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Government Politics

Congressmen Send Letters, Hope For Net Neutrality Fades 427

Posted by kdawson
from the making-sausage dept.
The odds of the FCC implementing net-neutrality rules just got much longer. "A bipartisan group of politicians on Monday told FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, in no uncertain terms, to abandon his plans to impose controversial new rules on broadband providers until the US Congress changes the law. Seventy-four House Democrats sent Genachowski ... a letter saying his ideas will 'jeopardize jobs' and 'should not be done without additional direction from Congress.' A separate letter from 37 Senate Republicans, also sent Monday, was more pointed. It accused Genachowski of pushing 'heavy-handed 19th century regulations' that are 'inconceivable' as well as illegal. ... [U]nless something unexpected happens, the fight over Net neutrality will shift a few blocks down Independence Avenue from the FCC to Capitol Hill. (In an editorial Monday, The Washington Post called for just that.)"
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Congressmen Send Letters, Hope For Net Neutrality Fades

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  • what jobs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:36PM (#32344312)

    What phantom jobs are they talking about? Broadband infrastructure investment in the US is dead dead dead. Verizon was the last company investing in broadband infrastructure with their FiOS deployments. They've already announced that they're stopping. No more FiOS. No more broadband.

    How can an industry with a current investment level of ZERO be providing jobs? There are no jobs, because there is no investment. Congress is protecting phantom jobs that don't exist!

  • Correct (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:37PM (#32344326)

    The problem is that the approach Genachowski wants to use means adding ISPs into the existing structure used to regulate telcos. While this would insure net neutrality it would also open a giant can of worms in applying the rest of a giant regulatory structure to ISPs.

    You won't like that.

    The correct approach IS new legislation that narrowly addresses the issue of net neutrality.

  • This November.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:41PM (#32344340)

    Vote for ANYONE but republican or democrat. Anyone. I don't care who. Whatever you do, absolutely do not vote for a republican or democrat. Please?

    Bi-partisan only means that the same corporation has bought you both. That is the only thing that word means anymore.

  • Business as usual (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dcmoebius (1527443) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:49PM (#32344394)
    Cue the unending stream of lobbyists, please. They're on next.

    Seriously, how many people ACTUALLY think that this was anything more than Congress muscling the FCC aside to better suckle at the corporate teat?

    Maybe I'm just being cynical, but I don't see Congress getting territorial over any issue that isn't backed by multi-billion dollar industries.
  • End run (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Struct (660658) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:50PM (#32344402)

    I say the FCC should license a nice fat chunk of wireless spectrum for high power ad hoc peer to peer networking. Then people can put up their own antennas and run their own community-wide public access points. Then maybe the government can help out by connecting the major cities with the longer haul infrastructure. I have to wonder how big of a mess it would be to start, but I also kind of wonder if it might self-organize into a new internet. It'd be delightful to see Comcast's reaction to something like that.

  • Re:This November.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by extrasolar (28341) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @11:05PM (#32344522) Homepage Journal

    I don't think that will actually work, because by supporting minority parties you're not actually making any changes to the government. Okay, you hope that it would, that if you make enough slashdot comments you'll be able to elect a green or a libertarian, but honestly I just don't see that happening. There are a lot more voters than people reading slashdot.

    One thing I think might work is voting against incumbents. What will that accomplish? I don't really know. But it's a stark way of expressing your disapproval of the people who *have* been running things.

  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @11:08PM (#32344542) Journal

    The people who pass the DMCA and the Sonny Bono copyright act lose the right to complain about g 'heavy-handed 19th century regulations'. Corruption in the US seems to have reached new lows.

    What concerns me even more is that world-wide it seems like politicians are more willing than ever to act against the best interests of the people they are meant to be representing, or pass universally unpopular legislation that a well informed public would never vote for directly. Now THAT is corruption. And there seems to be nothing and no one anywhere with the will or ability to stop the landslide.

  • Re:what jobs? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @11:19PM (#32344620)
    So you're suggesting we add a little destruction to the mix? I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
  • Re:End run (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @11:52PM (#32344800)

    To be fair, signals is just as much about when and from where to where as it is about the content. NSA wouldn't be crippled, but it would certainly make things interesting.

    I've had the vision in my brain ever since I used Gnutella, a massive grid of interconnected wireless devices. Everything that needed to communicate could be on the common platform, authenticated through a simple means to your home. You handshake with your neighbors on an untrusted basis and pass traffic encrypted to the endpoint router. Use simple routing tables to transfer around the information about the wireless networks around you and use basic ad hoc+multi-radio to build efficient robust connections. If every device is a router you only ever have to worry about a broken radio at the hardware level.

    So apparently it was a global realization because there are now over 100 different Wireless Mesh routing protocols which make up the foundation of such a vision. Lots of different implementations with lots of different visions. It's actually quite stunning. Even the IEEE is having fun with it and taking a stab in the ring with all the drama that brings.

    It's some interesting times we live in.

  • by znerk (1162519) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @12:40AM (#32345030)

    Are you all ready to have the same thing happen to your internet that happened to the fuel prices when they figured out that the government was in their pockets? It's coming and it's gonna hurt!

    No, it's not. The internet routes around damage. If internet prices skyrocket (and the U.S.A. is already paying more and getting less than many other countries - go figure), people will just create their own network; either mesh networking, or simply wireless routers configured to bridge with other wireless routers - shouldn't be too hard to bounce the signal up the branch until you find a trunk.

    I'm not too concerned about it, anyway; Internet communications are pretty much required to live nowadays. For instance, you can't get a job at a grocery or department store without internet access - they don't have paper applications anymore. The push for paperless has pushed networking onto the stack with the other "basic" utilities. People won't stand for yet another bootheel on the head of the commoners.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @12:54AM (#32345108)

    He wanted people to get involved in government again.

    And do what, vote? Who does he propose we vote for if we want to see change, if not himself?

    Are you suggesting that his platform was "I'm not going to bring any positive change, but I think it'd be neat if someone else did"? Like it or not, he was running on a platform of "change", and now that he's president Gitmo is still open, the government still hates the internet and free speech, there is still no end in sight to our little pet wars, and we not only still have the PATRIOT Act, it was fucking renewed. Obama isn't just "not doing things" because he doesn't have the populace to back him up, he's actively maintaining the status quo.

    And for your knowledge, I'm anything but partisan, I hate all of these fuckers. My contribution to net neutrality is to, as often as possible, advocate a crypto-anarchist mentality and provide people with the technical ability to enforce their own rights. The government is broken, I'm sick of it. The idea of electing a politician to reign in on government overstepping it's bounds is dead. ...Oh don't worry, I'll still vote in every election I'm able to, but that doesn't mean I have to like the situation, and I'm certainly not going to be naive enough to think I'm going to make a difference this way.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:02AM (#32345134)

    So, Obama's message was:

    Have hope! I won't do shit!

    Is that what you're saying?

  • Re:The way I see it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lotana (842533) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:33AM (#32345252)

    Public education ends up being detrimental to the poor also. Because education has become a "right" we have more and more people not trying or in education when they shouldn't pass, but due to our thinking in the US, still manage to. Because of this, a high school degree is more or less worthless.

    According to your perspective, you would rather have even basic education to be a privilege and not a right. Essentially people will need to compete to get the basic education rather than being automatically accepted.

    While, it is true that in such world those that get in would benefit. Less people means more resources available, thus higher quality result. But consider the kids that don't make it for some reason. Could be they come from a poor family and spend more time looking for food (After all, welfare needs to be cut as well according to your second paragraph) rather than focusing on studies. Now rather than having some education as in currently, they would effectively have none.

    Now given a person without any education at all, how do you expect them to climb out of their situation? Would you hire someone that can't read or do even basic of maths? Without a prospect of ever finding work, they will most probably turn to crime just to survive.

    There is a reason that basic education was declared to be a right. It opens up opportunities and give you at least a small chance to better your life.

    But perhaps I am building a straw man. Tell me, what is your plan for the people that miss out on schooling?

  • by hawkingradiation (1526209) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:34AM (#32345264)
    But that is what the government is for. To stop monopolies before they encroach on our rights, provide guidance and direction in the public interest. Who do you trust and who is more bound to the people (not consumer). A vote for one person for every person vs a vote for a shareholder who's only purpose is to derive more money? This is the advantage of government. Must I bring in the need for roads, telecommunications infrastructure etc that we all use but that are immediately not profitable to build for a corporation, especially when another corporation can use those same utilities? Ref: to Europe and Finland and Estonia in particular which have laws for all citizens that Internet access is a right and have developed formulas whereby corporations can provide access to their consumers, which just happen to be the population at large in these countries. Now, is 2/3 penetration a great number after "all the years of investment". I agree with you, the free market is the best way to provide high-quality, affordable service, but what you have in the US is monopolies sitting on their arse, sucking the most money out of their subscribers as possible. Maybe the market should be opened up to allow companies from even other countries to participate in broadband development. The model you speak of requires competition.
  • by jhylkema (545853) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:35AM (#32345266)

    to say that we shouldn't have "intrusive" net neutrality regs and should "let the market decide" instead.

    How's it working out for you guys? What are you going to do when the "free" market, dominated by a few huge players, decides to throttle or block traffic outside of their network? Switch to one of the other huge players that does the same damn thing? This is doubly true given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people and that said huge players don't have to open up their networks.

    So, I put the question to you: Where's this "free" and "open" "competitive" market you guys keep droning on about?

  • Re:The way I see it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:34AM (#32345648)

    A quaint and interesting idea. In this scenario, we should have a say in how all of our tax money gets spent. What do you suppose would happen if we all declared that we wanted our tax money to go to public education and welfare rather than the military-industrial complex?

    You can, it's called a "tax deduction." You get to put your money directly to certain causes of your choice. In exchange, the government does not tax that money. The mathematical result is that you have diverted taxes to the causes of your choice. Try it sometime.

  • What's Really Needed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:41AM (#32345676)

    What's really needed here is something to take as much political influence out of the process as possible, and to eliminate as far as possible the resulting laws'/regulations' ability to be used to control/silence speech.

    Many people feel the internet is another world. I'd agree with this basic concept with the exception that at this point the internet is more like another country and deserves it's own Constitution and Bill of Rights in order to grow, prosper for all, and fulfill the promise the internet holds for every human on the planets' future.

    We need something along the lines of an Internet Constitution & Bill of Rights amended to the US Constitution setting out specific duties, powers, & limits to what the government, ISPs, and backbone providers may do along with a set of basic individual rights for the internet.

    We don't need to re-classify the internet under telco regulations or pass some massive multi-thousand-page monstrosity of a bill that will be a political payoff and power-grab by *somebody* in the end, with very little to address the actual concerns of most here while almost certainly making things worse in multiple ways for most internet users.

    Unfortunately, the only way I can see getting something that isn't a power/wealth grab by one political/corporate interest or another is to have it be a grassroots movement of some sort, as anything coming from politicians of any stripe is nearly guaranteed to be corrupt, or at least end up corrupted by the time it's passed. It would have to be a powerful enough popular demand to overcome fierce resistance from the entire political/governmental structure.

    Well, one can dream.

    Strat

  • Re:Obvious. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VShael (62735) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @04:10AM (#32345760) Journal

    I have never liked that analogy, because the world is far more full of sheep than it is of wolves.

    That saying tends to come more from wealthy Republicans or their sympathisers.

    Democracy is two sheep and wolf deciding what's for lunch. Naturally, the wolf doesn't like this situation and would prefer if the sheep never voted at all.

    Frequently, the wolves like to change the perspective of the saying, and claim it's one rich man and two poor people deciding who pays for lunch.
    And to be honest, once they do that, it's not hard to equate rich man with wolf. Only a fool would equate the rich man with a sheep, surrounded by poor people/angry wolves.

  • Re:End run (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @05:53AM (#32346124)

    Except mesh network scales at n^0.5. You always need a backhaul, and that requires infrastructure.

    Now, there's nothing stopping you from laying some fiber and setting up the backbone for your LiberNet, except that laying fiber is expensive. So what you're saying is that you want to tax ME so that you can get your fiber subsidized. You could reply with some witty reference to the entrenched corporate Illuminati conspiring to prevent you from laying fiber at your own expense, but that just makes your argument sound tin-hattish. The fact is that digging up roads for infrastructure is expensive, and the moment you have enough money to make it happen, you effectively join The Man.

    As an interesting thought experiment: several muni fiber projects like UTOPIA provide layer 2 routing, and a full fiber pipe from the premises to the ISP. Anyone can hang their shingle at the NOC and be an ISP. I'm waiting for someone to set up an ISP whose primary selling point is privacy, and who provides and supports routers that bounce traffic around an internal TOR network before sending it up. It could also solve the ingress/egress tracking vulnerability that TOR has; if every node has enough bandwidth to be both an ingress and a load generator for chaff traffic, it becomes impossible to track.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @08:20AM (#32346870) Homepage Journal

    I still believe it, but you shouldn't mistake the republican version for the one that Obama actually ran on. See, republicans want you to believe in Obama as some sort of savior, and then be disappointed when that fails. What Obama actually ran on was that the populace should have more hope, and the populace should enact the change. He wanted people to get involved in government again.

    From my point of view (as a European having now lived a lifetime in the US), Obama was elected by the virtue of not being Bush. Then, when people discovered he wasn't Thomas A. Edison, Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington and Jesus Christ all rolled into one person, they became horribly disappointed.

    I see both the Obama administration and the current house as fairly conservative, with their hands and hearts in the deep pockets of corporations and lobby organizations. I don't think the US has had a non-bought government or house since the 19th century, but this period is worse than most.
    Why this is allowed not only to continue but become more entrenched with time? Beats me. Perhaps the nation-wide irrational fear of government and trust of corporations might have something to do with it. My perception may be wrong, but I think the typical American has a deep rooted fear bordering on a taboo that governments are dangerous and after his hard earned money, while he harbors no such feelings for corporations, no matter what the track record is. Or it might just be that the average voters are so gullible that they believe advertising campaigns without stopping to think of who actually paid for those campaigns... Who knows. One thing is certain, however: A company won't plonk down millions on politicians without expecting anything back. So don't be surprised when the vote arrives and the politicians give something back.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:14AM (#32347384) Homepage

    Well I can tell you I didn't, and here is why. I tried that with my senators and congressmen/woman three times and you know what? Three times I got back a generic "vote for me!" form letter, and they went against the public interest. And pleeease don't give us that tired "vote the bums out!" bullshit, because we done been there and done that and they only get replaced with a shill with a different letter in front of their name.

    Have you tried talking to them when they're in town? Even if they don't listen to you, it's kinda fun to watch em squirm a bit.

    For instance, I once walked up to Sen George Voinovich (R-OH) and asked him to justify his vote for a large tax cut in light of his longstanding view that the government's budget must be kept balanced. After hemming and hawing for a while, he mentioned that he'd recently gotten a nice chunk of Homeland Security funding to protect the western suburbs of Cleveland (where we happened to be standing) from terrorist threats. I still remember the look on his face when I asked him how that kind of funding to protect against non-existent terrorist threats helped balance the federal budget.

    Oh, and the politicians you actually want in office (yes, they do exist) will tend to respond well to constituents. At worst, they'll apologize, point you to their website, and dash off to their next appointment. That's one of the reasons I actually like the Iowa caucuses and NH primaries starting off the presidential race - both of those environments tend to force candidates to actually answer would-be constituents face-to-face.

  • Re:Obvious. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by copponex (13876) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @10:52AM (#32348672) Homepage

    I really don't think blaming the puppet masters for our own failure to form our own political parties is going to help. The obstacles faced by our generation are simply not comparable to the ones overcome by other oppressed groups. We have free access to information, free assembly, and we cannot be jailed for our political views. They at least have to throw some trumped up charges around instead of just the breach of thoughtcrime.

    All this talk of armed revolution is introducing a very bad idea. It's the hardest way to solve a simple problem: turn off the TV, organize local political parties, and refuse to elect candidates from the Democratic or Republican power centers.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @11:10AM (#32348896) Homepage

    Forget health care reform (at least lots of people supported it in principle even if they didn't like the specific bill) - how about the bailouts at the end of the Bush presidency?

    Congressmen reported that their phones were ringing off the hooks with opposition. The first vote on the bill resulted in a defeat. Then the various powers that be told the representatives who they really served, and they fixed it on the next ballot.

    I won't point at any particular party - they were both complicit. The first-past-the-post system we have really results in a state of competition between parties not unlike the competition between your DSL and Cable ISPs. No wonder they get along so well...

  • Re:No it won't. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:01PM (#32350306) Homepage Journal

    Let's look at this list.

    • This is a power grab by the FCC. you watch.
    • Everything will end up being a giant over-reaction. Problem | Solution | Over-Reaction
    • Cost will go up
    • Civil Rights will go out the window.
    • Some Business's will die
    • Others which should will live like kings
    • People will get hurt.

    Ok. How is telling people that they have to play fair a "power grab"? Surely, the strongest you can say is that this is a denial of a power-grab by the corporate sector.

    Ending up an over-reaction? Uhhh, network neutrality has been the accepted practice since the Internet was invented. Imposing the status quo means that there is no reaction. It is enforced non-reaction.

    Costs will go up? Why? The status quo is network neutrality. The prices are what they are BECAUSE of network neutrality. Corporations imposing controls WILL raise prices (as in the case of the RIAA - you think CDs cost $10 to make?) but doing nothing will, at most, not alter prices at all.

    Civil Rights? I'd say that Tea Partiers being able to control what you see at the network level and being able to impose ABSOLUTE dictatorial power with no possibility of redress is a MAJOR civil rights violation. You are making the corporations Gods, because nobody - not even the Government - will be able to communicate without the express permission of corporate dictators.

    Businesses die? Like I said, this is about mandating the status quo. If businesses couldn't survive in the very environment they were designed for, what makes you think they'd survive in a hostile world where major corporations can simply block them out of existence? (Once network neutrality goes, the gloves will come off. Active, malicious blocking of competitors for the purpose of sabotaging and killing them WILL be the norm.)

    Giving the mega-corps the power to simply disconnect rivals would certainly leave them living like kings. Preventing any corporation from doing so will eliminate such power games.

    People will get hurt? Sure. If there is a bid by wannabe-dictators to seize power over the information you are permitted to see, and the Government denies then that power-bid, people probably will get hurt. Dictators almost always resort to extremes to get what they want. The Government hasn't a great track-record either, but the Tea Party is the one using a vocabulary of violence and extremism. Sure they have freedom of speech, but what gives them the right to rob me of mine?

  • Re:Obvious. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:42PM (#32350752) Homepage Journal

    No, government MUST prevent the corporate powers from controlling the flow of information. That's part of what government is supposed to be for -- to protect the weak from the strong. Otherwise we might as well have anarchy (followed by monarchy, as anarchy always is).

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