[sf-lug] net neutrality
rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Apr 8 15:45:33 PDT 2010
Quoting Andrew E (andrewevansc at gmail.com):
> Quick question:
> Should we be afraid of the verdict that allows Cumcast to restrict
> broadband access to certain programs/files/people ?
I'm not sure attempting to put FCC in charge of large swaths of the
Internet is a good idea, though. Neither is EFF:
Here's the problem: Congress has never given the FCC any authority to
regulate the Internet for the purpose of ensuring net neutrality. In
place of explicit congressional authority, the FCC decided to rely on
its "ancillary jurisdiction," a catchall source of authority that
amounts to "we can regulate without waiting for Congress so long a
the regulations are related to something else that Congress told us to
do." Of course, this line of reasoning could translate into carte
blanche authority for unelected bureaucrats to regulate the Internet
long after Chairman Genachowski has moved on. As we put it in October:
If "ancillary jurisdiction" is enough for net neutrality
regulations (something we might like) today, it could just as easily be
invoked tomorrow for any other Internet regulation that the FCC dreams
up (including things we won't like). For example, it doesn't take
much imagination to envision a future FCC "Internet Decency Statement."
After all, outgoing FCC Chairman Martin was a crusader against
"indecency" on the airwaves and it was the FCC that punished Pacifica
radio for playing George Carlin's "seven dirty words" monologue,
something you can easily find on the Internet. And it's also
too easy to imagine an FCC "Internet Lawful Use Policy," created at the
behest of the same entertainment lobby that has long been pressing the
FCC to impose DRM on TV and radio, with ISPs required or encouraged to
filter or otherwise monitor their users to ensure compliance. After all,
it was only thanks to a jurisdictional challenge ... that we defeated
the FCC's "broadcast flag" mandate which would have given Hollywood and
federal bureaucrats veto power over innovative devices and legitimate
uses of recorded TV programming.
So while we are big supporters of net neutrality, we are glad that
today's ruling has reasserted the important limits on the FCC's
authority to regulate the Internet.
Maybe what you really need is a locally owned or municipal cable service.
I personally think it's a shame that the latter have been becoming
rarer, e.g., Palo Alto used to have a decent municipal service (Palo
Alto Cable Coop), but shut it down in 2003 and signed up with the
Comcast monopoly, to their lasting regret.
Rick Moen "The word 'totally' is redundant except when
rick at linuxmafia.com describing how rad something is."
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