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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.
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GOP Senators Move To Block FCC On Net Neutrality

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  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:26AM (#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    Unfortunately, our elected representatives no longer represent our interests.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.
  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KarrdeSW (996917) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:26AM (#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.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:28AM (#32991560) Homepage

    What amazes me... absolutely amazes me... is how people can honestly be so stupid (yes, stupid ) as to believe that Bush III^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HObama would actually go for genuine network neutrality, openness and freedom (or even an approximation of those).

    This is a nothing more than a second attempt at a power grab. There is only 1 thing worse than the current system, and that's the current system backed by force of law and convoluted regulation from the FCC which will only entrench the established players even more.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:51AM (#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:WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by polar red (215081) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:52AM (#32991960)

    FREE SPEECH != NEWS.

  • by Grond (15515) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:55AM (#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.

  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:09PM (#32992236)

    Gee, I don't know . . .

    Vaccination Programs

    heavily favor vaccine manufacturers

    School Lunches

    maybe

    Schools, in general

    schools are a government program not a government regulation

    The road you drive on

    not a government regulation at all

    The Internet I'm typing on

    not a government regulation

    Social Security

    not a government regulation

    Medicare

    not a government regulation

    Food Stamps

    not a government regulationbr I did not ask about government programs, but about government regulations. What corporate interest is being regulated by any of these which supposedly favored consumers more than they favored entrenched incumbents in some industry?

  • Re:WTF (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:11PM (#32992268)

    Why? Why is a naked chest less damaging to a child than a slit throat.

    "But, but bb-but Violence KILLLSSS PEOPLE.!!!eleven!one!!1"

    It's also dead simple to explain to even a three year old. A three year old understand when his dog or his grandmother dies. He understands that when he gets cut, it hurts. He doesn't understand the emotional ramifications of becoming a manwhore, or the damage he can do to a young woman's psyche when he casually sexes her up and then dumps her the next day.

    Boobs aren't dangerous, sex isn't dangerous, but there are a lot of unhappy people out there with terrible ideas about sex- most of which come from the media. Violence, on the other hand, hasn't gone on some meteoric rise after we put it on TV.. if anything, it's gone down.

  • Re:WTF (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:35PM (#32992694)

    on my last transatlantic flight, i saw numerous laptops, netbooks, and ipads open with videos playing. almost all of the movies had some sort of nude scene in them and, at least the people closest to me, didn't skip any part of the movie. there were kids on the plane and elderly women. then i get on to my last leg which was a domestic flight. i turn on a movie with sparse bits of nudity. as soon as the nude scene came on i hear people behind me gasp. the scene was a flashback, lasted about 15 seconds. i hear *DING* the sound to call an attendant. the next thing that happens blew my mind away. "sir if you continue to watch pornography on your laptop, i will have to ask the pilot to land the plane so you may be escorted off the plane". i rewinded back to the scene and asked "this one?" she squirmed uncomfortably. "yes sir, if you watch anything like that on the plane we will have to escort you off". well my vacation has already been shitty, so i just turned off my laptop and went to sleep. i didn't want to have to deal with the tsa goons.

  • by dpilot (134227) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:37PM (#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.

  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:43PM (#32992854)

    The FCC is a member of the executive branch, so will be influenced by whatever president is in office, right?

    Somewhat, but not like most federal agencies. It's a quasi-autonomous agency (like the Fed), in that once appointed you cannot be removed for your five-year term (short of impeachment). The Senate has to confirm appointments. Also, no more than 60% can belong to any one political party.

    But you are right... how dare we leave regulation up to the internet to simply whoever happens control the presidency and the Senate. I mean, we should let a magic eight ball run it!

  • Re:WTF (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:50PM (#32992980)

    Who cares about the size of government? I don't care about "big" government, nor "small" government. I want smart government. "Small" government is not a good thing if all roads are privatized and people have to wear GPS sensors on their shoes, bicycles, and vehicles so they get billed per foot traveled on various paths. Big government isn't a good thing if there are checkpoints every block or so where an ID card is needed to get past for "security" reasons.

    There are some things only the government is able to do. Roads and travel for example. Airlines are in a such pathetic state that they need regulation to ensure basic passenger safety and comfort. They are not going to stop charging fees, squeezing in more people, and cutting corners on plane upkeep unless governments step in, tell them "no" and have a stiff penalty for not complying.

  • Re:WTF (Score:4, Interesting)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:52PM (#32993014)

    Rather than allow other vendors to string their own "wires" the wires should be run as a public utility allowing anyone to sell their wares over them. I don't want to see 10 more wires hanging on the poles outside my house to to have my street dug up 5 different times so someone can bury their own wires. Just give me one pipe and allow any ISP or other service to sell to me as they will.

  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Burz (138833) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:14PM (#32993386) Journal

    Actually, dpolak's message is more apt than you might think.

    Fox went to court against two of its former reporters who were fired for exposing high hormone levels in milk. Fox wanted them to show the milk was OK when it wasn't. So the case was about Fox's "right" to knowingly distort information and lie to its viewers.

    Comcast's issue with net neutrality is that it was caught distorting information (falsifying data packets) to prevent P2P type protocols from working.

  • Re:WTF (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bonch (38532) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:31PM (#32993648)

    This comment is completely insane. The "Fairness Doctrine" (another one of those lovely, loaded names for legislation) would give the government the power to judge how "fair" it thought something was being. This alone should sound alarm bells, but apparently, Slashdot has almost completely lost its libertarian viewpoint and veered way off into big-government land, so I'll go on.

    The Fairness Doctrine gives the government the power to micro-manage ideas. It's an attempt to artificially inflate an opposing viewpoint to create what the government thinks is a "fair and balanced" (sound familiar?) worldview. No government should have the right to decide how fair it thinks the media is being. The media must always be free to report on what it wants. Corrupt politicians could abuse the Fairness Doctrine to prop up a particular viewpoint in spite of what the public actually thought about something, thereby giving the government control over the flow of information. It's a step toward state-controlled media.

    The Fairness Doctrine was sour grapes from the more liberal politicians in Congress who hated that conservative radio and TV talk shows were so effective in getting their message across, yet liberal radio stations like Air America couldn't find an audience. It apparently never occurred to them that newspapers and network news are well-known to skew left-of-center, but Fox News was just too good a counter and way too popular and uncontrolled for their liking.

    TOUGH SHIT. That's the market. Come up with a better product, and you'll find customers. Part of living in a democracy is tolerating the existence of opposing opinions. This is reminiscent of Al Gore's crusade to save newspapers from the internet, as if it's the government's job to rescue every industry that becomes obsolete. If journalists at a newspaper want to keep working, make a better product (in this case, they need to adapt to alternative media like the web the way conservatives did). The government will never properly micromanage something like this.

    The internet is uncontrollable--it puts power in the hands of the city-state rather than the nation-state. In fact, much of Obama's time in office has been an example of the struggle between the rise of power of the anti-government city-state against the faltering, pro-government nation-state. If you don't like Fox News, that doesn't mean it requires government regulation. Again, this should be self-evident to someone with a brain, but this is Slashdot. If you don't like Fox News, you start a rival station, or you release negative documentaries about Fox News, or start websites criticizing it. This whiny, obsessive need to run to the government whenever you come across something you don't like is a genuine threat to the freedom of ideas.

    So the FCC is the organization that can protect the consumer if it has the laws and regulations to do so. It has done more in the past and with net neutrality and maybe recovering the fairness doctrine we can get back to a more friendly place in the airwaves that is part of the public trust.

    Truly, a frightening scenario. A government deciding what information is allowed through internet traffic and what information is reported to the public. I'll pass on that kind of "protection."

    YOU think the airwaves aren't a friendly place because you are probably not a conservative, so you don't like hearing conservative shows. It actually bothers you that they exist and are popular. That doesn't mean they should be regulated or restricted so that liberal shows get a "fair shot." It just means the conservatives found their market, and your guys didn't. There are lots of stupid ideas out there I think are ridiculous, but I'd never run to the government to try to silence them.

    Seriously, what happened to the libertarian Slashdot? This place has really gone left-of-center in a sort of scary way. Arguing in favor of government regulation of the media? Really surprising.

  • Re:WTF (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:58PM (#32994074)
    You do understand that segregation in the South pre-Civil Rights Act existed by force of law, not by choice of business? The segregation on the buses that Rosa Parks protested against wasn't there because the bus companies wanted it. On the contrary, the bus companies wanted to run integrated buses because it made more business sense, but a law was passed requiring them to segregate their buses.
    You do not need to legislate that businesses serve all people, those that will take money from anyone who wants to buy their services will be more successful than those who refuse to do business with certain persons for reasons not related to business. For example, in the 50s, many white owned night clubs would only book white acts and only allow whites in. Amazingly, the most successful night clubs at the time were black owned night clubs that would allow anybody in who wanted to pay (and after one booked Buddy Holly because they thought he was black, would book any act that appealed to their audience).
    Personally, I do not know any conservatives that want big government in any flavor at all. All the conservatives I know have seen that the more that people strive to get big government to control big business, the more big business controls government.
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @03:48PM (#32995724)

    Congrats on coming back - hopefully without something like PTSD or TBI.

    Whether it feels like it or not is irrelevant. Many Europeans claim that their healthcare is free - it isn't, it just feels like it because they never even see the part of the pay check that goes towards taxes. It's the same with external costs like wars to secure enough oil. To some extent, the calculation is straightforward: take the sum of the cost of all the gulf wars, divide by the total of americans that have lived during that time span, and you have your personal cost. I'd rather not do it, it'll just depress me.

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