Blackburn Doubles Down On A Decade Of Lies As She Pushes Fake Net Neutrality Law

from the disingenuous-dreck dept

So we’ve repeatedly noted how the FCC’s assault on popular net neutrality protections sits on pretty shaky legal ground. The agency not only ignored the public in trashing the rules, it ignored the nation’s startups, the people who built the internet, and any and all objective data. They also ignored the rampant comment fraud that occurred during the public comment period of the proceeding, a ham-fisted attempt by “somebody” to downplay the massive public opposition to the plan. For good measure the agency also blocked a law enforcement investigation into said fraud and even made up a DDOS attack.

ISP lawyers and lobbyists know their victory could be short lived if looming lawsuits are able to convince a court that the FCC rushed to pass an “arbitrary and capricious order” while disregarding the public and violating FCC procedure. That’s why they’ve begun pushing hard for new net neutrality legislation they’re claiming will put the debate to bed, but has one real purpose: to pass flimsy, loophole-filled rules now to prevent the FCC (or a future, less cash-compromised Congress) from passing tougher, better rules down the road.

Just days after Comcast began pushing harder for such legislation, the telecom industry’s most loyal ally in the House, Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn, began pushing a law that perfectly mirrors everything Comcast asked for. Namely, it makes everything but the most ham-fisted abuses (like outright blocking of websites) legal, effectively codifying federal apathy on net neutrality into law. The law doesn’t ban paid prioritization, zero rating, interconnection shenanigans, or any of the areas the modern net neutrality debate currently resides.

To push her fake Comcast and AT&T-written law, Blackburn keeps pushing violently misleading editorials like this one (warning: autoplay video), where she doubles down on a decade of net neutrality falsehoods pushed by the telecom sector. That includes all of your favorite AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast talking points on the subject, ranging from the false canard that the FCC’s fairly modest rules destroyed sector investment, to the idea that the real villain here are Silicon Valley tech giants:

“The heavy-handed regulations imposed in 2015 have hurt innovation and decreased broadband investment, and only served to bolster the Big Tech special interests that pose a threat to online free speech.”

Again: SEC filings, ISP earnings reports, and countless statements by nearly a dozen ISP CEOs contradicts the claim that the rules hurt broadband investment, but that doesn’t stop Blackburn:

“With strong, permanent consumer protections and fewer burdensome federal regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) will again be able to innovate and invest. This will stand in stark contrast to the past two years, when network investment decreased by billions of dollars. We absolutely must reverse that trend, and we will do it with an approach that fits the new, and dynamic digital economy.”

But again, the broadband industry is lobbying for changes that go well beyond just killing net neutrality. They’re (quite successfully) convincing the government to simultaneously gut FTC, FCC and state authority over broadband providers almost entirely, creating a massive accountability vacuum for companies that were already some of the least ethical, and least competitive in America. But they’re worried that none of this can happen if the courts overturn the FCC’s recent vote to repeal the rules, which is where loyal foot soldiers like Blackburn come in.

Like Ajit Pai recently did, Blackburn goes out of her way to malign internet companies like Twitter, throwing a little red meat to a partisan base still upset by the platform’s completely-unrelated efforts to rein in the nation’s neo-nazi flare up. It’s not the massive telecom duopolies with a decade of anti-competitive behavior to their names you should worry about, notes Blackburn, it’s Twitter:

“These companies, with market caps that are two to four times that of service providers like Verizon or AT&T, go unregulated when it comes to neutrality ? yet they spend millions advocating for heavy-handed regulations to be imposed on the ISPs that actually connect millions of Americans to the internet. This is not simply disingenuous, but it also has the potential to harm consumers.”

While Silicon Valley giants have problems of their own (though it’s worth clarifying that Google doesn’t truly support net neutrality and hasn’t for the better part of this decade), Blackburn once again ignores the fact that net neutrality is just a symptom of a lack of competition in broadband.

Users angry with Google (with some exceptions, like advertising) can simply switch to another search engine or e-mail platform. Users don’t have to use Twitter. But most users only have access to one or two broadband ISPs, which is where this entire problem originates. Net neutrality violations are just a symptom of a lack of competition in broadband, a problem Blackburn has repeatedly made worse by supporting ISP-written state laws hamstringing competition. Blaming a problem she actively, repeatedly makes worse by pandering to AT&T and Comcast, then blaming Twitter for it is simply obnoxious.

Blackburn, whose blind fealty to giant ISPs helped land her a role as chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, proceeds to insist that anybody that tries to block her fake net neutrality law is the real enemy:

“You?ll know who the real bad actors are when they try to block or throttle this important legislative effort in 2018.”

In reality, the “bad actors” are the ones supporting a ham-fisted repeal of incredibly popular rules that completely ignored the public interest. Blackburn won’t be the last lawmaker to push such flimsy legislation. Expect a flurry of similar legislation proposals with tractor-trailer sized loopholes as ISP executives grow increasingly nervous that the looming FCC court battle may not go their way.

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Comments on “Blackburn Doubles Down On A Decade Of Lies As She Pushes Fake Net Neutrality Law”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

TD on Social Media Giants:

They’re private companies, they CAN ban, demonetize, and restrict anyone they like. They DON’T NEED to be regulated by the government.

TD on ISP Giants.

They’re private companies, they CAN’T throttle and blacklist anyone they like. They NEED to be regulated by the government.

This kind of hypocrisy is the reason why TD is quickly becoming irrelevant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“TD on Social Media Giants:

They’re private companies, they CAN ban, demonetize, and restrict anyone they like. They DON’T NEED to be regulated by the government.”

I’d be interested to see an example of an article where TechDirt says what you claim they say. Because having actually read their discussions on various social media outlets, I can tell you that this is a gross misrepresentation and oversimplification of TechDirt’s reporting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Techdirt has apparently been irrelevant since Limewire, since SOPA, since Megaupload, since Prenda… and yet you chucklefuck trolls keep coming back for more. Even the ones who admit to hating the site with every fiber of your being.

If Techdirt was as irrelevant as you so fervently believe why the hell do you bother?

HegemonicDistortion says:

Marsha has overplayed her hand this time, though. She’s running for Corker’s Senate seat against a popular Democrat who was two-term governor and mayor of Nashville.

The net neutrality and ISP privacy regs negations make her look worse (that she’s a near-Palinesque moron already makes her look bad). People in TN are particularly angry about their internet and cable bill (and all manner of Blackburn style Internet f*ckery), seeing Chattanooga’s amazing municipal broadband deployment; Nashvillians are doubly so, given the way AT&T and Comcast have stymied Google Fiber.

There’s always a chance for a double-digit IQ conservative candidate in this state, but she will be in for a hell of a fight and may well lose. No doubt Comcast has a chair all warmed up for her.

Slaughter The Left says:

Considering the radio silence here from you libtard morons on the Twitter/Facebook/Google etc censoring of conservatives, I see no reason at all why every point you cited above is not complete and total bullshit. Hypocrisy much?

So I would express my full support for Rep. Blackburn, on the grounds that anything opposed by double-standard promoting leftists is most likely in fact a good thing.

Of course, censoring anyone on the political right is no doubt fine by everyone here, which is yet another reason for why my hatred of everyone on the left lke you is infinity, cubed. As you sow, so shall ye reap. RIP Silicon Valley.

OA (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Your username is offensive and "flag for abuse" worthy.

…libtard morons…

Do you care to have your comment taken seriously, or is this just pure malice?

…Twitter/Facebook/Google etc censoring of conservatives…

I’m not familiar, but are you saying that these platforms used "conservative" users (not even comments, but users) as the sole criteria for removing comments? If not, what criteria was used?


There are way too many people, it seems, who are actively AT WAR with something or other. Every objection results in ‘war responses’ like a sponge soaked in violent thinking in all its forms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So then, by your logic, if leftists started opposing abortion, gun control, and gay marriage, you would support them because they must be good if those “double-standard promoting leftists” oppose them.

As someone who has typically voted Republican (save for this last election), you don’t get it. Simply supporting something because someone else opposes it is moronic. Learn about the issue and form your own opinions based on facts, not whether someone else does or doesn’t support it.

The rest of your post is obviously totally clueless about everything TD writes about.

Finally, I don’t hate you, I doubt even the people replying to your comment hate you, regardless of how strongly they disagree with you. Hate breeds more hate, not understanding and cooperation. I suggest you lose the hate, it helps nothing. If you really think people like those here at TD are wrong, present your facts and logic to support why politely. Insulting people and spreading hate is 100% guaranteed to ensure no one listens to a word you say.

Ironically enough, a few years ago that is what the right accused the left of, spewing nothing but hate and supporting something just because the right opposes it. Shoe on the other foot?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Exactly! Because you guys tend to be stupid as all fuck.”

Not all of them. But, it is telling when people are censoring racists, misogynists, anti-semites, actual Nazis, and people like this identify more with them than the people doing the censoring. Not to say that censorship is actually correct, but if the argument is “I stand with the Nazis” rather than “censorship is wrong no matter where you are on the political spectrum”, one has made their statement…

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’ve got to love how the sweet little darlings on the alt-right are calling actual Nazis “conservatives.” Don’t let them get away with it.

The worst part of it is that they call everyone who doesn’t toe their party line “leftists.”

The only way to win the partisan politics game is to call out crap like this when you see it.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"So I would express my full support for Rep. Blackburn, on the grounds that anything opposed by double-standard promoting leftists is most likely in fact a good thing."

In other words you’re just too damn stupid to consider the facts for yourself and come up with an opinion on your own, so you’ll blindly follow a bought-and-paid-for politician who is actively working against your best interests. Of do you actually want your internet service to be even slower and more expensive? Is that some weird new conservative life goal?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re:

In other words, you can’t actually produce any argument against what the article said, so you’re going to rant that Techdirt isn’t covering whatever James O’Keefe’s latest selectively-edited video told you to be angry about this morning.

I’m having trouble keeping track; is this the one where he wears a pimp suit, or the one where the lady gets found out thirty seconds in because she posted about her undercover sting operation on social media?

ECA (profile) says:

Infrastructure has been laid..

A large old candy store has gotten bought out..
It has allot of older equipment and is a very sturdy building.
Everything works to Start making candy.

The TV/CABLE/SAT/PHONE/CELL system is the same way.
ITS ALL pre-built.
Lots of Old telephone poles, Underground installations, remote Towers..
WHY fix it, while its making money?
Why upgrade it? Why make it better?
They dont have to do anything except TAKE the money.

Anonymous Coward says:

would you guys like some cheese with all that whine?

I told you this was coming, but didn’t believe me. And even sitting here with an “I told you so” you are still not going to listen, making you deserving of this trouble.

The tools you build today to protect yourselves through regulation becomes the weapons your political opponents will bludgeon you with tomorrow!

No wonder you folks are so full of piss and vinegar, I would be pissed off too if I was attacked with a weapon I helped create.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m still yet to have your explanation as to why this is such a uniquely American problem, and how the effective regulation you claim is impossible is a reality in many other nations. Somehow, the fact that people on a web forum are pointing reality out to you isn’t the main cause, but you’ll mock the people trying to prevent the descent you cheer on.

But, you’re the dickhead who thinks I somehow deserve Pai’s nomination despite being thousands of miles away in a country with opposing rules and regulations that work, so you’re not that sharp.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You mean those tools such as a ‘government that can pass laws’? Because what’s going on with the FCC NN rules couldn’t possibly happen if Congress passed a law. Oh wait, it IS!

What do you think the law Blackburn is trying to push through is? And what do you think will happen come the next election when Democrats once again have a majority in Congress? They’ll repeal it! Just like what Trump is doing with the ACA.

It doesn’t matter if the rules were passed by the FCC or Congress. Republican politicians are sold out to big ISP’s and will oppose them no matter where they get passed.

Given that, I’d rather have it done by the FCC where it’s at least possible we’ll get tech savvy people in charge to make sensible regulations, and there are protections in place to prevent them from arbitrarily changing the rules willy nilly every time the administration changes. If Congress passes a law and votes to repeal it to years later, there is nothing to stop them.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“and decreased broadband investment”

Really? Didn’t you shovel through a law that kept underserved areas from making their own? Didn’t we give them a bunch of money to hook up these underserved areas that are still underserved?

Maybe it wasn’t the mean ole FCC laws that kept them from investing, but the simple fact they don’t have to compete & you ensured that there would still be no competition, screwing residents of your state who wanted better.

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