Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government The Courts United States News Technology Your Rights Online

GOP Senators Move To Block FCC On Net Neutrality 709

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-regulates-the-regulators dept.
suraj.sun writes "Seven Republican senators have announced a plan to curb the Obama administration's push to impose controversial Net neutrality regulations on the Internet." "The FCC's rush to take over the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers," says Sen. Jim DeMint, who I'm sure truly only has the consumer's needs at heart — since his campaign contributions list AT&T in his top five donating organizations.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

GOP Senators Move To Block FCC On Net Neutrality

Comments Filter:
  • WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:12PM (#32991306)

    The FCC's rush to takeover the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers.

    The FCC is trying to protect consumers, you fuck. Honestly, do these people believe that anyone will swallow lies like that?

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:16PM (#32991348)
      "OMG THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO CONTROL THE INTERNET!"

      That is what typical people who do not understand the net neutrality issue think when they hear that the FCC wants to enforce net neutrality. It does not help that Fox news, the most popular news network in America, has people like Glenn Beck calling net neutrality a socialist plot.
    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Moryath (553296) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:18PM (#32991374)

      I want to know something.

      Why are we all worried over 7 republicraps when yesterday it was 73 paid-off democraps [arstechnica.com] doing precisely the same thing?

      The problem is ALL OF THEM, corrupt boobs on both sides of the aisle, not one side or the other. Sheesh.

      • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:22PM (#32991448)
        I know that. I never said otherwise. I was addressing this particular liar's statement. Unlike most of my countrymen (and a surprising number of posters here), I'm not stupid enough to think that one party is less corrupt and power-hungry than the other.
    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:23PM (#32991468) Homepage Journal

      Honestly, do these people believe that anyone will swallow lies like that?

      Given the hysteria that greets any attempt at ensuring net neutrality, the answer to your question appears to be "yes." And I'm not just talking about telecom industry shills and their bought-and-paid-for politicians, either. Read any story that mentions net neutrality on Slashdot -- where people really ought to know better -- and you'll see that many people have swallowed the propaganda hook, line, and sinker. There are a lot of people, including many technically literate people, who actually believe that (a) net neutrality decreases broadband users' freedom of choice, (b) telling telcos that they can't discriminate based on packet origin will somehow morph into forcing discrimination based on content, or (c) some combination of the above. And it seems that there is simply no amount of explanation of what net neutrality actually is, and how it works, which will get through to people who think like this.

    • Oh yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by adamwright (536224) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:26PM (#32991536) Homepage

      Oh yes, they believe that people will swallow them. I'm making a kind of personal anthropological study of the changes to the US right (which, to most of the Western world, is becoming the "far right", or possibly "So far right, it's in danger of wrap around"). These people truly seem believe that *any* kind of government is an evil threat to liberty (how these people can draw a salary as a government employee is an excellent example of living with cognitive dissonance - *my* government job is OK, *my* farm subsidy is an exception to the rule of free markets). There seems to be a growing group who would prefer that the sum total role of government would be to issue all newborns with a bible and a gun, then vanish for all eternity.

      I caricature, of course. Not all republicans are this far gone. Unfortunately, It's getting hard to find any vocal examples who are not.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KarrdeSW (996917) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:26PM (#32991538)

      The FCC's rush to takeover the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers

      Oddly enough he still uses the words "fundamental reform", which would imply a piece of legislation.

      DeMint probably supports McCain's Internet Freedom Act of 2009 [loc.gov]. Which prohibits the FCC from placing any regulation over the internet.

      Of course, not to be confused with the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 [loc.gov]. Which is the actual net neutrality bill that asks the FCC to enact consumer protections.

      Though neither bill is technically aptly named, since in both cases the "freedom" of one body is going to limit another. Consumers and corporations just have competing interests here. That's how it goes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by polar red (215081)

        Consumers and corporations just have competing interests here.

        please explain me how internet neutrality is bad for corporations ?

      • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:58PM (#32992060)
        Why should any of us give a damn about freedoms for corporations? Take a look at the constitution of the United States of America some time, and you might notice that the document does not make many guarantees about freedoms for enterprises or corporations of any sort, although it does explicitly grant power to regulate commerce.
    • in the united states, you have people who will vociferously fight even legislation that is good for them and increases their rights, like common sense healthcare reform, because they would rather believe demagogues on the radio and propaganda outlets on the television that report "the news"

      behind these demagogues and propaganda outlets are big business concerns, who have realized they can pay to have opinion swayed in their direction by demonizing brain dead obvious common good legislation that costs corporations money. they have convinced the idiots to fight for the reduction of their own rights. they call legislation in the name of the common good "socialism," "liberalism," or any number of demonized words whom those who oppose "socialism" or "liberalism" don't even really understand

      all they know is "socialism is a bad word." well, what does socialism mean? "its means bad stuff." could you define it ideologically please? "it's anti-american." would you like to know the 19th century american history of labor rights- "shut up you communist fascist terrorist"

      this is what intelligent americans are up against: corporations whipping up the low end of the iq curve into a rabid hysteria

      americans: go to europe. ask a european about socialism. you will find out the word is boring and just common sense. europeans have a much higher standard of living then you, dear propagandized low iq americans. they also have much higher taxes... but they DON'T PAY FOR SERVICES YOU PAY A LOT MORE FOR

      truth, idiots: you're still taxed, whether for health care or oil or broadband, but by corporate boardrooms instead of uncle sam, and you are taxed a heck of a lot more! idiots: you are being manipulated by trolls in the employ of big business to think things against your own self-interest, and you are too stupid to see it. wake the fuck up

      rest of the world: i apologize that the american experiment in democracy has been warped by corporate influence. there are still americans who recognize the threat and would like nothing more than to remove that corporate financial influence from our democracy. unfortunately, it is very difficult to fight billions of dollars in lobbyists and media buys. but we're trying. wish us luck. if we fail, then the usa becomes nothing more than a slave state to corporate interests, and any slave who dare suggests big business should pay more for the care of their slaves is "unamerican." unbelievable

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @02:49PM (#32993922) Homepage

        I'm reminded of an old Adlai Stevenson quip:
        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!"
        Adlai: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden (135043)

      The FCC's rush to takeover the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers.

      The FCC is trying to protect consumers, you fuck. Honestly, do these people believe that anyone will swallow lies like that?

      The strategy of "if you say something enough times, it becomes true" is so common in politics these days that it might as well get it's own sunday morning talk show. If his statement upsets you, seriously, either your ears just started working or your head is about half a second away from exploding.

      "Say whatever puts you in the best light and hope at least half of the people believe it" is a staple of the brave new partisan world we find ourselves in. Good luck out there.

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:08PM (#32992220) Journal

      Honestly, do these people believe that anyone will swallow lies like that?

      Um yes? Have you not been paying attention? The entire history of politics, during my lifetime at least, has been the people swallowing one ridiculous lie after another. From "trickle down economics" to Obama's "change" rhetoric, they lie and lie and lie and people still believe them.

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tthomas48 (180798) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @03:22PM (#32994436) Homepage

      Well they believe Obama is a socialist, that ACORN is primarily an institution for providing tax advice to pimps, and that lowering taxes increases tax revenue no matter how low the taxes go.

      So yes. Yes I do.

  • Jim DeMint (Score:4, Funny)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:13PM (#32991312)

    That's what happens when you put Clemson grads in the Senate. :-)

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:17PM (#32991368)

    I like that the FCC is trying to ensure net neutrality but I have two problems with it.

    First and foremost, if you're being honest with yourself, these kinds of decisions are too important to leave up to people in non-elected positions. Just because I agree with the decision they made doesn't make it right to try and do an end run around the politicos to get their way. Imagine if the FCC were doing the opposite, and trying to encourage a non-neutral net.

    Secondly, this wouldn't be a law on the books. All it would take for this policy to change would be a new management at the FCC. That means both that businesses couldn't count on it staying the same for any kind of long term and that the next election cycle could see it thrown out the window without so much as a vote in congress.

    Put it through congress the way these kinds of policies were always meant to be. At least give the American people the chance to pretend that they can still influence their congressmen and make it a bit more difficult for the policy to be overturned when the political winds change.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:26PM (#32991532)
      Unfortunately, our elected representatives no longer represent our interests. Case in point: both democrats and republics in congress are taking a stand against net neutrality regulations, and there just are not enough third party representatives right now.
      • I trust bureaucrats very little but I trust politicians not at all.

        I live in New Jersey... I KNOW better.

        A promise is something a politician breaks at the first smell of a dollar bill waved in his tax fattened face.

        We'd do a lot better without elected officials (who owe favors and/or money to the people who paid for 'em.)

    • by Grond (15515) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:55PM (#32992012) Homepage

      First and foremost, if you're being honest with yourself, these kinds of decisions are too important to leave up to people in non-elected positions. Just because I agree with the decision they made doesn't make it right to try and do an end run around the politicos to get their way.

      The FCC can only do what the law that created it allows it to do, plus other powers granted to it by Congress through additional legislation. This isn't an "end run around the politicos." The legislature has already given the FCC the power to do this. It's the whole reason we have agencies: we grant rule-making power to experts so that Congress can focus on other issues.

      Imagine if the FCC were doing the opposite, and trying to encourage a non-neutral net.

      Then we'd have to live with the consequences of an agency exercising the powers duly granted to it by Congress. We could petition the FCC not do so, and we could lobby Congress to override it, but there wouldn't be anything inherently inappropriate about it as long as it's within the FCC's rulemaking authority.

      Secondly, this wouldn't be a law on the books. All it would take for this policy to change would be a new management at the FCC. That means both that businesses couldn't count on it staying the same for any kind of long term and that the next election cycle could see it thrown out the window without so much as a vote in congress.

      As a technical point it would be "on the books" (the Code of Federal Regulations) and it would probably carry with it the force of law. But anyway, your argument could just as easily be applied to all regulations. The fact that they can be changed without Congressional approval is a feature, not a bug. It allows the regulations to be updated more frequently, for one thing. For another, deference to the executive branch is a decision Congress made when it passed the law giving the FCC the power to make these kinds of rules.

      And anyway, that argument basically amounts to "since this good thing might be taken away later, we shouldn't bother with it in the first place," which isn't a very good argument at all since ultimately everything is subject to change, even the Constitution.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:17PM (#32991370) Homepage Journal
    huh ? especially when these and 2 other companies hold almost all american backbone infrastructure in their own hands ? and for some reason, they are acting in unison. gee. i wonder why that is.

    really. who will protect the consumer from their stranglehold ? 'invisible hand' of the market ? fairies ? what do you do when 4 companies hold an entire nation hostage, act together ? wait for 4-5 years for a new backbone provider to come up ? do you have that time ? and dont bullshit me about 'competition' by the way - it has never been a reality in between mega companies at the very top. they always act in conjunction.
  • by DaHat (247651) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:19PM (#32991406) Homepage

    Noting that an evil republican has AT&T (the PAC and its employees on their own) be #3 on his donors list makes him bad... but the fact that both the Telecom Services & Equipment [usnews.com] AND Telephone Utilities [usnews.com] (just to name a few industries) overwhelmingly has been giving to Democrats makes them... good? Or is that just not worthy of mentioning?

    • by chaboud (231590) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:27PM (#32991542) Homepage Journal

      I imagine that this is why Obama is trying to do this with the FCC (and not congress).

      That said, I'm fairly convinced that Julius Genachowski and his crack squad of broadband-all-the-time lawyers and business types have no friggin' clue how the technology works or how to address problems of scale.

      Net Neutrality, yes, good. Massive hand-over of wireless spectrum to private wireless providers instead of building up a national infrastructure? Dumb.

    • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:29PM (#32991572)
      If you look at the "major political campaign donations" lists, I believe telecoms have overwhelmingly given to Democrats as well... as have most tech companies. For AT&T specifically [opensecrets.org], they favor Republicans by 2% at the moment. It has shifted back and forth.
    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:04PM (#32992154) Homepage

      This issue of who AT&T donates to is really really easy to settle. All we need to do is go to research that looks directly at who's giving what to whom, which is thankfully available right here [opensecrets.org].

      As you can see, the general story is:
      1. AT&T has given more to Republicans since 1994, but gives huge amounts of cash to candidates of both major parties.
      2. AT&T has handed out more cash than any other organization in the country since 1990.

  • by supermariosd (1854156) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:20PM (#32991412)
    "Freedom of Consumer Choice" implies that most consumers have a choice when selecting a broadband provider. Lots of folks are stuck with good ol' Comcast because they're the only provider in the area.
    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:26PM (#32991528)
      Well, then instead of campaigning for "net neutrality" (whatever the government decides that means), you should be campaigning for the government to break up the high speed Internet monopolies.
      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:51PM (#32991932)
        The problem is that it isnt the federal government enforcing the monopolies, hell.. its not even the state governments doing it.

        Its every little community preventing the build-out of alternative infrastructure.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dpilot (134227)

          > Its every little community preventing the build-out of alternative infrastructure.

          Last I looked, it was the corporations preventing the build-out of alternative infrastructure by little communities. There are quite a few states that have laws outright forbidding municipal internet service, and quite a few more states have erected some pretty nasty roadblocks, though they haven't forbidden it outright.

      • by raddan (519638) *
        There's no reason why you can't support both causes.
  • by Spiked_Three (626260) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:25PM (#32991504)
    People get pissed at the government, and after the economy crashes and we have the biggest loss of freedoms this country has ever seen we vote out the brain donor bush, and bring in Obama. Then people get pissed that the economy still hasn't recovered, and both wars are still on-going, so we will vote out the democrats and bring back the same ignorant moron party we had before. Somewhere in there is a lesson - its not the parties that are broken, its the entire system, and it isn't going to change. And until some country like Iran or China gets far enough ahead that they can successfully invade and take over the US, we are stuck in this life sucking loop.
    It shouldn't take much longer, with the republicans again in charge they can replace all education with bible schools, and deprive everyone of the internet, thus providing the total mind control they so desperately seek, making the country ripe for attack (again).
    I have given up arguing with people in my area. The Republicans make some of the stupidest talking points, and my town soaks it up like a sponge, the weak minded bunch that they are, willing to be lead to any demise, because Jesus will save them.
  • fixed (Score:4, Funny)

    by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:25PM (#32991512) Homepage Journal

    "The FCC's rush to takeover the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect big cable companies".

    There, fixed that for you Jim (Sen. Jim DeMint)

  • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2NO@SPAManthonymclin.com> on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:35PM (#32991664) Homepage

    "The FCC's rush to takeover the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers" says Sen. Jim DeMint

    Fucking hell. What about the need for fundamental reform to protect citizens?

    I'm glad my elected officials feel they need speak up for consumers, and not constituents.

  • Hold the Spin (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Altruist (1448701) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:36PM (#32991676)

    And READ THE -~=*FRIENDLY*=~- ARTICLE. All of it.

    DeMint's received contributions from ATT: $37,500. Total Funding Received: $6.33M
    As far as Candidates receiving funds from Computer and Internet Industries: DeMint ranks #35.
    Telecom Services & Equipment: #20.
    Both of those rankings are WELL below several names of Democrats.
    If DeMint's in anybody's back pocket it's Old People. Retirement. Insurance. Real Estate. Securities and Investment.

    Quoted:
    "In theory, many Democrats favor Net neutrality. President Obama recently reiterated through a spokesman that he remains "committed" to the idea, as have some Democratic committee chairmen.

    But theory doesn't always mesh with political practice. More than 70 House Democrats sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski instructing him to abandon his Net neutrality plans. A majority of Congress now opposes Genachowski's proposals. "

    I'm sorry, what were we talking about again?

  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@NOSpam.kc.rr.com> on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:39PM (#32991758) Homepage

    Im usually not pro regulation, but in this case I cant see how doing nothing is pro-consumer. The arguments about regulation stifling innovation would have made more sense 15 years but today its usually just small companies creating stuff that gets bought up by the big companies. The costs are already passed to the consumers so its not like regulation would make that any different, if anything it would encourage the companies to actually become competitive and put some effort into support and network quality rather than just sitting back and enjoying their monopoly knowing that in many areas you have no choice.

    In the area I live, I have 2 choices for Internet access, Time Warner or AT&T, i can opt for 3rd parties for DSL but have to pay local loop and access charges that make 3rd party solutions more than twice as expensive. Many parts of town have one or the other but not both. The rural areas south of me have no choice other than hughes net since the cable and phone companies don't feel expansion out that way is worth their time and money. Both the cable and phone company bundle their services to the point where the "cheap" access ($30 a month) is barely better than dial up. The area is so over subscribed and even on a good day in the off peak hours I rarely get half the advertised speeds. I support my clients via vpn connections and regularly do offsite backups, etc. I was forced to move from a residential connection to a business class because according to the cable company I used too much bandwidth. I now pay around $100 a month for a slower connection than I had 5 years ago and each year sees an increase in prices of at least a couple bucks.

    I was involved in a project years back to attempt to bring municipal wifi to our downtown area, the cable and phone companies pitched a fit and managed to block it. 3 years ago a second cable company tried to expand into the area, it too was blocked.

    The US model of telecommunications is extremely flawed IMHO, between locked carriers, subsidized phones, local carrier monopolies, and free reign to change the "rules" at any time the current model is a mess and as is there is absolutely no hope of it getting better.

    The biggest problem I see is that the carriers want the best of both worlds, they want us to pay for their buildouts and upgrades through tiffs and tax incentives, but then want to be the sole provider as well. Rather than spend money expanding capacity, they throw in caps to artificially increase capacity while at the same time advertise streaming media, online gaming and other bandwidth intensive things as the reason to get them in the first place. I cant see things really improving until something changes.

  • by Androclese (627848) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:42PM (#32991820)
    There is the Geek way of defining it: "No filtering, blocking, or censoring of content going across the wire." (simplified, but you get my point)

    The other is the politician way of defining it: "all speech on the Internet must be neutral and balanced". Essentially, the equivalent of the "Fairness Doctrine" that was imposed (and revoked) on the visual and audio media years and years ago.

    Unfortunately, this distinction is lost in a lot of these discussions. Do not assume that just because it says "Net Neutrality", that it is defined as you think it is.

    For the record, I am for the former and against the latter.
  • Call your Senator (Score:5, Informative)

    by tibman (623933) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:55PM (#32992010) Homepage

    Called my Senator's office and gave my opinion. I keep their numbers in my phone so this kind of thing is easy to do.

    Everybody (US Citizens) should call theirs to shoot this bill down. The FCC has been doing a good job so far to protect consumers. There's no need to limit them like this. You can find your senator's contact information here: http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm [senate.gov]

    When you call the number, just tell the person who answers that you'd like to give your opinion. They will ask for your name and address and what message you wish to pass along to the senator. You might get a letter back in the mail concerning your opinions and what actually happened with the bill. You can hang these letters on your fridge and any ladies passing by will be impressed with your official correspondence with the government.

  • by dpilot (134227) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:37PM (#32992732) Homepage Journal

    Summary: The US private sector has already proven itself incapable of creating the internet. What makes ANYONE thing that in managing it they won't make the same type of mistakes that prevented them from creating it? What makes anyone thing that given a free hand, they won't simply destroy it, or at the very least cripple future growth.

    There are certainly some grey-haired ones here on Slashdot. Think back a bit... a bit further. Go back to those prehistoric days before 1995, for a moment. Better yet, back a bit further still.

    There was an internet. It existed in some universities, DOD installations, and DARPA contractors. It had email and ftp. To exchange information there was this thing called Usenet, which was actually useful before Green Card and AOL opened the floodgates. To publish information there was this nifty thing called gopher. Something called a web might have just barely been starting. Oh yeah, bang-paths, too. I almost forgot about those.

    Then there was the private sector. Compuserve, AOL, GEnie, Prodigy, TheSource, home-grown BBSes. People on Compuserve talked to people on Compuserve and accessed information Compuserve made available or partnered for. Ditto for AOL, GEnie, Prodigy, TheSource, etc. NONE OF THEM WERE ANYTHING LIKE THE INTERNET!! ALL OF THEM WERE VYING FOR THE WHOLE PIE!! Now I'll quit shouting. In the private sector, many of those home-grown BBSes networked with each other. Modems dialed modems late at night when rates were low, and moved information from island to island.

    My point is simply this in the US the corporate sector plays a winner-take-all game, cooperating only when necessary. They had several years in which they could have bridged their networks together, (peering?) and they didn't. They all wanted to be the Winner, they all wanted to take all.

    It's even worse than this, because NONE of those prior networks were terribly versatile. They all fielded what the corporate business plans called for. They supported applications, they supported functions.

    This is also really key. The corporate networks were essentially fixed-function - they didn't support simple transport.

    The internet came along, and not only was it built on cooperation, so EVERYONE could play, it was built on transport, not function. Who thinks that when they sent the first email from node to node, they were thinking about p2p, streaming video, TOR, bittorrent, MMORPG, skype, SETI and Folding @Home, clouds, grids and the like? They were thinking ahead though, and realized that things could come beyond their current imagination.

    From what I can see, business interests haven't learned SPIT in the intervening 15-20 years. They want to erect walls so they can extract more money from under any rock they can turn to find it. They want to give preference to their content over any other. They know what they like, and make sure it can happen, they know what they don't like and hinder it as they can get away with it, and they neglect what they don't or can't imagine, or perhaps hinder it out of caution.

    In the US, the government has no monopoly on stupidity.
    In the US, the marketplace is so messed up as to be virtually incapable of addressing corporate stupidity.
    In the US, the campaign process is so messed up as to be virtually incapable of addressing government stupidity.

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.

Working...