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Seth Martin

Seth Martin
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:23:00 -0500

AT&T, Comcast & Verizon Pretend They Didn't Just Pay Congress To Sell You Out On Privacy

Large ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast spent a significant part of Friday trying to convince the press and public that they didn't just screw consumers over on privacy (if you've been napping: they did). With the vote on killing FCC broadband privacy protections barely in the books, ISP lobbyists and lawyers penned a number of editorials and blog posts breathlessly professing their tireless dedication to privacy, and insisting that worries about the rules' repeal are little more than "misinformation."

All of these posts, in lock step, tried to effectively make three key arguments: that the FTC will rush in to protect consumers in the wake of the FCC rules being repealed (not happening), ISPs don't really collect much data on you anyway (patently untrue), and that ISPs' lengthy, existing privacy policies and history of consumer respect mean consumers have nothing to worry about (feel free to pause here and laugh).

For more than a decade, large ISPs have used deep-packet inspection, search engine redirection and clickstream data collection to build detailed user profiles, and their longstanding refusal to candidly talk about many of these programs should make their actual dedication to user privacy abundantly clear. Yet over at Comcast, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer Gerard Lewis spent some time complaining that consumer privacy concerns are little more than "misleading talk" and "misinformation and inaccurate statements":

"There has been a lot of misleading talk about how the congressional action this week to overturn the regulatory overreach of the prior FCC will now permit us to sell sensitive customer data without customers’ knowledge or consent. This is just not true. In fact, we have committed not to share our customers’ sensitive information (such as banking, children’s, and health information), unless we first obtain their affirmative, opt-in consent."

So one, the "commitment" Comcast links to in this paragraph is little more than a cross-industry, toothless and voluntary self-regulatory regime that means just a fraction more than nothing at all. And while Comcast insists it doesn't sell its broadband customers' "individual web browsing history" (yet), they do still collect an ocean of other data for use in targeted ads, and there's really little stopping them from using your browsing history in this same way down the road -- it may not be "selling" your data, but it is using it to let advertisers target you. Comcast proceeds to say it's updating its privacy policy in the wake of the changes -- as if such an action (since these policies are drafted entirely to protect the ISP, not the consumer) means anything at all.

Like Comcast, Verizon's blog post on the subject amusingly acts as if the company's privacy policy actually protects you, not Verizon:

"Verizon is fully committed to the privacy of our customers. We value the trust our customers have in us so protecting the privacy of customer information is a core priority for us. Verizon’s privacy policy clearly lays out what we do and don’t do as well as the choices customers can make."

Feel better? That's the same company, we'll note, that was caught covertly modifying user data packets to track users around the internet regardless of any other data collected. That program was in place for two years before security researchers even noticed it existed. It took another six months of public shaming before the company even provided the option for consumers to opt out. Verizon's own recent history makes it clear its respect for consumer privacy is skin deep. And again, there's nothing really stopping Verizon from expanding this data collection and sales down the road, and burying it on page 117 of its privacy policy.

AT&T was a bit more verbose in a post over at the AT&T policy blog, where again it trots out this idea that existing FTC oversight is somehow good enough:

"The reality is that the FCC’s new broadband privacy rules had not yet even taken effect. And no one is saying there shouldn’t be any rules. Supporters of this action all agree that the rescinded FCC rules should be replaced by a return to the long-standing Federal Trade Commission approach. But in today’s overheated political dialogue, it is not surprising that some folks are ignoring the facts."

So again, the FTC doesn't really have much authority over broadband, and AT&T forgets to mention that its lawyers have found ways to wiggle around what little authority the agency does have via common carrier exemptions. And while AT&T insists that "no one is saying there shouldn't be any rules," its lobbyists are working tirelessly to accomplish precisely that by gutting both FTC and FCC oversight of the telecom sector. Not partially. Entirely. Title II, net neutrality, privacy -- AT&T wants it all gone. Its pretense to the contrary is laughable.

Like the other two providers, AT&T trots out this idea that the FCC's rules weren't fair because they didn't also apply to "edge" companies like Facebook or Google (which actually are more fully regulated by the FTC). That's a flimsy point also pushed by an AT&T and US Telecom Op/Ed over at Axios, where the lobbying group's CEO Jonathan Spalter tries to argue that consumers shouldn't worry about ISPs, because their data is also being hoovered up further down the supply chain:

"Your browser history is already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks—by virtually every site you visit on the internet. Consumers' browsing history is bought and sold across massive online advertising networks every day. This is the reason so many popular online destinations and services are "free." And, it's why the ads you see on your favorite sites—large and small—always seem so relevant to what you've recently been shopping for online. Of note, internet service providers are relative bit players in the $83 billion digital ad market, which made singling them out for heavier regulations so suspect."

Again, this quite intentionally ignores the fact that whereas you can choose to not use Facebook or Gmail, a lack of competition means you're stuck with your broadband provider. As such, arguing that "everybody else is busy collecting your data" isn't much of an argument, especially when "everybody else" is having their behaviors checked by competitive pressure to offer a better product. As well-respected security expert Bruce Schneier points out in a blog post, these companies desperately want you to ignore this one, central, undeniable truth:

"When markets work well, different companies compete on price and features, and society collectively rewards better products by purchasing them. This mechanism fails if there is no competition, or if rival companies choose not to compete on a particular feature. It fails when customers are unable to switch to competitors. And it fails when what companies do remains secret.

Unlike service providers like Google and Facebook, telecom companies are infrastructure that requires government involvement and regulation. The practical impossibility of consumers learning the extent of surveillance by their Internet service providers, combined with the difficulty of switching them, means that the decision about whether to be spied on should be with the consumer and not a telecom giant. That this new bill reverses that is both wrong and harmful."

This lack of competition didn't just magically happen. As in other sectors driven by legacy turf protectors, the same ISP lobbyists that just gutted the FCC's privacy rules have a long and proud history of dismantling competitive threats at every conceivable opportunity, then paying legislators to look the other way. That includes pushing for protectionist state laws preventing towns and cities from doing much of anything about it. It's not clear who these ISPs thought they were speaking to in these editorials, but it's certainly not to folks that have actually paid attention to their behavior over the last fifteen years.

The EFF, meanwhile, concisely calls these ISPs' sudden and breathless dedication to privacy nonsense:

"There is a lot to say about the nonsense they've produced here," said Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at EFF. "There is little reason to believe they will not start using personal data they've been legally barred from using and selling to bidders without our consent now. The law will soon be tilted in their favor to do it."

Gosh, who to believe? Actual experts on subjects like security or privacy, or one of the more dishonest and anti-competitive business sectors in American industry? All told, you can expect these ISPs to remain on their best behavior for a short while for appearances' sake (and because AT&T wants its Time Warner merger approved) -- but it's not going to be long before they rush to abuse the lack of oversight their campaign contributions just successfully created. Anybody believing otherwise simply hasn't been paying attention to the laundry list of idiotic ISP actions that drove the FCC to try and pass the now-dismantled rules in the first place.

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#Privacy #Net Neutrality #Communications #FCC #FTC #ATT #Comcast #Verizon #Lobbying #Corporatism #Politics @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ @Gadget Gurus+

Seth Martin
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:24:00 -0500

Comcast Paid Civil Rights Groups To Support Killing Broadband Privacy Rules

For years, one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the use of minority groups to parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange for repeating whatever talking point memos are thrust in their general direction, even if the policy being supported may dramatically hurt their constituents. This strategy has played a starring role in supporting anti-consumer mega-mergers, killing attempts to make the cable box market more competitive, and efforts to eliminate net neutrality.

The goal is to provide an artificial wave of "support" for bad policies, used to then justify bad policy votes. And despite this being something the press has highlighted for the better part of several decades, the practice continues to work wonders. Hell, pretending to serve minority communities while effectively undermining them with bad internet policy is part of the reason Comcast now calls top lobbyist David Cohen the company's Chief Diversity Officer (something the folks at Comcast hate when I point it out, by the way).

Last week, we noted how Congress voted to kill relatively modest but necessary FCC privacy protections. You'd be hard pressed to find a single, financially-objective group or person that supports such a move. Even Donald Trump's most obnoxious supporters were relatively disgusted by the vote. Yet The Intercept notes that groups like the League of United Latin American Citizens and the OCA (Asian Pacific American Advocates) breathlessly urged the FCC to kill the rules, arguing that snoopvertising and data collection would be a great boon to low income families:

"The League of United Latin American Citizens and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, two self-described civil rights organizations, told the FCC that “many consumers, especially households with limited incomes, appreciate receiving relevant advertising that is keyed to their interests and provides them with discounts on the products and services they use."

Of course, folks like Senator Ted Cruz then used this entirely-farmed support to insist there were "strenuous objections from throughout the internet community" at the creation of the rules, which simply wasn't true. Most people understood that the rules were a direct response to some reckless and irresponsible privacy practices at major ISPs -- ranging from charging consumers more to keep their data private, or using customer credit data to provide even worse customer support than they usually do. Yes, what consumer (minority or otherwise) doesn't want to pay significantly more money for absolutely no coherent reason?

It took only a little bit of digging for The Intercept to highlight what the real motivation for this support of anti-consumer policies was:

"OCA has long relied on telecom industry cash. Verizon and Comcast are listed as business advisory council members to OCA, and provide funding along with “corporate guidance to the organization.” Last year, both companies sponsored the OCA annual gala.

AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Verizon serve as part of the LULAC “corporate alliance,” providing “advice and assistance” to the group. Comcast gave $240,000 to LULAC between 2004 and 2012.

When a reporter asks these groups why they're supporting internet policies that run in stark contrast to their constituents, you'll usually be met with either breathless indignance at the idea that these groups are being used as marionettes, or no comment whatsoever (which was the case in the Intercept's latest report). This kind of co-opting still somehow doesn't get much attention in the technology press or policy circles, so it continues to work wonders. And it will continue to work wonders as the administration shifts its gaze from gutting privacy protections to killing net neutrality.

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#Privacy #Net Neutrality #Communications #Comcast #FCC #Lobbying #LULAC #Politics @LibertyPod+ @Gadget Gurus+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Seth Martin
Yet this happens:
US internet providers pledge to not sell customer data after controversial rule change

The three major US Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc, and AT&T Inc have pledged to protect the private data of US citizens in solidarity against the latest internet bill passed by Congress.

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sat, 14 Jan 2017 09:55:00 -0600  
Since government is creating an environment where only some entities can afford to play, government must also protect the market from their abuse of power.

MotherboardMotherboard wrote the following post Sat, 14 Jan 2017 08:00:00 -0600

In Final Speech, FCC Chief Tom Wheeler Warns GOP Not to Kill Net Neutrality


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered an impassioned defense of US net neutrality protections on Friday, one week before Republicans who have vowed to roll back the policy are set to take control of the agency.

In his final public speech as the nation’s top telecom regulator, Wheeler warned that Republican efforts to weaken FCC rules ensuring that all internet content is treated equally will harm consumers, stifle online innovation, and threaten broadband industry competition.

“The open internet is the law of the land,” Wheeler declared during a speech at the DC offices of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. “Tampering with the rules means taking away protections consumers and the online world enjoy today.”

Open internet advocates say strong net neutrality safeguards are needed to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon from creating online fast lanes for their own content or discriminating against rival services. The telecom giants, and their Republican allies in Congress, accuse the FCC of overstepping its authority and shackling their business models.

Wheeler’s departure from the FCC on January 20, President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration day, will leave the agency in the hands of Republican officials who have made no secret of their intention to dismantle the FCC’s policy. That would be a grave mistake, Wheeler said.

“To take those protections away at the request of a handful of ISPs threatens any innovation that requires connectedness and with it the productivity gains, job creation, and international competitiveness required for America’s economic growth,” Wheeler said. "It is time to keep moving forward. This is not the time to retreat and take things away.”
“Vigilance to protect that which Americans now enjoy must be our watchword.”

The FCC’s policy safeguarding net neutrality is the centerpiece of an ambitious pro-consumer agenda advanced by Wheeler over the last three years. Open internet advocates say that without net neutrality, hugely popular online video and communications services like Netflix and Skype could have been snuffed out by ISPs in favor of their own rival offerings.

“Those who build and operate networks have both the incentive and the ability to use the power of the network to benefit themselves even if doing so harms their own customers and the greater public interest,” Wheeler said. “Access to the network is what the new economy is built on, and it must not be taken away.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's Final Public Address
by The Aspen Institute on YouTube

Unfortunately for open internet advocates, the prospects for the FCC’s net neutrality policy are bleak under Trump’s administration. The president-elect’s FCC transition team is led by right-wing ideologues who are expected to recommend a new anti-net neutrality chairman to replace Wheeler. And Trump himself has taken to Twitter to disparage the FCC’s policy.

In his speech, Wheeler warned Republicans soon to be in control of the FCC that reversing the agency's net neutrality policy is “not a slam dunk” because of the “high hurdle, imposed by the Administrative Procedure Act, of a fact-based showing that so much has changed in just two short years that a reversal is justified.”

Meanwhile, in Congress, Republicans are already scheming to kneecap the FCC’s policy. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Tennessee Republican who was recently tapped by the GOP to be the new chairman of the House telecom subcommittee, has described net neutrality as a “socialistic” Obama plot to take over the internet.

Blackburn, who has received mountains of campaign cash from the telecom industry since first being elected in 2002, has been trying to kill net neutrality for years. In the coming months, she will finally get her chance, possibly by working with other lawmakers to pass new legislation that claims to protect net neutrality, while actually gutting the FCC’s policy.

Outgoing FCC Chairman Wheeler, who has written books about the Civil War, concluded his remarks by quoting from Abraham Lincoln’s famous first inaugural address: “While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration … can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.”

“The vigilance Lincoln spoke of means we must be alert to name-only, so-called net neutrality policies that actually retreat from the protections that exist today,” Wheeler said. “Vigilance to protect that which Americans now enjoy must be our watchword.”

#Net Neutrality #Internet #FCC #Communications #Politics @Gadget Guru+ @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 18:29:43 -0500  
Facebook is getting the US government on its side before trying to launch its limited internet services in the US.

Facebook is talking to the White House about giving you ‘free’ Internet. Here’s why that may be controversial.


The company has spent the past half-year in conversations with officials.

Facebook has been in talks for months with U.S. government officials and wireless carriers with an eye toward unveiling an American version of an app that has caused controversy abroad, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

The social media giant is trying to determine how to roll out its program, known as Free Basics, in the United States without triggering the regulatory scrutiny that effectively killed a version of the app in India earlier this year.

#Facebook #Free Basics #FreeBasics #Internet #Corporatism #Crony Capitalism #Capitalism #Politics #Net Neutrality #NetNeutrality #Communications #Social Networking #Zero-Rating @LibertyPod+  @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+  @Gadget Guru+
Marshall Sutherland
The debt bubble will burst and crash on all their plans before they get that far. (See? I can be an optimist!)
ex-presidente Dilma Roussef combined the same business with Facebook here in Brazil, but it did not work because anyone would use that crap service

new from 10 apr 2015Dilma e Zuckerberg anunciam parceria para levar internet a brasileiros de baixa renda

Dilma e Zuckerberg planejam internet grátis

translateDilma and Zuckerberg announce partnership to bring Internet free to low-income Brazilians

The government of Brazil and Facebook announced a partnership this Friday (10) to implement the, a project that offers free connection in the country; the announcement was made at the Summit of the Americas, held in Panama, after a meeting between President Dilma Rousseff and the executive director of the social network, Mark Zuckerberg;
 from Diaspora
I really wonder why everyone is into this #netneutrality thing. All the nerds rage against the government censoring, controlling, and sifting through the internet, but then they come and beg in the name of net neutrality for a big government agency to install a complete state control system for the internet.

Seth Martin
Facebook is no charity, and the ‘free’ in Free Basics comes at a price


Why would India reject it? Here's why...
Who could possibly be against free internet access? This is the question Mark Zuckerberg asks in a piece for the Times of India in which he claims Facebook’s Free Basics service “protects net neutrality”.…

#Facebook #Internet #Net-Neutrality #India #Free Basics #Charity @LibertyPod+ @Gadget Guru+
 from Diaspora
If Google is free to do as it wants to me, I will not be free. Google doesn't want me to be free. If I am free, they are less profitable. I want Google and its business models to cease to exist. People who work for Google understand that what they do is harmful, and they do it anyway. Screw them! I repeat: There can be no peace between us.

Google doesn't want to improve my life; they want to control it. They want to govern my behavior. Google does indeed try to force itself upon me, but I constantly resist. The people who run Google aren't able to desire anything but more and more power.

Your capitalist utopia has never existed and never will exist because the capitalists themselves don't want it to. They want government to prevent competition with patent, trademark and copyright laws. They will never tolerate free competition. They continue to bribe members of Congress and other government officials to prevent it from happening. If they were in favor of economic freedom, they would own no patents at all, and all their software would be distributed under the GPL.

You seem to believe that the formal government, the elected officials, bureaucrats, are the only people trying to control you (i.e., govern you), but they are only the visible tip of the iceberg. The real one-world government of this planet is the interlocking boards of the corporations that determine what you can eat, drink, wear, read, see, hear, and think. You can fight against the whole government, and not just the tip of the iceberg, or you can continue wasting your time going on and on about "the market" and spouting other ridiculous jargon. Google doesn't care about your economics; they just want more. When they have more, they'll want even more.

God! I'm sick of reading and hearing the nonsense of the establishment and those who apologize for them. Try to get this straight: the elected officials and bureaucrats, and those who run the corporations are the same people. They move between the corporate board rooms and congressional offices constantly. They're one group.
Seth Martin
This article is not just about net-neutrality. It's about how Facebook is disingenuous. I just happened to notice the conversation focusing on net-neutrality but don't want the bigger picture to get lost.

I'm going to touch on net-neutrality anyhow. I'm pro net-neutrality because I live in a place where the government picks the winners and losers. At first glance, that probably sounds backward but it's not. If free markets were a real thing here, we wouldn't need the FCC to make rules like this. We don't need governments or Facebooks monopolizing the internet.
Mike Macgirvin
I wonder why.

Don't you?

Seth Martin
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Thu, 17 Sep 2015 18:03:00 -0500
FCC: Sorry, No -- Net Neutrality Does Not Violate ISPs' First Amendment Rights

Back when Verizon sued to overturn the FCC's original, flimsier 2010 net neutrality rules, the telco argued that the FCC was aggressively and capriciously violating the company's First and Fifth Amendment rights. "Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech," Verizon claimed at the time. It's an amusing claim given that the entire purpose of net neutrality is to protect the free and open distribution of content and data without incumbent ISP gatekeeper interference. Verizon ultimately won its case against the FCC -- but not because of its First Amendment claim, but because the FCC tried to impose common carrier rules on ISPs before declaring they were common carriers.

That's of course why the FCC finally decided to define ISPs as common carriers under Title II. But in their torrent of lawsuits against the FCC's new rules, ISPs continue to try and hide their anti-competitive intentions behind the First Amendment. AT&T's court filing from earlier this year, for example, made it clear AT&T intends to argue the FCC is violating its First and Fifth Amendment rights:
"In a statement of issues that AT&T intends to raise when the case moves further into the court process, the company said last week that it plans on challenging whether the FCC’s net neutrality order "violates the terms of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the First and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution." The First and Fifth Amendment will be used to attack the FCC's decision to reclassify both fixed and mobile broadband as common carrier services, as well as the FCC's assertion of authority over how ISPs interconnect with other networks."
In its own filing in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (pdf) this week, the FCC argues that this reasoning is, to use a less technical term, crap:
"Nobody understands broadband providers to be sending a message or endorsing speech when transmitting the Internet content that a user has requested. When a user directs her browser to the New York Times or Wall Street Journal editorial page, she has no reason to think that the views expressed there are those of her broadband provider. Nor is there anything in the record to suggest that companies providing mass-market retail broadband service as defined in the Order are seeking to convey any particularized message to their users. Instead, when providing Broadband Internet Access Service, broadband providers function (and are understood by their users to function) simply “as conduits for the speech of others, not as speakers themselves."
You'd think that would be common sense, but ISPs have a long, occasionally-successful history of hiding their dubious and/or anti-competitive shenanigans behind the First Amendment. Verizon has argued it has a First Amendment right to hand your call data over to the government. Comcast has argued its First Amendment rights are violated when it's told to stop blocking competitor channel access to its cable lineup. Charter has tried to argue that requiring it adhere to local video franchise agreements similarly violates its free speech rights.

In the net neutrality case, ISP lawyers are basically throwing everything they can at the wall and hoping something sticks. But the First Amendement claim here is painfully thin, given it's the ISPs interfering in content they didn't create and have no real authority over. It's also risky for ISPs currently protected by common carrier safe harbor protections to start arguing they're responsible for every thought that's transmitted over the Internet. It seems so much wiser for ISPs to stick to the kind of things they're truly good at: like violating your Fourth Amendment rights at every conceivable opportunity.


#Net Neutrality #FCC #First Amendment #Fifth Amendment #Internet #ISP #Broadband #Communication #Verizon #ATT #Comcast @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ @Gadget Guru+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:45:41 -0500  
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:11:56 -0500

Everything You've Wanted To Know About Net Neutrality But Were Afraid To Ask
Okay, ever since our big Net Neutrality Crowdfunding, we've had some new readers who aren't as familiar with the details and issues -- yet we've been mostly writing as if everyone is informed of the basics. So, we figured it only made sense to take a step back and do a bit of an explainer about net neutrality.

What is net neutrality?

This is not an easy answer, actually, which, at times, is a part of the problem. The phrase, first coined by law professor Tim Wu, referred originally to the concept of the end-to-end principle of the internet, in that anyone online could request a webpage or information from any online service, and the internet access provider (usually called internet service providers or ISPs) in the middle would deliver that information. At the time, the ISPs were starting to make noises about how they wanted to "charge" service providers to reach end users, effectively setting up toll booths on the internet. This kicked off in earnest in October of 2005, when SBC (which became AT&T) CEO Ed Whitacre declared that internet companies were using "his pipes for free."

The phrase has been warped and twisted in various directions over the years, but the simplest way to think about it is basically whether or not your ISP -- the company you pay for your internet access (usually cable, DSL or fiber, but also wireless, satellite and a few others) -- can pick winners and losers by requiring certain companies to pay the ISP more just to be available to you (or available to you in a "better" way). John Oliver probably summarized it best by arguing that it's about "preventing cable company fuckery" (though, to be clear, it goes beyond just cable companies).

The internet access providers claim that service providers, like Netflix and Google, are getting a "free ride" on their network, since those services are popular with their users, and they'd like to get those (very successful) companies to pay.

Wait, so internet companies don't pay for bandwidth?

They absolutely do pay for their bandwidth. And here's the tricky part of this whole thing. Everyone already pays for their own bandwidth. You pay your access provider, and the big internet companies pay for their bandwidth as well. And what you pay for is your ability to reach all those sites on the internet. What the internet access providers are trying to do is to get everyone to pay twice. That is, you pay for your bandwidth, and then they want, say, Netflix, to pay again for the bandwidth you already paid for, so that Netflix can reach you. This is under the false belief that when you buy internet service from your internet access provider, you haven't bought with it the ability to reach sites on the internet. The big telcos and cable companies want to pretend you've only bought access to the edge of their network, and then internet sites should have to pay extra to become available to you. In fact, they've been rather explicit about this. Back in 2006, AT&T's Ed Whitacre stated it clearly: "I think the content providers should be paying for the use of the network - obviously not the piece for the customer to the network, which has already been paid for by the customer in internet access fees, but for accessing the so-called internet cloud." In short, the broadband players would like to believe that when you pay your bandwidth, you're only paying from your access point to their router. It's a ridiculous view of the world, somewhat akin to pretending the earth is still flat and at the center of the universe, but in this case, the broadband players pretend that they're at the center of the universe.

Why is this suddenly big news again? Haven't people been fighting about this for years?

After the last fight over this issue, the FCC issued some pretty weak "open internet" rules, in an attempt to try to appease everyone by effectively creating a "compromise" based, in part, on an agreement negotiated by Verizon, AT&T and Google. Rather than putting in place strong rules to protect an open internet, the FCC's rules were fairly limited and sought to block more egregious forms of discrimination while increasing transparency. However, the rules did not even apply to wireless access and left a bunch of other loopholes -- for example, as long as the broadband players could make a halfway credible claim that what they were doing was for "the security and integrity of the network," it would be allowed. Even though it was part of the negotiations for the rules, once in place, Verizon sued, claiming that the FCC had gone beyond its mandate in issuing the rules.

Following a long court battle, in February of this year, the appeals court ruled that, indeed, the FCC had overstepped its boundaries, and the open internet rules were not enforceable. The ruling effectively said that the part of the law that the FCC had used as the basis for its compromised open internet rules, Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, did not allow for the rules it presented. It did, however, suggest that Section 706 gave the FCC some fairly broad powers that might be used instead.

In the following months, the FCC's Chair, Tom Wheeler, tried to craft a new set of rules, basically looking to rewrite the existing (already weak) rules with the guidance the court gave. The big problem is that based on the February ruling and Section 706, Wheeler basically had to replace a block on "unreasonable discrimination" with an argument saying that any priority efforts had to be "commercially reasonable."

A switch from "unreasonable discrimination" being forbidden to "commercially unreasonable discrimination" being forbidden doesn't sound like that big of a difference.

Well, remember that the original rules weren't very strong in the first place. Secondly, the term "commercially reasonable" means something fairly specific, and it makes it much more difficult for the FCC to prevent internet access providers (big cable and telcos) from picking winners and losers. In short, under these new rules, the cable and telco companies can put in place restrictions on internet companies, and then only after that happens, those companies can go to the FCC and challenge them as being "commercially unreasonable." This is a long, difficult and expensive process. And, rest assured, the cable and telco companies have some of the best and most experienced lawyers around when it comes to appearing before the FCC (or, later, facing off with the FCC in court). A small startup would have to basically go broke arguing before the FCC that certain rules are commercially unreasonable, and there's a decent chance it would still lose to much more powerful lawyers with much more experience. Even if a startup could win in such a fight, it would be a huge time and money waster.

What's all this stuff about "Title II"

What many net neutrality advocates are asking the FCC to do is to "reclassify" broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934, effectively classifying broadband providers as "common carriers," which would allow the FCC to (1) have more power over them and (2) have more of a mandate towards rules and regulations that would stop those services from picking winners and losers among internet-based services. In short, Title II would give the FCC more power to "prevent cable company fuckery."

Why are some people so opposed to Title II?

There are a bunch of reasons -- some of which are more reasonable than others. They range from things like the simple idea that it's crazy to try to regulate modern communications systems under a law from 1934, to concerns about too much regulation "chilling investment" in broadband, to fears about lawsuits that will come about concerning the whole reclassification process.

Wait, why aren't broadband providers already considered "common carriers" -- it seems obvious that they should be?

Well, not everything is obvious. A decade ago, there were questions about whether or not cable broadband providers were technically "telecommunications" services (classified as common carriers under Title II) or if they were providing an "information service" (not under Title II and not a common carrier). The FCC (as always, under tremendous lobbying pressure from the cable companies) claimed that cable modem service should be exempt from Title II regulations. This was challenged, but the Supreme Court sided with the cable companies (and the FCC) in saying that this ruling made sense. Soon after that, as people questioned whether or not such a rule also applied to DSL lines, the FCC also reclassified DSL outside of Title II.

If the Supreme Court already said that, can the FCC switch back now?

Yes, though it is a somewhat complicated process (though not nearly as complicated as the telcos and cable companies would have you believe). It will also almost certainly be fought in court and it will be a few years before a final ruling is made as well. It is certainly doable, however.

Do we really want a law from 1934 ruling over modern internet access systems?

In an ideal world, probably not. But this isn't an ideal world. If we lived in a better world, Congress would update the Telecommunications Act to take into account what's actually happening online. But we all know about how well Congress works (i.e., it doesn't). And when it comes to political hot potatoes like telco policy, where there are tremendous lobbying dollars at stake, not only would it be nearly impossible to get anything through Congress, there's a better than decent chance that anything that did get through would be... messy and potentially even worse.

I've heard that reclassifying will lead to internet companies like Google also being required to live under Title II rules including antiquated issues like tariffs and having rate settings.

This is a little myth that the telcos and cable companies have been spreading. Yes, there's a ton of unrelated crap under Title II (again, why it's not ideal, but the best of a terrible list of options). But there's a (mandatory) process under the law by which the FCC must "forbear" from applying regulations that the FCC determines are not necessary for protecting consumers and thus would not be in the public interest. The forbearance process has been used numerous times, and most of the people advocating for reclassification under Title II are also doing so in combination with recommending forbearance against those obsolete and unrelated parts of Title II, beyond the narrow issue of stopping the internet access providers from picking winners and losers on the network.

Should we be afraid that reclassification will create a massive legal battle that leaves everyone uncertain for years?

No. First of all, no matter which way the FCC goes, there's likely to be a big legal battle that will go on for years. While Comcast and AT&T have more or less said that they would accept the rules under 706, Verizon has made it pretty clear that it would challenge them, just as it challenged the original open internet rules. Second, we already went through a big legal battle over the original rules for the last four years, and there was little indication that that legal battle had any impact one way or the other on broadband deployment or any other innovation.

Won't Title II reclassification cause the big broadband providers to give up all hope, stop investing in broadband and destroy all that is good and holy about broadband in the US?

Uh, no, though that's the story that the companies will tell you. They'll also leave out the fact that they actually really, really like to be classified under Title II when it comes to getting tax breaks, subsidies and rights of way for installing their lines in the first place. Also, the largest period of investment in broadband infrastructure happened before the big Brand X Supreme Court decision, when broadband was still considered to be under Title II. Other areas of telecommunications, including mobile phone service, are still classified under Title II, and there's a ton of investment going on in that space. The claims that Title II will chill investment have little basis in reality.

Even so, shouldn't we be at least a little uncomfortable about "regulating the internet"?

Yes, we should always be somewhat concerned about internet regulations, but this part of the internet is already heavily regulated. Remember how Verizon begged to be classified under Title II to install its lines? Installing cable, fiber and other broadband infrastructure already involves tremendous regulatory systems, in which local governments are granting all sorts of subsidies, rebates, tax breaks and allocating spectrum to these companies -- basically having the public pay. And all of this is heavily regulated. The real question here is under which regulations this will happen. It's not about suddenly "taking over" the internet or "regulating the internet," it's about which laws will be used for a process that is already highly regulated.

What about all this stuff with Netflix being slowed down by Comcast, Verizon and AT&T and paying to be sped up?

That's a related issue, but slightly different. That concerns "interconnection." Historically, net neutrality was just about "the last mile" -- the connection point between you as an end user and your internet access provider's router. However, there are many other issues happening beyond that, including interconnections between giant companies moving lots of traffic back and forth across the internet. Sometimes this happens via transit agreements and sometimes via peering arrangements (which are usually free). In the last year or so, the biggest broadband players -- Comcast, Verizon and AT&T -- appeared to be letting their connections to Netflix clog up at their border router, slowing down the delivery to end users.

Effectively, these big broadband providers had figured out a different way to accomplish the same result: getting big internet companies to pay extra to reach you efficiently. By letting their ports clog, they've really just moved the problem upstream to another point they control, and getting Netflix (for now, but soon others) to pay up, even though there's plenty of bandwidth on all sides. All the broadband players need to do is connect a few cables to turn on a few more ports, a trivial and inexpensive process.

Historically, most people following this space never expected interconnection to be a problem, because what kind of sick broadband company would purposely let its own ports clog up and deliver such a crappy experience to consumers? The answer, apparently, is Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, once they realized that they're basically the only game in town and that they could squeeze a lot of money out of internet companies.

So, in the end, while interconnection wasn't originally considered a "net neutrality" issue, it is. It's the same basic concept concerning "broadband company fuckery" in picking winners and losers and harming your internet connection.

Unfortunately, however, FCC boss Tom Wheeler has said he doesn't yet consider it a net neutrality issue (even if he did instruct the FCC to begin investigating these agreements). Thus, even if the FCC reclassifies broadband under Title II, the interconnection loophole may still be a powerful tool for broadband fuckery.

But I've heard that Comcast supports net neutrality? It's been running all these ads saying that.

The company is lying. Or, at the very least, it's being incredibly misleading. What it supports is Chairman Wheeler's proposal to use Section 706, which we already explained earlier is the path by which net neutrality dies. Furthermore, Comcast is effectively "required" to abide by the old net neutrality rules as a condition of its merger with NBC Universal a few years ago -- and it was the one that proposed the condition, knowing full well that it didn't really limit the company and its plans for setting up toll booths.

But is the internet really neutral already? Don't some companies already have faster access than others?

This is another misleading argument made by the broadband companies and their supporters. Yes, big companies will often have faster connections or more use of content delivery networks that cache content and make it available closer to the end points so that it's faster to access. But that's about improving access for everyone online, not about a particular broadband company charging the companies to better reach its users. Again, it goes back to the question of whether or not the broadband providers are picking winners and losers.

If you don't like what your broadband provider is doing, why don't you just switch to a competitor?

That would require real competition, which there is very little of in the US. While broadband providers like to point to things like mobile data offerings or Google Fiber as proof of competition, the truth is that there is very little real competition in the US for broadband services, when broadband is properly defined. Most places have one cable option and one DSL/fiber option, mostly from the large players mentioned above. Basically as you get into true broadband speed ranges, competition almost entirely disappears. And, even where there is competition, it may be getting even weaker, as Verizon is basically pushing its own users to cable, and has effectively stopped expanding its fiber offering. Verizon has made it clear that it wants to focus on wireless.

So what about wireless? Isn't that competition?

Not really. Most mobile data offerings are incredibly limited, slow and much more expensive than DSL/fiber/cable. They tend to have ridiculously low caps (usually on the order of 5GB) and restrictions on things like streaming. Many have terms that effectively bar you from using it as a home broadband replacement. Is it possible that these wireless offerings will eventually be true competition? Maybe, but it's still a long way out. Besides, as currently in place, the open internet rules don't even apply to wireless data anyway, and the largest players in the space are... Verizon and AT&T already. So, wait, how is wireless a real competitor?

Google Fiber! Doesn't that prove there's competition?

Google Fiber is a really interesting experiment, but it's only in a very few locations and expanding pretty slowly. There's little indication that there are any plans to make it a nationwide or even widespread offering. Besides, Google has also backed away from its early promise to allow competing networks to use its infrastructure.

Do we need more competition in broadband?

Hell yes. For basically a decade we've been saying that the risk of losing net neutrality is more of a symptom of a lack of competition. And, in fact, we've seen that when things like Google Fiber do show up, offering viable competition, the incumbents suddenly start ramping up their own offerings. Funny how that happens.

Okay, then how do we get more competition?

There are a bunch of possible options, though none are particularly easy or definite at this point. One idea is to encourage open access networks instead of just facilities-based competition. Under such a system, the broadband infrastructure players would wholesale their internet services to third-party service providers who could then offer service directly. The internet world used to work this way, prior to the original broadband reclassifications. There's little indication that the FCC is even considering pushing the big broadband providers to go back to wholesaling their connections, but it's an idea that has some amount of merit. Australia started down this path years ago, but that's been tied up in politics. There have been some other ideas designed around encouraging similar infrastructure competition, such as the "homes with tails" idea, where individuals would own the connection from their home to a network where services could compete.

The basic thinking here is that the core infrastructure is costly to install and inefficient to do multiple times in multiple ways (which is part of the reason why we have so little competition). Thus, rather than focusing on competition at the infrastructure level, you can put the competition at the service level and have multiple providers on the same network. It's effectively a "natural monopoly" argument, akin to the highway infrastructure. You don't want "competing" highways, because that's wasteful and inefficient. So you build one (massive, super fast) infrastructure, and then wholesale it out to lots of competitors. For now, this idea seems to have almost no support at the policy level, however.

Much more focus these days is on municipal networks and their ability to offer local competition. I'll expand this a bit to suggest that some local private networks (including Google fiber) are in the same camp. Allowing more local area competitors has long been shown to improve all connections as the incumbents freak out and realize they really have to compete. Many muni-broadband providers get a bad rap because they're derided as "government-run" or "local utilities." And, indeed, some attempts at municipal broadband have failed badly (often due to bureaucratic incompetence). That said, there are a growing number of successful muni-broadband implementations that offer real competition -- and often better services at a lower price.

Great! So let's get muni-broadband competitors everywhere!

Not so fast, sparky. The big broadband providers (them again!?) have been able to pass laws in about 20 states that either ban outright or severely limit the ability of local municipalities to offer such broadband to residents. The big broadband providers have done little to hide the fact that these bills were written by the broadband companies themselves and designed solely to limit this kind of competition. While Tom Wheeler did make a statement earlier this year claiming that he would use the FCC's power to preempt such laws if they were blocking competition, this caused the big broadband players and their friends to freak out. Congress is now trying to stop the FCC from being able to move forward on such plans.

The claims by supporters of such bans are ridiculous. They usually argue that states have the right to "make their own choice" about these kinds of laws without federal interference. However, they are then leaving out the fact that the states tend to be blocking cities from making their own choices to create municipal broadband competitors.

The simple fact is that this is a messy front in the broadband players' war against competitors. In an ideal world, cities and states would actually be making it easier to enable competition (whether private or muni-) and then get out of the way. Once again, we don't live in an ideal world.

What about other forms of competition?

For years the FCC has been holding out for some miraculous new broadband method, and it's failed to show up. Under Michael Powell, the FCC insisted that "broadband over powerlines" would present a "third pipe" into the home to compete with phone and cable lines. This was despite multiple reports noting that broadband over powerlines was not a particularly good way to do broadband (especially with the way the US sets up its electrical grid). We already discussed wireless competition above. There is the potential that if there were much more spectrum made available, new competition might spring up, but the FCC (them again?) hasn't been able to make that much spectrum available (a whole different issue for a whole different day). There's also satellite broadband which has gotten much better in the past few years, but is still limited by reliability problems and crappy latency. For years, we've made fun of the claims of satellite broadband providers for never living up to their promises. There may be some promise there, however, especially as satellites and space launches are getting much cheaper. There may be some exciting developments there in the future, but it's still a ways off.

And what's this I've been hearing about data caps?

Another somewhat related issue (which the FCC insists is not a net neutrality issue, but certainly does fall under the "broadband company fuckery" label), is that broadband companies are increasingly interested in putting data caps on your broadband usage, trying to get end users to pay more. This has taken a variety of forms -- some more draconian than others -- but the broadband providers have made it clear they'd like to use it as a way to get more money out of users. Yes, they always pretend it's about getting low bandwidth users to pay less, but there's little actual focus on that, because why would they, other than for PR reasons?

So what's going to happen now?

Well, chances are that before the end of the year, the FCC will officially announce the new rules that it wants. If there's enough public and political support for it, they might actually vote to reclassify internet access under Title II, but so far Tom Wheeler has been afraid to go there. If Wheeler chickens out (as is more likely), they'll stick with the plan using Section 706, opening up "commercially reasonable" fuckery. Either way, there are likely to be lawsuits (with Verizon leading the charge), and nothing will be determined finally for a few years. Congress could act, but won't.

The public pretty clearly wants reclassification under Title II. So do many, many internet companies who know they'd be targets (or wouldn't even be able to exist at all) under a system where the broadband access providers get to set up tollbooths. But, tragically, things in DC don't happen just because the public wants something. Reclassifying would also lead to a political fight in Congress.

Why is Congress so messed up on this?

For reasons that still don't make much sense, sometime around 2006, net neutrality went from a wonky issue that wasn't particularly partisan, to a stupid partisan issue in which Republicans decided it was "regulating the internet," and Democrats deciding that it was about free speech. Neither is entirely accurate, though the Democrats are much more accurate. As stated above, the internet is already regulated. The reality is that the Republicans arguing against net neutrality tend to be those who often (you guessed it) receive the most money from the big broadband players. It's unfortunate and silly that Republicans -- who claim to be the party of business and innovation -- haven't yet realized that startups and innovators are actually helped by a neutral internet with real competition.

So what should I be doing?

Make some noise. Join the effort to send comments to the FCC. While many have argued the process is a foregone conclusion, it's not. If there really is enough support for reclassifying, it can absolutely happen. Not helping because you don't think it will make a difference is only a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can be cynical, right and end up with a limited internet... or you can be idealistic, right and have a chance at creating real change with a more competitive, open internet. Your choice.

Anything else?

That's about it for now, but feel free to submit more questions in the comments. Also, special thanks to everyone who supported our net neutrality reporting crowdfunding effort, which has helped make posts like this possible.

#Net Neutrality #ISP #Bandwidth #FCC #Internet @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Thomas Willingham
The infrastructure is fucked anyway.

We need to start using our wireless meshes more and spend a few years figuring out how to throw a packet over an ocean.  I think this is probably the hardest challenge in IT at the moment, but we've discussed this before, and methods exist.

Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:44:21 -0500  
Seth Martin
  last edited: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 01:58:46 -0500  
Aaron GibsonAaron Gibson wrote the following post Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:39:56 -0500

And the ISPs wonder why everyone hates them.
Verizon claims common carrier rules would require Web services to pay ISPs

Verizon also says FCC's no-blocking rule could be too strict.

#Net Neutrality #Verizon #ISP #FCC @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ @LibertyPod+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 01:41:13 -0500  
Thanks Mike!

Thank you for all you have done to make the red# possible.
Seth Martin
  last edited: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 02:09:18 -0500  
Well, that was a surprise... the rich text editor appeared while editing this post.
Mike Macgirvin
won't happen again. At least not that rich text editor.

Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 12 May 2014 20:22:33 -0500  
By April Glaser

It’s been hard to go a day without hearing news about the Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, and his highly contested plan for the future of network neutrality. Google and Netflix signed a letter with nearly 150 other Internet companies calling on the FCC to reconsider its plan, which would purportedly bless the creation of “internet fast lanes.” Over a million people across the country have spoken out against that idea, worried that a “pay to play” Internet will be less hospitable to competition, innovation, and expression.

And while Chairman Wheeler and his fellow commissioners have been blogging about the FCCs proposal, no text has been released to the pubic. Not yet, anyway.

But mark your calendars. This Thursday, May 15th, the FCC will finally unveil its “Open Internet” proposal. The last two weeks have been packed with statements, previewing what we can expect for Thursday, and it’s not pretty. It’s time for Internet users to make some statements of their own.

The FCC is calling for public input – let’s make sure they get it. To help make that happen, we’re creating an easy tool to help the public speak out on May 15th and for the next 30-60 days while the FCC collects public comments on its proposed rules.

How does FCC rulemaking work?
When the FCC makes new rules, the agency goes through a series of steps to craft policies that are in the best interest of the public. Let’s break it down:

1. First, the FCC issues a proposal for what the potential rules might looks like. That proposal is called a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (NPRM).
2. Almost immediately after the NPRM is released, the FCC opens a window to solicit public comment on how the proposal will effect Americans.
3. This is where you come in. The FCC wants to hear from you. On May 15th, EFF will launch our public comment tool to help you submit your thoughts directly to the FCC.

These comments are a matter of public record. That means that once you submit a comment, it lands on the FCC’s public docket, and anyone can see it.

The FCC is required to respond to the public comments. And sometimes after a public comment window, the FCC will still have more questions. When this happens, the agency opens a “Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” and another subsequent public comment window to solicit answers to their questions. It won’t be until after this long process that we see what the FCC’s new rules look like.

The whole rulemaking process can up to a year, so we need to be in this for the long haul. Be prepared to comment and call Congress as the issue progresses.

Raise your voice!
Although the public comment window is the official way to participate in the FCC rulemaking process, it’s certainly not the only way to get involved.

On May 15, organizations across the country are staging massive protest outside of the FCC building in Washington, D.C. If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area this Thursday, you can join the protest in person at 9am EST. It’ll be a huge event and some activists have already been camping outside the FCC for the past few days to ensure that the agency gets the message loud and clear: ISPs should never be allowed to pick winners and losers online.

Ultimately, the FCC receives its marching orders from Congress. And on May 20th, Chairman Wheeler is scheduled to testify to the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Congress is planning to quiz Wheeler about what’s going on at the FCC, and you can bet that net neutrality will make up the bulk of the conversation.

We need to be sure on call Congress to set the FCC straight. More on that soon. In the meantime, get ready for May 15th and tell your friends. We’ll only have a month or two to make sure that the FCC knows once and for all: It’s our Internet, and we’re going to fight to protect it.


#Internet #Net Neutrality #FCC @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
It appears that the major public backlash in response to the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules hasn't fallen on deaf ears. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Tom Wheeler will in fact be revising his proposal (you know, again) to ensure that companies can't "segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes."

The previous set of rules had come under fire for allowing broadband providers to strike deals with content providers (i.e. Netflix, HBO, etc.) to ensure speedier download times for their users. A provision that would make it all but impossible for smaller companies unable to pay off providers to succeed—in other words, bad news for pretty much everyone.

Now, though, Wheeler is attempting to appease these concerns with new language. As an FCC official told the Wall Street Journal:

In the new draft, Mr. Wheeler is sticking to the same basic approach but will include language that would make clear that the FCC will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don't unfairly put nonpaying companies' content at a disadvantage, according to an agency official.

What's more, the new draft will "invite comments" regarding broadband's status as a public utility. The FCC has yet to classify it as such, but if it did, broadband internet would fall into the same category as landlines, subjecting it significantly stronger regulations.

Whether or not the updated proposal actually does address the public's (entirely valid) concerns over internet fast lanes remains to be seen. But if the point regarding reclassifying broadband as a public utility proves to be true, at least we're sort of kind of finally moving in the right direction.

#Internet #Net Neutrality #FCC @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 12:22:40 -0500  
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler is circulating a proposal for new FCC rules on the issue of network neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks equally. Unfortunately, early reports suggest those rules may do more harm than good.

The new rules were prompted by last January’s federal court ruling rejecting the bulk of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order on the grounds that they exceeded the FCC’s authority, and sending the FCC back to the drawing board.

According to reports, Chairman Wheeler’s new proposal embraces a “commercially reasonable” standard for network management. That standard could allow ISPs to charge companies for preferential treatment, such as charging web-based companies like Netflix or Amazon to reach consumers at faster speeds.

This kind of “pay to play” model would be profoundly dangerous for competition. New innovators often cannot afford to pay to reach consumers at the same speeds as well-established web companies. That means ISPs could effectively become gatekeepers to their subscribers.

The FCC issued a statement this morning that claims that the new network neutrality proposal will not allow ISPs to, “act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.” But we have no idea as to how “commercially reasonable” will actually be interpreted.

The devil will be in the details. While all we have now is a statement that a proposal for what the proposed rules might look like is being circulated in private within the FCC, the public should be poised to act. In an FCC rulemaking process, the commission issues what’s called a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). After the NPRM is issued, the public is invited to comment to the FCC about how their proposal will affect the interest of the public.

The FCC is required by law to respond to public comments, so it’s extremely important that we let the FCC know that rules that let ISPs pick and choose how certain companies reach consumers will not be tolerated.

The problem is that most people don’t know about this extremely opaque process, and so they don’t participate. Let’s change that. Stay tuned. We’ll let you know when it’s time to raise your voice and add your testimony during the FCC’s public comment window when the new proposed rules are announced.


#Internet #Net Neutrality #FCC @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ @LibertyPod+
Seth Martin
We purportedly have a democracy

But we don't. We only have representatives that are democratically elected.
Marshall Sutherland
  last edited: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 15:51:42 -0500  
It seems we all agree that something is wrong with the Internet. We may not agree on what and therefore what should be done. We've got government control and surveillance, corporate control and surveillance, insufficient competition in services provided, weak protocols, weak implementations of those protocols, weak application models, weak implementation of those models, poor user priorities... I'm sure I'm missing some. With all this, it is amazing anything works at all.
 Geonosis last edited: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 16:37:58 -0500  
But we don't.

Even calling them "representatives" is a bit of a misnomer (unless by "represent", you mean they represent the rich folks), and elections are bought and sold, so are they really democratic?
Seth Martin
  last edited: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 16:26:09 -0600  
I have always viewed this company as appalling and dirty.

AT&T Develops Credits System to Limit File-Sharing Bandwidth | TorrentFreak


A patent application by telecoms giant AT&T details a traffic management system set to add a little more heat to the net neutrality debate. Rather than customers using their Internet connections to freely access any kind of data, the telecoms giant envisions a system in which subscribers engaged in "non-permissible" transfers, such as file-sharing ...

#Internet #File-Sharing #Bandwidth #Net Neutrality #Communications @LibertyPod