Facebook Twitter Google+ Shout YouTube SoundCloud RSS

GOP Plot to Legislate Net Neutrality – And Internet Activists Already Hate It.

21st Century Wire says…

It’s confusing in the best of times. What is Net Neutrality?

The concept is simple according to watchdogs at the Internet Society:

Network Neutrality (or open inter-working) means that you are in control of where you go and what you do online. Companies that provide internet services should treat all lawful internet content in a neutral manner. It is the founding principle of the Internet and what allows the internet to be the largest and most diverse platform for expression in recent history.

It’s a chess match. Politicians on both sides of the political divide want to make it complicated and obfuscate the issue wherever possible, because regardless of what the prevailing rhetoric is, on the issue of Net Neutrality – all politicians are representing the interests of themselves (government) and also certain corporate digital monopoly interests – and not individual citizens first and foremost. Not to mention the fact that most Congressmen and Senators have very little, if any idea of how the internet actually works (they rely on their lobbyists to tell them). Herein lies the fundamental flaw in allowing the future of the internet to be decided by men and women who are so clearly in the pockets of digital cartels and their lobbyists.

According to Gene Kimmelman, president of the consumer group Public Knowledge, this latest GOP legislative hack into the free internet could be a Trojan horse by the establishment. “It’s really tying the hands of the expert agency and eliminating all flexibility to prevent broadband abuses in the future,” he said.

It’s about monopolies. The big players are hoping to lock-down the market for themselves in the US, fix prices across the board, and then allow Central Government to what it likes, and when it likes – when it comes to spying and stealing data from its citizens (subjects). Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon could be the cartel of the future, and they will charge you whatever they collectively decide you are willing to cough up. The richest companies will buy out the smaller ones, making monolithic decision-making between the cartel and Washington easier.

Where America goes on this issue is where the world goes. It’s in everyone’s interests to learn about this issue, and perhaps consider getting active on it. It’s crucial to everyone’s future…

The U.S. Capitol Building illuminated by the setting sun on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on Nov. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Brian Fung
The Switch

Congressional Republicans are circulating the draft of a long-awaited, much-rumored bill that would clarify federal regulators’ ability to enact strict rules governing broadband providers.

The bill would enshrine into law key principles under net neutrality, the idea that all Web traffic should be treated equally by broadband companies. Specifically, it would prohibit Internet service providers from “speeding up or slowing down … some Internet traffic in relation to other Internet traffic over the consumer’s broadband,” according to the text, which is being circulated by the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

In addition to banning what’s called “paid prioritization,” the draft legislation bans the blocking of Web traffic and requires Internet providers to publicly disclose their network policies.

But crucially, the bill would also restrict the FCC’s authority in several ways. Under the legislation, the agency would be expressly prohibited from trying to regulate broadband using the same legal tools it uses to police phone companies — something that President Obama and consumer groups have specifically asked for in the push for net neutrality. The bill would also restrict the FCC’s ability to regulate broadband in the future even under its existing authority.

“While prohibiting some forms of harmful discrimination, [the bill] handcuffs the FCC and prevents them from looking at any other kinds of abuses,” said Matt Wood, policy director at the advocacy group Free Press.

Free Press and others have called for regulating broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act, a step that would give the FCC more power over Internet providers.

Conservatives argue that this plan would be a step too far.

“By turning the FCC away from a heavy-handed and messy approach to regulating the Internet,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, “this draft protects both consumers who rely on Internet services and innovators who create jobs.”

Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said “everyone, if they are serious in standing up for consumers, should be able to get behind” the bill.

But Gene Kimmelman, president of the consumer group Public Knowledge, said the bill would threaten other key agency missions, such as protecting consumer privacy and making sure all Americans have adequate access to broadband. The draft text not only prohibits the FCC from using Title II to regulate Internet providers; it also strips the FCC of its existing power over those companies by clarifying a part of the Communications Act called “Section 706.”

Section 706 recognizes the FCC’s authority to promote broadband deployment, and a federal court last year upheld that interpretation. But some policy analysts fearful of Section 706’s ambiguous language worried that it could enable government overreach. The GOP bill aims to prevent the FCC from ever invoking Section 706. And combined with the proscription against Title II, said Kimmelman, that’s a problem…

Continue this article at The Switch

READ MORE NET NEUTRALITY NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Net Neutrality Files

21wire

21wire

We are a North American and European-based, grass-roots, independent blog offering geopolitical news and media analysis, working with an array of volunteer contributors who write and help to analyse news and opinion from around the world.
21wire

@21WIRE

We're covering news you won't necessarily find in the mainstream, and things which regularly confuse career politicians, CNN and MSNBC viewers... #SundayWire
RT @VanessaBeeley: The Dumbing Down of the Revolution by 'Feel Good', False Hope, Media Moguls https://t.co/OjGPhymQN6 via @21WIRE @Renieri - 3 hours ago
21wire