Middle Schoolers Cheer As Oregon Passes A Net Neutrality Law

from the the-people-are-kind-of-pissed dept

More than half of all states are now pushing their own net neutrality rules in the wake of the federal repeal. Some states are pushing for new net neutrality laws that closely mirror the discarded FCC rules, while others are signing executive orders that prohibit states from doing business with ISPs that behave anti-competitively. And while these discordant laws may make doing business from state to state harder on incumbent ISPs, that's probably something they should have thought about before dismantling arguably modest (and hugely popular) federal protections.

This week Oregon became the latest state to sign net neutrality protections into law with what was largely bipartisan support. House Bill 4155 largely mirrors the FCC ban on things like paid-prioritization and anti-competitive blocking and throttling, though (also like the discarded FCC rules) it wouldn't address usage caps and overage fees or zero rating, one of the key areas where anti-competitive behavior often takes root. The bill also carves out numerous exemptions for legitimate instances of prioritization (medical care, prioritized VoIP services).

The bill also mandates that state and local governments contract only with companies that abide by the principles of net neutrality. Again highlighting the popularity of these efforts, three middle school kids testified before the State Senate in support of the new law:

"Leading up to the bill's passage, three students from Mt. Tabor Middle School testified in support of net neutrality in Salem. "It isn't common that kids get very involved in this, and it shows just how important this issue is to us," Luca Larsen-Utsumi, who spoke in front of the House Committee on Rules said."

While these state laws are an organic reaction to the federal government selling out consumers and the health of the internet, they'll only be as good as the people willing to actually enforce them. Many of the laws carve out exceptions for "reasonable network management," language ISP lobbyists have routinely and successfully abused to effectively allow pretty much anything -- at least in states where lawmakers and regulator ethics are malleable via campaign contribution (read: most of them). In other words, passing these rules is only part of the equation.

Granted this is the same state that just got done giving Comcast an inadvertent $15 million annual tax break for doing absolutely nothing, so you have to hope they crossed their t's and dotted their i's on this particular legislation, and remain alert to post-passage lobbying efforts to subvert it.

States like Oregon also have to contend with likely legal challenges by incumbent ISPs and their BFFs at the FCC.

After it was lobbied to do so by Verizon and Comcast, the FCC included language in its net neutrality repeal that attempts to "pre-empt" (read: ban) states from protecting consumers on issues of privacy and net neutrality. But this authority is untested, which could result in some significant and interesting legal battles in the months to come. Again though: this expensive, confusing battle could all have been avoided if the FCC had actually bothered to listen to data, the experts, and the will of the public and kept the FCC rules intact.


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2018 @ 3:40pm

    So you embrace a "do it for the children" publicity stunt when suits your purpose, besides the silliness that kids are worth hearing on complex techno-societal topic. You then go on to HEDGE with mention of the many exceptions.

    Board note: if you'd increase the subject line length limit, wouldn't be any need for more! Why not up it to 256, since may be some complex items, and switch over to a super-Twitter mode? -- Also has feature that you can steal the idea for free and never give even token credit! How can you resist?

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

  2. identicon
    Pixelation, 7 Mar 2018 @ 3:44pm

    It's a sad day when it requires middle schoolers to make an impression on our representatives.

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

  3. icon
    Stan (profile), 7 Mar 2018 @ 3:51pm

    The importance of midle-schoolers

    "...besides the silliness that kids are worth hearing on complex techno-societal topic."

    The legislators who are paying attention become aware of how important an issue is when middle-schoolers show up to lend their voice.

    And since when is not having your information sources fucked with a "complex techno-societal topic"?

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2018 @ 3:55pm

    Re: So you embrace a "do it for the children" publicity stunt when suits your purpose, besides the silliness that kids are worth hearing on complex techno-societal topic. You then go on to HEDGE with mention of the many exceptions.

    Would you have preferred having a group of disabled military veterans or the widows of slain police officers making the pitch instead of children?

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2018 @ 4:12pm

    At least they know the definition of:

    Common law

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2018 @ 4:17pm

    Re: So you embrace a "do it for the children" publicity stunt when suits your purpose, besides the silliness that kids are worth hearing on complex techno-societal topic. You then go on to HEDGE with mention of the many exceptions.

    Oh, we can add "subject line" to the giant list of things you don't understand.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2018 @ 5:21pm

    Re:

    out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

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

  8. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 7 Mar 2018 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    When middle schoolers are all-around smarter than our representatives.

    Yes, including the ones eating Tide pods.

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

  9. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Mar 2018 @ 6:21pm

    There is a claim that 'Millennials' have only one perspective on everything. There will be a claim that the 'next' generation will have one perspective on everything.

    This brings two (or at least two) questions to mind. What will they call the next generation And what will 'they' claim their one perspective is?

    Also: Who is THEY?

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

  10. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 7 Mar 2018 @ 7:09pm

    These States Clearly Have No Respect For States’ Rights

    Republicans are all in favour of States’ rights, but not like this. It’s supposed to be a rallying cry for when the Federal Government is controlled by Democrats, not for when Republicans are in charge. Republicans are in favour of less, not more Government, but people aren’t supposed to take advantage of the lack of regulation to do things that are contrary to Republican ideology.

    In other words, you are given your freedom to do only doctrinally acceptable right-wing things. Deviate from the One True Path, and your freedom to do as you like will be taken away from you.

    Oh, and the Second Amendment takes precedence over any other part of the Constitution, OK?

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2018 @ 7:25pm

    Re: So you embrace a "do it for the children" publicity stunt when suits your purpose, besides the silliness that kids are worth hearing on complex techno-societal topic. You then go on to HEDGE with mention of the many exceptions.

    I think the core difference here is rather than a bunch of out of touch politicians demanding they do something 'for the children' that will do nothing good for the children so they can attack anyone who disagrees with their position using a strawman of 'Oh, so you hate kids and want to see them raped?', you have a bunch of middle schoolers stepping up and saying 'Congrats. The FCC fucked up so bad you have middleschoolers engaging in politics in an effort to set things right, showing their support for what they believe in rather than pretending politics don't exist like most kids would prefer to do'.

    TL;DR - Its not people saying 'we're doing this for the children' as a strawman to push their agenda, it's children saying 'This is important enough that we are engaging in state politics despite our age'.

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

  12. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Mar 2018 @ 7:34pm

    Re: These States Clearly Have No Respect For States’ Rights

    Oh, and the Second Amendment takes precedence over any other part of the Constitution, OK?

    I certainly hope you neglected the /s sarc mark at the end of that.

    There is a Constitution. All parts are equal. Some interpretations may be argued over time, but the basic document remains in tact, and there is no one Amendment that precludes any other. If there was, it would be stated in the document itself. Can you point to such a statement? Or was that statement sarcastic?

    To be sure:

    Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    The piece that many fail to reiterate when refering to this Amendment is that part about 'A well regulated Militia'. Who regulates this militia? Well, who makes regulations? But in the view of Thomas Jefferson's November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith:

    "God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

    There may, at some time be a need for the Second Amendment to take some precedence over other Amendments, but only if in fact that precedence is in fact in support of the other Amendments. Not something else. Otherwise, it would just be anarchy.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Mar 2018 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re:

    ...that would just make them more smart than the representatives again.

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

  14. icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 Mar 2018 @ 6:30am

    When kids understand more about complex issues than the head of the FCC...

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2018 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    I hate this naming of generations. It just creates an us-vs-them mentality.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2018 @ 7:53am

    Re: So you embrace a "do it for the children" publicity stunt when suits your purpose, besides the silliness that kids are worth hearing on complex techno-societal topic. You then go on to HEDGE with mention of the many exceptions.

    Obviously these children are more knowledgeable on these "complex techno-societal topics" than you are.

    Besides, are you really going to sit there and say "kids aren't worth listening to"? What a jerk.

    Kids can sometimes understand things better than some adults do. And some kids are a lot smarter than some adults. Just because they are kids, doesn't mean they should be ignored.

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

  17. icon
    An Onymous Coward (profile), 8 Mar 2018 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    The generation after "the millennials" are already entering the work force, often dubbed "Gen Z". It's only natural that each successive generation has its own predominant perspective, at least one that differs from the preceding generation. We are all products of the times during which we grew up but its rarely if ever as simple as "one perspective".

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

  18. identicon
    Thad, 8 Mar 2018 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re:

    Generations are a rough grouping at best anyway.

    My maternal grandmother was born in 1944. My dad was born in 1960. My mom was born in 1963. My wife was born in 1979. I was born in 1982. I have a cousin who was born in 1994.

    Gran and Dad are Boomers; Mom and wife are Gen X; my cousin and I are Millennials. It's kind of a silly way of delimiting age groups, if you look at it like that.

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

  19. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Mar 2018 @ 7:52pm

    Re:

    Oh don't be fooled, he understands just fine what he's doing, he just doesn't care. He's corrupt, not stupid.

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2018 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The Baby Boomers were the only generation that legitimately deserved a name, a demographic bump in the road wedged between two low-birthrate periods. It's interesting that the generation after the Boomers was not even given a name for many years, and was at first only referred to as the "post-baby boom" generation.

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

  21. identicon
    anon a mouse that scurries in the dark, 9 Mar 2018 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re:

    Why not both? Both is good, er bad. Yeah both.
    Caught in obvious lies, fibs, making things up and not having the intelligence to at least put some spin on the revelations but instead reiterating the same blatant lies over and over again.
    Unfortunately those who have any ability to do anything about it are just as corrupt and stupid as he is.

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


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