Rep. Eshoo Admits Her Net Neutrality Bill Nobody Thought Would Pass -- Won't Pass
from the spinnin'-wheel dept
Speaking with C-Span, Eshoo admitted the bill has no chance of passing. So why bother? According to Eshoo it was the principle of the thing:
"She suggested it was to make a point. "I think that setting a bill down in the Congress of the United States in the form that it is in really reflects millions and millions and millions of people in our country, and most frankly around the world, that want the Internet to remain accessible and open and free to them." She called that an important principle.Except Eshoo's making the wrong statement on the wrong principles. The rules' dubious legal underpinnings aside, most of the people who recently lamented the death of network neutrality rules forgot, or never knew, that the rules didn't do much of anything useful to begin with. They were based on framework language from the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Google (from Eshoo's district), didn't meaningfully cover wireless networks, and contained a lot of loophole language that allowed for any number of discriminatory network behaviors -- just as long as the network operator proclaimed it was being done for the health and security of the network. The rules did ban outright blocking of content, but that's something no ISP is dumb enough to do anyway for fear of incurring real consumer protections.
It was effectively the industry's way of enshrining rules that had no real teeth but would prevent the introduction of tougher rules. That was, until Verizon decided to have their cake and eat it too -- suing the FCC in an attempted killing blow to erode FCC regulatory authority over broadband. That didn't work, and the resulting loss killed neutrality rules but in some ways left the FCC's ability to regulate broadband ISPs intact. All eyes are now on precisely what track new FCC boss (and former cable lobbyist) Tom Wheeler wants to take this train of dysfunction.
Eshoo might think she's helping by trying to resuscitate the carcass of busted, legally unsupportable and intentionally wimpy neutrality rules "on principle," but the only PR statement that was made was that nobody on either side of the net neutrality debate in Congress actually seems to be entirely aware of what they're fighting over.