Supposed Stickler For Transparency, FCC Boss Won't Release Net Neutrality Complaints

from the only-transparent-when-it-suits-Comcast dept

When Ajit Pai was first appointed as the new head of the FCC, he promised to be a stickler for transparency at the agency. And in one way he followed through, by making it standard operating procedure to now publish FCC orders a month before they're voted on (even though former staffers and consumer advocates believe he only did so to give ISP lobbyists more time to construct counter-arguments and their legal and policy assaults). Elsewhere, this supposed dedication to transparency has been decidedly lacking however, especially in regards to his efforts to repeal net neutrality protections.

When he first proposed killing popular net neutrality protections (pdf), he insisted he would proceed "in a far more transparent way than the FCC did" when it first crafted the rules in 2015. But Pai has also long tried to argue that a lack of broadband competition (and the resulting symptom of this disease that is net neutrality violations) isn't a real problem, despite the obvious, repeated evidence to the contrary.

There's of course some very solid evidence that can clarify whether or not net neutrality is a "solution in need of a problem," and that's the 47,000 (give or take) complaints consumers have filed with the FCC since the rules were passed in 2015. Back in May, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request to obtain copies of these complaints, and urged the FCC to extend the public comment period on the net neutrality proceeding for sixty days, providing time to analyze the data.

The group has repeatedly argued these complaints are relevant in analyzing whether or not Pai's attempt to repeal the rules runs contrary to the public interest:

"The commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes overturning the net neutrality rules asks the public for comment on various issues. The NHMC points out that the document asks the public if there is "evidence of actual harm to consumers" or evidence that Internet access has improved since the net neutrality rules were approved. Those questions could be answered by releasing all the net neutrality complaints, the group says.

"These questions seek evidence that the Commission holds in its exclusive possession," the NHMC said in its motion for a delay.

Not too surprisingly, Pai's FCC is blocking the release of these complaints, insisting that providing public access to the complaints would be "unreasonably burdensome." The NHMC, also unsurprisingly, isn't particularly impressed with the agency's justification for withholding the complaints:

"The FCC's denial of our motion is shortsighted, denies the public critical information, and flies in the face of their acknowledgment that they have received over 47,000 open Internet complaints since the 2015 net neutrality rules were enacted. It should give the public pause that the agency with exclusive control over regulating Internet service providers refuses to share such information with the public. The information is within the FCC’s exclusive control and was completely ignored in the NPRM."

If you've been playing along at home, refusing to release valid user complaints outlining genuine net neutrality concerns runs in line with the agency's attempts to downplay public opposition to its proposal. That has also included turning a blind eye to fraud and abuse of the FCC's comment system, which is currently being filled with bot-crafted industry "support" for the FCC's tone-deaf plan. The goal, consistently, has been to downplay public support for net neutrality, while pushing the illusion that repealing the rules is anything more than a giant, shameless gift to AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.

And while Ajit Pai clearly thinks he can bulldoze his way through transparency and operational apathy concerns, these are all certain to come up again during the inevitable lawsuits against the agency -- all of which will highlight how Pai and friends blatantly ignored the public interest to the exclusive benefit of a handful of extremely-unpopular duopolists.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 4:39am

    'Unreasonably burdensome' apparently only works one-way

    So on one hand it's "unreasonably burdensome" for the FCC to release the tens of thousands of complaints it has received with regards to the matter at hand, complaints that would nicely demonstrate the justification or lack thereof of the rules.

    On the other hand, asking people to provide "evidence of actual harm to consumers" or evidence that Internet access has improved since the net neutrality rules were approved' without access to that pile of evidence such that they basically have to start from scratch is apparently not 'unreasonably burdensome'.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 6:35am

      Re: 'Unreasonably burdensome' apparently only works one-way

      While it can be argued by some that the Trump administration and his appointees aren't necessarily more corrupt, hypocritical or authoritarian than previous offices, they sure as hell don't feel the need to be subtle about it any more.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re: 'Unreasonably burdensome' apparently only works one-way

        Say what you will, at least the Democrats still give the appearance of feeling shame whenever they get caught doing something.

        The Republicans don't even understand what shame is.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 8:09am

          Re: Re: Re: 'Unreasonably burdensome' apparently only works one-way

          They do not think they are doing anything wrong ... because they think they won the USA in a lottery and now they make all the rules.

          Perhaps a few folk out there disagree. This will get interesting.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 6:36am

    Reminder...

    something FCC bad, regulation bad and it being the same as giving your voice in the economy away to people that claim to represent you but don't

    Oh yea, don't forget to queue the rest that will make the claims that I want anarchy too... because those are always winners too!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      Regulation isn't bad. It's a tool. Using the tool wrong is bad; Over-regulating and under-regulating are bad. The government shouldn't control what you see on the Internet (which isn't Net Neutrality, by the way), that would be bad regulation. Being able to enjoy a nice meal without having lethal amounts of harmful chemicals in it is good regulation.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 7:28am

        Re: Re:

        "Regulation isn't bad." - It really is, and there is a logical reason for saying that. Lets break this down.
        Are weapons bad? Yes, but we need them.
        Are regulations bad? Yes, but we need them.
        Are Drugs bad? Yes, but we need them.

        The reason we have highly controlled regulations in the healthcare industry is because we don't trust people to be able to successfully self diagnose and medicate their health problems. Your Doctor, BEFORE prescribing you drugs first evaluates if the BENEFITS you are intended to receive from said drugs will OUTWEIGH the "bad for your body" side effects. That does not even get to the snake-oil salesman problem where people sell salt/sugar water as panacea that such regulation also helps to mitigate, but that is another story because we know there are still a lot of snake-oil pharma's & doctors out there.

        So regulation IS bad, but will this regulation outweigh the negatives of monopoly/trust seeking capitalist market. If it does outweigh it, then yes, we take our bad regulation drugs.

        "It's a tool. Using the tool wrong is bad; Over-regulating and under-regulating are bad."

        I completely agree here, you are one of the absolute few able to talk about this issue without getting bent and I thank you for it.

        "The government shouldn't control what you see on the Internet (which isn't Net Neutrality, by the way), that would be bad regulation."

        I completely agree here. The problem will be when we ask government to "control that" in hopes they will "let" us see what we want. Once we give that control away, it does not take much effort after that for government to take that power and use it towards their own tyrannical ends. I submit the NSA/FBI/DHS massive invasion of privacy and spying as unmistakable proof of that. I mean they are not even withing the constraints of the law and they know it based on how they word their replies when asked... "Are you spying on Americans". When you give government your finger nail, they take the whole finger. When you give them a finger they take the whole hand, when you give them the hand, they take the whole damn arm!

        Government and regulation is a precarious balancing act that requires a model where businesses AND citizens get to have voice in the economy. Right now citizens do not have a voice in the economy because they have forfeited it by asking for politicians to pick and choose who gets to do business and who gets to lie without punishment on their food labels!

        The best regulation for food is to force companies to be 100% honest about their labels and when caught in a lie, executives GO TO JAIL! NO fines, FUCKING JAIL!

        Same with ISP's. The last mile gets owned by the property owners, the poles and wires become "Public Infrastructure" similar to roads! And the ISP, must honestly advertise their speeds and required to transparently report their speeds. No "up to 100Mbps" but only getting "25Mbps", No "unlimited" while capping 1 TB of download per month bullshit! They must also state how they track and what they track if they track at all.

        Those regulations with anti-monopoly and anti-trust will be more than enough, while still allowing free-market principles to shine throughout the economy allowing people to once again have a voice and be able to choose WHO they do business with and NOT what government has approved in their local area with a monopoly!

        Calling regulation BAD is a healthy mindset to being with because it helps keep things in better focus "in my opinion" so it is not likely that anyone will be able to change my philosophy on this.

        I cherish "Liberty" above all other things and am only okay with curtailing "Liberty" when it is being used to take away another persons "Liberty".

        Essentially your liberty to fail your arms stops where my nose begins. And I follow that logic in ALL areas of my politics.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 8:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I stopped reading at
          "Are weapons bad? Yes, but we need them.
          Are regulations bad? Yes, but we need them.
          Are Drugs bad? Yes, but we need them."

          Because your whole argument is based on these unproven claims. And you can't possibly prove those claims, because what's "bad" is subjective.

          And from my personal subjective point of view, I agree with the previous comment in this chain. Drugs, regulation, and weapons aren't bad. They are tools. If every thing that can be abused or used to do bad things is bad, then everything is bad and there is no good in the world and then the terms good and bad become meaningless.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 9:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Because your whole argument is based on these unproven claims. And you can't possibly prove those claims, because what's "bad" is subjective."

            A police officer being able to become Judge/Jury/Executioner in the vein of Judge Dredd comics would be just a tool as well. Is that bad? How about we just cut to the chase and give government every tool it needs to just tell you what you should do, when you should do it, and where you need to be doing it.

            It is the human propensity for corruption behind these things that makes them bad. Because if they are not bad, then you do realize that you are actually making a logical case for ZERO regulation. After all... they are not proven to be bad.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 10:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think you may have missed the point.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 12:23pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I got their point, but I want to change it, I want people to think differently.

                When government is involved it is a different ball game. Tools are no longer tools, they are just weapons.

                Like the Miranda law.

                anything you say, can and will be used against you.

                that is Government...

                everything
                used
                against
                you

                Nothing is used for you! Were government not in this mindset then we COULD look at these things as tools! But that is not how the game is played, it never has been!

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 12:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You, sir, appear to have no ability to construct a cohesive thought.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 9:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            or better yet...

            "I stopped reading at "

            is the same as

            "I had a politically motivated knee jerk reaction at "

            Has someone been telling you what to think again?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 8:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you one of those sovereign citizens?

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

        • identicon
          Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated, 24 Jul 2017 @ 3:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is one of the more nonsensical posts ever seen on TD.

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  • identicon
    TMC, 20 Jul 2017 @ 7:53am

    Privacy Act

    Does the Privacy Act even apply here? Seems like the FCC's burdensome argument is contingent upon redaction being necessary. Is information entered pursuant a public comment protected under the Privacy Act?

    Seems like that could be a close question, and Ajit Pai is a terrible lawyer, so if he says that is the case, he is almost certainly wrong.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 11:22am

      Re: Privacy Act

      Is information entered pursuant a public comment protected under the Privacy Act?

      Metadata like the submitter's email address might, but the contents of a "comments" textbox wouldn't if it was clear these would be published. There's no need to redact.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 8:20am

    "And while Ajit Pai clearly thinks he can bulldoze his way through transparency and operational apathy concerns"

    He doesn't think he can. He KNOWS he can. He has the full backing of the Trump administration, which doesn't believe that the Constitution, laws, rules, or longstanding best practices apply any more. (Note that yesterday they asserted that the sham election commission is not part of the federal government.)

    As long as this administration or any remnant of it is in power, he can and will do whatever the hell he wants. The fix is in, it's BEEN in, and all complaints about net neutrality violations don't matter. Comments submitted by the public don't matter. Lawsuits don't matter. Nothing matters except what he wants to do, and we all knew that years ago.

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  • identicon
    Matthew M Bennett, 20 Jul 2017 @ 10:19am

    Hey ijits (supposedly against government regulation, no less). Stop asking the government to regulate the internet.

    Because as you are so constantly pointing out, even if it started out just enforcing Net neutrality (unlikely) it quickly expands beyond that.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 20 Jul 2017 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      So your response to my pointing out that ISPs are not the Internet is...to ignore me and then spout the same line in another thread the next day.

      Which is par for the course, really.

      If the anti-NN argument consists of ignoring the pro-NN argument and then repeating yourself, that says a lot about the strength of your position.

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

      • identicon
        Matthew M Bennett, 20 Jul 2017 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re:

        It was, because it was a dumb fucking thing to say. Like, it really wasn't worthy of a response.

        Did you want to get into a dumb semantics argument about what the "the internet" is? It's a series of tubes right? Or did you want to get to get into a dumb back and forth argument about how regulating companies that control customers access to the internet, and how they deal with their customers, is effectively the same as regulating "the internet" (whatever you deem that to be).

        For instance, this is how you could get an effective three strikes rule.

        It was a dumb, trollish, non sequitur of a comment, and is whatever the fuck you think you're talking about with "pro-NN and Anti-NN". I really don't even care to dissect what the hell you think you mean, there.

        Hard pass.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2017 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thad's entire gambit is to intentionally misrepresent the people he does not like.

          Get used to it...

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 7:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            There is a difference between the Internet and an ISP - obviously. So obvious in fact that some people refuse to discuss the nuances involved in regulating the multi faceted cyber universe. Perhaps this endeavor is too difficult to accomplish and therefore we see the posts of those who say all regulations should be removed. An alternative reason for the seemingly messy approach to the topic could be they are intentionally muddying the waters so that their nefarious activities will be hidden from public view. Don't want the unwashed masses getting all spun up about losing their rights.

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      • identicon
        Matthew M Bennett, 20 Jul 2017 @ 12:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh, never mind that it isn't even true. The whole proposal that is getting axed has usually been summed up as "treating the internet as a utlility".

        Electricity is a utlity. Now, is it the electrons, the power lines, or the company who delivers them the "utility"? DOES IT FUCKING MATTER?!?

        It was just a dumbshit comment that didn't deserve a response, but there, you got one.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 20 Jul 2017 @ 1:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Sorry, let me amend my post.

          If the anti-NN argument consists of ignoring the pro-NN argument and then repeating yourself, and *then* cursing and namecalling without making anything resembling a supporting argument, that says a lot about the strength of your position.

          It was just a dumbshit comment that didn't deserve a response, but there, you got one. And then I blocked you.

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Matthew M Bennett, 20 Jul 2017 @ 2:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If you blocked me, it means I never have to deal with such an inane response again, which sounds great.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 7:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you arguing against the suggestion that the Internet should be considered a utility or are you saying the term "utility" is nebulous?

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

          • identicon
            Matthew M Bennett, 21 Jul 2017 @ 12:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I am absolutely against regulating it as a utility, which has a specific legal meaning. I am against regulating it at all.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2017 @ 7:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Why?

              Seems to fit the description of a utility quite nicely in our current market. Now if there were real competition, things would be different - but there are not. If you want a monopoly then you had better get used to being regulated. If your problem is with the utility commission(s) then the at is an entirely different subject.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 2:28pm

      Re:

      "Stop asking the government to regulate the internet."

      Nobody here did. We can only conclude that you either genuinely don't understand the difference between the Internet and ISP's or you're being deliberately obtuse and dishonest because it suits your purpose.

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

      • identicon
        Matthew M Bennett, 20 Jul 2017 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, you did. As I said above, there ISN'T a difference between "the internet" (however you define that) and ISPs, at least not in regards to how it's going to be regulated.

        It's also just not true that this is a proposal to regulate ISPs but not "the internet". To claim is that is in fact super disingenuous.

        ".... The whole proposal that is getting axed has usually been summed up as "treating the internet as a utlility".

        Electricity is a utlity. Now, is it the electrons, the power lines, or the company who delivers them the "utility"? "

        It doesn't matter. The original proposal was to regulate the internet as a utility, which sure means regulating the ISPs as utility, which is all the same thing, really.

        You want three strikes rules? This is how you get three strikes rules.

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

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 5:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...there ISN'T a difference between "the internet" (however you define that) and ISPs, at least not in regards to how it's going to be regulated."

          Please explain how US regulations limiting the behavior of US ISP's are going to affect the actual Internet and the content it contains, which is accessible all over the world.

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          • identicon
            Matthew M Bennett, 20 Jul 2017 @ 10:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah.....I really don't feel like I should have to, actually. If you are regulating people's access to the internet, you are regulating the internet.

            Your objection is meaningless. It is a semantic tautology.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 12:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If you are regulating people's access to the internet, you are regulating the internet."

              No, you're really not. Especially when the regulations are to ensure that people have equal access to the internet, not to favour any party or control the content once people are on there. Regulating the internet would be regulating the content, not your access to a reliable line to wherever you wish to go.

              But, hey, I'm not an American. I have a fully regulated system to access the internet, and I have a fast, cheap connection that doesn't filter a single byte of data. You seem to be totally anti-regulation. Which means, you seem to be for a system where private companies can charge you whatever they want for a piss poor service and filter the traffic to favour their own pockets, and you having no choice but to pay them their demands. But, at least it's not regulated, right?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 7:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well of course you don't have to ... here have a cookie.

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

            • icon
              JMT (profile), 22 Jul 2017 @ 5:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If you are regulating people's access to the internet, you are regulating the internet."

              The regulations don't affect people's access to the internet or the Internet itself, which are quite different things. The regs control only what ISP's can and cannot do. You're making a complete strawman argument, and I can't think of any good reason to do that other than having a vested interest in ISP customers having fewer protections.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2017 @ 7:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The poster thinks the internet is the US only?
            And other countries just hitch a ride on our internet?

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 11:14am

    Nothing to see here

    He is being Transparent, in his efforts at obfuscation.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 11:19am

    Considering they apparently lied about the DDoS thing a while back and they claim to have no paper trail to provide about it It doesn't surprise me one bit. My opinion seems to be supported by mounting evidence: Pai is a corrupt asshole that couldn't care less.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 12:15pm

    HAS ANY..

    of the Current IMPOSED JOBS, Given by our president, DONE ANYTHING they said they would do??

    INCLUDING the president??

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  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 4:05pm

    Please remind me again of all the comments collected before Wheeeler arbitrarily enacted these "rules" without first getting congress to pass them into law.

    Yeah, thought so.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 4:52pm

      Re:

      You mean that time that the FCC got so many comments on the proposed change that it crashed their site and they ended up extending the comment period to compensate? Here you go.

      Arbitrarily? You make it sound as though he just threw the rules together on a whim, rather than after ample evidence that the industry was in dire need of someone to step in and tell them to stop screwing over their customers quite so blatantly, and the courts told them that if they wanted to attempt to do that they had to reclassify.

      Also, don't bother tip-toeing around with the 'without first getting congress to pass them into law' line, just flat out state that you don't think Wheeler/the FCC had any business passing rules regulating the telecom companies(which of course leads to the question as to what exactly you think the agency's job is).

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

      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 9:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Yup, if I remember they have a big copypasta problem as well there too, on the other side. The more things change...

        "which of course leads to the question as to what exactly you think the agency's job is"

        The Agencies job is to APPLY the law, not to create new law. Wheeler certainly pushed the limits (and I think past the limits) of rule making within the law. I don't think the congress has ever passed a net neutrality law or otherwise specifically granted the FCC the right to regulate the internet at that level. Everything is being done through back door means, rather than doing it the way it should be done.

        The important point is this: When the FCC does something only with rule-making, it can (and almost certainly will be) reversed with the next chairman. It's not stable, and it's not a way to build confidence and investment. You want NN? Get the congress to pass it.

        Truth be told, you get no net neutrality until you forcibly extract the ISP business out of the hands of content producers and distributors. If you really want neutrality, you need to make it so that the connection in and of itself is the only business, and that the end connection goes to a neutral point where nobody is favored. Even Google Fiber is a crock, because it's as much a play by Google to get more searches than anything else.

        That all would require an act of congress. You won't see it.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 10:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The Agencies job is to APPLY the law, not to create new law.

          Reclassification wasn't creating new law, it was merely shifting (back) which law/category the companies involved fell under.

          It wasn't like Wheeler threw together Title II himself, that was already a category, the problem was the FCC had run into a problem wherein a court told them that the clause they were attempting to use, Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act didn't actually allow them to do what they wanted to, such that if they wanted to do anything about the companies running amok they had to go at it from another route, in this case shifting from Title I('information service') back to Title II('telecommunications service').

          The law already existed, what changed was which which part of it applied(and the real kicker being that the companies involved had no problem claiming to be under Title II when it benefited them, even as they claimed it would herald the end of everything and most of all them.)

          You want NN? Get the congress to pass it.

          Were it not for the giant elephant in the room I imagine most people would agree(including TD/Mike), actually having it written into the law via congress would be the better option.

          The problem is that elephant, namely that so many in congress are in bed with Comcast and company that any such law(and I'm aware of two attempts so far, during the first fight and more recently) are likely to be so incredibly weak and one-sided that you could likely sum them up simply as 'The telecom companies can do whatever they want, and the only things they can't do they were never going to do in the first place'.

          Congress would be a better option if people could trust that they would write a law that would prioritize the public, rather than private companies, and that's not an 'if' many are likely able to believe.

          Truth be told, you get no net neutrality until you forcibly extract the ISP business out of the hands of content producers and distributors. If you really want neutrality, you need to make it so that the connection in and of itself is the only business, and that the end connection goes to a neutral point where nobody is favored. Even Google Fiber is a crock, because it's as much a play by Google to get more searches than anything else.

          For the most part I agree, separating out the ones who provide the connection from the ones offering the content on it would certainly help things out, but as you noted next sentence it's not likely to happen, leaving the discussion back in the 'what's the best way to mitigate the problems caused by the current situation?' realm.

          Don't really buy the Google connection though, unless Google Fiber involves some 'you need to use our services to make the most of our connection' aspect that I'm not aware of that they're providing an internet connection doesn't seem to have anything to do with the search part of the business. Like any other company they would certainly want people to use their products/service, but I'm not aware of any extra strings attached to Google Fiber that would require or incentivize people to do so.

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

          • icon
            MyNameHere (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The law already existed, what changed was which which part of it applied"

            Realistically, who a law applies or doesn't apply to really should be written in the law, and not changed in the fly at the administration level.

            "Were it not for the giant elephant in the room"

            I think it goes beyond that. Politicians have to weigh both the public desire and the desires of business, plus they have to consider if what each side is asking for is realistic. Right now, neither side is really offering a solid argument, there is much discussion of what NN really means, and there is equal discussion of what it means if it is removed (or should we say "not activated"). Congress would be weak on it mostly because they would look for something to try to satisfy the most of both sides, the results would likely be a grey nothing. But that in itself highlights how much the FCC has overreached in putting in place rules (without laws) that satisfy one side almost completely and do nothing but harm the other.

            " 'what's the best way to mitigate the problems caused by the current situation?' realm."

            The funny part is that I think this is something congress could handle much more easily. Congress (working with the FTC and the FCC) could mandate a period for the media companies to divest themselves of their delivery services. It might take a long time (10 years, example) but it would be a huge boon for the internet, phone, and cable companies.

            "Don't really buy the Google connection though"

            Everything Google does has at least one foot in "increase search traffic and uptake of other Google services". Income from Search ads is what pays the bills, right? The fiber product was priced at a point that generally wasn't going to make them rich - they had to make the real money somewhere else. I don't think you would see Google in the ISP business at all if there wasn't some money in it down the road.

            It's the same reason Facebook is also looking at different ISP models, especially for the third world. They want to get the jump and be the first bit of internet and internet advertising for a whole new world of people. True NN will make that a non-functional business model.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 6:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Realistically, who a law applies or doesn't apply to really should be written in the law, and not changed in the fly at the administration level.

              As I understand it they didn't so much change it as change it back. From what I've read the classification for the service/companies in question used to be Title II, and for whatever reason the FCC switched it to Title I in 2002. If that's the case this was more an instance of reversing a prior decision than making a new one.

              But that in itself highlights how much the FCC has overreached in putting in place rules (without laws) that satisfy one side almost completely and do nothing but harm the other.

              As noted before they didn't 'put in place rules', the rules already existed, they merely changed them back to what they were before.

              Assuming a company isn't engaged in practices they shouldn't be doing anyway, what harm exactly do the rules cause? Because from where I'm standing I'm not seeing any harm that 'you must treat all traffic equally and cannot unfairly treat some over others' is going to cause unless a company is intending to do that sort of thing, and if so then they deserve to get slapped down on it.

              Politicians have to weigh both the public desire and the desires of business, plus they have to consider if what each side is asking for is realistic.

              Problem with that idea is that of the two laws that have been proposed that I linked to they were't even remotely balanced between public interests and private business interests. With history like that, and given the recent 'screw basic privacy rules' vote it's a little hard to buy into the idea that any such 'balancing act' would take place.

              The funny part is that I think this is something congress could handle much more easily. Congress (working with the FTC and the FCC) could mandate a period for the media companies to divest themselves of their delivery services. It might take a long time (10 years, example) but it would be a huge boon for the internet, phone, and cable companies.

              Oh they could do it, but given it would almost certainly impact profits in a huge way, which would in turn affect their 'donations' I don't see it happening any time soon/ever.

              Everything Google does has at least one foot in "increase search traffic and uptake of other Google services". Income from Search ads is what pays the bills, right? The fiber product was priced at a point that generally wasn't going to make them rich - they had to make the real money somewhere else. I don't think you would see Google in the ISP business at all if there wasn't some money in it down the road.

              Like I said before, sure they'd like more people to use their services, but I'm not seeing a connection between Fiber and the other services they offer. Fiber didn't have to bring in gobs of cash, all it needed to be was profitable, and by showing up in under-served areas they were pretty much guaranteed to get people signing up in droves, leading to a nice stream of profits.

              It's the same reason Facebook is also looking at different ISP models, especially for the third world. They want to get the jump and be the first bit of internet and internet advertising for a whole new world of people. True NN will make that a non-functional business model.

              With Facebook their motivations were pretty simple, snagging the position of gatekeeper such that they were in a position where they could dictate terms. Fortunately that blew up in their face and their attempts to try to paint their actions as 'altruistic' were likewise shown to be a sham.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 12:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Truth be told, you get no net neutrality until you forcibly extract the ISP business out of the hands of content producers and distributors"

          Wow, you actually said something insightful. That doesn't mean you should do nothing until that miracle happens, of course, as evidenced by the many other countries that have both content provider ISPs and fully regulated internet with effective net neutrality. But, at least you recognise where the problem is coming from in the US.

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

          • icon
            MyNameHere (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Wow, you actually said something insightful"

            You may think it's insightful, I think it's natural. When being an ISP is part of a larger media company's work, they will always try to find ways to use the tools at hand to their bottom line advantage. Net Neutrality in any shape or form will be a crock because these companies will continue to offer "value added" services inside their network that don't count against your "internet usage" because you don't use the internet to get to them (ie, you don't go out a gateway). It would make a pretty strong fight against the existing NN rules, one the FCC might lose. Either way, it could take years and years for it to wind through the court while the companies continue to offer it.

            Breaking the ISP business out of the media companies may be the only way to get true neutrality. The downside is that you are likely to see higher costs as they will lose their ability to sell other services at the same time and to profit from a customer base. The last things Americans want it to pay even more for internet service.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 7:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The downside is that you are likely to see higher costs as they will lose their ability to sell other services at the same time and to profit from a customer base"

              .... until they achieve a monopoly position, at which time they will raise rates at their whim because there is no competition and no regulation - sky is the limit until their customers say "We doan need no stinkin internet"

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

              • icon
                MyNameHere (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:10pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                One of the advantages of pulling the ISPs out of the media companies is that the law could move to turn them into utilities, similar to electricity or water - and then regulate prices, set standards (for speeds, connectivity, and contention ratios).

                It would mean that a monopoly would be pointless from a business standpoint.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2017 @ 7:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Lot of hand waving there Mr Snake Oil Salesman.

                  How does one pull ISPs out of media companies?
                  With the present administration I doubt monopolies will be looked at much less broken up. Seems to going in the opposite direction.

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

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 4:32pm

    Was the DDOS an inside job?

    Redditor seems to have solid information saying there was no DDOS

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

  • icon
    clemahieu (profile), 20 Jul 2017 @ 6:14pm

    .

    This seems like a datapoint under "why the FCC wouldn't be able to manage an open internet"

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


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