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FTC Could Gain Enforcement Power Over Internet 134

Posted by timothy
from the who-above-all-else-desire-power dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that under a little-known provision in financial overhaul legislation before Congress the Federal Trade Commission could become a more powerful watchdog for Internet users with the power to to issue rules on a fast track and impose civil penalties on companies that hurt consumers. 'If we had a deterrent, a bigger stick to fine malefactors, that would be helpful,' says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who has argued in favor of bolstering his agency's enforcement ability. This power would stand in stark contrast to a besieged FCC, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines. The provision to strengthen the FTC is in the regulatory overhaul legislation passed by the House, and although it is absent from the legislation before the Senate, some observers expect the measure to be included when the House and Senate versions are combined."
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FTC Could Gain Enforcement Power Over Internet

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  • by cosm (1072588)
    And why can't the FCC do this? Do we need another agency's involvement? Perhaps I am a dolt buried under the bureaucracy.
    • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by T Murphy (1054674) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:19PM (#32020814) Journal
      I'm no scholar on what agency does what, but the article mentions privacy issues, which sounds more like FTC than FCC. I can understand the FCC being concerned about how ISPs handle traffic, but not what the actual content is. It makes perfect sense for the FTC to be concerned about exactly what information is being collected and how it is used. Of course, traffic shaping and net neutrality can be seen as affecting trade and consumers, so that may fall under FTC jurisdiction too. Although I would think it best for the FTC and FCC to collaborate where their interests overlap, overall I think FTC is more relevant with most internet-related issues that get brought up on slashdot.

      That said, someone better informed could probably be much more insightful and probably poke a few holes in what I'm saying.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        And what of those ISPs that operate wholly-and-completely within a state (like Mom&Pop Internet of Fargo)? The U.S. government's power does not extend to them. I guess that job will be left to the state.

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by gandhi_2 (1108023)

          What's a good 2nd degree to get?

          Nursing.

        • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:44PM (#32021288)

          And what of those ISPs that operate wholly-and-completely within a state (like Mom&Pop Internet of Fargo)? The U.S. government's power does not extend to them. I guess that job will be left to the state.

          Their bits compete with the bits of carriers who go out of state. They also have the ability to travel out of state. Therefore it will be deemed within the scope of the Commerce Clause.

          Haven't you learned by now that the Federal Government has the authority to regulate anything by virtue of the fact that it chooses to regulate it? Hell, they recently decided that even though they BANNED interstate commerce of an item (Cannabis), if you even look at it funny that somehow manipulates the interstate trade of the item and thus falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.

          In essence what that means: If the Federal government decides to regulate something at ALL, it has the authority to regulate it anywhere.

          An abomination of a Supreme Court decision.

          • As much as I disagree with ICC being used as it is, this is one of those cases that clearly leaves the state, as it is simply impossible to claim that an ISP operates only within a state, as it is a communications system explicitly with the world.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              As much as I disagree with ICC being used as it is, this is one of those cases that clearly leaves the state, as it is simply impossible to claim that an ISP operates only within a state, as it is a communications system explicitly with the world.

              What leaves the state though? If Bob and I are in Kansas and Steve is in Pennsylvania are all within a single state, and I hand a package to Bob, at what point did I leave the state?

              It's an interesting concept, one in which I think the eventual result will be:

              Fede

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                You could say the same thing about any transaction for that single transaction, that doesn't make it globally applicable.

                If I hand a package to you, we are clearly in the same state, unless you are standing on the other side of the border, that doesn't mean my business is exclusively intrastate. Being an internet provider, by nature makes an intra-state only argument VERY difficult if not impossible by its very nature, as you are clearly connected to a global communications network, as that is what you are

                • Not really difficult at all:

                  - I sell chicken eggs in Fargo North Dakota. All of my customers are within 10 miles, and therefore inside ND. Since I do not cross any borders, I am subject to no government other than my State and my City governments. The U.S. Congress has no juris authority.

                  - I run Mom&Pop Internet of Fargo. All of my wires and all of my customers are located inside Fargo and do not cross state lines. Yes AT&T runs a 1000 Mbit/s cable to my central office, but THEY are the ones cr

              • People only use an ISP to use the World wide web and other protocols to reach out to everyone. That ISP still has to work with external forces to get their domain name visible and other's visible to their customers.

                If they opertate some sort of travel usage like my first ISP's 1-800 number for dial-up anywhere then their customers can reside outside of the borders temporarily and still use the service.

                The internet is just to big to think any part of it can really be a state only thing or even one coun
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Ocyris (1742966)
            Thank you Wickard v. Filburn
          • Their bits compete with the bits of carriers who go out of state. They also have the ability to travel out of state. Therefore it will be deemed within the scope of the Commerce Clause.

            Those bits also travel outside of the country. For that matter, under certain circumstances those bits may travel offplanet. In extraordinary circumstances, even out of the solar system.

            An abomination of a Supreme Court decision.

            Agreed. The ironing is also wonderful.

            SB

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Blink Tag (944716)

          Says you. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled a long time ago that the federal government can regulate entire industries, even though portions of them are decidedly local. (Including quotas on grain grown on one's own land that were not trafficked in any way.)

          See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_Clause [wikipedia.org]

          IANAL.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by Z34107 (925136)

          Off-topic (that's your cue, moderator queue) but related to parent's sig:

          I can't speak for computer engineering, but I'm a soon-to-be graduating computer science major. The curriculum was a lot of fun, but it's not software engineering - it's math. Until recently, it was just a concentration of our math major.

          That means it's a lot of theory - data structures, algorithmic efficiency, set theory, relational algebra, Turing completeness, etc. It doesn't seem immediately applicable, but it's handy to know wh

      • More government control. Now thats hope and change we can all believe in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      From what I understand, the FCC regulates the use of the channel. They make sure you're putting appropriate material in your allocated slice of the spectrum. That includes a small amount of actual content control to ensure that, for example, you don't have a parade of nipples during a family event, such as the Superb Owl. They'll also make sure that your transmitters are of a certain power, etc.

      The FTC makes sure that customers are getting what they paid for. For example, if you're paying $X for a 10MB/

      • by sjames (1099)

        then they'll step in and slap the provider around with a haddock.

        We hope that will be the case. More likely the consumer will complain to the FTC that they're being ripped off and the FTC will say "we brandished a haddock menacingly at them, we're sure they wouldn't actually still be violating any regulations".

        After all, they've had authority over the many national ISPs for some time now and have completely failed to clamp down on the blatantly false advertising to date. For that matter, enforcement of truth in advertising in general seems to be at an all time low. They'

    • by sjames (1099)

      When an ISP lies it's ass off claiming that their service is unlimited, that's a matter for the FTC. When they try to double dip, that's an FTC matter as well since they are effectively defrauding consumers. Shooting down TCP connections they don't like is an FCC issue since they are screwing up communications. That could also be an FTC issue since they do it to avoid actually providing what they have contracted for.

  • FCC is the besieged agency the summary is actually referring to, not the FTC.
  • It should be the FCC (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:03PM (#32020458)

    The FCC has the jurisdiction, they should be enforcing the rules. But since they don't have the teeth, let the FTC do it, those guys are sharks.

    Oh and the summary says FTC when it would say FCC - "FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who has argued in favor of bolstering his agency's enforcement ability. This power would stand in stark contrast to a besieged FTC, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The FCC has the jurisdiction, they should be enforcing the rules. But since they don't have the teeth, let the FTC do it, those guys are sharks.

      A court has recently rule that the FCC does not have the jurisdiction. I have two problems with theway this is being done. First, this expansion of the power of the FTC over the Internet is being stuck into an omnibus bill that I have heard is yet another 1,000+ page monstrosity. If this is a good idea, this should be a stand alone bill. Second, this does seem more like the sort of thing that belongs in the FCC. A court has ruled that the FCC has, at most, limited authority to regulate the Internet, if Congress believes that they should regulate the Internet more strongly, they should pass a bill for that purpose, not stick a provision in some mega-bill to expand government regulation of the Internet.

      • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        I know, you'd think though with the FCC being what it is and the mandate it has, that it would have the jurisdiction, but the court said nope.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I know, you'd think though with the FCC being what it is and the mandate it has, that it would have the jurisdiction, but the court said nope.

          It doesn't matter what you think, it matters what laws Congress has passed. The court said that Congress has not passed any laws giving the FCC jurisdiction. The FCC is part of the Administrative branch, that means they can only regulate those things that Congress has explicitly passed a law giving them the authority to regulate.
          Note, the court did not say that some other federal agency had jurisdiction. The court said that the FCC had failed to point to any law giving it jurisdiction.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      But since they don't have the teeth, let the FTC do it, those guys are sharks.

      Absolutely right, Wyatt. The FTC should definitely get involved in the Internet as long as they have consumers' best interest in mind rather than the most powerful companies.

      The FCC oversees communications issues, but it's the trade issues that put a free internet at risk.

      I'm really afraid that if something is not done to keep the internet open, everything that you and I appreciate most about it will cease to exist. It would be

      • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:36PM (#32021138)

        I think the government getting into this is the right choice.

        I remember talking to my old boss about this 12 years ago. He is very socially conservative and didn't trust government at all, but he agreed that the Feds should be in control of this after having to deal with GTE and Comcast when it came to E-Rate and how they jerked around the schools, police and governments they were supposed to be offering services to in exchange for a monopoly.

        I don't get why the Telcos think they have the right to shape traffic, my friends work for a rural electric co-op and the power company doesn't give three hoots what you do with your electrons. Why can't AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc be the same? Just sell the bandwidth and let us do whatever we want, within legal boundaries.

        I can get in trouble for using too much electricity to grow weed, so I could get in trouble for using my bandwidth for terrorism, child pr0n, etc.

        Well when the companies cry about it on Capital Hill, we all know why the FTC is getting involved, because the companies farked up an easy thing.

        • As long as they don't go too far, and try to impose the old Radio/TV Fairness Doctrine to the net. If I type-in msnbc.com I don't want to have foxnews.com pulled-up at the same time.

          • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

            And if I type in jalopnik I don't want leftlanenews to pop up.

            Yea, fairness doctrine would suck.

        • The real mistake is that local governments didn't lay the fiber and then lease the lines to whatever ISP wanted to offer service in the area. At least back in days of dial up, I could use my phone line to connect to whatever ISP I wanted to connect to.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          No Wyatt Earp it's not in the FCC's original mission statement. Oh by the way have you seen that mission statement lately? No?

          The FCC was supposed to regulate POWER and FREQUENCY, not network communications!!!

          Look how wonderful they have managed power and frequency....

          Nearly ALL the public spectrum is Corporate Owned!

          Before you give the FCC the authority to do anything keep in mind their failed mission statement!

          Also keep in mind once they gain new authority, they will make things worse, and it will be fo

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by J053 (673094)

          I don't get why the Telcos think they have the right to shape traffic, my friends work for a rural electric co-op and the power company doesn't give three hoots what you do with your electrons. Why can't AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc be the same? Just sell the bandwidth and let us do whatever we want, within legal boundaries.

          Well, the problem is that the electric company generates N megawatts of power, more than enough for all its subscribers, most of the time. When demand exceeds capacity, we get brownouts.

          By contrast, the telcos/cable operators oversell their capacity by some huge factor. If they had to provide full bandwidth to all their subscribers simultaneously, they'd need much bigger tubes. The model only works when most subscribers rarely use anything close to their nominal bandwidth. When every Joe Sixpack starts watc

        • by Eskarel (565631)

          Because they don't sell you the bandwidth that's the whole rub.

          If you paid for the bandwidth, they'd sell you as much of it as they could because they'd make more money and with the usual provisions(you're not using the bandwidth to steal they're property) they wouldn't care what you did with it.

          In reality though, what they're selling to you is access to the network, if you download 1KB or 1TB they get paid the same, but it doesn't cost them the same.

          Most places in the world charge you per meg or cap your d

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by myspace-cn (1094627)

        B.S. The FCC can't even stick to it's original mission statement, they have squandered the "public spectrum" to be nearly completely "corporate owned."

        Managing power and frequency from a fascist point of view as opposed to an engineering point of view in the public interest.

        The FCC can't even realize and stick to it's original (now missing) mission statement.

        And you want to give the FCC more Authority.

        It's a fascism death wish.
        And remember if they are given this authority, it will NEVER GO AWAY! It will inc

    • The impression the article gives me is that they're giving the FTC more powers to enforce some things with the internet. The article specifically mentions user information and advertising; to me, customer data protection does fit under something the FTC would deal with, not the FCC. It just happens to be happening on the internet like so many things today.

      I believe the FCC should have a broad jurisdiction on things with the internet itself, where the FTC would have a more narrow jurisdiction on some busines

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by rev_sanchez (691443)
      Since the FCC spent a long time shirking any of their duties that didn't include punishing the odd dirty word or errant nipple on the public airwaves or sifting through the small mountain of automated emails from nutty parents groups it may be a while before they are up to doing any meaningful work.
    • by The Moof (859402)

      The FCC has the jurisdiction

      The FCC does not have the jurisdiction [slashdot.org].

  • by psergiu (67614) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:04PM (#32020486)

    What are the improvements vs. IEEE 802.3af Power Over Ethernet [wikipedia.org] ?
    Will the old devices be compatible ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by psergiu (67614)

      And FTC "Gaining Enforcement Power Over Internet" means that all their offices will be forcibly re-wired with this new standard ? :-)

    • What are the improvements vs. IEEE 802.3af Power Over Ethernet [wikipedia.org] ? Will the old devices be compatible ?

      What does your question have anything to do with the article? Completely non sequitur.

      "Power over Ethernet" does not in any way mean "Power over Internet" as your title implies. It's a way to provider power to your devices through your Ethernet cable, but that power comes from a local power source from within the same building, not from some remote source on the Internet. For example if your ethernet switch is PoE capable, it can power your devices, and the power comes from that local switch.

  • We need it fast (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:08PM (#32020564) Homepage Journal
    and with we, i mean all internet users around the world. if the comcast bastardiness stands, more american companies will imitate it first, then the international companies in other countries will start to demand the same rights to rule over their users' traffic.

    if this tide is stemmed there, that wont take off.
  • At least a lawmaker can be voted out of office.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:20PM (#32020842) Homepage Journal

    You guys are all gonna be crying a river when the FCC mandates all packets get cryptographically labelled with an asserted certificate before transit is allowed.

    Most all of the real problems with Internet companies that can hurt users are already covered under fraud laws - no new powers are required. So, ask yourself why it is they want these new powers.

  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:21PM (#32020852)
    As it stands now, an ISP whose CEO is in favor of political party "A" can have all traffic - to include "grass roots" campaign donations - flowing to or from any organization representing political party "B" "shaped" right into the e-toilet...
    • Giving governments power of the internet has -never- turned out well for the countries who have it. Or perhaps you want internet like Australia where citizen journalism is prohibited (they removed a video of Neda Agha-Soltan being shot and dying during Iran protests), satire is prohibited (they blocked a page of Encyclopedia Dramatica), and blocking video games which are 'objectionable'.

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Australia [wikipedia.org] and think if you -really- want to give the governmen
      • So you're saying that you don't mind if a corporation that wants to build a nuclear waste dump in your backyard buys your ISP and shapes any disagreement with their plans into non-existence? It is not like that is anything other than a trivial task given the rapidly evolving state of deep packet inspection...
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      There is absolutely nothing democratic about the FTC regulating anything. All executive agencies are autocratic in nature. They follow the directives of the President, and if they over step their bounds they are struck down by the court system (which sometimes is, sometimes isn't democratic).

      The democratic functions of the government are well above their level, and only serve to increase or decrease their power or jurisdiction. There is nothing about the agency itself or who runs it that is in any way de

      • Try voting an executive in a corporation who decides to "shape" whatever political content on the web that you have an interest in into the void out of office.

        You can do that to a President, you know. But there are many, many areas in the country where ISPs have monopolies; if not outright, then de facto in that there is only one high-speed provider with DSL or dial-up providing the only alternatives in most of the country.

    • by Ocyris (1742966)
      Pretty sure electronic fraud law cover that, as well as RICO. Once you start directly interfering with commerce you're done. That not even taking into account the fallout in PR.
      • Thing is, whoever should choose to do such a thing wouldn't do it - if they were wise - until the crucial final four months before a Presidential election.

        If implemented well, the ability to shape traffic added to the Supreme Court's designation of corporations as super-citizens would get you that one critical election; there simply would not be time to run any objections through America's courts - particularly in light of the fact that "interested parties" might simply shove the case to the Supreme Court,

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:21PM (#32020856)

    The FTC doesnt give a crap about censoring content only regulating anti-fraud and commercial transactions. The FTC could go after internet companies
    under anti-trust and anti-competitive practices laws.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm glad someone pointed this out. The FTC is also tied closely to ACTA, is it not? I think actually that this is the worst possible thing that could happen for consumers. Watch them try to implement the internet death penalty on Google for stealing Rupert Murdoch's precious news.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        It would seem to me that if Fox really wanted to keep Google off their website, all they would have to do is ask or use robots.txt. They don't want Google off their network, they want to charge people to use their "obviously better news website".

        1. Blame Google
        2. ?????
        3. Profit!

        For once, this meme actually applies to the topic.

    • The FTC doesnt give a crap about censoring content only regulating anti-fraud and commercial transactions. The FTC could go after internet companies
      under anti-trust and anti-competitive practices laws.

      Until congress(new legislation) or the president(executive directive) asks them to. The FTC only cares about anti-fraud and commercial transactions because that is what they were told to focus on.

    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      With all the obvious fraud going on, I would argue that over the last 10 years, the FTC hasn't been doing the job with the powers it already has. It shouldn't matter whether the company advertises via newspaper, internet, tv, etc., nor should it matter if they sell by mail order, internet, or phone, the FTC is _supposed_ to insure that the playing field is level for consumers and businesses. Perhaps they should work on enforcing EXISTING laws with their EXISTING powers, which would already include interne

      • by s73v3r (963317)
        No regulatory agency really did. That's because Bush II was all about deregulating, and that which he could not explicitly deregulate, he simply put someone who didn't care in charge of the relevant regulatory agency.
        • by Pharmboy (216950)

          The FTC wasn't much different under Clinton. It isn't a Democrat/Republican thing, it's a bureaucratic thing. OSHA is also less effective than two decades ago.

  • Bad Idea... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:21PM (#32020868)
    While this might stop Comcast, regulation is -never- the answer when it comes to the economy. If you can mandate net neutrality over all the net* who is to say that the government can't force ISPs to block certain sites? Track 'piracy', etc.

    *I believe that the way to regulate ISPs is that if the ISP has lines running through public property, the public has a say on their policies. If they don't use public land, they are free to do whatever.

    Regulation usually cuts off one head of the hydra only to replace it with 2, 3 or 4 more problems. Mix this with the fact you can't vote these people out of office and they are accountable to essentially no one and you have a system ripe for abuse.

    Let the citizens choose what their public land is used for. If an ISP wants to use that land to lay cable, they should be accountable to the citizens because their land is being used.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Qzukk (229616)

      What we wanted was a law that said that ISPs couldn't kneecap my packets if I didn't pay their protection fees.

      What we'll get is a huge fuckup.

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      The big ISPs can do what Qwest did, use the railroad right of ways to run data along private routes. You could get a packet from Miami to Anchorage using right of ways and submarine cables or privately owned satellites.

      And they can happily shape the traffic however they want. Anyone beyond port 80? You get to pay extra for that.

      • And, so? They should be able to do that when they aren't using public funds/land. If they do that, I don't buy internet access from them and tell others not to. Generally it is when they use public lands is when they are granted monopolies and screw their customers because they have no other place to turn to. If they continue to screw customers, they lose money and go out of business. The majority of ISPs who screw their customers end up getting monopolies because they use public land.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm going to go ahead and point out the flaw here. In most conversations, net neutrality specifically means blocking certain sites is bad. So your slippery slope is pretty poor, imo.

      Your argument boils down to "if we let the government do 1 specific thing X, then they'll be able to do anyyything, oh noez, it's terriblez".

      It's a pretty weak argument, really. History has shown that regulation can help and that without that regulation things can go poorly - I point to current recession and repeal of glass s

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)

        I'm going to go ahead and point out the flaw here. In most conversations, net neutrality specifically means blocking certain sites is bad. So your slippery slope is pretty poor, imo.

        But its the government. They can/will break net neutrality to get their way. Neither republicans nor democrats are parties of principle, they are parties who change their politics to fit whoever gives them the most money. Someone donates $5 million and owns a 'green' company, that party is going to want tax breaks and government contracts for that company. Someone gives campaign funds and is a record executive? We get things like the DMCA.

        history has shown that regulation can help and that without that regulation things can go poorly

        Really, then how do you explain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inte [wikipedia.org]

        • Show me a single instance of government regulation of the internet -ever- increasing freedom and having a truly positive end.

          Since the government sort of took the initiative in creating the thing in the first place, I'm not sure how to comment to that. I can tell you an example where deregulation had the opposite effect, where telling carriers that they didn't have to lease their lines to competing companies set up local monopolies and discouraged further development beyond high-rent urban areas. It's
    • by Dynedain (141758)

      While this might stop Comcast, regulation is -never- the answer when it comes to the economy. If you can mandate net neutrality over all the net* who is to say that the government can't force ISPs to block certain sites? Track 'piracy', etc.

      That's flawed logic. If you can mandate that people do not kill each other, that does not mean you have the power to force people to kill each other.

    • With citizens so busy these days they should form a counsel to promote the public interest when public lands or other resources are used. Since those cables cross state lines for the purposes of trade we should make it federal. This idea of yours to make a Counsel of Federal Trade is a grand idea indeed.
    • ... regulation is -never- the answer when it comes to the economy.

      Because we should allow the economy to give us unfettered access to hit men. Yeah. That works well.

      Hey idiot Libertarians - there is no such thing as a "free" market - even your idiot philosophy stops when it comes to things like fraud, theft, and direct harm to individuals. Of course, you like to play intellectually dishonest games like saying that the "free" market doesn't allow that - by what logical principal should you disengage the

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      the public has a say on their policies

      Wouldn't this be regulation?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aonic (878715)

      Let the citizens choose what their public land is used for. If an ISP wants to use that land to lay cable, they should be accountable to the citizens because their land is being used.

      People tend to forget that the citizens are the government. It's not "you vs. them." If you don't like something "the government" (aka "the people we elected") is doing, get involved and fix it. Whining about "tyrrany" and mailing teabags doesn't count.

      • by Ironchew (1069966)

        It's not "you vs. them."

        The consensus among the most vocal crowd on Slashdot is that the government and its various agencies are an extraterrestrial tyrannical force that exists to make our lives a living hell (with the paradoxical exception of our military might), and only the Free Market(tm) can save us. These sorts of people have never understood what democracy entails, and your comment won't enlighten them, sadly.

        • by Shotgun (30919)

          The consensus is that "the government" is not a representative cross section of the populace. "The government" is largely comprised of individuals that believe they have an understanding of what is best for the populace and what is best to do about it. Their overriding arrogance blinds them to the fact that their view of the "problem" is not the same as the populace's view of the "problem". Hubris is always the downfall of the epic hero.

    • All I'm sayin' is that ISPs should be a dumb pipe. ANY traffic going FROM anywhere TO anywhere should be routed, and that's it, PERIOD.

      Route my traffic. Absolutely minimal QoS, no scanning, filtering, inspecting, or responsibility for what is passing through your network.

    • by iamhigh (1252742)
      I know this old (catching up), but I couldn't let it go.

      regulation is -never- the answer when it comes to the economy

      So it is good for something? Anyways, your against it in this case... got it.

      If you can mandate net neutrality over all the net* who is to say that the government can't force ISPs to block certain sites?

      Well, we do have these things called elections. Unless rule of law has been broken, I think a clear majority of citizens can still elect representatives that can get things changed. Call me naive if you want.

      they should be accountable to the citizens because their land is being used

      As wimax comes this may be a more relevant question. But for the most part, every ISP is using public land and certianly public easments and utility propery. So how

  • Laws that allow the finding and punishment of crooks are good for all of us. Let's hope that the agencies involved get enough manpower to really get the job done.

  • Yeah every packet is treated the same, so we don't have to worry about innovation in delivery anymore. Plus we won't have to worry about that pesky content getting delivered that ${current luddites in power} don't like, so more bandwidth available for approved content.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I used to work in an industry where I once heard the following (from a scumbag who ripped off many people):

    "The first time you get a call from the FTC you shit your pants"
    "The second time you get a call from the FTC you piss your pants"
    "The third time you get a call from the FTC you call your lawyer and ask, 'How much will it cost me this time?'"

    People in the spam/telemarketing/shady business/etc. industry think of the FTC as a joke. Their settlements are just a cost of doing business for them. Anything t

  • The FCC should be able to do something. As a Comcast subscriber my Vonage telephone service stopped working reasonably well when they took over the cable internet in my area. When I was with my local cable system before they were bought up I never once had a problem making calls. Miraculously shortly after they took over and starting offering their own service Vonage was no longer useful. This kind of BS needs to stop. They can run out any competition by limiting or putting their service on a higher priorit
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:55PM (#32021516) Homepage Journal

    Any new regulations, be it financial, health insurance, fcc, cdc, whatever, has to be paid for somehow, doesn't it?

    In the past 10 years the Federal budget in US has grown by a factor of 2, that probably means that the Government is twice as big now as it was then.

    Show of hands who here makes 2 times the money now as they made 10 years ago? I know I don't.

    What about the Economy, is it twice as big, twice as strong, produced twice as many goods, created twice as many jobs, anything at all that doubled beside unemployment?

    Didn't think so.

    The US Government at this point is living on borrowed time, so does the US Dollar and the entire country. Question is, what is going to happen when the time runs out? I dread to think of the possibilities, wars, dictatorships, hunger, sickness, mass exodus.

    Bright side? It also could be fun shooting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      Certainly our little excursions into Afghanistan and Iraq haven't helped the Federal Budget, but these are considered anomalies, not continuous spending. I think you really need to look at is Federal Spending as a percentage of GDP. Currently, it appears to be at about 45%, a level it hasn't been at since WWII. I think we need a constitutional amendment capping spending as a percentage of GDP, with an exception for war-time spending. But what percentage is reasonable limit? 10%? 25%? 50%? I'd like to see a
      • by Homburg (213427)

        A constitutional amendment? God help us. If the world can learn one thing from California, it's that you can't solve a state's economic problems by mandating economic policy in its constitution.

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        You only need one thing: stop increasing the spending ceiling.

        That's it. There won't be a need for 'repealing' any new regulations, laws, the Government has spent itself out long time ago, it is constantly borrowing and printing and interest rates are outrageous.

        There is a reason why the US Government continuously borrows against its debt in 30 day periods and not buying 30 year loans, it's because if it tried doing that, the interest rate for 30 year bonds would actually go through the roof and since US is

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Show of hands who here makes 2 times the money now as they made 10 years ago?

      Actually, I do.

      Then again, I do work for the government...

  • FCC needs power to stop comcast from makeing NBC like CSN Philly and makeing it cable only and lock out dish and directv.

    Also why can't CSN Philly be like CSN CHICAGO and be on all systems?

  • or we could just declare ISPs to be telecoms like they are and be able to enforce against them the same as we do for the other companies
  • 'If we had a deterrent, a bigger stick to fine malefactors, that would be helpful,' says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz,

    So what are these cases where your bigger stick (schwartz?) would have been helpful? What would have turned out better? This is nothing but a power grab.

  • The Internet is just a glorified digital telephone line. If the FTC takes over regulation of the 'net, it should also take over regulation of phone and cable TV. Which sort of makes sense -- the FCC should only be regulating information transmitted via RF in free air, including WiFi, Bluetooth, citizen's band, broadcast TV, HAM, wireless handsets, mobile phones, radiation from all electronic devices... uh, since the FCC regulates practically everything having to do with computers, why don't they just regula
  • If state and local government did their fucking jobs, there would be real competition between ISPs and the shitty ISPs would die off or change.
  • the FCC should regulate the internet in america. the internet is a lot more than commerce, and that's why the FTC is the wrong organization to put in charge of our wires & wireless

  • Make the ISPs beg for the FCC to take over regulatory responsibility over the Internet.
  • 'If we had a deterrent, a bigger stick to fine malefactors, that would be helpful,' says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz

    Translation: "If you would just make me king, I would be able to solve all the problems."

  • "Indeed, BitTorrent can be used to transfer large files such as online video, which could threaten Comcast's cable TV business.

    But broadband providers such as Comcast, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. argue that after spending billions of dollars on their networks, they should be able to manage their systems to offer premium services and prevent high-bandwidth applications such as BitTorrent from hogging capacity."

    - perhaps cable companies shouldn't offer a competing business. perhaps th

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