Fair Play coalition rejected/ yet another dragon lurks

The CRTC turned back the application of the Fair Play Coalition. The people have Canada have much to be grateful for in this.

It always seemed to me like a statute too far: using the Telecom Act to accomplish copyright policy objectives on behalf of broadcasters. The decision speaks for itself. It is gratifying that the arguments of the Internet Society, Canada Chapter, are mentioned and have been considered favourably.

What also strikes me is the contrast between the kinds of arguments that can be made about common carriers, who have legal obligations of non-discrimination, and the content distribution networks (Google, Akamai, Facebook, Cloudflare and so forth), who have none.

Geoff Huston was talking about the contrast in his Ottawa presentation last week, which is a must see.

It is evident to me that I have no solution to the power of the content distribution networks, nor the bias-engendering social justice warriors of Google. Look up “machine learning fairness” as Google tells us how to un-bias search. You can see the results here: machine learning fairness. Check the video.

Search patterns are political constructs, and Google intends to supply them for you. “We’ve been working from preventing [search] technology from perpetuating negative human bias” says the video at 1:59. Thus for instance, run a Google picture search on the term ” American physicists”. You will find an absurd over-representation of African-American physicists.

Google will decide what is negative and offensive for you.

Compared to the contentious but relatively well-understood problems of telecommunications neutrality, search algorithms present a morass of political choices. We may be assured by Google that we will all be “part of the conversation”, as long as our views are not offensive to someone, somewhere.

I am grateful that we may be able to close the door on one problem. Behind another, however, lurks a seven headed dragon of Google’s idea of fairness, and entities of great power that have, in regards to search bias, no public legal obligations or oversight whatever.

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