Comcast Urges FCC To Ban States From Protecting Broadband Privacy, Net Neutrality

from the zero-accountability dept

If you're playing along at home, you might have noticed that the Trump administration has so far been little more than a glorified rubber stamp for the whims of major broadband mono/duopolies like Comcast. But while ISPs have had great luck convincing the federal government to weaken broadband deployment standards, protect uncompetitive business broadband monopolies, kill broadband privacy protections, defend price-gouging prison phone monopolies and axe net neutrality -- a growing number of states have proven less susceptible to Comcast lobbying charms.

When the government gutted broadband privacy rules earlier this year, more than thirty states rushed to create their own guidelines for privacy in the modern era. And while having disparate, disjointed state-by-state protections isn't always ideal, it wouldn't have occurred if ISP lobbyists hadn't successfully gutted modest federal protections. With federal lawmakers all but in their back pockets, ISPs like Verizon have shifted their focus to these uncooperative states. Like California, where ISP lobbyists scuttled a new EFF-supported broadband privacy law by claiming it would aid extremists, increase popups, and harm consumers.

But these major ISPs have since been lobbying the FCC, urging it to ban states from passing any consumer protections in the wake of the federal government's apathy-for-hire. Verizon has been telling the FCC that letting states impose their own consumer protections would be a disaster:

"Allowing every State and locality to chart its own course for regulating broadband is a recipe for disaster. It would impose localized and likely inconsistent burdens on an inherently interstate service, would drive up costs, and would frustrate federal efforts to encourage investment and deployment by restoring the free market that long characterized Internet access service."

Verizon lobbyists forget to mention that this is a problem they created when they took aim at popular federal protections. Verizon also forgets to mention that the only reason the FCC crafted privacy rules in the first place is because Verizon has repeatedly shown it couldn't self regulate, having been busted covertly modifying user packets to track users around the internet -- without informing anybody or providing working opt out tools. Verizon also really tap dances around its real goal here: zero oversight whatsoever for what historically has been one of the most anti-competitive companies in American industry.

But it's not just states passing new privacy rules ISP lobbyists and executives are worried about. They're also worried that as the federal government rubber stamps their request to kill net neutrality, that states will pass individualized net neutrality protections as well. As a result, FCC filings indicate that Comcast has also been meeting with the FCC (pdf) urging it to ban states from protecting consumers:

"(Comcast) emphasized that the Commission’s order in this proceeding should include a clear, affirmative ruling that expressly confirms the primacy of federal law with respect to BIAS as an interstate information service, and that preempts state and local efforts to regulate BIAS either directly or indirectly."

ISPs have repeatedly insisted that any attempts to stop states from passing ISP-written protectionist state laws is an assault on "states rights." When those same states actually try to do something that aids consumers, said rights don't receive a moment's consideration. Again, the surface narrative here is that all regulation of telecom duopolies is always uniformly bad, but the end goal here truly is to ensure little to no oversight of some of the least competitive, least liked companies in America (which is frankly truly saying something). Anybody that has witnessed Comcast's behavior and thinks zero regulatory oversight is good idea simply hasn't been paying attention.


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:36am

    Just as predicted

    The agency that was supposed to protect us is now protecting them instead. Wait... always has been, we are just fine tuning the knobs!

    The medical association learned a long time ago to cut the tonsils out to avoid letting things fester until it brings the host down. Naw... lets just keep doing what we have been doing and expect different results... it just works!

    Here TD, have another bucket of sand to stick your heads into... I keep trying to pull your heads out but I realize that is just too mean of me to keep trying that!

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:43am

    ISPs have repeatedly insisted that any attempts to stop states from passing ISP-written protectionist state laws is an assault on "states rights." When those same states actually try to do something that aids consumers, said rights don't receive a moment's consideration.

    And this right there is why many hate 'states rights' and the whole concept of it. Maybe if Republicans ever tried to use States Rights to accomplish something good, and didn't try to suppress states rights the second they were in charge of the federal government people wouldn't associate states rights with racism and political power grabs.

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

  3. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:45am

    "Comcast: The FCC doesn't have authority to preempt state laws

    Also Comcast: FCC please preempt these state laws we don't like" -Ninja Panda

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:49am

    Re:

    "Maybe if Republicans"

    It's the same for Democrats, both parties are busy wrecking the fuck out of the place. Thanks for letting everyone know that you are a party sycophant. FYI, your shit stinks every bit as bad as the repukes!

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:50am

    Re: Just as predicted

    Doubled the paint chips, have we? Or did you move up from bucketloads to swimming pools?

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

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Just as predicted

    If you pulled your head out of the dirt long enough to get some air, things might come to you a little more clear.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:01am

    Re: Just as predicted

    "The medical association learned a long time ago to cut the tonsils out to avoid letting things fester until it brings the host down."

    I suggest you look into this further as things have changed a bit in the past 40 some years.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re:

    I love the smell of Both Sides Bullshit in the morning.

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

  9. identicon
    pigfarmer, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:04am

    Pai

    I have a church in Texas I can recommend for Ajit Pai.

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

  10. identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:10am

    Intentional

    I don't think those lobbyist forgot all that information. I think they intentionally omitted it. After all, we are talking about highly paid individuals and not Trumps cabinet members.

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

  11. icon
    JoeCool (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I hope you mean that both side are bullshit. Third party for 30 years and counting...

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Just as predicted

    "http://www.nytimes.com/2000/08/01/health/a-new-alternative-to-tonsillectomies-shrink-don-t-cut.html "

    "But for the estimated 500,000 Americans who still do undergo tonsillectomies each year, one thing has not changed: the procedure is a painful one that leaves people with difficulty swallowing for up to two weeks."

    "But experts caution that the technique is still highly experimental and not likely to be widely adopted until more testing is done."

    Things have not changed so much as you imply, I have a co-worker bringing their kid in for a Tonsillectomy.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re:

    Republicans are in control right now so it's a Republican issue. When the Democrats are in control then it's a Democrat issue. The "both sides do it" argument doesn't mean shit because it's just an excuse for bad behavior.

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Seriously? No, it is a BOTH SIDES issue.

    No matter which party is in power the shit gets deeper, how much more do you need to be buried in this bullshit before you try to come up for air?

    Charter-TWC merger occurred under Obama. Drop supporting either of the parties, both are playing you like a fiddle! They only care about keeping the Ds & Rs at each others throats so you don't notice their hands in your pockets and dicks up your asses!

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:33am

    and with Pai so far up Comcast and other ISPs rear end, this will obviously happen!

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:44am

    "Allowing every State and locality to chart its own course for regulating broadband is a recipe for disaster."

    I agree, the feds should help the states and locality's to get together to chart a course for regulating broadband that does not relay on the large corporations.

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:52am

    This is why municipal politics matters

    On the national and state level, the people are ignored by paid for politicians but in places like Longmont, colorado ISP efforts to hijack local elections have been rejected BECAUSE they spent so much money to influence local matters

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

  18. icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 7:56am

    We buy state laws but just in case, let's buy the federal part and make states hostage. Just in case.

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Just as predicted

    Point remains - you could have selected a more appropriate example.

    And, if you had read medical journals on the subject you might have discovered most doctors no longer remove organs, specifically tonsils, simply because they think it may provide some benefits. Yes, organs are removed when it is necessary - go figure.

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I mean that the both sides argument is not an argument at all, it is a deflection intended to sidetrack any meaningful discussion of the topic at hand. It also tends to be a juvenile "he did it too" type of excuse, which really is no excuse at all. In addition, it is applicable to more than just politics.

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are not wrong

    But I hate that both sides crap and for good reason, it does nothing other than provide diversion. Our politics suck, as a species, across the globe everywhere.

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

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    That would make a great both sides of the mouth cartoon.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Just as predicted

    "when it is necessary" is kinda the point from the get go!

    So we got into the weeds just for you to go ahead and support my point using an example that still applies, but just not the "best" one you could think of?

    Look, I am all for getting into the weeds on things... when it makes sense. Not sure it did in this case.

    Next time, just say you have a better example you can think of and supply that example. I was not wrong, now was I?

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are wrong, it is a description of one of the many causes of the problems here. The problem is that you refuse to understand that very important detail and fall right into the trap that has been set for you.

    You can't really expect change without changing anything can you? You fit right into the definition of insanity where you continue to do the same thing but expect different results.

    Most Democrats complain that their party is not listening to them, most Republicans complain of the same thing yet people like you will go down in flames supporting their parties and will HATE the other team because you hated what their leaders did while they complain that the leaders did not do what they wanted.

    Your problem is that you hate your fellow Americans because your party told you to do so, how about you stop hating people for a change and understand that they need to get themselves out of the corners they backed themselves into? And the only way to start that, is to get everyone to understand that political parties 1st priority is to usurp your vote but make you think you cannot live without them.

    get a clue!

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

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I am all ears if you can think of a way to wrestle with the pigs without getting messy. I know people in both parties, I am sure you have members of your own family that are split between them. They can't get along, but I can get along with all of them because I don't drink any cool aid, but no matter what, when the issues come up, I get muddy right along with them.

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

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 9:37am

    Re: This is why municipal politics matters

    I call it the "everyone wants a King/single throat to choke" problem.

    People are so focus on having one single person responsible for something that they often forget what that really means in action. When you give someone that much power to control things... how do you keep them from taking advantage? And since people are so busy paying attention to the king, they only notice the tax collector when he is at their door step.

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

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Just as predicted

    Wow - need some covfefe?

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 10:06am

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

    You are not correct in many of your assumptions.
    You appear to be clueless as a result.

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

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 10:07am

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

    The thing about wrestling pigs ... they seem to like it.

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 10:19am

    Comcast has a poor understanding about how it works. The FCC cannot order any state, which is a sovereign entity, from passing or enforcing laws that each state passes. The FCC cannot even prevent states from passing or enforcing its own laws.

    Comcast has to go through the process of going through the courts. It's the courts who impose restrictions on what is or isn't allowed by law. Comcast is trying to bypass the courts hoping the FCC can do what is solely the right of the courts.

    I just don't see this happening. Even if the FCC makes a ruling on COmcast's behalf, expect the courts to issue a restraining order and expect to see such an FCC ruling over-ruled.

    It's beyond the authority of the FCC to stop states from passing laws, not even the courts can do that until the law is passed by state lawmakers. Companies, organizations and entities cannot preempt states from passing a law.

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

  31. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 10:27am

    Allowing every State and locality to chart its own course for regulating broadband is a recipe for disaster. It would impose localized and likely inconsistent burdens on an inherently interstate service,

    Easily solved. Stop using subscriber information for anything other than sending a bill. You won't run afoul of anything.

    would drive up costs,

    Bullshit.

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    "would drive up costs, Bullshit"
    Well lets be fair. In the warped eyes of corporate greed it works a bit different. Technically it would not 'maximize profits' as selling user data is a profit item. And since less profit would most likely mean less 'bonus's' for the big guys it means they would 'have to' increase rates to get their bonuses back.

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

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 11:46am

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

    I think you are getting too hung up on political divisiveness to argue logically. You are basically implicitly assuming that the other person in this conversation is on either side and arguing from a holier than thou standpoint.

    The original commenter here is pointing out (divisively and clumsily) that State Rights is being used selectively by a sub-group of people voting republican. The on topic answer could be that democrats usurp all the individual states rights by making federal legislation that is too specific to leave room for local demoocracy decissions. In this case the problem is that federal laws are getting torn down, making room for state laws. Now that the federal laws are done, the state laws to fill the space are more diverse, making the legislation even more of a burden...

    While the basic arguments may be tiringly overarching, you could spice it up with something tieing your opinion of the blogpost into the argument or, as I prefer, you could have bashed both sides with quips while steering the discussion towards the topic at hand.

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

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Just as predicted

    "Wow - need some covfefe?"

    Seriously bro, you can take your beard off now! I saw you wiping corner of your mouth as you left the oval office the other day... FYI, Monica wears that blue dress better than you, stop getting your hopes up!

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

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 11:57am

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

    If your only game is to say I am not correct and not offer where you think I am in error, when why not just shut up? It's not like you are contributing anything to the conversation.

    If you seek to correct people, correct them with information instead of the lack of it. Or are you afraid of being proven wrong?

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

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 12:09pm

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

    "You are basically implicitly assuming that the other person in this conversation is on either side and arguing from a holier than thou standpoint."

    Yes, I am assuming their position, they are free to correct me by stating otherwise, but if they wish to play coy with their position that is their fault is it not?

    Holier than thou is something I usually experience from the left. My intention it to just state the facts as they are. If there is somewhere I have not stated correct facts then I should be challenged on them.

    I rarely get the opportunity to defend the Democrats on this site because everything wrong is usually blamed on the Republicans so I wind up looking like a supporter even though I am not. I have never voted for an R or D in my entire life. I follow George Washington's wisdom on the matter of political parties and them eventually becoming the very tools to destroy the country with. George Washington's farewell address might as well have been a Prophesy as far as I am concerned because all the problems he predicted we would have clinging to parties has already come true. Now I am just waiting around for things to just get worse because right now... it will not be getting better based on the vast level of ignorance and stupidity that infects the general population.

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

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 12:10pm

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

    No matter who is fighting, if they fight long enough, it always gets muddy.

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

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 12:20pm

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

    sorry I forgot to respond to this...

    "While the basic arguments may be tiringly overarching, you could spice it up with something tieing your opinion of the blogpost into the argument or, as I prefer, you could have bashed both sides with quips while steering the discussion towards the topic at hand."

    Since they usually do a good enough job bashing the Republicans I don't feel the need to add to that manure pile. But you are right, both should be equally bashed in just about all aspects. I can't think of a single virtue either of the parties have that would attract the attention of a well reasoned individual.

    I told one of my Trump voting friends that the only way I would "consider" voting for Trump is if he ran as an independent and ONLY to spite the Republican Party, heck I would have done the same for Sanders if he ran as independent to spite the Democratic Party. I don't agree with Bernie's politics at all, but I was sad when he pulled a Sara Palin and stood by his party after they screwed him around. I have no respect for politicians that do this.

    When I first heard of Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz I thought I might be able to like politicians, but as I learned more about both of them... boy, talk about two piles of stank that reach to high heavens!

    You can probably tell that I am closer to a libertarian than I am most other parties, but I agree with ideals from all the sides with emphasis on liberty.

    I am also a big time Science nut, but I am very different from most of my "scientific" fellow humans. I seek proof and refuse to allow circumstantial evidence to trick me into turning science into a proxy religion against other humans.

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

  39. icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    "Comcast has a poor understanding about how it works. The FCC cannot order any state, which is a sovereign entity, from passing or enforcing laws that each state passes. The FCC cannot even prevent states from passing or enforcing its own laws."

    Not exactly correct. Wireless communications is one of those "exclusively federal" things. Individual states are not allowed to create laws in relation to wireless communication, license airwaves, or regulate to a certain extent those companies involved.

    It is likely that any State law regulating wireless companies would be fought in court, and that fight would be headed by the FCC.

    So Comcast is in fact complaining to exactly the right people.

    While the FCC cannot stop them from passing stupid laws, they can immediately go to court, and seek an injunction against the law. In fact, it would almost be required as they must protect the federal powers in this area.

    Companies like Comcast could go after the states, but they would be in a weaker position if the FCC wasn't part of the deal.

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

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Just as predicted

    Better a bucket of sand than a bucket of paint, mr chips.

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Just as predicted

    I like a good joke and am able to laugh at myself ...
    but seriously - what is wrong with you?

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 3:10pm

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

    Ok, when one makes accusations in the total absence of evidence said assumptions are more than likely to be incorrect. I tried to make it simple so that you might understand.

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 3:42pm

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

    " I tried to make it simple so that you might understand."

    What, that you're a troll?

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

  44. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 6 Nov 2017 @ 4:43pm

    Re: I love the smell of Both Sides Bullshit in the morning.

    Maybe that AC was arguing in favour of voting for a third party? Not that that idea would stand a chance in the current US political system.

    You folks should try some proportional representation. I think it’s worked really well here in New Zealand over the last 21 years.

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

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2017 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Just as predicted

    Keep up the powdered Nippon diet, you'll get there in the end.

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

  46. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 6 Nov 2017 @ 8:42pm

    Re:

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

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2017 @ 8:04am

    Re: "by restoring the free market "

    Is it me, or did the lobbyist in question just admit that there is no free market in domestic telecom?

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

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2017 @ 9:12am

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

    I think this sums it up rather nicely.

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

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2017 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: I love the smell of Both Sides Bullshit in the morning.

    Or - perhaps ask the public to vote on issues rather than personalities.

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

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2017 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re:

    "Wireless communications is one of those "exclusively federal" things."

    What is the origin and original intentions of said federal legislation?

    Frequencies, bandwidth, interference, obscenity ... any of these things?

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

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2017 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re:

    and being told that stealing is not allowed they claim it as a loss of income.

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


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