FCC Ignores Criticism Over Lack Of Transparency; Negotiates Net Neutrality Behind Closed Doors With Industry Execs

from the you-don't-want-this dept

As much as we believe in the importance of a neutral network, we've pointed out over and over again that the last thing people should want is for specific net neutrality rules to be written by the government. For a while now, we've warned that once the lobbyists took over, people supporting net neutrality wouldn't like the results. And, of course, everything has been playing out following just that script. The telcos hired a ton of high-power lobbyists to cover net neutrality, including eighteen former members of Congress. And, despite arguing for years that net neutrality was evil, the telcos "miraculously" admitted last month they "might agree" to regulations... just as long as they got to write the details

Given that, there was a lot of outrage last month for a series of secret meetings between telco/cable execs and the FCC. You would think that, given the public beating the FCC got over those meetings it would know better than to hold more. No such luck. Apparently they're right back at it.

As important as the concept of a neutral network might be, what comes out of this sausage making process is going to favor the very companies net neutrality regulations are supposed to keep in line.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:26pm

    Government

    For a while now, we've warned that once the lobbyists took over, people supporting net neutrality wouldn't like the results.

    And for a while now, I've been warning people that government always gets corrupted. That's why there should be no government, no laws, period! I've been proven right time and time again!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

    Business as usual.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    He called himself what?, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    there's gambling in this place?!

    this is why I have always been concerned about asking the gov. to wade into the internet...rules always favor, and lock in, the existing power structure

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Hmmm...the potential for people to screw it up is always there, that is why someone already said that "the price for democracy is eternal vigilance".

    The problem with things todays is that people really should wake up and start doing something and that means having these battles, for now the public is under represented and until people change the laws to forbid lobbying as it was for a long time things won't change and people need to start engaging.

    Net Neutrality would not happen otherwise, without the laws that permit neutrality to exist, there will be no neutrality ever period.

    Neutrality can't exist without banning exclusive contracts that is the crux of the matter. There will be no competition if companies are allowed to have some kinds of exclusive rights after all they do what the name suggests they exclude others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:02pm

    Re:

    Net Neutrality would not happen otherwise, without the laws that permit neutrality to exist, there will be no neutrality ever period.

    Huh? Neutrality has existed without such laws for ages.

    Neutrality can't exist without banning exclusive contracts that is the crux of the matter. There will be no competition if companies are allowed to have some kinds of exclusive rights after all they do what the name suggests they exclude others.

    Sure it can. If there's real competition, no ISP would reasonably go non-neutral, as it would drive customers away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:01pm

    i think all negotiations like this should be held in public squares, with grand stands set up, a big sound system, giant screens, and everything should be public. no bathroom breaks or anything, pee right there is you need to. see, everything should be public all the time.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re:

    Huh? Neutrality has existed without such laws for ages.


    Where exactly? I don't see it happening in the U.S., what I see is consolidation and exclusion of competition that is the modus operandis of U.S. business in general and it is mostly what hurts them most.

    Sure it can. If there's real competition, no ISP would reasonably go non-neutral, as it would drive customers away.


    How exactly?
    Because if others are permitted to exclude competitors from markets how it will ever be neutral?

    If a company can secure exclusive contracts for an entire city how competition can take place?

    How people living in a condo where the or closed housing group can have competition when management can sign exclusive contracts for all of them.

    This is not outer space where you got a lot of space either, there is a limited space where you can place cables so even if people wanted too there may not be able to place their own on the ground so how exactly are competition to flourish where the barriers are so high?

    The obviously solution is to make the physical infra-structure a public asset but that isn't going to happen is it now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:59pm

    Cognitive dissonance
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

    Those that want neutrality and are against legislation probably suffer from cognitive dissonance.

    I really want to know how they expect competition to arrive when that competition can be completely blocked.

    How the effe people think those telco got so big?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    abc gum, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Government

    Absolutes are absolutely wrong every time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Where exactly? I don't see it happening in the U.S., what I see is consolidation and exclusion of competition that is the modus operandis of U.S. business in general and it is mostly what hurts them most.

    But the end-to-end principle of the internet is still in tact. No one is charging you more for accessing Google. No one is charging Google more for reaching you.

    The internet still remains neutral.

    The fact that there have been efforts to reduce competition doesn't mean that there hasn't been a neutral net.

    Because if others are permitted to exclude competitors from markets how it will ever be neutral?


    Because why would customers use that provider? Any competitor could just stand up and say "hey, we won't charge more for accessing Google" and the non-neutral ISP loses a ton of business.

    If a company can secure exclusive contracts for an entire city how competition can take place?


    That's a totally different issue and has nothing to do with neutrality.

    How people living in a condo where the or closed housing group can have competition when management can sign exclusive contracts for all of them.


    Indeed. I agree. but that's not a net neutrality issue, that's a competition issue.

    The obviously solution is to make the physical infra-structure a public asset but that isn't going to happen is it now?


    That's one possible solution (and I actually like where the infrasctructure is quasi-public, not fully public, but again, you're talking about competition.

    That's not net neutrality.

    You don't need net neutrality for that.

    Read the Cato paper: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9775

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    Re:

    Those that want neutrality and are against legislation probably suffer from cognitive dissonance.


    Oh come on. People can logically disagree on this point without having cognitive dissonance.

    I really want to know how they expect competition to arrive when that competition can be completely blocked.

    That's the whole freaking point. I'm arguing that the focus of any legislation should be to encourage more competition. That doesn't mean create "net neutrality" laws.

    And, seriously, no need to be obnoxious and claim that just because people disagree with you -- and have facts to back it up -- that they're suffering from cognitive dissonance.

    You're arguing that net neutrality is needed because there's no competition. I'm arguing that you've got it backwards. Net neutrality is important, but any regulatory solution needs to focus on knocking down the barriers to competition.

    It's a question of which is the symptom and which is the disease. You seem to think the disease is net neutrality. I don't. I think it's a lack of competition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Re: Government

    Absolutes are absolutely wrong every time.

    Even when they're proven right over and over again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Government

    No sense of humor?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 10:55pm

    Oh come on. People can logically disagree on this point without having cognitive dissonance.


    - Do you think the network market is vibrant in the U.S.?
    - Do you think competitors will get in without changing legislation? Because right now there is something wrong, there is a handful of companies offering things and if that is not because of legislation somewhere I'm a duck.

    Besides as the paper you pointed out noted, the internet is resilient, they can screw things up in the U.S. but the rest of it will still function and even inside the U.S. people can find some ways to bypass most not all filtering. Throttling cannot be bypassed easily if those ISP collude to make it happen the public alone is not a deterrent for them, they don't respect their customers.

    Net neutrality for me is forbidding "exclusive contracts" and access to third party physical infra-structure, and that is it, there is no need to define anything else, people can't make exclusive contracts on networks ever and people just need to share their physical infra-structure.

    All that other talk is just crazy talk, now how that would be build, that is why I support the effing thing, those things only will happen with legislation, it doesn't matter what people think or how that will turn up at the end, what it matters is that it is regulated now and it need to change and this is just an exercise on a long road.

    The goal is for communities to build their own infra-structure and be forbidden to make exclusive contracts with ISP's for usage of that infra-structure, right now ISP's own the infra-structure and they even tell other if they can get in, people can't do nothing about it, they are forbidden from entering the market place, that would have solved a lot of problems, but without change in regulations you tell me how it will be possible? If people are afraid to engage how will they change things?

    Just pray?

    "Net Neutrality" is not the end, is the beginning of a process one that will need to happen for things to get better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:59pm

    Hmmm... I remember an article on this site, that had a warning from the GAO, about the FCC being a revolving door for big business...

    The GAO is really good at pointing out the flaws of the government and its "leadership".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    DH's Love Child, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Re:

    "The GAO is really good at pointing out the flaws of the government and its "leadership"."

    Too bad the rest of the government ignores them...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Brett Glass, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 8:08pm

    It's Google that spent the big bucks on lobbying.

    Google actually wrote the proposed FCC rules and has multiple lobbying groups in DC (most of them "astroturf" groups that pretend to be "public interest" organizations but get big bucks from Google) gunning for it. The telcos aren't the ones you have to worry about in this debate; they have to compete and so they won't dare do anything that consumers don't like. But Google has multiple Internet monopolies. It's the one that you should be concerned about. And it's the one that's lobbying for "network neutrality" regulations that would give it virtually complete control of the future of the Net, while raising your prices and degrading your service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Mad Panda (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 12:16am

    "And for a while now, I've been warning people that government always gets corrupted. That's why there should be no government, no laws, period! I've been proven right time and time again!"

    I do not think anarchy is the best solution, but I do agree that governments do get corrupted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Travis Miller (profile), Jul 18th, 2010 @ 7:00pm

    Deep packet inspection

    Privacy law outlawing deep packet inspection. How is everyone NOT a winner in that situation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 4:02am

    Re:

    - Do you think the network market is vibrant in the U.S.?


    Not at all. I've argued against that point multiple times.

    - Do you think competitors will get in without changing legislation? Because right now there is something wrong, there is a handful of companies offering things and if that is not because of legislation somewhere I'm a duck.

    Again, no. I have argued many times that there need to be legislative changes to increase competition.

    But that's NOT net neutrality legislation.

    "Net Neutrality" is not the end, is the beginning of a process one that will need to happen for things to get better.


    Keep saying that after the legislation favors the telcos. Then what will you say?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 19th, 2010 @ 4:03am

    Re: It's Google that spent the big bucks on lobbying.

    Google actually wrote the proposed FCC rules

    Do you have *ANY* proof to back that up? You've made that claim repeatedly, and falsely accused all sorts of non-Google entities of being Google-fronts.

    Brett, you used to have interesting things to add to these discussions, but you've become paranoid. It's difficult to take you seriously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    John D., Jul 28th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Internet regulation

    Just as the Medieval nobility of Europe failed to recognize the rise of the merchant class as a threat to their power until it was too late, the current crop of would-be royalty, who's growing power is based on the control of both raw resources and the flow of information, did not recognize the threat that information technology poses to that power until recently. They are now attempting to correct that error, and like it or not, unless we do more than yell, they will succeed.

    We cannot stop the eventual regulation of the internet in its current form, for one reason: we don't own it. You own and control the device through which you are reading this, but the equipment which provides your means of accessing it, and the rest of the 'net, is owned by a collection of private and public companies. The backbone of the web is owned by the telecom giants, who's largest shareholders and officers are so intertwined with lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats that they may as well be a part of the government.

    So, since you don't own the means of accessing the internet and have to "pay to play", what the so-called elites can't do legislatively or by judicial activism, they will be able to do through layers of contractual obligations. In other words, anyone who wants web access for any reason will be forced to accept content filtering by an outside agency as part of the deal when they sign up with an ISP. Don't blame your ISP. They will have had to accept the same deal to get access to the internet's backbone.

    What we need is Internet III. A real network, built by us, the little people. I have no idea what form it would need to take. I imagine it could be based on WY-FY connections, or perhaps be as simple as neighbors agreeing to get together and run fiber optic from house to house. Individual security would have to be a matter of personal responsibility (much as it is now). Your access to the 'net and the quality of that access would be based entirely on your ability, financial or otherwise, to maintain your equipment. As this network expanded, it could eventually bypass, surpass, and supplant the telecom-based internet.

    I lack the technical expertise to flesh this idea out, but there are millions of people out there who do have the skills. I'm hoping a few of you will take this idea up and run with it. The possibilities are endless. A whole new world awaits, if we can take it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    John D., Jul 28th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Internet regulation

    Just as the Medieval nobility of Europe failed to recognize the rise of the merchant class as a threat to their power until it was too late, the current crop of would-be royalty, who's growing power is based on the control of both raw resources and the flow of information, did not recognize the threat that information technology poses to that power until recently. They are now attempting to correct that error, and like it or not, unless we do more than yell, they will succeed.

    We cannot stop the eventual regulation of the internet in its current form, for one reason: we don't own it. You own and control the device through which you are reading this, but the equipment which provides your means of accessing it, and the rest of the 'net, is owned by a collection of private and public companies. The backbone of the web is owned by the telecom giants, who's largest shareholders and officers are so intertwined with lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats that they may as well be a part of the government.

    So, since you don't own the means of accessing the internet and have to "pay to play", what the so-called elites can't do legislatively or by judicial activism, they will be able to do through layers of contractual obligations. In other words, anyone who wants web access for any reason will be forced to accept content filtering by an outside agency as part of the deal when they sign up with an ISP. Don't blame your ISP. They will have had to accept the same deal to get access to the internet's backbone.

    What we need is Internet III. A real network, built by us, the little people. I have no idea what form it would need to take. I imagine it could be based on WY-FY connections, or perhaps be as simple as neighbors agreeing to get together and run fiber optic from house to house. Individual security would have to be a matter of personal responsibility (much as it is now). Your access to the 'net and the quality of that access would be based entirely on your ability, financial or otherwise, to maintain your equipment. As this network expanded, it could eventually bypass, surpass, and supplant the telecom-based internet.

    I lack the technical expertise to flesh this idea out, but there are millions of people out there who do have the skills. I'm hoping a few of you will take this idea up and run with it. The possibilities are endless. A whole new world awaits, if we can take it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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