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FCC Finalizes US Net Neutrality Rules 299

Posted by Soulskill
from the final-until-the-next-election-cycle dept.
milbournosphere writes "The FCC has finalized its proposed rules regarding net neutrality. The rules go into effect on 20 November, nearly a year after they passed in a 3-2 vote. The FCC's statement (PDF) summarizes the rules thus: 'First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services. Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services. Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.' It should be noted that some of the language is a little ambiguous; who is to decide what constitutes 'unreasonable discrimination?'"
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FCC Finalizes US Net Neutrality Rules

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  • Judges, that's who! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cfalcon (779563) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:20PM (#37492960)

    "who is to decide what constitutes 'unreasonable discrimination?"

    That can go to court. Yes, it's not perfect, but it's definitely more protection than currently available.

    I'm more worried about "lawful" in there. If that's found to be "an application or webpage that is guaranteed to have no illegal content" or something similar, then we might end up with torrent and freenet blockers anyway.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:23PM (#37493016)

    I get it morons spam, but how about opening it for users on request when we want to have mailservers?

    Internet service with blocked ports is not really internet service.

  • by fingers1122 (636011) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:27PM (#37493082)
    This is better than nothing, but it's only a matter of time before some of the "ambiguity" in the rules are exploited. What scares me most about net neutrality is that virtually no one outside of those who are actively interested know anything about it, and we've already seen a crazy propaganda campaign in the press to define net neutrality as a "government takeover of the Internet."

    If we have any desire for true net neutrality to be upheld, we have to figure out a way to reframe this discussion in the media--and we have to do it quickly or we're going to soon end up with an Internet that is going to resemble broadcast TV more than the open web of information that it is now. I have a bad feeling in my stomach about how net neutrality is going to play out as it seems almost no one understands how vitally important it is.
  • "unlawful" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:35PM (#37493194)

    You guys do realize that everything you do on the internet is unlawful in one fashion or another, somewhere. It's like a police officer following you while you drive. At some point during the trip, regardless of who you are, you're going to do something that is an offense the officer can stop you for. The internet is no different.

    Look at how we've made breaking an EULA a crime. Tell me, how many EULAs do you interact with during your average browsing session? That's just one example... there's thousands more buried in a byzantine legal framework. So basically, the exception that they cannot disrupt "legal" traffic is a carte blanche exception to do whatever they want... because everything is illegal somehow.

    And if not, your ISP will simply adjust their EULA for their website, and set your default homepage to it, and viola.

  • by dbc (135354) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:50PM (#37493364)

    My ISP has this one right, I think. Port 25 and other well-known server ports that are popular among the SPAMinistas are blocked by default (on residential service lines). But opening them up is a simple matter of signing into a configuration page and clicking a button to open the port. They have a few words of warning on the web page, but don't stop you from doing it.

    Let's be realistic, many customers are going to be in the "What's a port?" crowd. They are the ones who's systems are likely to get compromised and have the least idea how to fix it. People who say "I want to run SMTP on port 25." are capable of finding the button on the ISP's web site and clicking it. Also, the ISP runs statistical monitors on anybody who opens port 25. Because you found and clicked the button to open port 25, the ISP has at least half a chance that an e-mail saying: "Dude, do you know your SMTP outbound traffic just spiked up by 20X today, and that you are sending out X MB per day now?" is likely to be read by a sentient being.

    Overall, I think they have the balance about right -- they don't get in your way, but they do things to minimize problems and workload caused by compromised customer systems.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday September 23, 2011 @01:00PM (#37493478)

    Sure they have, one single valid justification for it is that the ISPs are using public resources to run their business and as such should be required to engage in neutral policies.

    I love how you slipped in the word "valid" as if it allows you to ignore the fact that ISPs make use of the public right of way to conduct their business. As long as they're using easements on public land or publicly owned spectrum, the government has the right to expect that they maintain their businesses in a way that is neutral to the various parties that wish to do business with the consumers.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Friday September 23, 2011 @01:09PM (#37493608)

    I don't care. The internet is a two way street. If they don't want you using it they should not be allowed to call it internet service. They should have to sell it as "one way consumption only service for ports 80 and 443."

    The term "internet service" 99.9% of the time in a consumer or residential contract is meant to DELIVER services to you, NOT for you to provide services to others. Of course, this works well because 99.9% of consumers only want or need exactly what is being delivered to them today.

    Interpret that all you want, but the bottom line is chances are your ISP does in fact offer a business-class service that would unblock port 25, 80, or 443. Most consumers bitch about it only because they're too cheap to pay for business-class service, that's all. Go lease your own T1 line if you want to see what "expensive" really is.

    If you want policy to change regarding consumer-class services, then shift the demand. Right now, ISPs don't have consumers in droves beating down their doors demanding they can run web and email servers. And it's not likely to happen anytime soon either.

    And no, I don't work for an ISP. This is just common sense.

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