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The Internet Government Your Rights Online Politics

New 'Net Neutrality' Bill Introduced 145

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Reps Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chip Pickering (R-MS) introduced the 'Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008' (HR 5353) this week. The proposed legislation [PDF] would not legislate what is and is not 'neutral'. Instead, it would add a section to the 'Broadband Policy' section of the Communications Act which spells out principles the FCC is expected to uphold, in addition to having them hold summits which would 'assess competition, consumer protection, and consumer choice issues related to broadband Internet access services' and make it easy for citizens to submit comments or complaints online."
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New 'Net Neutrality' Bill Introduced

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  • Non news (Score:1, Flamebait)

    Do news sites even realize the sheer number of doomed bills that are introduced into congress? It's news when it has support past that initial congressman.
    • Re:Non news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KublaiKhan ( 522918 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @07:13PM (#22412964) Homepage Journal
      Which is precisely why I wrote my congresscritter asking him to support it.

      Why don't you do the same?
      • I can't agree more, and in fact, I did write David Price about it... and he replied! Gotta love an involved congressman.
    • Also, man the "repshavenopower" tag...
  • "... make it easy for citizens to submit comments or complaints online."

    Those comments are always ignored, apparently.
    • by penix1 ( 722987 )
      Nothing in that statement says anything about reading them, only submitting them. So the FCC creates a webpage that allows you to blow off your steam and as soon as you hit "submit" it goes to /dev/null with all the other public comment. Hey, it was easy for you to submit wasn't it?
    • They just have very powerful spam filters at the FCC.
  • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @07:19PM (#22413038)
    As long as Comcast et al keep up with their regular "contributions" to the FCC, they'll just look the other way.
    • Insightful? How can Comcast "contribute" to the FCC in the way hinted?
      • The usual way: Federal Commissioners somehow accidentally let slip the id #s of their Swiss or Caiman Island bank accounts & money keeps showing up in those bank accounts after the Commissioners pass regulations which somehow incorporate ideas brought up in "casual" discussions with Comcast liasons.
        Yes, I'm kidding. I hope.
    • Recent Decisions are favoring the telcos over the MSOs... not that it really matters in this case.
  • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @07:20PM (#22413052) Journal
    What good are new laws or guidelines if they go unenforced? Man in the middle attacks are already illegal, but Comcast [] continues unabated. It's like having a Constitution that law makers ignore. Until someone goes to prison for ignoring it, its value becomes symbolic at best.
    • Like how does the FCC [] get to:

      The courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely. It may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of the day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.

      from "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech,..."?
      Maybe I don't know what "abridging" means to lawyers, but [] defines it as " to shorten in duration or extent ".

      How does restricting the

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        Because the government has armies, and a slashdot poster doesn't? Hm, you must be new here.
      • IANAL. Abridgements of the freedom of speech get strict scrutiny. Protecting the public from indecency (boobies) somehow passes the strict scrutiny test.
        • I am not talking about boobies, but that is another issue.

          Just try to say the words "shit" or "fuck" on the radio. No images, movies, or pictures there, but somehow you can get fined for that. That is very specifically a free speech issue. Maybe someone who is about to get a bunch of negative publicity could change their name to "Mr. Shit Fuck", and then you couldn't be featured in the radio/TV at all.
      • Because there are a bunch of people who complain to the FCC at the drop of a hat when there is the slightest bit of something interesting on TV. Remember that NYPD Blue episode? Children are aware that human beings have asses. But to put it on TV?! The outrage! And NYPD Blue?! Thats just the type of show which children love!!! Wont somebody, anybody, please, pretty pretty please with cherries and whipped topping think of the children?
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          human beings have asses.
          No, they don't! You take that back! How dare you imply that people are so base and lowly, that they'd have something as indignant and disgusting as an ass?!? Monkeys have asses; humans are above that.
    • Like a Constitution that Lawmakers ignore?!? Say it ain't so!
  • This is a good thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @07:25PM (#22413116) Journal
    Since there isn't yet a problem for Net Neutrality laws to fix, it seems a little early to define what is and isn't net neutrality. Such a law is quite likely to permit bad behaviour, and have undesirable side effects. Both problems that would take several years to fix legislatively.

    By extending the scope of the FCC, changes can be made much more quickly. Bad rules can be repealled quickly. New guidelines issued. Explicit behaviour prevented as soon as it starts.
    • by Jherek Carnelian ( 831679 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:31PM (#22414506)

      Since there isn't yet a problem for Net Neutrality laws to fix, it seems a little early to define what is and isn't net neutrality.
      Net neutrality was the law of the land in the USA until just a couple of years ago.

      In 2005 the supreme court reclassified ISPs as "information providers" rather than "telecommuniactions providers." Those terms have specific meaning under the tariffs that regulate the telecom industry. Essentially "telecommunications providers" have a set of rules they must abide by that include most of the concepts generally referred to under the umbrella of "network neutrality" while "information providers" are not so regulated.

      Brand X []
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by redxxx ( 1194349 )
      This assumes that we trust the FCC.

      I think there is a fair argument for not doing so. A fair argument for them becoming content cops. A fair argument for them already being loudly against such enforcement, seeing as the won't spank comcast breaking existing laws.

      I don't really have the power or money to defend my interests. Telecoms do. I don't have an army of lobbyists and lawyers. Telecoms do. The closest thing I have to a real representatives is Google and FLOSS friendly companies like SUN, and that
  • It has a nice name "internet freedom," but i would bet money it was supported or even written by the the communications industry. Why? Because they are scared $hitle$$ of regulation that will prevent them from creating a tiered internet (like cable, your cell phone features, etc). With a democratic president and congress a possibility, they have good reason to push something light through now.

    Companies have to hedge their bets about what congress and what the public will do--when will people get pissed o
    • With a democratic president and congress a possibility, they have good reason to push something light through now.
      Why? Last I checked, they donate and lobby both parties.
  • lawful purposes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by +Addict-09+ ( 239664 )
    to maintain the freedom to use for lawful purposes broadband telecommunications networks, including the Internet, without unreasonable interference from or discrimination by network operators, as has been the policy and history of the Internet and the basis of user expectations since its inception;

    Interesting that they stuck the word "lawful" in there, as well as "unreasonable interference". This bill won't change anything.
  • Now, instead of proposing concrete net neutrality laws like they should, they are spouting some vague pseudo-free shit that tries to immitate the constitution in its wording for marketing effetcs, in order to appease the naive populace.

  • Anybody know about Markey's future career plans? Pickering has already declared he's not running for reelection this fall; he's a lame duck. (Yes, he's quitting to "spend more time with his family". No, I don't know what the dirt on him really is.)

    I'm not unhappy to see him sponsoring the bill - he's my Congresscritter - but he's not going to be around next year, so he doesn't have a lot of votes left to swap support for.

    • Markey will be going to work as a Telecom industry lobbyist to gut Net Neutrality. This bill is a total utter bullshit sellout to his future employers.
  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @07:48PM (#22413392) Homepage
    Can politicians lay off the whitewashing of bill names? I'd like to request the "Freedom from freedom naming Act" which would mandate that all bills are simply numerically titled, so that for example, politicians and people will actually have to learn about bill #654934792 before voting on it.

    I'm really sick of these 'patriotic names' which usually have little or nothing to do with what the bill encompasses,
    • The name is sometimes completely contrary to the contents of the bill.

      Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001
      Full Text []

      The captcha word was 'litigate' - hilarious.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Re: your suggestion, at first I thought people would just start referring to laws by nickname, and nothing would change de facto. But on second thought, in my state there's names for bills like "Proposition 23," and they don't get the nickname treatment, as far as I've seen. So maybe your idea would help somewhat.
    • by Jorgandar ( 450573 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @08:46PM (#22414076)
      We'll attach that provision to my new happy fluffy kittens bill. I'm certain it will pass. Who would vote against happy fluffy kittens?
    • by raddan ( 519638 )
      On the other hand, this bill really does happen to concern itself with Internet freedom preservation. Unlike, say, the USA PATRIOT Act, which has real patriots spinning in their graves.

      Before you knock the bill based on the name, go have a read. Ed Markey has been consistently on the side of technological freedom, and he's a very bright guy. I'd say he's one of the very few politicians who really understand technology. I might not have noticed myself (I admittedly don't pay as much attention to my Co
  • by Shadowlore ( 10860 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @08:01PM (#22413530) Journal
    be sure to expect the Comcasts of the world to mark that traffic as the lowest priority possible, thus taking forever to actually get to those sites to log a complaint.

    "The remote server timed out. Try again later."
  • by darthfracas ( 1144839 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @08:27PM (#22413846)
    the economist in me is wondering something... what would happen to broadband competition if instead of leaving the infrastructure in the hands of the telcos, it was put under the charge of a third party, who in turn sold bandwidth to ISPs, similar to how DSL providers were able to operate before Verizon and AT&T switched to fiber optics?

    the way i'm seeing things right now, more choice would lower costs to consumers (which naturally the telcos would oppose), but if an ISP was caught doing something shaky (traffic shaping, etc), consumers would have other choices than their cable or phone company. having competing infrastructures strikes me as having to choice which company's sewers i flush my toilet into. it would make things simpler to have the one infrastructure.
    • by Erpo ( 237853 )
      What if the one company controlling the one infrastructure decides that traffic shaping is a good thing?
  • by jimmyjoebillybob ( 1152993 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:11PM (#22414314)
    This is more Washington Double speak. This bill would not ensure internet freedom anymore than the PATRIOT act is patriotic.
  • I don't like to be cynical, but I wouldn't get any hopes up over this bill. Remember that this is an election year, so even passing it (and making the FCC "study" the issue) is probably just about making a show of concern, rather than actually changing anything. (Or even heading off any threats before they happen.)

    When I get time, I should write a journal entry about how I became a neutrality violator, too. (I promise that the issue is more complex than it might appear.)

  • "...and make it easy for citizens to submit comments or complaints online."

    But what if your ISP starts filtering traffic to that website? ;O

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.