Jump to content

US court strikes down FCC net neutrality policy


bascule
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html

 

A federal appeals court ruled unanimously that the FCC does not have the legal authority to regulate the Internet under present law. I can't say I disagree with the letter of the ruling. I don't know what powers present legislation grants the FCC in this regard.

 

However, I would certainly like to see the FCC's authority expanded to include net neutrality. I see no reason why ISPs shouldn't be considered common carriers in the same way telephone companies are.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html

 

A federal appeals court ruled unanimously that the FCC does not have the legal authority to regulate the Internet under present law. I can't say I disagree with the letter of the ruling. I don't know what powers present legislation grants the FCC in this regard.

 

However, I would certainly like to see the FCC's authority expanded to include net neutrality. I see no reason why ISPs shouldn't be considered common carriers in the same way telephone companies are.

 

How would an expanded FCC authority over the internet effect sites like...oh, Wikileaks? Or our access to them?

 

Believe me, I can't stand the notion of ISP's and websites choking their bandwidth in demand for more money, like has been talked about. But to me the deeper appeal of the internet is unregulated speech. It's been such a wild west frontier - must we ruin it with bureaucrats and politicians?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How would an expanded FCC authority over the internet effect sites like...oh, Wikileaks? Or our access to them?

 

It would prevent ISPs from blocking access to sites like Wikileaks or degrading the traffic. Imagine, for example, that Wikileaks posted information about Comcast executives having sex with child prostitutes in Thailand. Without net neutrality legislation, Comcast could decide it didn't want its customers looking at this information, and block it.

 

Believe me, I can't stand the notion of ISP's and websites choking their bandwidth in demand for more money, like has been talked about. But to me the deeper appeal of the internet is unregulated speech. It's been such a wild west frontier - must we ruin it with bureaucrats and politicians

 

Without net neutrality legislation, there isn't unregulated speech. ISPs are free to censor whatever they desire. An ISP could decide it wants to deliver Republican emails but not Democrat emails. It could decide if you want access to the NRA's web site you have to pay an extra $5/mo.

 

Net neutrality would help protect free speech online.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would prevent ISPs from blocking access to sites like Wikileaks or degrading the traffic. Imagine, for example, that Wikileaks posted information about Comcast executives having sex with child prostitutes in Thailand. Without net neutrality legislation, Comcast could decide it didn't want its customers looking at this information, and block it.

 

Right, Comcast can stop its customers - not all of america. The government effects all of us since we are all subjects.

 

Without net neutrality legislation, there isn't unregulated speech. ISPs are free to censor whatever they desire. An ISP could decide it wants to deliver Republican emails but not Democrat emails. It could decide if you want access to the NRA's web site you have to pay an extra $5/mo.

 

Net neutrality would help protect free speech online.

 

Ah, but see there's that liberal twist I always get out of this. It protects free speech for us, at the expense of free speech for the owner of the business.

 

There are those who seek liberty for all, and those who seek liberty for themselves. This would be the latter case.

 

ISP's "censoring" speech, IS free speech. They own the equipment and should have every right to prioritize the content. Just like I should be able to freely censor the KKK's message into my home, I should be able to censor their message into my equipment.

 

This is free speech, the way it is. You want to remove their right to filter/promote certain speech on their equipment so that you can enjoy the access to speech that you want over their equipment. Liberty at the expense of others is nothing I can support.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, Comcast can stop its customers - not all of america. The government effects all of us since we are all subjects.

 

 

 

Ah, but see there's that liberal twist I always get out of this. It protects free speech for us, at the expense of free speech for the owner of the business.

 

There are those who seek liberty for all, and those who seek liberty for themselves. This would be the latter case.

 

ISP's "censoring" speech, IS free speech. They own the equipment and should have every right to prioritize the content. Just like I should be able to freely censor the KKK's message into my home, I should be able to censor their message into my equipment.

 

This is free speech, the way it is. You want to remove their right to filter/promote certain speech on their equipment so that you can enjoy the access to speech that you want over their equipment. Liberty at the expense of others is nothing I can support.

 

So you believe all people should have equally free speech, except for people who own telecom companies. They have free-er speech and the right to regulate others speech because they operate the phone lines?

 

This way of looking at it promotes the idea that the spread of one's voice or speech is directly proportional to how much money one has.

 

The truth is there would be no internet for the telecom companies to profit from if it was not for the users who generate its content, and continue to generate content all the time. The telecom companies are using the information that is created primarily by the general public who by the way pay the telecom companies for their service, and then simply because the telecom companies own the phone lines/ fiber optic lines they should be able to regulate the content, much of which they didn't even create?

 

According to that logic, it should be okay with you for the telecom companies to also regulate who you can call? Because of course, it is their equipment that gives you the ability to make any calls, so it is their right to regulate who you can talk to.

Edited by toastywombel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you've forgotten something, ParanoiA. Comcast enjoys a government-protected relationship with its customers. Nobody else can establish cable service to your home. Where is the freedom and competition in that arrangement?

 

There is no free market entrepreneurship in the cable industry. It has always been developed hand-in-hand with government regulation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you've forgotten something, ParanoiA. Comcast enjoys a government-protected relationship with its customers. Nobody else can establish cable service to your home. Where is the freedom and competition in that arrangement?

 

There is no free market entrepreneurship in the cable industry. It has always been developed hand-in-hand with government regulation.

The point is, all things being equal, market competition would take care of the non-neutrality problem.

 

Things not being equal doesn't make a case for more non-equal legislation, though it doesn't warrant investigation and removal of the first artificial boundaries.

 

Sometimes I think that politicians purposefully distort markets, so they can step in later and pretend to fix them. Either way, the vast majority of people don't realize the problem is with artificial incentives distorting markets in the first place and that further interventions aren't fixing problems with markets, but just creating new distortions. As long as people don't understand how market theory works, the politicians are golden.

 

That being said, I don't have an ideological problem with net neutrality because I feel that corporatism is probably distorting markets even more than executive-type legislation (a la consumer protection).

 

I actually think there's a poli sci theory that consumer protection legislation is a way to buy off voters into accepting bigger, and more lucrative types of corporatism. In other words, voters or ok with pol's gaming the system to help their big business friends, as long as they think they're getting some protection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So you believe all people should have equally free speech, except for people who own telecom companies. They have free-er speech and the right to regulate others speech because they operate the phone lines?

 

They aren't free-er. They simply own the phone lines. You are free not to use their phone lines. You are free not to do business with them. No one should enjoy any more legal protection for their speech than anyone else. Using laws to promote your speech over others is an abuse of power.

 

You have no right to be heard - only a right to speak. Personally, I would never do business with any ISP that filtered anything at all - that's pure chickenshit. I'm not even sure why anyone would concede to the FCC's authority on speech either. They are the worst violators of free speech over the air waves - and that's government.

 

I think you've forgotten something' date=' ParanoiA. Comcast enjoys a government-protected relationship with its customers. Nobody else can establish cable service to your home. Where is the freedom and competition in that arrangement?

 

There is no free market entrepreneurship in the cable industry. It has always been developed hand-in-hand with government regulation. [/quote']

 

Ah, very good point. And yes, that does change things. I'm not as excited to protect them in that case, however it poses a problem because I want the net as free and wild as possible. But you are exactly right, as much as I protest it.

 

The FCC is an example of what will happen to the internet if you let the government "protect your speech" - they eventually protect you from speech.

 

Gee thanks, but no thanks. The radio is already a joke of censorship. I'm not looking forward to the internet regulated by the same boring, family first, moral police.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ISP's "censoring" speech, IS free speech.

 

Censorship is free speech! War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

 

They own the equipment and should have every right to prioritize the content.

 

Should telephone companies owned by liberals be allowed to block calls coming from Republican political candidates? It *is* their equipment!

 

I think that sort of thing should be illegal. I strongly believe in common carrier laws and think they should apply to ISPs as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Censorship is free speech! War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

 

So then you won't complain when I pipe Austrian Economics audio straight into your house. Surely you won't "censor" me and block the din? After all, I have free speech.

 

 

 

Should telephone companies owned by liberals be allowed to block calls coming from Republican political candidates? It *is* their equipment!

 

I think that sort of thing should be illegal. I strongly believe in common carrier laws and think they should apply to ISPs as well.

 

Yeah, I don't. Surprise! Absolutely telephone companies should be free to do just that. You think they would? How many liberals would even maintain service? Liberals have republican friends, employers, business associates...it wouldn't sell enough to pay for the copper and fiber to do it. Now, family friendly telephone service that bleeps dirty words might happen...

 

I don't understand the mentality that produces logic that ISPs are going to censor content against the wishes of the market. If they censor anything, it will be just like my example above - a choice by the end user NOT to see it.

 

Funny, all of these ISP's are free to do such things right now, and have been for years...so how many are doing it? Where's the filtering? I actually think AOL may be one such ISP, but I've never seen any evidence. Are they even in business still?

 

The internet contains the freest speech we've ever enjoyed - and it's not regulated. Imagine that. It's almost like government trims more speech than free profiteers. Go figure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ISP's "censoring" speech, IS free speech. They own the equipment and should have every right to prioritize the content.

 

While that is almost true, the government is not allowed to censor free speech as part of the government's free speech. The government gives many of these companies a monopoly, and we can't have them acting on behalf of the government to censor free speech. The government got their grubby little fingers all over this and so now they ought to play by the government's set of rules as an agent of the government.

 

Of course, one then wonders about how the government made a mess and that gives them the right to regulate the mess. Interesting thought, ecoli.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
I strongly believe in common carrier laws and think they should apply to ISPs as well.

 

So long as there's competition, I say they're more than welcome to abandon common carrier status and become personally responsible and liable for the content they choose to allow (including copyright infringement). What I don't want is if they try to worm their way out of it by degrading selected content and claiming they aren't choosing the content because they still eventually transmit the content.

Edited by Mr Skeptic
Consecutive posts merged.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't understand the mentality that produces logic that ISPs are going to censor content against the wishes of the market.

 

Comcast already did it when they forged TCP reset packets to interrupt BitTorrent traffic. That was until the FCC told them not to. Given the PR debacle that resulted I can't see Comcast attempting this again, but this certainly isn't a hypothetical problem.

 

The internet contains the freest speech we've ever enjoyed - and it's not regulated.

 

The only thing keeping that speech free is the fact that ISPs aren't maliciously manipulating traffic. There's no laws in place to do it. Right now it's completely voluntary. That is not the same situation with the telephone system, where we have laws to ensure telephone service providers can't maliciously manipulate traffic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thought that occurs to me is a large portion of folks on the net neutrality wagon, no one here at SFN from what I can tell, are doing so because they fear ISP's banding / pricing schemes might come to pass. Then I look at TV. Satellite Radio. It's seems obvious that the presence of the FCC cleans up portions of these markets, causing "premium" channel markets to pop up - HBO, Showtime, Sirius...

 

We always pay for premium - we pay for our exposure to lack of censorship. That's exactly what they, and some here, claim to fear.

 

What makes anyone believe that the presence of government regulation would increase freedom? Or worse, won't cause us to lose freedom?

 

The only thing keeping that speech free is the fact that ISPs aren't maliciously manipulating traffic. There's no laws in place to do it. Right now it's completely voluntary. That is not the same situation with the telephone system, where we have laws to ensure telephone service providers can't maliciously manipulate traffic.

 

Yes it's working great. We've been at this for how many decades now? We don't need to control everyone. Really we don't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty much every tech savvy person I know, including many conservatives, supports net neutrality. It's just common sense. It's how people expect the Internet to work anyway.

 

One thought that occurs to me is a large portion of folks on the net neutrality wagon, no one here at SFN from what I can tell, are doing so because they fear ISP's banding / pricing schemes might come to pass. Then I look at TV. Satellite Radio. It's seems obvious that the presence of the FCC cleans up portions of these markets, causing "premium" channel markets to pop up - HBO, Showtime, Sirius...

 

That's not really an apt comparison. PayTV systems are closed networks. HBO and Showtime have direct distribution agreements with your PayTV provider.

 

The Internet is an open network. The service you pay for is access to an open network. Would you really want to pay $5 extra a month to Comcast to have access to Google? Without net neutrality there's nothing stopping Comcast from doing something like that, and none of the money would actually go to Google.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's not really an apt comparison. PayTV systems are closed networks. HBO and Showtime have direct distribution agreements with your PayTV provider.

 

Right but their demand is partly created by the government censored market. No one would need HBO for boobies and dirty words if they got that from their local provider.

 

Seriously, we have to go to a private, closed network just to get away from family friendly censorship by the government. Do you see the obvious here? The most relaxed standards for censorship are on private, closed networks. And you're really convinced they are the devil for filtering content.

 

Your government has proven it will censor. These ISP's have not. I'm not sure how you can stand behind those who have proven a thirst for limiting speech.

 

The Internet is an open network. The service you pay for is access to an open network. Would you really want to pay $5 extra a month to Comcast to have access to Google? Without net neutrality there's nothing stopping Comcast from doing something like that, and none of the money would actually go to Google.

 

Are you really not concerned they will force American ISP's to provide family friendly censorship? And you don't think that international ISP's won't take notice and charge us silly americans for unrestricted content?

 

Once the government gains the power over our ISP's, every complaint you've heard about the internet will be redirected to a bureaucratic institution all too willing to "fix" it - even more trampling of rights.

 

No, I don't want to pay 5 bucks to get to google - and I won't. Neither will a whole lot of people. Why don't they do that today?

 

In a way though, I do see your point. I have the same problem with cell phones. I'm just not impressed with them like everyone else seems to be. And I think they screw people in general because no one will reject their product. They take a screwin and just keep coming back. I could see providers slowly injecting little screwball things here and there, just enough that customers won't leave and won't reject their business model. Before long it becomes standard for the industry.

 

I do get that. But I have good reason to believe the government will ruin it far worse than a bunch of capitalists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seriously, we have to go to a private, closed network just to get away from family friendly censorship by the government. Do you see the obvious here? The most relaxed standards for censorship are on private, closed networks. And you're really convinced they are the devil for filtering content.

 

The air waves belong to everyone. While I don't support the FCC censoring the radio, I at least understand their rationale.

 

Are you really not concerned they will force American ISP's to provide family friendly censorship?

 

No, I am far more concerned ISPs will unduly regulate content.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They aren't free-er. They simply own the phone lines. You are free not to use their phone lines. You are free not to do business with them. No one should enjoy any more legal protection for their speech than anyone else. Using laws to promote your speech over others is an abuse of power.

 

You have no right to be heard - only a right to speak. Personally, I would never do business with any ISP that filtered anything at all - that's pure chickenshit. I'm not even sure why anyone would concede to the FCC's authority on speech either. They are the worst violators of free speech over the air waves - and that's government.[/Quote]

 

Okay well it seems to didn't even address the main point. The users generate the internet's content. Without the user generated content on the web, there would be no internet for the telecom companies to profit off of. Not only that we pay them to use their lines.

 

Why is it right for the companies being paid by users to transfer data to be able to limit the bandwidth of certain data created by those users. These companies are making millions of dollars simply serving as delivery persons for data that is made by us, and you say we should have no say how that data is transferred.

 

The truth is, if net neutrality is not upheld eventually every telecom company will begin to block content, this is simply because that is where the money is going to be. And then you have a oligopoly controlling the internet.

 

And I never said anything about having a right to be heard, but I think my website should be just as accessible as anyone's website. Everyone should have a chance to be heard, especially if they pay for their internet service.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
One thought that occurs to me is a large portion of folks on the net neutrality wagon, no one here at SFN from what I can tell, are doing so because they fear ISP's banding / pricing schemes might come to pass. Then I look at TV. Satellite Radio. It's seems obvious that the presence of the FCC cleans up portions of these markets, causing "premium" channel markets to pop up - HBO, Showtime, Sirius...

 

We always pay for premium - we pay for our exposure to lack of censorship. That's exactly what they, and some here, claim to fear.

 

What makes anyone believe that the presence of government regulation would increase freedom? Or worse, won't cause us to lose freedom?

 

It is not reasonable to assume you can live in a society with complete freedom. I don't think that Howard Stern should be on public radio. And the FCC is obviously kind enough to let people like Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh stay on the air so I don't think it is as bad as you are making it out to be.

 

It is also good to keep in mind that the premium packages you cite as being caused by government action are a multi-billion dollar industry that employs thousands of people across the United States. It is also good to note people often pay for satellite radio because they're are less ads and far greater selection. I doubt local radio stations or local television stations could ever offer the type of selection seen by satellite, satellite radio, and cable even if there were no FCC laws at all.

Edited by toastywombel
Consecutive posts merged.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why is it right for the companies being paid by users to transfer data to be able to limit the bandwidth of certain data created by those users. These companies are making millions of dollars simply serving as delivery persons for data that is made by us, and you say we should have no say how that data is transferred.

 

You have a say as a consumer. This is their business and they should be able to promote any model they want - including restricting content if that's what they want. You didn't buy the server, or their equipment and you're not answerable to the same laws and accountability that they are - you are buying a service, not equipment. And you make contractual agreements when you buy the service.

 

You are free to tell them to shove it and then go somewhere else for your service. That's why they don't do it, by the way - and they are and have been perfectly free to do this since the very beginning. Yet, we have no epidemic of ISP's hiding content from us. It's a crap business model, and they know it.

 

This is no different than you deciding that Burger King should include lettuce on their burgers, while they omit lettuce to cut costs. So you propose a law to force them to put lettuce on their burgers claiming every burger eater ought to have access to lettuce, since they paid for their burger and Burger King makes millions of dollars off of them.

 

No, you simply go somewhere else. You are a consumer. You are trying to use laws to force people into doing business your way, instead of using your wallet. Rationalize all you want, but you're forcing a business model on someone and that isn't right. If we did that with all business, there would be no innovation because every step into something different or weird would be met with legal stalwarts forcing them to do business a certain way, appealing to "millions of dollars" in profit and similar excuses that would never fly if used to invade YOUR rights.

 

It might help to understand that I see no dividing line between business and home. Nor any dividing line between economic freedom and social freedom. There is either freedom or there isn't. Intellectualizing partitions between them is a popular human condition because real liberty means you can't control people.

 

We are a country of control freaks fueled by fears manufactured daily by the right and the left.

 

The truth is, if net neutrality is not upheld eventually every telecom company will begin to block content, this is simply because that is where the money is going to be. And then you have a oligopoly controlling the internet.

 

I have no earthly idea what you're talking about. ISP's are free to do this today. Why don't they? Why would there be money in blocking content? Unless you're talking about end-user preferences, such as a family friendly service or what not. And in that case, it's the consumers asking for it. If that's what you mean, I have to ask - why does your voice deserve to be heard over theirs? Why aren't other people allowed a choice for their speech? (I'll bet that's not what you meant though....)

 

It is not reasonable to assume you can live in a society with complete freedom. I don't think that Howard Stern should be on public radio. And the FCC is obviously kind enough to let people like Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh stay on the air so I don't think it is as bad as you are making it out to be.

 

It is also good to keep in mind that the premium packages you cite as being caused by government action are a multi-billion dollar industry that employs thousands of people across the United States. It is also good to note people often pay for satellite radio because they're are less ads and far greater selection. I doubt local radio stations or local television stations could ever offer the type of selection seen by satellite' date=' satellite radio, and cable even if there were no FCC laws at all.[/quote']

 

I disagree with that first sentence and so did the founders. Rush and Michael don't say anything that challenges even the most sensitive censors. Not sure why that was included.

 

The remark "the FCC is obviously kind enough" offends my libertarian sensibilities. The arrogance implied in that statement - that we should be subordinate to the mighty FCC and be thankful when they toss us bread and let us drink from the well. I just don't accept the subordination psychology prolific in the liberal/statist belief system.

 

Bottom line is, I fear government more than corporate. You (and bascule perhaps?) fear corporate more than government. I don't mean that disparaging at all either, and I understand and respect your position on it, if that's accurate. The thing to keep in mind is, corporate can always be smacked by government if they go too far - but the government has no overlord, except the people - we have to instigate bloody civil wars and revolutions that cost human lives, to smack a government that goes too far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One option the FCC is considering is to reclassify ISPs as telcos, which would make them subject to common carrier regulations

 

This is their business and they should be able to promote any model they want - including restricting content if that's what they want. You didn't buy the server, or their equipment and you're not answerable to the same laws and accountability that they are - you are buying a service, not equipment. And you make contractual agreements when you buy the service.

 

In a common carrier scenario, you are paying them for a service, and as part of that business relationship they are responsible for the delivery of data you have requested. If they fail to deliver that data they are liable. They cannot indiscriminately forge responses from other servers to block access to certain protocols, like Comcast did with BitTorrent traffic.

 

I expect as much from any ISP. If I'm paying for Internet access, and not getting Internet access, that's fraud.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the topic of whether ISPs would start censoring in the future, isn't one of the major issues potential litigation against the ISPs for the traffic that occurs on their networks? I don't know the specifics but I thought net neutrality was one of the ambiguous yet still successful defenses to date, and official net neutrality would safeguard ISPs.

 

On the other hand, if we officially reject net neutrality then they can be sued because "they could have done something but did not" even if that "something" was draconian and overreaching.

An ISP that fails to police torrent traffic could be considered profiting from the illegal downloads and legally liable for damages. If a website posts contested material that may or may not be illegal (for reasons outside of piracy, such as potential and yet unproven slander) then the ISP has to have their legal team weigh the likelihood of a bad ruling that could cost them in damages.

 

One of the most tiresome characteristics in our society (in my mind at least) is the "when in doubt about if you can be sued, don't" mentality. It would be even worse in the "wild west" world of the internet because so many freedoms and limitations are still untested or unsettled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The point is, all things being equal, market competition would take care of the non-neutrality problem.

 

They aren't free-er. They simply own the phone lines. You are free not to use their phone lines. You are free not to do business with them.

 

You have a say as a consumer. This is their business and they should be able to promote any model they want - including restricting content if that's what they want. You didn't buy the server, or their equipment[.]

 

(technically, it was your money, spent hiring their service, that payed for the equipment).

 

I really don't think that capitalist rules actually apply to infrastructure.

 

The idea of paying to open up shop next to an expensive shop given that, as soon as you do, they'll drop their prices so you'll have to as well is iffy enough to begin with; the idea of paying hundreds of millions to lay down new rail-roads, roads, telephone/internet lines, whatever, just so that you can never, ever make the money back because market forces will drive your prices down is... well... not going to happen, basically.

 

It's also not in our best interests: if another hundreds of millions is going to be spent on infrastructure, it should be spent upgrading, not duplicating, it.

 

So, yeah, competition isn't realistically going to happen, so you can't rely on that to solve the problems. I guess that leaves trusting buisnesses to not exploit their position, passing trust-laws/regulation to force them not to exploit their position, or setting up some kind of stegonographic thingy so that, e.g., if the ISPs (which, as mentioned, are generally telephone companies) try to throttle VoIP, VoIP can be smuggled across in a way that makes it appear to be some other, non-throttled content.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.