Rep. Blackburn Introduces Bill To Thwart Vile FCC Attempt To Do....Little To Nothing Of Substance On Net Neutrality

from the protectin'-freedom dept

As I recently noted, all the net neutrality opponents freaking out about the FCC's new neutrality promises really shouldn't be.

The announcement effectively boiled down to the agency saying "we might think about some stuff after a very long conversation that will potentially go nowhere." Yes, there are a few promises in there about pushing for greater competition and transparency, but the FCC has spent a decade making similar promises they've failed to follow through on. Still, that didn't stop Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee from declaring that the FCC's ambiguous non-announcement was the very worst sort of attack on Internet freedom -- a "socialistic" proposal that will have Americans re-living the "horrors" recently experienced during visits to Healthcare.gov.

Blackburn appears to have followed up her failure to understand how little the FCC will actually be doing (right alongside much of the press, apparently) with a bill aimed at thwarting the FCC's entirely non-existent assault on Internet freedom. H.R. 4070, or the "Internet Freedom Act," would protect us all from the FCC goin' crazy and regulatin' the hell outta them there Internets. From a statement on her new bill:
"Net Neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine of the Internet. Once the FCC has a foothold into managing how internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all. It’s time for Congress to slam the FCC’s regulatory back-door shut, lock it, and return the keys to the free market. My legislation will put the brakes on net neutrality and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations."
Blackburn is simply throwing some chum in the partisan water to excite her base. Pretending the horribly ill-conceived Fairness Doctrine is making its menacing return (it died in 1987) is one that gets trotted out every few months or so for just that purpose. The amusing part is that Blackburn doesn't appear to have noticed that her campaign contributors AT&T and Comcast actually really like the FCC's new proposal. Why? Because they know the very most it's going to result in is a list of voluntary, non-binding measures "prohibiting" ISPs from doing things they never wanted to (like stone-cold outright blocking of entirely legal websites or services for no sane reason) while not prohibiting them from "creative" pricing (usage caps).

The FCC has spent much of the last 20 years deregulating the broadband cable, and phone industries and doing everything in their power to support things like usage caps and limited competition through total inaction. The broadband industry in turn has spent much of that time working endlessly to weaken the FCC's authority to regulate, just in case the agency wakes up one day and decides to do its job. This entirely-hallucinated idea that the agency is suddenly going to go mad, unshackle its trademark apathy on consumer issues, abuse non-existent authority, and start creating tough new regulations is all part of one elaborate stage play. The FCC's moves are theater, the political response is theater, and the quality of all the players is abysmal.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 2:57pm


    "Net Neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine of the Internet. Once the FCC has a foothold into managing how internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all. It’s time for Congress to slam the FCC’s regulatory back-door shut, lock it, and return the keys to the free market. My legislation will put the brakes on net neutrality and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations."


    What a clod. She really doesn't get what Net Neutrality is does she? Either that or she is blatantly being misleading. I suspect the latter. She can't actually believe that Net Neutrality, a concept that means that ALL traffic is treated equally on a network, could be used to do the exact opposite. That's like trying to argue that the 13th amendment to the Constitution would enslave people. She really needs to put the crack pipe down.

     

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  2.  
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    Karl Bode (profile), Feb 21st, 2014 @ 3:02pm

    Re:

    "She can't actually believe that Net Neutrality, a concept that means that ALL traffic is treated equally on a network, could be used to do the exact opposite."

    Welcome to 'Murica.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 3:40pm

    Re:

    Say one thing while doing the exact opposite, that's politics at work. Pretty much par for the course here.
    I pretty much always auto-translate bills to mean the exact opposite of their titles. If some politician came down with a sudden case of honesty and proposed a bill that did what it was titled, I think it would break my think muscle.

     

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  4.  
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    Robb Topolski (profile), Feb 21st, 2014 @ 4:19pm

    Net Neutrality doesn't mean all traffic is treated equally...

    ... it means that it isn't treated at all.

    The Fairness Doctrine did mean equal time for opposing views.

    Net Neutrality means that the network doesn't care about the gist of the content that it carries. It just blindly forwards traffic.

     

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  5.  
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    Jay (profile), Feb 21st, 2014 @ 5:52pm

    Re:

    This is the same woman that had an argument against SOPA which she supported...

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111027/15411816543/rep-blackburn-co-sponsor-e-parasit e-explains-why-regulating-internet-is-terrible.shtml

    Make no mistake, she's PAID to say what she says and tell people that a few liberal (this is what she means by socialist) issues of internet fairness need to be all about private markets for her donors.

    This is why money in politics and no public say on the matter are par for the course. Let the big guys duke it out and the fall out hits the regular plebs they care nothing about.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    spoken, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 6:48pm

    net neutrality

    The problem is...either she has no understanding of what she it talking about or she is getting quite a paycheck..or both.
    Since both the network operators and some of those in government is trying to team up against us we are screwed.
    Between this and data caps the internet is done, which is what they want. Everyday I see reasons not to live in the US
    anymore....

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 7:59pm

    Re: net neutrality

    The United $tates of Ameri¢a.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 8:34pm

    B-movie time!

    The FCC's moves are theater, the political response is theater, and the quality of all the players is abysmal.


    In other words, it's just like a Syfy Saturday Special, only minus special effects, even abysmally bad ones.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2014 @ 6:15am

    Re: Net Neutrality doesn't mean all traffic is treated equally...

    Blindly forwarding traffic means that the contents of all traffic are equally forwarded at the same rate. That is what I meant by treated equally.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2014 @ 6:17am

    Re: net neutrality

    So she's being paid to act a fool whether it's because she is a fool or is just pretending to be one, doesn't matter.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2014 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re:

    It's still one of the most clueless arguments I have ever heard on the issue. Hell, Ted Stevens had a better grasp of the concept than she does.

     

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  12.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Feb 22nd, 2014 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Net Neutrality doesn't mean all traffic is treated equally...

    Net Neutrality does not disallow traffic shaping. It just disallows traffic shaping based on source or destination. It means that if Netflix gets degraded then so does the Comcast equivalent.

     

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  13.  
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    missyg (profile), Feb 24th, 2014 @ 9:32am

    The Internet Must Go

    Net neutrality is an issue that needs to be fought for, and the first step is to keep up with the issue as much as possible. If anyone needs a refresher on the basic issues, here's a great short mockumentary: http://www.theinternetmustgo.com/

     

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


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