Saturday, January 27, 2018

Burger King Patrons May Understand Net Neutrality Better Than You Do


I live in a part of L.A. where the cable TV/internet provider, Spectrum, has been running ads that amount to this: they're slowing down the internet BUT if you pay them, they'll speed it up for you. It's kind of like what Amazon did with Whole Foods when they bought it. They raised all the (already high) prices but if you buy an Amazon Prime card, they'll let you buy their not very organic fake health food for what it used to cost. What a deal! Meanwhile... who knew Burger King was so progressive. This ad (above) is really brilliant in exposing the net neutrality scam for what it is. PLEASE what it and pass it along to your friends so they watch it too.

AdWeek recognized how brilliant Burger King's advertising department is too. Nor was this the first time "On the heels of its brilliant anti-bullying spot last year," wrote Tim Nudd, "Burger King has found another cause it can get behind, and promote with a clever in-store stunt-- net neutrality. Net neutrality is a complicated topic to explain, which is where Burger King came in with a meaty metaphor. It set up a social experiment at a BK location-- with a hidden-camera setup not unlike that of the anti-bullying spot-- and taught Whopper buyers a memorable lesson. In the video below, see how real customers reacted to being charged more for the same quick-serve Whopper-- or, for the regular price, having to wait longer for a Whopper as BK employees intentionally, and seemingly pointlessly, slow down their service.
In December, you’ll recall, the FCC repealed net neutrality rules that regulated businesses that provide internet access to consumers-- opening the door for broadband providers to potentially charge more for better internet speed or higher-quality service.

David Miami, the agency behind so many clever BK campaigns in recent years, made the new spot. It’s very different than the “Bullying Jr.” PSA, but in some ways works similarly.

In place of the more emotional and poignant ending of that earlier spot, here we get a more plainly hostile vibe from the patrons-- which fits the issue at hand better. If you were served a mashed-up burger, you’d be mostly confused; if you’re openly denied good service, you’d probably get annoyed pretty quickly.

There’s plenty of cursing in between the baffled looks; a few patrons even make a move to snatch their Whopper away from the BK employees. There’s a dose of “Whopper Freakout” in here, and you get the sense that the stunt could easily have turned violent-- thankfully, it didn’t.

The pricing board that they showed customers is great, too-- with MBPS, referring to megabits per second in webspeak, changed to mean “making burgers per second.”

...“We believe the internet should be like Burger King restaurants, a place that doesn’t prioritize and welcomes everyone,” says Fernando Machado, Burger King’s global chief marketing officer. “That is why we created this experiment, to call attention to the potential effects of net neutrality.”
I got a very informal note from Maine progressive Jared Golden after I sent him the ad and when I asked him if I could use it in this post, he said sure: "Love the ad, Howie, but here’s the problem with it. If Burger King did this to me, I’d go to their competitor across the street and get a fast burger at no extra charge. In a lot of rural areas though, there’s only one internet service provider. It’s a monopoly and people have gotta take it or leave it. Slow internet, fast internet or no internet. That’s why getting rid of net neutrality is such a raw deal for the poor, the working middle class and small businesses. We can’t afford to pay to play and so the wealthy and corporations get fast access and we are at an even greater disadvantage. Thanks, to Bruce Poliquin and his boss Paul Ryan."

If we're lucky Austin Frerick will be representing Des Moines and southwest Iowa starting in 2019."This Burger King video is brilliant," he told us this morning. "The sad thing about it, many aspects of our economy are moving in this pure unregulated maximum profit extraction mode. College cost works in a similar way with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Essentially families disclose all of their financial information in the FAFSA so a college is able to charge them what they think is the highest possible price that they can pay. A group of students at a college dining hall are all consuming the same product (college) yet each are likely paying a different price. We need to end this way of seeing everything in our society as if we were Ebenezer Scrooge."

Progressive reformer Tim Canova is running for the south Florida seat occupied by crooked New Dem Debbie Wasserman Schultz, long a part of the problem, never a part of the solution. She doesn't seem especially interested in net neutrality. Canova is. This is what he told us today: "Net neutrality has served us well. It has provided open access to the internet for all users regardless of income or wealth, thereby facilitating commerce as well as grassroots political organizing. However, Verizon and other large broadband companies have spent millions of dollars lobbying against net neutrality and its top lawyer, Ajit Pai went through the so-called 'revolving door' to become chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) where he engineered a 3 to 2 vote to overturn Obama-era net neutrality rules. If allowed to stand, this will create a high speed lane on the web for wealthy corporations and a slow lane for the rest of us. The web will become like cable TV, with expensive packages that limit consumer choice for those with low incomes. It will hamper grassroots organizing. We should see the web, and many of its social media platforms, as natural monopolies that require consumer regulation and antitrust enforcement to protect the public's interests. The only alternative is this creeping privatization of the web that allows huge corporations to limit our speech and exploit consumers for ever higher profits."

Paul Clements, a savvy professor rin Kalamazoo unning for Congress in southwest Michigan, using net neutrality as an issue in his campaign. Yesterday he sent this very thorough report to his supporters:
With billions in new corporate tax cuts, giant internet providers Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T are planning a blitz of spending on new infrastructure. However, without Net Neutrality, new broadband services and speeds will simply be fruit of a poisoned tree.

Long before Tim Wu coined the term Net Neutrality in 2003, internet experts had the concept of “dumb pipes,” which would carry data over the internet without judging its content. Today, with 4k TV over the internet, online gaming, and other resource-intensive uses of the web, carriers rightfully must be judicious in how they prioritize and route traffic. However, we MUST not allow these companies to decide what lawful content we can access, to favor their own content or content of financial partners, or to continue to sell off user data as a condition of using their “pipes.”

When elected, I will author or co-sponsor an “Internet Users’ Bill of Rights.” (And no, I don't think the companies that have spent millions lobbying against Net Neutrality are suitable sponsors for this effort!)

This legislation will include these three principles:
1 No paid prioritization of traffic
2 No blocking of lawful content
3 No resale of user data without express and revocable consent
My opponent, Rep. Fred Upton, is one of Comcast’s best friends in Congress. The amount of lobbying that goes into fighting Net Neutrality is obscene, and hundreds of lobbyists are employed by Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and their trade association. You can learn more from Open Secrets here.

...Don’t trust the promises of these companies that they won’t throttle or discriminate. Their track record assures us that they will
In 2005, North Carolina ISP Madison River Communications blocked the voice-over-internet protocol (VOIP) service Vonage.
In 2005, the nation’s largest ISP, Comcast, began secretly blocking peer-to-peer technologies that its customers were using over its network.
From 2007–2009, AT&T forced Apple to block Skype and other competing VOIP phone services on the iPhone. The Google Voice app received similar treatment from carriers like AT&T when it came on the scene in 2009.
In 2010, Windstream Communications, a DSL provider with more than 1 million customers at the time, admitted to hijacking user-search queries made using the Google toolbar within Firefox. Users who believed they had set the browser to the search engine of their choice were redirected to Windstream’s own search portal and results.
In 2011, MetroPCS, at the time one of the top-five U.S. wireless carriers, announced plans to block streaming video over its 4G network from all sources except YouTube. MetroPCS then threw its weight behind Verizon’s court challenge against the FCC’s 2010 open internet ruling, hoping that rejection of the agency’s authority would allow the company to continue its anti-consumer practices.
In 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation found that several small ISPs were redirecting search queries via the vendor Paxfire. The ISPs identified in the initial Electronic Frontier Foundation report included Cavalier, Cogent, Frontier, Fuse, DirecPC, RCN and Wide Open West. Paxfire would intercept a person’s search request at Bing and Yahoo and redirect it to another page. By skipping over the search service’s results, the participating ISPs would collect referral fees for delivering users to select websites.
From 2011–2013, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon blocked Google Wallet, a mobile-payment system that competed with a similar service called Isis, which all three companies had a stake in developing.
In 2012, the FCC caught Verizon Wireless blocking people from using tethering applications on their phones. Verizon had asked Google to remove 11 free tethering applications from the Android marketplace. These applications allowed users to circumvent Verizon’s $20 tethering fee and turn their smartphones into Wi-Fi hot spots. By blocking those applications, Verizon violated a Net Neutrality pledge it made to the FCC as a condition of the 2008 airwaves auction.
In 2012, AT&T announced that it would disable the FaceTime video-calling app on its customers’ iPhones unless they subscribed to a more expensive text-and-voice plan. AT&T had one goal in mind: separating customers from more of their money by blocking alternatives to AT&T’s own products.
During oral arguments in Verizon v. FCC in 2013, judges asked whether the phone giant would favor some preferred services, content or sites over others if the court overruled the agency’s existing open internet rules. Verizon counsel Helgi Walker had this to say: “I’m authorized to state from my client today that but for these rules we would be exploring those types of arrangements.” Walker’s admission might have gone unnoticed had she not repeated it on at least five separate occasions during arguments.
Goal ThermometerThese examples are shocking-- and things are only going to get worse now that the FCC has sided with the mega-carriers. I’d like to hear from you-- what must be included in a federal “Internet Users’ Bill of Rights”?
You can contribute to Jared Golden's, Austin Frerick's, Tim Canova's and Paul Clement's very grassroots campaigns by tapping on the ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right. Paul's and Jared's opponents both include extremely wealthy politicians. In Paul's case one is also a crooked careerist-- George Franklin, a corrupt lobbyist who calls himself a Democrat but who has been giving the Republican incumbent, Upton, large sums of money for many years. Now he's a "Democrat?" Only in the minds of lunatic establishment freak shows like Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ben Ray Lujan.

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At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would remind all that the Ds demonstrated position (as opposed to the verbal position among some) is that they are against NN. Only after throwing NN against the wall and seeing that it stuck, many times, did Obama finally decide to issue an EO favoring it (clearly to help his heir's candidacy) at that time. His guy had tried for years to end it, though without enthusiasm.

Since the ISPs are quite capable of paying the Ds a billion dollars, it is a safe bet that they'll do nothing to restore it, even if they could.

As for BK, unless you love their standard offerings, you should never go there (assuming you already desire the health problems their crap will give you). They can't seem to do custom orders, no matter how basic, to save their lives. No mayo means extra mayo. No cheese means no meat. Two of something means one. And an order of OR means a small fry.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burger King is a terrible corporation. They inverted themselves into a Canadian corporation via the purchase of Tim Horton's to avoid paying their taxes. I refuse to enter a BK now. They can eat their bone burgers.


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