Senate Approves First Step In Uphill Effort To Restore Net Neutrality

from the try-and-try-again dept

Today the Senate voted 52 to 47 to reverse the FCC's attack on net neutrality, setting up a tougher showdown in the House.

As noted previously, net neutrality advocates managed to convince Congress to try and use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the FCC's misleadingly-named "Restoring Internet Freedom Order."

That order, approved by a 3-2 FCC vote last December, not only kills net neutrality (as of June 11), but eliminates much of the FCC's authority to police monopoly ISPs. Since many still don't seem to understand this, it's worth reiterating that the attack on net neutrality is just one part of a much broader plan to severely hamstring FTC, FCC, and state oversight of giant broadband monopolies that face little to no organic market competition.

Today's hearing before the Senate included all of the favorite hits culled from a decade of net neutrality debates, including ISP-loyal lawmakers like John Thune repeating the entirely false claim that net neutrality rules somehow devastated sector investment (SEC filings, earnings reports, and countless CEO statements disprove this). Claims that U.S. net neutrality rules were "heavy handed government regulation of the internet" were also frequently repeated (that's also not true, and the U.S. rules are arguably modest by international standards).

Net neutrality activists had been trying to secure additional Senate votes for months, something made arguably difficult by ISP lobbyist success at stupidly framing net neutrality as a partisan issue, despite widespread bipartisan support. But activists managed to get three key Republicans to join their ranks: Maine Senator Susan Collins, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy. Kennedy's yes vote was a notable surprise, given he'd been supporting ISP efforts to pass a bogus net neutrality law with an eye toward pre-empting tougher state or federal rules.

But at the last moment he came along for the ride, his justification being notably amusing:

From here, the fight gets notably more difficult. The House also has to vote in favor of the CRA reversal, a tall order given the large number of breathleesly-loyal telecom industry House allies like Marsha Blackburn. And should it pass the House, it also needs to avoid a veto by President Trump. Activists hope to appeal to Trump's tendency to float wherever the populist winds may lead, but that's certainly still no sure thing, in part because there's zero evidence the President has any idea what net neutrality is.

That said, even if the effort fails, it should do a wonderful job clearly illustrating who you should avoid voting for in the midterms and thereafter -- especially if having a healthy, open and competitive internet is something that's important to you.


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 1:46pm

    Even if were orthogonally spelled "breathleesly-loyal" isn't intelligible.

    Another unique compound "word" by minion (which appears to be AI and so unaware of how odd it is).

    Anyhoo, is a minor surprise yet as minion notes, offers little hope. I bet Kennedy joined because of some "rule" dimly recall that prohibits amending if don't vote for. Strategic move only.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Even if were orthogonally spelled "breathleesly-loyal" isn't intelligible.

      You have no idea what words mean.

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

    • icon
      William Braunfeld (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Even if were orthogonally spelled "breathleesly-loyal" isn't intelligible.

      By minion? Is a minor surprise? Dimly recall?

      Buddy, you are in no position to be critiquing grammar in the article. Also, while pointing out a typo is fine, trying to use it to suggest that the article was written by an AI (what? Seriously?) is just... bizarre.

      [P.S. I am hoping I get a visit from a very special AC...]

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 3:21pm

      Re: Even if were orthogonally spelled "breathleesly-loyal" isn't intelligible.

      What kind of ranch dressing did you chug from the bottle before you tossed together this word salad?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 5:47pm

      Re:

      Sure it's intelligible. To be breathlessly loyal means to act as someone's fluffer no matter how stupid it is. You should know from experience.

      And considering your fellow troll darryl, you're not really in a position to bitch about language.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 1:53pm

    "That said, even if the effort fails, it should do a wonderful job clearly illustrating who you should avoid voting for in the midterms and thereafter -- especially if having a healthy, open and competitive internet is something that's important to you."

    Nope, more time and energy will be spent fighting people that did not buy the party dogma. They will keep losing and not understand why as they vote in the new masters.... same as the old masters.

    Every nation gets the government it deserves.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      Yawn.

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

    • icon
      William Braunfeld (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 1:57pm

      Re:

      Your daily reminder to not feed the trolls!

      [Pls ignore the hypocrisy, I know I am feedin trolls elsewhere, do as I say not as I do :p]

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 3:23pm

      Re:

      And what have you done to help usher in a better government—or do you just not care so long as you can trash talk people on a tech blog?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 1:02pm

        Re: Re:

        Change requires a lot of help. Before you move forward you have to work to get the people pushing backwards to stop pushing backwards. Unfortunately, most efforts to stop regression are treated as a regression itself.

        Like you said, instead of really caring what what was posted meant, your only reaction is to go on the offensive instead.

        This is why we are only going to lose. By the time we are done fighting with each other over this they have already long won. Remember, this fight is not to get NN created or established, this is a fight just to try to keep it. Right now you are so far back on your heels the best you can hope for is to get some lube before they are done screwing everyone.

        The pro-NN crowed just cannot see the forest for all of the trees and what is worse most of you are those trees. The entire Telecom sector is in one huge fog of war successfully hovering over the citizens while the incumbents and politicians sit upon a cliff overlooking the disarray that is our response and laughing.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 17 May 2018 @ 3:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So you haven't actually done anything beyond whine about other people in the TD comment section. You could have saved a lot of typing if you'd just said that you know.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 3:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          >By the time we are done fighting with each other over this

          Says the person who beats everybody who disagrees with them over the head? It seems like you could fight with someone who agrees with you because you will not listen to others.

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

  • identicon
    Thad, 16 May 2018 @ 2:41pm

    If you have a Republican representative, now is an excellent time to contact them. Emails don't work; go with a phone call, a letter, or even a fax.

    The Senate Democrats were able to force a floor vote in the Senate due to CRA rules; there are no such rules in the House, and Ryan is under no obligation to bring the bill to the floor. If House Republicans facing tough reelections in November get a sense of how popular net neutrality is (and it is overwhelmingly popular, among Republicans as well as Democrats), they may force the issue.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 3:18pm

      Re:

      It may be better for them to not vote. If they vote against it the public'll get angry: if they vote for it their owners'll get angry. By avoiding the vote they can play both sides.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 3:28pm

      Re:

      If you have a Republican representative, now is an excellent time to contact them.

      When you contact your Republican representative, remind them that about 80% of Republicans support net neutrality. That is, of course, somewhat less than the roughly 90% of Democrats. It averages out north of 85% of everyone.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re:

        "remind them that about 80% of Republicans support net neutrality."

        I guess you didn't learn your lesson when Hillary lost. Saying that 80% supports something does not make it true. People using bogus statistics to advance a narrative is old hat.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2018 @ 8:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You don't know what statistics are.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2018 @ 9:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In regards to that, the majority of people can support a candidate and they can still lose because of how our electoral system works.

          Additionally, you are correct in that saying 80% supports something doesn't make it true, but it also doesn't make it false either.

          In this case, MULTIPLE polls, surveys, and studies have shown that the vast majority of the American people, R and D alike, support NN. Not to mention all the other evidence that proves they support it.

          Calling statistics bogus just because you are living in denial is also old hat and doesn't make the statistics false.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 8:45pm

      Re:

      Been there done that
      You know what their reply is ????
      WE Don't give a fuck to do what you elected us for .
      we will do what is in our best interests .

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

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 3:28pm

    First very small step

    It isn't much, the big ISP's still own the lawmakers.
    But de-regulation led to this - not over-regulation.
    This needs to be regulated like a public utility, because natural monopolies like this can't be straightened out by "Competition" or free market forces.

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

  • identicon
    Thad, 16 May 2018 @ 3:37pm

    Here's a list of senators who voted against net neutrality and are up for reelection in November:

    MS - Hyde-Smith
    MS - Wicker
    NE - Fischer
    NV - Heller
    TX - Cruz
    WY - Barrasso

    Of those, only Heller is facing a close race, though Cruz's challenger, Beto O'Rourke, is polling unusually well for a Democrat in Texas.

    Marsha Blackburn is also running for Tennessee's open senate seat, and polls show her down by 5-10 points. Definitely don't vote for her if you're in favor of net neutrality.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 5:06pm

    What? A net neutrality article written by Karl Bode and not a single comment from Richard Bennett? Shocking.

    Finally had enough of us pointing out your blatant lies?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 5:45pm

      Re:

      Give him time. You can't expect him to detach himself from Pai's rod so easily.

      At least give him time to craft a rant about how all the politicians involved are pirate-friendly or something.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 6:49pm

    Senate saves the Internet!

    Man, I'm glad that happened. Without this totally significant action by the Senate's Democrats, independents, and weak Republicans, the Internet was going to cease to exist on June 11th (or 12th or something.)

    Now we don't have to worry. That was close, dude.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 7:11pm

      Re: Senate saves the Internet!

      Wow, you really showed that straw man! I'm sure he's devastated by your effective and informative argument!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 8:41pm

      Re: Senate saves the Internet!

      There we go. That was rhetoric almost as devastating as your "When Ajit Pai serves you and your pirate overlords at Google a big slice of humble pie I'm going to laugh long and loud" quote.

      I'm shaking in my shoes, here.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 8:43pm

      Richard lies again. News at 11.

      Once again, you obviously either didn't read the article or are deliberately lying. Given past comments, fairly likely the latter.

      This is the first step. Obviously it needs to pass the House and be approved by Trump, both of which are long shots. And both of which are stated VERY CLEARLY in the article. However it does draw a line in the sand. Now everyone knows most Republicans either don't understand NN or are completely bought and paid for by ISP lobbying. Kind of like yourself.

      Stop shilling for ISPs, you're just embarrassing yourself.

      Try again Richard.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 9:11pm

      Re: Senate saves the Internet!

      In metric tons, how much bullshit have you shoveled in the past couple of days. Word on the the street is it that was so much you had a meltdown or two.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 10:32pm

      Re: Senate saves the Internet!

      I love the fact that Richard clearly didn't even read the article and his hilariously weak attempt at mocking it is undermined by what was said in the article itself.

      Classic Richard Bennett. Totally full of himself... and totally full of shit.

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

      • identicon
        Thad, 17 May 2018 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re: Senate saves the Internet!

        "Net neutrality is a very quaint fixation." - Richard Bennett

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2018 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re: Senate saves the Internet!

        Isn't saying he's full of himself and full of shit redundant?

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

      • icon
        Richard Bennett (profile), 18 May 2018 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re: Senate saves the Internet!

        I've learned from experience that there's no point in reading any part of TechDirt but the clickbait headlines.

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

        • identicon
          Will B., 18 May 2018 @ 6:02pm

          Wait...

          ...did you just flat-out admit that you didn't read the article, as if it was somehow a good argument that was proving your point?

          I'm genuinely curious: are you actually trying to sway anyone's opinions? Are you trying to make a point, hoping to help people come around to your way of thinking?

          Because if you are... you are doing a very, very poor job of it. I'm genuinely uncertain what the point of your posting here actually -is-. If you're 100% certain that nobody in these comments will ever understand 'the truth' and come around to your way of thinking... then why do you insist on posting it anyways? You know it'll just get flagged and ignored. Alternately, if you actually do want to bring people around to your point of view, why wouldn't you engage with the article and point out the actual flaws? Even if people flag your comment, there are plenty of folks who would check it anyways just to see what you said, and among those you might actually change some peoples' minds.

          But saying, flat out, that you didn't even bother to read the article and are just here to raise a ruckus...

          Why? Genuinely, why are you even here?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2018 @ 8:15am

            Re: Wait...

            He's here because he is probably being paid to.

            He used to actually try pointing out flaws and making a semi-coherent argument. Then I came along and pointed out his extremely blatant lies and provided links that proved 100% he was deliberately lying. After a few times of that he threw up his hands, said he "doesn't engage with anonymous cowards" (which itself was a lie), and ever since then hasn't posted anything except attempts at schoolyard level insults against TD.

            As far as I can tell he has been thoroughly trounced and he's sulking about it. The only reason he still comments at all is because he's being paid to to at least try to discredit NN.

            What do you say Richard? That about sum it up?

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 19 May 2018 @ 4:43pm

            Re: Wait...

            ...did you just flat-out admit that you didn't read the article, as if it was somehow a good argument that was proving your point?

            I read it as an admission that he has no interest in discussing the articles that are written, only what he wants to talk about, and is more than willing to construct and attack strawmen based upon what he hallucinates is being written.

            Or put simply, he just admitted that he's only interested in trolling the site and isn't interested in an honest discussion, and has thereby earned a place in the prestigious 'automatic flag and otherwise ignore' category alongside Blue.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2018 @ 7:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Senate saves the Internet!

          Just...lol.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 12:59am

      Re: Senate saves the Internet!

      "Now we don't have to worry. That was close, dude." Not close enough, you're still here...

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 7:27pm

    WHY?

    Why did this Pass anyway..
    Think they did it for the money, then they could reverse it??
    \
    And the customers PAY EVERY CENT..

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      Richard Bennett (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 9:03pm

      Re: WHY?

      Dems wanted to send a message that they're in favor of free cable. It creates enormous privacy problems for every American who uses the Internet but fuck it, this is an election year.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 9:15pm

        Re: Re: WHY?

        Piss off, dude. Your pathetic attempt at an “arguement” is getting straw all over the place.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 9:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: WHY?

          Oh I dunno, I think it's rather funny that the best he could come up with was that hilarious lie/strawman.

          Of course he could always provide a citation for his claim if he wanted to demonstrate that it wasn't a blatant lie, but I don't think I'll hold my breath.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 9:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY?

            Something something Google something something pirates something something Masnick something.

            I think that's about the best you can hope for.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 9:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY?

            I think the funniest part of it all is how Dick thinks that a lack of bias on the side of ISPs when it comes to delivering data over the pipes suddenly translates into a lack of privacy. Because somehow the alternative, where an ISP has to determine whose content loads faster, magically translates into privacy. It's not like the ISP needs to look at the content or have some idea of what it is to decide what gets to go faster, right?

            Up until the point where the RIAA and MPAA start banging the repeal gong, of course. Then Dick will start screaming about how ISPs aren't regulated enough, like in the Strike 3 case. What an utterly transparent moron.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 9:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY?

              I think the funniest part is he’s the worst liar named Dick that’s been in politics for quite some time. You can just see him hunched over his blackberry in a flop sweat, smashing the keypad like it’s gong to make his kids start talking to him again.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 11:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WHY?

                Why would Richard ever do that?

                He's just going to call them libtard millennials who serve pirate-overlord Google with their smartphones and instasnaps, and don't understand the hard work that goes into politicking for the winning camp. i.e. the side that does the most lobbying.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 8:38am

        Re: Re: WHY?

        It's actually impressive how many lies you manage to cram into such small thoughts.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2018 @ 7:15am

        Re: Re: WHY?

        And what privacy problems were those again?

        Oh! You mean the ones that Republicans and Trump created when they breathlessly rushed to eliminate the very strong privacy protections in 2015 rules shortly after they won the election? The ones that REQUIRED ISPs to not share any data unless specifically and affirmatively opted in by the customer? Those privacy protections?

        Go cry me river.

        Try again Richard.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 9:09pm

    People guilty of crimes against humanity

    Will never admit responsibility.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 May 2018 @ 9:39pm

    Trust... with an added safety net of legal limits

    One of the responses to Bobic's tweet with regards to 'If you trust your cable company...' was good enough I felt it worth highlighting here, as it's similar to something I and others have raised with regards to companies objecting to laws aimed at actions that they insist they would never do, such that there's no reason for the law at all.

    'Why wouldn't I like his vote if I did trust my cable company? I also trust my neighbors not to randomly shoot me for no reason, but I sure as heck want there to still be laws that say they can't.' -Nazo

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 11:01pm

    The name is not misleading, just truncated

    "Restoring Internet Freedom Order"

    obviously isn't the full name, it was supposed to be

    "Restoring Internet [Service Provider] Freedom [to Screw Over Customers] Order"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 10:23am

    and so they should!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 10:35am

    It's so easy to keep Net Neutrality after passing SESTA.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2018 @ 11:44am

    House Bill Numbers

    Fight to Save Net Neutrality Moves to House of Representatives”, Rep Mike Doyle (PA-14) press release, May 16, 2018

    Earlier this year, Congressman Doyle introduced legislation (H.J.Res. 129) in the House to overrule the FCC’s action . . .

    Congressman Doyle has filed a discharge petition to bring the legislation to save Net Neutrality up for a vote in the House (H.Res. 873) . . .

    H.Res. 873 — “Providing for consideration of the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 129)…”

    H.J. Res. 129 — “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’.”

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


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