYTE, and PC World. Nowadays, I am (among other things) running an ISP -- the world's first wireless broadband ISP, in fact, in operation for more than 15 years. Here's an ISP's take (sorry if it's a bit long, but there are lots of important points to make) on what Rogers is doing and on Lauren Weinstein's reaction to it. I've posted similar comments on a few other sites, but think it's appropriate to post something here as well.
Network neutrality means not using one's control of the pipe to disadvantage competitive content or service providers. For example, if you're a cable company that offers VoIP, network neutrality means not blocking customers' use of other VoIP providers.
Network neutrality does NOT mean that a provider can't "frame" pages (as do many providers -- especially those like Juno which provide inexpensive or free service) or send them informative messages via their browser.
Let's step back and take a dispassionate look at what Rogers is really doing here. They need to get a message to a customer. Like any experienced ISP, they know that there's a good chance that e-mail won't be read in a timely way, if at all. (We, as an ISP, find that our customers constantly change their addresses -- often after revealing them online and exposing them to spammers -- without any notice, and often let the mailboxes that we give them fill up, unread, until they exceed their quotas and no more can be received.) The Windows Message Service once worked to send users messages, but only ran on Windows and is now routinely blocked because it's become an avenue for pop-up spam.
What to use instead? Snail mail? Expensive and slow... and the whole point of the message Rogers is sending is to let a user know right away that he's about to exceed a quota. Give users an special program to display messages from the ISP? Users have too many things running in the background, cluttering their computers, already -- so no one could blame them if they didn't install it. (Also, many users won't install an application for fear of viruses, and alternative operating systems likely would not run the software.) Display a different page than the user requested? Perhaps, but that certainly comes much closer to "hijacking" than what Rogers is doing. Display a message in the user's browser window (where we know he or she is looking) along with the Web page, and let the user "dismiss" it as soon as it's noticed? Excellent idea. A wonderful, simple, unobtrusive, and (IMHO) elegant solution to the problem.
Now comes Lauren Weinstein -- known for drawing attention to himself by sensationalizing tempests in a teapot -- who has never run an ISP but seems to want to dictate what they do. Lauren claims that the sky will fall if ISPs use this nearly ideal way of communicating with their customers.
It isn't defacement, because the original page appears exactly as it was intended -- just farther down in the window. And it isn't "hijacking," because the user is still getting the page he or she requested.
What's more, there's no way that it can be said to be "non-neutral." The proxy which inserts the message into the window doesn't know or care what content lies below. The screen capture in Weinstein's blog showed Google, but it just as easily could have been Yahoo!, or Myspace, or Slashdot. For the same reason, it can't be said to be an invasion of privacy, because the software isn't looking at the content of the page above which it is inserting the message.
In short, to complain that this practice is somehow injurious to the author of a Web page is akin to an author complaining that his book has been injured by being displayed in a shop window along with another book by someone he didn't like. (Sorry, sir, but the merchant is allowed to do that.)
Nor is what Rogers is doing a violation of an ISP's "common carrier" obligations (even if they were considered to be common carriers, which under US law, at any rate, they are not). Common carriers have been injecting notices into communications streams since time immemorial ("Please deposit 50 cents for the next 3 minutes"). Television stations have been superimposing images on program content at least since the early 1960s, when (I'm dating myself here) Sandy Becker's "Max the burglar" dashed across the screen during kids' cartoon shows and the first caller to report his presence won a prize. (The game was called "Catch Max.") And in the US, Federal law -- in particular, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act -- protects ISPs from liability for content they retransmit whether or not they are considered to be common carriers. They do not lose this protection if there happens to be other content from a different source in the same window on the user's PC.
There are sure to be some folks -- perhaps people who are frustrated with their ISPs for other reasons -- who will take this as an opportunity to lash out at ISPs. But most customers, I think, will recognize this as a good and sensible way for a company to contact its customers. Our small ISP is looking into it. In fact, because the issue is being raised, we're adding authorization to do it to our Terms of Service, so that users will be put on notice that they might receive a message through their browsers one day. I suppose it's possible that a customer might dislike this mode of communication and go elsewhere, but I suspect that most of them will appreciate it.
In the meantime, let's just say "no" to regulation of the Internet (which seems to be what Weinstein & Co. are calling for). If we set a precedent of regulating the Internet and ISPs -- and especially of micromanaging them to the extent that government dictates how they can communicate with their own customers -- truly detrimental government restraints will not be far behind. And THAT actually would be scary.
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