Trump's Internet Brigades Shocked To Realize The Government Just Sold Them Out On Privacy

from the by-winning-I-mean-losing dept

ISP lobbying and policy groups were, unsurprisingly, quick to mindlessly applaud this week’s decision by Congress to kill consumer broadband privacy rules. Actual consumers, however, are far from pleased about Congress’ decision to take campaign contributions in exchange for selling consumer privacy rights down river. With cable providers nabbing a growing broadband monopoly, ISPs increasingly merging with giant broadcasters, and neither competition nor regulatory oversight providing much of anything in the way of checks and balances, most people realize we’re in for an…interesting ride over the next few years.

Amusingly, even many of Donald Trump’s most fervent online supporters were shocked by Congress’ and the Trump administration’s giant middle finger to consumer privacy. Over at Breitbart, traditionally not a hotbed for nuanced understanding of often-complicated tech policy, commenters were quick to cry foul over the vote to kill the FCC’s rules:

Of course many Trump supporters tried to heap the entirety of the blame in the lap of the GOP, ignoring the White House’s wholesale support of the killing of the protections. But it was interesting to see several others actually seeing through the broadband industry’s bullshit claim that the FTC will somehow come running to magically fill in the privacy enforcement gaps (it has no real authority over broadband, and ISPs can avoid oversight via common carrier exemptions anyway):

Meanwhile, over at The_Donald subreddit, users that traditionally spend their calories happily whining about “snowflakes” and “libtards” suddenly came to the realization that the broadband market isn’t competitive, and with neither competitor nor functional regulatory oversight of these ever-expanding telecom giants, the average consumer (“cuck” or not) is going to get screwed by companies like AT&T and Comcast. Repeatedly:

Gosh, it’s almost as if some regulations are actually necessary, and one has to intelligently debate the subtle, often-complicated nuance of each implementation! As we’ve noted the rules were created for a damn good reason. Namely that the lack of competition in the broadband sector had resulted in ISPs engaging in some incredibly idiotic behavior. ISPs in recent months have charged consumers more for privacy, given low income customers even worse customer service, or covertly modified user packets to track users around the internet and build entire profiles — without telling a single god-damned customer this was happening.

Suddenly realizing their predicament, numerous Trump supporters urged the President to immediately veto the repeal of the rules, again ignoring the fact that Trump’s administration has made it repeatedly clear the push to kill the rules had the administration’s full-throated support:

Of course the sudden realization that government oversight of giant, anti-competitive corporations is sometimes necessary and even good for consumers has arrived a little late for most of us. It might have been nice if a few of these folks had heeded the warning about hollow populist rhetoric before our collective privacy rights were thrown in the toilet. With the gutting of net neutrality and Trump’s likely approval of the massive AT&T Time Warner merger waiting in the wings, there’s some additional hard lessons looming for Trump enthusiasts that actually care about tech policy.

That said, this is another reminder of how certain issues (most notably net neutrality and privacy) have been quite intentionally shoveled into idiotic partisan grooves — despite broad, bipartisan consumer support for both concepts. There are those that benefit by having tech policy discourse mired in such callow debate, but it isn’t you or I (oh hi, didn’t see you standing there, Comcast). Seeing the world entirely as a game of partisan patty cake — waged idiotically but enthusiastically in team-colored onesies — remains an ongoing disservice to us all.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Trump's Internet Brigades Shocked To Realize The Government Just Sold Them Out On Privacy”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
131 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

you still have the right to

BOYCOTT OR BEND OVER
You can choose the local ISP monopoly (who is now basically the last mile of governmental spying on the citizens of the US)

or

drop out. Only use the internet and phones at work.

Will we ever stand up? Will we suck even harder? Who in these forums has already sent a letter/email to their local representative or congressman?

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: you still have the right to

Boycotts only work if you can convince a reasonable number of people to join in and make it effective. That simply won’t happen with internet access. People might boycott one company but they won’t give up the internet all together, nor should they.

What needs to happen is for internet to be turned into a utility and regulated like one. It’s not an optional thing anymore like cable TV. It’s an essential service like water, gas, electricity, and roads.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 you still have the right to

Be careful in what you wish for, as while I agree that the communication infrastructure should be treated like an utility, the same does not apply to the sites and services that the network allow you to connect to.

The Internet is an umbrella term, spanning at least two different things, carrying data from a to b, and providing services and content that rely on the underlying data network.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I’m not seeing agreement, but it’s also hard to tell you people who refuse to log in but generate slightly different snowflakes apart. You’re all just pink messes to me today. If only you’d take steps to differentiate between yourselves.. If it helps, the “you” I typed was in the royal sense, however, e.g. Americans, and not directed at an individual.

Karl Bode (profile) says:

InfoWars

I’ll note that Infowars insists this entire privacy fracas is “fake news” and the fault of Google:

https://www.infowars.com/google-soros-behind-fake-news-on-internet-privacy/

Ignoring that Google actually opposed the rules because, like ISPs, they didn’t like that consumers had to OPT IN to let companies track and sell private financial data and browsing history.

The corresponding Google letter to the FCC opposing their privacy rules:

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/100319291940/2016-10-03%20Google%20Letter%20(WC%2016-106).pdf

Anonymous Coward says:

Just wondering...

As with the “net neutrality” rules that are being eliminated, my understanding is that these regulations were put in place less than two years ago.

Before that, there were a couple of decades of the internet where these rules didn’t exist. Were there egregious abuses of ISPs and other internet companies before the regulations were put in place? Were ISPs selling these data before (and in the case of net neutrality, were ISPs blocking huge swaths of the internet of other companies’ content in favor of their own)?”

I ask because this seems to be hand wringing over something I haven’t really seen happening. If it has, I understand the need to bring government regulation to police the actions of ISPs. If it hasn’t, why the hysteria?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Just wondering...

As I understand it there weren’t clear rules, nothing along the lines of the ones that just got killed anyway, and it was mostly down to how far the companies wanted to push and risk the FCC slapping them down.

However, after they pushed a little too far, and were a little too blatant in screwing over their customers there was enough momentum to put in some simple if clear rules to prohibit some of their more extreme actions.

These rules would cut into their profits however, which is why they threw fits about how they’d be just so very confusing for their stupid customers who could never understand such complex subjects as ‘If you want your ISP to gather data on you, you need to give them the go-ahead’, and chill such innovation like tracking customers with unremovable cookies used to harvest customer data whether they knew about it or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Just wondering...

There have been ISPs in the last few years that have been tracking internet browsing history. Verizon edited traffic in transit to insert “Super Cookies” that are undetectable to the end user but allow Verizon to track what you’re doing. They would then sell that information to advertisers.

You are probably correct in saying that in the early days of the internet this was not happening. Or at least not happening on a large scale.

However, in just the last few years technology has become so cheap that performing inspection on everyones internet traffic has become very cheap. Especially when you control the pipe.

And this “hysteria” is not new. Privacy advocates have been warning people for years that this kind of thing would happen. Which is precisely why those rules were put in place.

This kind of collection is dangerous when unchecked.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Just wondering...

The reason that the regulations were created a couple of years ago was because the ISP’s, who are also cable companies, realized that the Internet was driving cord cutting, and so they started introducing data caps, and refusing to upgrade switches congested by Netflix traffic.

That is the regulations were introduced because the ISP’s started playing games to protect their cable business.

My_Name_Here says:

Re: Re: Just wondering...

The reason the regulation was passed was because the previous chairman of the FCC felt that he, and he alone, knew what is best for the internet. He felt no need or desire to have his feelings codified into law, instead he just issues FCC regulations.

Well, FCC regulations aren’t suppose to make new law. They are suppose to be for apply EXISTING law. It’s suppose to be the congress passing laws that say X and the FCC creating the applicable regulations on the ground. The congress passed no legislation in regards to net neutrality or online privacy, so the FCC’s regulations were at best made of whole cloth. It’s doubtful in some ways that the regulations would have stood up to a solid legal challenge, as there is no applicable law to support them.

It’s unfortunate that the congress moved only to strike down the FCC’s errant regulation without really crafting a decent replacement or creating a framework under which is could be properly created. Alas, we are in the Trump era, which is a wild west show run by an orange clown. Get use to it, it’s only going to get worse from here.

BernardoVerda (profile) says:

Re: Just wondering...

That’s simply because "Net Neutrality" is essentially a political/legal label for what was originally over-arching design principles (eg. the "end-to-end" principle) that guided the construction and development and build-out of The Internet, in the first place — principles that had been carefully worked out and negotiated by all the stake-holders, and that had worked very well to encourage development and to respect the interests of all participants (and the nation as a whole.

But with consolidation of consumer internet services into a handful of large, regional, effective monopolies, the ISPs realized they could subvert the principles that led to the Internet’s amazing success, and exploit the resulting non-competitive, captive market in ways that a free market and the (explicit) design of the system just wouldn’t have made practible.

Net Neutrality was put into place only recently, because the need, to preserve those existing (founding), negotiated principles and accepted, negotiated practices through regulation, only became apparent as the ISPs consolidated and acquired enough market power to abuse their position and impose their own interests over those of the users, contrary to the system those users had created and functioned under till then.

ShadowNinja (profile) says:

Drones show the problem with 'regulations = bad' mentality

Gosh, it’s almost as if some regulations are actually necessary, and one has to intelligently debate the subtle, often-complicated nuance of each implementation!

That’s the very problem with Trump’s rule that for every 1 new regulation 2 old ones have to go.

Take a look at the drone market for an example of why this won’t work. Previously there was one and only one regulation on drones, none are allowed for ANY reason period, not for toys, not for businesses to deliver products, nothing.

But now that drones are allowed for more and more things, you need more and more regulations to regulate the drones. Are there a lot more drone regulations than there used to be before? Heck yeah. But do we have more freedoms when it comes to owning and using drones then we used to? Well duh of course anything is a step up from no drones at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

I wonder how much these companies actually obeyed these regulations, vrs how many went underground with their attack on privacy. I’m not convinced that regulation is the key to controlling privacy. As we’ve seen time and again, simply telling corporations they can’t do something doesn’t mean they wont, it simply means they will try harder not to get caught. Then you have the Government itself, the worst offender. They built entire rooms inside the ISP’s data centers, in plain site, and simply sucked up ALL the data. I find it hard to believe the Government would take these regulations/our privacy seriously when THEY are doing the same or worse.

I don’t think I trust the Government with my privacy, nor the Corporations with adhering to the Governments “do as I say, not as I do regulations”. Both seem so disingenuous to me. This is the same Government that fields the TSA, and who believes you have no rights at all simply because you are less than 100 miles from the border. Obama givith, Trump taketh away. What’s the next politician going to do? Who knows? Somehow; We need to take control ourselves and stop relying on others to protect our privacy, it’s just not working.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I guess you didn’t read this from yesterday.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170327/09244537008/just-use-vpn-isnt-real-solution-to-gops-decision-to-kill-broadband-privacy-protections.shtml

Anyway not everyone has the background or the basic knowledge to “go online and learn” about VPNs, encryption and stuff. Even if they have friends/relatives who can help, most people don’t even realize that they would need to get help for an issue like this. Just because you are an expert in IT or a fast learner doesn’t mean everyone can be like you…….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No I read it, I just don’t agree. When you put your privacy in the hands of the Government, you are then subject to it’s whims, and whoever happens to be in charge. No thank you, I’ll take care of my own privacy.

“Just because you are an expert in IT or a fast learner doesn’t mean everyone can be like you……”

I appreciate your argument, but I certainly don’t agree. People are not idiots, we can learn. Simply throwing up your hands and saying that people are too dumb to take ownership of their own privacy is not the answer. I’m an old man. I didn’t know how to set up a vpn, and some other advanced privacy protections, but I learned. Now I don’t rely on the Government, I rely on myself. It’s not full proof, nothing is, but I took ownership myself. To be honest, I feel somewhat empowered by my achievement, as simple to some as it may be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No I read it, I just don’t agree.

You failed to mention what aspect of that article that you disagree with and why. Saying that you just disagree isn’t gonna make your argument. It just make you seem like you either don’t understand what you read or you are so stubborn and entrenched in your own ideology that you don’t give a shit and disagree with everything that doesn’t fit into your world view.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Thing damm you

Regulations Say to companies big and small, if you do certain thing you could get in trouble, Now me I Sleep for a few hours each day, and a big company could say, “hi ho, Hi Ho, everyone is in bed now, sleeping, no one is looking lets dump all that medical waste in the school playground.

A big company might still wilfully endanger the community , but us people will find a prosecution of those rich selfish bastards who can’t think beyond the next quarter easier because of regulations.

the truth, Companies Do obey regulations, they would not complain about them if they could ignored them.

Anonymous Coward says:

The idiot Trump Supporter

Just FYI,

For those of you rolling your eyes in derision at every action of the Trumpster.. You do realize that if Washington is already regulating it, you’re in trouble.. Right?? If your relying on the good guy members of congress to save you with their “perfected” regulated version of the internet.. hoo boy do you have a surprise coming..

The more regulated the internet becomes, the more power that goes to the lobbyists and special interest. If you think some regulations are necessary, recognize that thought is subjective. Washington don’t run on some heart felt emotional notions of what is “right”. Those who have the money to lobby congress will do it in the most capitalistic way to get what they desire. Far as I am concerned, if your fighting to hand over more and more regulation to Washington… You are the problem.

Anonymous Otter (profile) says:

Re: The idiot Trump Supporter

You do realize that if Washington is already regulating it, you’re in trouble.. Right??

Demonstrably false. I’ll keep my example simple, so you can look out your window and maybe understand it: Your local/municipal gov’t regulates where and how many billboards can be placed around your town. Without those regs, everything would be covered in billboards. You’d be in "trouble" without those regs.

The more regulated the internet becomes, the more power that goes to the lobbyists and special interest.

The less regulated the internet becomes, the more power goes directly to the corporations behind the lobbyists and special interests. At least with the gov’t you have a (small but non-zero, theoretical) chance of voting them out.

Those who have the money to lobby congress will do it in the most capitalistic way to get what they desire.

Those who have the money and are not restricted by regulations will do whatever they want to whomever they want whenever they want to get what they desire. At least if they have to lobby someone it slows them down a little.

Seriously, you keep talking about corporations and their special interests gaining power by lobbying the gov’t, and your "solution" is to make it so they don’t even have to bother lobbying? WTF?

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: The more regulated the internet becomes, the more power that goes to the lobbyists and special interest.

Has politics in your country become so bad that you interpret all political action as serving the interests of lobby groups? To the point that politicians could never act purely in the interests of voters for once?

Because, while lobbying happens in other countries, it does not seem to dominate the political process to the extent that it does in the USA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The more regulated the internet becomes, the more power that goes to the lobbyists and special interest.

“To the point that politicians could never act purely in the interests of voters for once?”

I laughed a bit at your question, then I was sad. It is possible, but so rare as to be unrecognizable when it’s found.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: The idiot Trump Supporter

"The more regulated the internet becomes, the more power that goes to the lobbyists and special interest."

Your statement is complete nonsense, and this very example proves it. Here we have pro-consumer regulations being killed specifically in response to lobbyists and special interests. Somehow regulations designed to protect consumers from egregious corporate behavior are bad in your eyes. I’d love to hear to explain that.

Not to mention that these regulations did not regulate the internet, they regulated companies. This very significant difference has been pointed out countless times but apparently some still can’t figure it out.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: The idiot Trump Supporter

“The more regulated the internet becomes, the more power that goes to the lobbyists and special interest”

The less regulated it is, the more power goes to the corporations who are doing the lobbying, without opposition or having to spend money to get their own way. They just get what they want with no recourse available to the public.

You people never think things through, do you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The idiot Trump Supporter

“You people never think things through, do you?”

Funny; I was thinking the exact same thing about you. Who in their RIGHT FUCKING MIND, with our governments laundry list of writing themselves exceptions, the NSA scooping up EVERTHING, TSA, Border Security, damn near human rights level privacy violations in most cases… and we want to hand the protection of our privacy over to them? Are we insane? I would rather no regulation than a half assed false since of security subject to the whims of whoever happens to be in charge. These are the same people who want to back door encryption!!!?? SERIOUSLY!!?? Trump is now going to be in charge of our privacy? HOW ARE WE EVEN FUCKING HAVING THIS CONVERSATION??!!!

Some things need regulations. EPA, FDA, etc.. they have their faults, but they do serve a good public service purpose. But this? No thank you.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The idiot Trump Supporter

“I would rather no regulation than a half assed false since of security subject to the whims of whoever happens to be in charge”

So, you want the corporations to screw you over directly, with nothing in between them and you, and nothing to stop them abusing their monopoly on your vital services?

Good luck with that. Remember, then, that you’re getting exactly what you asked for when you get that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The idiot Trump Supporter

“So, you want the corporations to screw you over directly, with nothing in between them and you, and nothing to stop them abusing their monopoly on your vital services?”

Who am I supposed to rely on? The Government? As being proved right now, they can change in a second. Then what? What happens when the people I’ve hired to protect me decide not to do it anymore? As is the case now.

How about I do it myself? No it’s not full proof, but I’m not subject to a radical change of policy. I would rather the Government not get involved, than do so and back out.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The idiot Trump Supporter

“What happens when the people I’ve hired to protect me decide not to do it anymore? As is the case now.”

Well, they didn’t “decide not to do it anymore”. The man who was voted in by the country (without a mandate or majority of the vote) decided to tell them to stop. Slight difference.

There’s an entire democratic process set up to elect the people who are meant to protect you and who staff these agencies. If you voted Trump or you neglected to vote at all, this is what you asked for whether you realised it at the time or not. If you participated but your preferred candidate lost, you have just under 4 years to get together with your fellow countrymen and push the issues you are interested in before you have the chance to choose again.

So, to reverse the question – what happens when the people hired to provide these services decide to screw you instead because they know you’ve got no choice and nobody to protect you?

“How about I do it myself?”

Do what yourself? Given the subject of the article, that means regulate ISPs yourself or setting up your own in an effectively monopolised marketplace. Good luck with either of those.

“I would rather the Government not get involved”

Then, again, when you’re locked into a corporation with no effective competition and no way to stop them screwing you, sit down and bask in the knowledge that it’s what you literally asked for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The idiot Trump Supporter

“Well, they didn’t “decide not to do it anymore”. The man who was voted in by the country (without a mandate or majority of the vote) decided to tell them to stop. Slight difference.”

Same result either way right?

“Do what yourself?”

Take control of my own privacy. I may not have a choice in ISP’s, but I do have plenty of choices regarding my privacy. Why should I rely on the Government when they are demonstrating RIGHT NOW I can’t rely on them?

“Then, again, when you’re locked into a corporation with no effective competition “

Now we are at the root of the problem. The government granted a monopoly, they are constantly accepting bribes in the form of lobbying, and in return, are maintaining that monopoly.

So the Government is creating the need for this regulation in the first place by limiting competition. It doesn’t make since to me. Why not let the free market compete for the market share? Why first create the problem, then use regulation to solve it?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The idiot Trump Supporter

“Same result either way right?”

With very different motivations, options to reverse and ways to fix, yes. You’re surely not thinking that a boss telling someone to stop doing something is the same as the job being disregarded by the employee?

“Take control of my own privacy. I may not have a choice in ISP’s, but I do have plenty of choices regarding my privacy.”

OK, but you’re still depending on the ISP for your connection, right? You’re also on the hook for the negative effects that occur when everyone else’s privacy is invaded, even if you personally are not affected directly.

“Why not let the free market compete for the market share?”

Because, whether you agree with the situation or not, that boat has passed. There is no such thing as a free market in that industry in many parts of the US. It’s not magically going to appear because you remove regulation. In fact, it will get worse. Unless someone steps in to prevent that – and you operating your own VPN isn’t going to do that.

“Why first create the problem, then use regulation to solve it?”

You’re assuming both things were deliberate. What you’re saying is “because we had unintended consequences when we first introduced certain aircraft safety measures, we should therefore remove all aviation safety regulations”. Good luck on your next flight.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The idiot Trump Supporter

“OK, but you’re still depending on the ISP for your connection, right? “

Agreed. This is indeed true.

“You’re also on the hook for the negative effects that occur when everyone else’s privacy is invaded, even if you personally are not affected directly.”

I would generally agree with this statement as well. Everyone would experience collateral damage to some degree. Although I would argue that everyone could also enjoy the positive effects.

“Because, whether you agree with the situation or not, that boat has passed. There is no such thing as a free market in that industry in many parts of the US. It’s not magically going to appear because you remove regulation.”

Not sure I agree that the “boat has passed”. I could make an argument that you could tie removing the regulation, with removing the monopoly. One could be a stepping stone to the other. Likely? Probably not. Possible? Certainly. One may remove the need for the other, 2 birds one stone? Pipe dream perhaps, but possible.

“You’re assuming both things were deliberate. What you’re saying is “because we had unintended consequences when we first introduced certain aircraft safety measures, we should therefore remove all aviation safety regulations”.”

I understand what you are saying, but it’s not exactly what I’m thinking. Look; If we didn’t have any tools available and we were at the complete mercy of the ISP, I would have a completely different view of the matter. But after some research, I’ve come to the opinion that basic, and I mean basic countermeasures by the user will render ISP snooping useless. That is really all these “protections” were going to do for us in a nut shell, protect us from ISP snooping.

I appreciate your rebuttal PaulT, thanks for not being a dick and taking the time to debate this as adults. I’ll give your side some more thought, perhaps I may change my mind. As it stands; I just don’t see having the Government form policy, implement regulation, and enforce rules on the ISP that could be rendered redundant by very basic user protections. I would rather see that effort put into programs educating the people on how to install and use these tools.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: The idiot Trump Supporter

I would rather no regulation than a half assed false since of security subject to the whims of whoever happens to be in charge.

We’ve been over this, anon. Your argument that "we shouldn’t have this rule because it can just be overturned in the future" applies to literally every law ever. It’s asinine. If you can’t come up with a better argument than criticizing the very concept of laws, then that says something about the quality of your position. Or at least your reasoning ability.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The idiot Trump Supporter

That is a reason, but not the only reason.

It’s the one you keep repeating.

Nice cherry pick. I went back and read some of your posts.

Did you just accuse me of cherry-picking and then, in the very next sentence, make a vague reference to my posts while pointing to a total of zero things I said in them? Dude, that’s not even a cherry-pick, it’s, like, a cherry look-at.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: The idiot Trump Supporter

The more regulated the internet becomes, the more power that goes to the lobbyists and special interest.

In addition to all of the other counters to this already raised: none of this has been about regulating the Internet.

All of this has been about regulating access to the Internet, or as it used to be called, Internet service – which is very distinct from services on the Internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: temporary laws

That is indeed the conondrum of campaigning against the other party as opposed to running on your own program. More people are against something than for something, but for different reasons. As soon as a politician starts in office, it is easy to find enough for dismantling, but it is going to be almost impossible to put something in its place. I vote the voters as the sinners there.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Isn’t it amazing that the champions of the free market working it out, do so very much to keep those markets only for their contributors?

I doubt many of them give 2 shits about this issue they didn’t bother to look at past the receipt for the contribution. Getting handed money & being able to convince the masses that this is just undoing the evils Obama force upon them keeps them going.

Of course now that they are starting to figure out that this isn’t the good thing that was promised, they are still doing the mental gymnastics to make it the other guys fault.

Lets be clear.
Your elected representatives sold you out wholesale.
Your ISP will be able to make a shit ton more money off selling this information.
It will not lower your bill, in fact they will probably charge you more to pay for tracking everything you do online.
Most of you will not have an option to move to a different carrier who promises not to do this. (Hows that free market choice working for you?)
This extra money won’t pay to improve the service.
You will hit your pointless data caps that much faster as they inject more advertising and homing beacons into your connection.
So you’ll get to provide them millions for your browsing history, get more targeted intrusive advertising, and go over your cap & have to pay more…

Perhaps its time to consider that perhaps it isn’t all Obama’s fault, and they’ve trained you to blindly support what they say when they blame him.

They were paid a pittance to allow corporations to make millions, if they had any respect for you they would have demanded larger ‘contributions’ before selling you out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just wanted to mention that the Government Granted Monopoly trope is largely a thing of the past.

Yes, decades ago some providers made deals with local governments that basically said in exchange for exclusive rights they’ll build out areas X, Y and Z but that stuff is ancient history now (unless, of course, the local governments are suing the providers for not actually delivering on their contractual obligations).

These days providers don’t compete because it’s more profitable not to compete, and there are no regulations that would provoke competition. When one gets big enough and wants to expand, they just merge with another. Again, much more profitable and much less risky than having to compete. There is nothing stoping Comcast and Spectrum (Charter/Timewarner Cable) from rolling into one anther’s territory other than the fact that it would bad for their profit margins.

It’s 2017 and your average American has more options for dial-up Internet than broadband. Why? Because the government regulations that disallow telephone companies from walling off their territory don’t apply to cable companies or broadband ISPs. If broadband ISPs were regulated like landline telephone providers then it would open the door up for more local and regional providers because they would be allowed to lease space on the existing infrastructure at a fair market value.

This is also a big reason why Verizon, AT&T, etc., are letting their copper phone networks die and replacing them with either cell or fiber connectivity. There is much less regulation when creating a data/VOIP network than a telephone network.

Are their bad, crony capitalism regs on the books? Sure, and those need to go, but not all regs are bad regs. And in many cases regs are need to maintain and foster a healthy, competitive market because the Free Market will always gravitate towards a monopoly doing everything it can to prevent competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“So why do other high speed ISPs in my area keep sending me offers on a bi-weekly basis?”

Don’t know where you are, so can’t speak to the ads you are getting, but you are in the minority if you are live in America and have access to multiple, high speed ISPs.

This is what Comcast officially said in 2014 though, “A lot of this comes from the history of cable and the extensive capital investment in cable, which is that the cable part of this industry has never competed against each other. We were granted franchises—although they were initially exclusive, they’re not exclusive anymore. But given the expense to build in any particular community, I think no cable company, or only rarely would a cable company choose to compete against another cable company.
.
.
.
Despite claims by certain commenters, Comcast and TWC have never had plans to expand into each other’s territory and overbuild each other. Indeed, no incumbent cable operator ever has.”

https://arstechnica.com/business/2014/09/comcast-says-its-too-expensive-to-compete-against-other-cable-companies/

And here is an example of them trying to eat their cake and have it too during a Congressional hearing about a proposed merger, “Comcast can’t have it both ways. It can’t say that the existence of competition among distributors including Time Warner Cable was a reason to approve the NBC deal in 2010 and then turn around a few years later and say that the absence of competition with Time Warner Cable is a reason to approve this deal.”

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/4/11/1291124/-Comcast-admits-what-everyone-in-a-TWC-Comcast-market-already-knows-there-is-no-competition

Basically once everyone has staked out their turf they are more than happy to sit back and get fat on profits since there is little to no competition. In the same vein it’s why we have regulations for monopolies, price fixing, mergers, etc., because it’s often more profitable to collude than compete.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Just wanted to mention that the Government Granted Monopoly trope is largely a thing of the past.

Sorry, but you’re either an industry troll or just don’t know what you’re talking about. Try going out and installing your own infrastructure in the public utility right-of-ways without government permission and see how far you get. Go ahead, try it. Be sure to let us all know beforehand so that we can be entertained watching you get arrested.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Seeing the world entirely as a game of partisan patty cake — waged idiotically but enthusiastically in team-colored onesies — remains an ongoing disservice to us all.”

Isn’t that how they view the world already? You’re either a terrorist or a terrorist sympathiser.

Good job America. Give yourself a pat on the back.

z! (profile) says:

AFAICT, all of the discussions have falsely compared the last-mile service network providers (comcast, at&t, TWC, etc) with content providers (google, faceboek, etc). Problem is that they’re completely different animals. If google wants to analyze my search history (or email), that’s my price of using a free service. Since I -pay- for connectivity, the only value they can add is passing the bits off faster, and I don’t see that happening. (Noted that there are last-mile providers, like sonic.net, whom explicitly don’t look at your traffic.)

The discussions should really revolve around the difference between carrying the traffic and providing any end-point service for that traffic. AT&T wants to provide email? Sure, make it a separate service.

All I want in a last-mile provider is to move the bits from my premises to an interchange site then hand them off to whomever. That’s it. I don’t need their caching, email, or even DNS. Unfortunately, very few providers will sell you that.

trollificus (profile) says:

Sorry if this has been dealt with above, but…

“Of course the sudden realization that government oversight of giant, anti-competitive corporations is sometimes necessary and even good for consumers has arrived a little late for most of us.”

Umm…the problems which you so eagerly and smugly require government regulation, specifically the lack of competition in the broadband space, ARE CREATED BY OTHER GOVERNMENT ACTIONS. There is no “capitalist” or “market forces” or “invisible hand” to debunk or ridicule.

Perhaps if you were saying (accurately), “We need SOME government regulations to protect us from the government selling out to corporate lobbying efforts.” it would be easier to see how bullshit your “proof” of the need for more government regulation actually is. Or maybe not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Umm…the problems which you so eagerly and smugly require government regulation, specifically the lack of competition in the broadband space, ARE CREATED BY OTHER GOVERNMENT ACTIONS. There is no “capitalist” or “market forces” or “invisible hand” to debunk or ridicule. “

I think I’m following, let me summarize.

So we need regulation to regulate the Corporate Monopolies that the government regulation created? Amirite?

Anonymous Coward says:

Smug it up all you like, many of us that voted for Trump knew exactly what we were getting into doing so. We voted for him DESPITE that, because he was STILL the lesser evil than Mrs. “Gee, I sure do love war, let’s war war war, and try to start shit with Russia” Clinton.

Further, given the democratic parties love of copyright maximalism, either way we were fucked. The only choice was which hole.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As long as we have only single-choice, first-past-the-post voting, we do have only two meaningful political parties, because of the vote-concentrating influence of the spoiler effect.

If we want to have more viable political parties (which I do!), we need to campaign to switch over to a ranked-preferences voting system, preferably one which satisfies the Condorcet criteria.

It is my understanding that Maine adopted just such a system, by ballot measure in this last election. It will be worth keeping a close eye on what happens in Maine’s elections, in the next few cycles.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I keep seeing this mentioned, and I don’t know where people get it from.

Maybe I was missing things during the campaign, but the first I saw of an anti-Russia attitude from the Clinton camp came in the form of pointing out how strongly pro-Russia Trump seemed to be, and then in the form of expressing opposition to Russia’s actions in Syria – which, as reported in the news, were such that it would seem reasonable to be opposed to them regardless.

And even then, I didn’t see a push for war.

Where do people get this idea that the Clinton camp was pro-war, much less in support of “try[ing] to start shit with Russia”?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’d say "Clinton is pro-war" is a reasonable assumption to make given her policy history.

I don’t think that’s the same thing as agitating for war with Russia, though. (Hard to say for certain what she would have done in Syria had she become President. She could have escalated by siding more overtly with the rebels, which would have increased tensions with Russia.)

All that said, it’s pretty amazing seeing so many Republicans turn on a dime and decide that Putin’s not so bad after all. "We have always been allied with Eurasia" indeed.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Has anybody seen the Rolling Stone’s (credible) Matt Taibbi’s take on the anti-Russian hysteria? Great stuff!

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-putin-derangement-syndrome-arrives-w474771

He absolutely nails it. Calm down, Dems. We need a credible alternative to the current administration, not an alternative set of buffoons.

Chuck says:

Regulation is good

Regulation is good. Monopolies are the problem. These two things are not conflicting statements, and are in fact complimentary principals if you give them equal weight.

For example: if we assume that regulation is good and monopolies are bad when it comes to drug patents, what does that lead to? Cheaper generic medications that are nevertheless regulated for safety.

Another example: Cars. As long as cars meet a certain minimum safety standard (regulation), there is nothing wrong with having 50 mid-size sedans to choose between.

Do regulations generally raise prices? Yes. But you have to ask yourself WHY they raise prices! The answer is that they typically prevent the “so cheap they’re unsafe and/or barely even functional” products off the market. If this means that there’s 2 or 3 mid-size sedans that explode 1% of the time you crank them up, and those cars are kept off the road, but in doing so, we increase the minimum price of such a car by $200, I think we’d all be damn happy we aren’t rolling the dice with out lives every time we take a ride just to save $200.

Regulations and Competition are NOT opposing forces. The former does have an impact on prices, but with enough of the later, that impact is mitigated to a negligible amount. The combination of regulation and competition working in tandem are what makes products and services BOTH safe AND affordable. Without either one, the market fails.

It’s good to see Trumpites finally understanding this, though I fear they see this as an exception, rather than the rule.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Regulation is good

LOL. Your joking right? Not only has our government demonstrably never cared about the privacy of it’s citizens, it doesn’t care about the privacy of any one else in the world. We have secret courts, data mining centers in the middle of ISP offices, border laptop farming, a host of spy ware that would make even the best scammers envious. Our Gov. is constantly attacking encryption, making deals with ISP’s, trying to get anti virus companies to put exceptions in their software for their spyware.. I could go on and on..

The moment you put even the slightest regulation on them limiting what they can do, they will have a secret court stay the order, and do so in such a way as you won’t even know that’s what they did… and if for any reason that’s not enough, they’ll just flat out ignore it.

Then the next Administration can come along and change all the rules again. No thank you.

Chuck says:

Re: Re: Regulation is good

A fair and valid point. I was referring to government’s regulation of private industry, but you’re quite right – asking the government to regulate itself fairly is a bit like asking a small child left in a candy store over night to regulate himself. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that even a very self-disciplined child can only be surrounded by so much candy (or abuse-able power) for so long without eating it (or using it.)

The reason government regulation of private industry usually works is because the regulator and the regulated are actually separate people, not just the same person wearing different hats.

And I’d fully admit it doesn’t ALWAYS work. Many regulations on private industry are a case of “good idea, bad implementation” because either a lobbyist influences how they’re written to exempt his own client, or they’re just written by people – congressmen and senators – who plainly do not understand the thing they’re regulating. Still, I’d say at least 8/10 of them are good for the people, and this whole notion that we have to “repeal 2 for every new 1 we add” is braindead stupid. What happens when, in order to pass a new regulation that safeguards drinking water, we have to choose between repealing all speed limits or repealing school desegregation? That’s the logical endpoint, folks. Eventually, the only regulations you have left are ones 100% of the public supports. What the hell do you repeal then?!

But yes, you are correct. Frankly, this is why we need something akin to a “Citizens’ Review Board” in nearly every department of the government, ESPECIALLY the “classified” parts. Unpaid (and illegal-to-lobby) volunteers who meet monthly to provide some actual oversight on all manner of government activities, from the NSA to the EPA.

I don’t have much in the way of money, but I’d happily volunteer. If they’ll just reimburse travel and a cheap hotel, you can sign me up. But alas, the NSA and their ilk prefer to operate with only the oversight of a dozen senators, all of whom were already bought and paid for before they even registered for their primaries!

Dan says:

I find it funny that in bashing Trump’s insane nuthuggers, you had to have a dig at their use of “snowflakes” and “cuck”. Were you triggered by their politically incorrect speech? I’m sure you can find a safe space with your friendly neighborhood Islamist.

Alt-Righties and Regressive-lefties, you both belong to each other.

Really, how did this snowflake get to write for Techdirt? Has Masnick got too many problems from his lawsuit that he’s hiring tards now?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m sure the mocking of those words is that it exposes the people using them as immature and makes them look really stupid.

I tend to avoid places where people routinely use such language. Not because I’m offended in any way, but because it’s a good indicator that the people there have nothing of value to say.

The article above is a case in point. The commenters there are shocked by reality, presumably because they’ve spent so much time making up “hilarious” names for people who disagree with them that they’re never realised they were actually wrong. Here’s hoping they grow up and start listening to other viewpoints, although I somehow doubt it.

Anonymous Coward says:

TRUMP
The Billionaire President
Who Presidents for only the other 539 Billionaires in the USA .
What did the rest of the 324,118,247 in America think was going to happen ?
He has not a fucking clue how you live , love or work .
He used you all for the benefit of himself and his 539 fellow Billionaires to make more billions .
TRUMP THE GREATEST RAPIST OF AMERICA
cause yes America you are being fucked over royally

Anonymous Coward says:

Gosh, it's almost as if some regulations are actually necessary

The original sin was the Communications Act of 1934, which had the effect of *requiring* narrow-band modulation.

Once the FCC was able to divvy up “spectrum” as if it were real property, the rentiers were off to the races.

A simple scan of the radio spectrum proves that the spectrum *is mostly empty*, thus proving that the whole point of these regulations was to *guarantee scarcity* so that these narrow-band licenses would be valuable and help subsidize the socialist state.

Spread-spectrum communications were kept secret and then ruled mostly illegal — not so much due to the T-word — but because it would have rendered a number of licenses worthless, and those who had already paid were furious.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...