[sf-lug] net neutrality

Rick Moen 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.


See also:

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."
McQ!  (4x80)                                           -- FakeAPStylebook

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