Politics

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
ajit pai, net neutrality, transparency

Companies:
fcc, netflix, verizon



FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Just Loves Net Neutrality Rulemaking Transparency, Except When It's His Turn To Be Transparent

from the walk-the-talk dept

You might recall that to try and thwart the agency's new net neutrality rules, former Verizon lawyer turned FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai launched a last-minute, facts-optional war on net neutrality and neutrality supporters like Netflix. Most of his arguments were nonsensically awful, like claiming that having real neutrality rules would somehow inspire North Korea and Iran to censor the internet, or that Netflix's fairly ordinary use of a CDN suggested it was somehow a hypocrite on the idea of net neutrality and was trying to destroy the internet.

But Pai's biggest complaint about the net neutrality rules was that the FCC wasn't being transparent enough, despite countless years of conversation and fully documented public input. Pai repeatedly and often proclaimed that the entire process wasn't transparent, even going so far as to hint that the White House's public Title II support was somehow part of a secret cabal with the FCC, even though as we noted at the time no rules were broken by the White House's entirely ordinary public statement of support for Title II.

If you know telecom company lawyers, you probably were keyed in early on that Pai and his staff's breathless love of transparency was a bit of a political show pony designed to rile up the folks that believe net neutrality is some vile, secret plot by government to ruin the internet. You also likely realized early on that when the shoe was on the other foot, this love of transparency would probably magically disappear.

And that didn't apparently take long. The House has been conducting an endless stream of political show pony hearings and "investigations" into the FCC's behavior on the net neutrality front under the noble pretense of reform, when the real goal is to punish the agency for daring to stand up to ISP campaign contributors. As the House digs through documents they hope will prove that net neutrality is an unholy, big government cabal (and not, as most realize, a genuine and remarkable grass roots movement) Pai apparently refused to provide documents to the FCC's own lawyer:
"Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is refusing to make his office’s documents available to the FCC’s Office of General Counsel as part of a House investigation into the agency’s net neutrality decision. Pai has instead promised to provide documents directly to the House Oversight Committee — though a panel spokeswoman said no documents have yet been provided."
Get it? Transparency is really, really important unless it doesn't coincide with partisan patty cake efforts to shame the FCC for finally doing its job and standing up for consumers. Of course in a few years when Pai's back at a telecom company or comfortably ensconced at one of their think tanks, this will all be forgotten, but if the rules get overturned in court by Pai's friends at Verizon, consumers and small businesses will be the ones left holding the detritus from Pai's noble, totally transparent time at the Commission.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2015 @ 12:42pm

    Sarcasm and irony on the internet

    Is best left out.

    When it comes to sir Pai, it could be that he is just incredibly sloppy at doing his work, with all the mentioned delays. Not that it would make him any better off...

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

    • identicon
      sir pal, 11 Jun 2015 @ 4:26am

      Re: Sarcasm and irony on the internet

      Sir Pal isn't sloppy at is work nor is he a coward ISP net neutrality will and is going to happen and this will happen weather your in surgery or not what happened today was a mistake and wont happen again this time people talk all that Bullshit and spread all them lies but just wait and see sir pal is just warming up again so just go lay on a table in California because it seems like a really good idea ISP lobbyist my ASS!!!!!!!!

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

  • icon
    John Snape (profile), 10 Jun 2015 @ 3:06pm

    What about...

    What about things that MUST be given priority? Does "Net Neutrality" allow, for instance, my local hospital to pay their ISP to allow their long-distance surgery video stream to override any other packets on their network?

    I have no trouble with them making ISPs treat Netflix, et al., the same as any other traffic, but when I go into surgery and need to have an uninterrupted stream sent to the top brain doctor in NYC, while I lay on the operating table in California, it seems like a really bad idea.

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

    • identicon
      Yup, 10 Jun 2015 @ 3:17pm

      Re: What about...

      Then build your own network.... the Internet is a public place where all voices are equal, if you want to claim, due to your poor logistical set up that you are somehow entitled to more bandwidth then you're on the wrong network. Buy a spectrum and host your own digital signal. Or run your own lines, you're entitled to nothing.

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 10 Jun 2015 @ 4:48pm

      Re: What about...

      "I have no trouble with them making ISPs treat Netflix, et al., the same as any other traffic, but when I go into surgery and need to have an uninterrupted stream sent to the top brain doctor in NYC, while I lay on the operating table in California, it seems like a really bad idea."
      Contrary to ISP scare mongering, no sensible regulator or net neutrality supporter opposes network management that allows high-end business-class services to function properly on the Internet. That's never been a serious threat, it's one used by ISP lobbyists to scare people away from the real idea of net neutrality.

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 10 Jun 2015 @ 10:04pm

      Re: What about...

      but when I go into surgery and need to have an uninterrupted stream sent to the top brain doctor in NYC

      You'll make damn sure this is NOT done over something as unrealiable as the Internet.

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

    • identicon
      Elvert Canada, 12 Jun 2015 @ 11:11am

      Re: What about...

      Wait ..What?
      So you are equating something that might never happen (brain surgery by internet) to something that happens many,many times a day(Netflix streaming) and saying that net neutrality should not happen? There is no surgery for that brain.

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

    • identicon
      radraptor, 29 Jun 2015 @ 12:55pm

      Re: What about...

      Actually, if you read the FCC rules, it *does* allow some emergency services to have priority bandwidth. The new rules specifically state that emergency services are exempt from the new neutrality requirements. I'm sure remote brain surgery would fit under that requirement, don't you think?

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

  • icon
    John Snape (profile), 11 Jun 2015 @ 10:49am

    This is what I was talking about

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


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