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Senator Diane Feinstein Trying to Kill Net Neutrality 873

An anonymous reader writes "According to the Register, Senator Diane Feinstein is attempting to put language into the stimulus bill that would kill net neutrality. The amendment that her provision was attached to was withdrawn, but lobbyists tell Public Knowledge that Feinstein hopes to put it back into the bill during the closed-door conference committee that reconciles the House and Senate versions." Bad Senator! No Cookie!
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Senator Diane Feinstein Trying to Kill Net Neutrality

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  • How ridiculous. (Score:5, Informative)

    by andytrevino ( 943397 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:01PM (#26813535) Homepage

    Democrats NEVER hide unnecessary spending [] or unrelated projects [] in omnibus spending bills. They're for responsible government [], remember?

    Change! Transparency!

  • by johnsonav ( 1098915 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:04PM (#26813581) Journal

    What amendment changed "government of the people, by the people, for the people" to "government of the politicians, by the politicians, for the corporations.?"

    Which amendment put "government of the people, by the people, for the people" into the Constitution, in the first place?

  • Re:How ridiculous. (Score:4, Informative)

    by EastCoastSurfer ( 310758 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:12PM (#26813721)

    They are all crooks. The hypocrisy of the democrats who ripped on republicans and Bush and now ignore it when they do the EXACT same type of stuff just kills me.

    Change we can believe in ROFL. I'll bet now not one real change will happen.

  • by LNX Systems Engineer ( 1443681 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:13PM (#26813739)

    Feinstein's webpage has an e-mail me section [], from which you can request a USPS snail-mail response. You know what to do! []

    Ms. Feinstein,

    I do not believe it is your place to single-handedly eliminate this country's technological future by sneaking in an anti-net-neutrality provision at the conference committee.

    You should leave that decision up to your colleagues by introducing a separate bill. You wield a very might sword, one whose power you seem to be unacquainted with.

    Have some honor, respect, and dignity. For six of the last eight years, our country was plagued with a congress that did the sort of despicable things that I speak of - and you were thwarted from doing.

    Take the removal of your provision from the stimulus bill as a sign: this stimulus bill has no place legislating communications policy. You are sabotaging this country's Internet future.

    I should know, I work for one of our nation's largest telecoms and my team and I engineer the core networks that make the Internet possible.

    Please hear my plea of openness and transparency - we, the People, expect - and should receive - more from our leaders than shadow amendments inserted into much needed legislation.

    Thank you,


  • by the_crowbar ( 149535 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:24PM (#26813915)

    I do not live in California and am unlikely to be given any consideration from a politician elected in that state. For those that do live in California please contact Mrs Feinstein and let her know that you will definitely not vote for her again if this rider gets added to the stimulus bill. Her contact info ( []):

    Senator Dianne Feinstein
    United States Senate
    331 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510

    Phone: (202) 224-3841
    Fax: (202) 228-3954
    TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:27PM (#26813987)

    AT&T is lobbying in Europe to kill Net Neutrality:

  • Re:How ridiculous. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ForrestFire439 ( 1458475 ) <> on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:31PM (#26814059)

    Unlike the republicans, the democratic party has a lot of people with their own views.

    Right... Because Republicans are just mindless automatons while the Democrats are the epitome of critical thought and non-partisanship. EastCoastSurfer's got it right. They're all crooks. You might want to do some reading into the history of the Democratic party.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:33PM (#26814101) Journal

    The joys of living in a blue state with no term limits on senators...

    Even if your state wanted to it couldn't put term limits on Federal offices. It was tried and SCOTUS shot it down []. We'd need a Constitutional Amendment to term limit these bastards. Given that the Congresscritters themselves get a vote on amendments through the typical process, we'll have to convince 2/3'rds of the state legislatures to call for a convention.

  • Re:How ridiculous. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:34PM (#26814119)

    Because there are no rules at all as to how the conference committee should go about formulating the compromise bill.

    Note that the compromise bill *does* have to be voted up or down (but no amendments) by both the House and the Senate afterwards. That is in fact the purpose of the conference committee--it resolves the paradox that the House and the Senate amend bills *separately* while they are on the floor, but must both vote in favor of an
    *identical* bill in order for that bill to advance to the President for his signing or veto. If the conference committee gets too cute in abusing their powers to write whatever they want, the chambers can vote not to pass it. It doesn't happen often, but it *does* happen, and almost the only time it happens is when the conference committee strays too far from making an actual compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:38PM (#26814177)

    That's because you're an idiot. California has two of the worst senators in the US Senate. Who elects those clowns? Is the airhead-botox vote that large of a demographic in California?

  • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:38PM (#26814185) Homepage
    Because most people understand that it will kill e-commerce if website now have to pay for bandwidth to their servers and for the bandwidth to the end users (Which the end user is paying for already by the way).
  • by fprintf ( 82740 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:45PM (#26814345) Journal

    One other thing to add would be shifting political priorities by the incumbent Senator. Joe Lieberman came really close to losing his Senate seat in Connecticut... and he rewarded the state and the majority party here by going on the stump for John McCain. I read a Quinnipiac opinion poll yesterday that shows Christopher Dodd, the Sr. Senator from CT, is in trouble with the electorate. The poll does not indicate whether people would prefer a republican in his place, or just a new democrat, but the public is ready for a change it seems. There has been no massive demographic shift - this state has always been somewhat left of center, largely due to Fairfield County philanthropists and the rest of the state having some very poor cities.

    So not disagreeing with you about the likelihood of an incumbent Senator losing their seat, but there may be other reasons besides felonies and demographic shifts that drive change.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:45PM (#26814357)

    I am a resident of California and I sent a message today to Senator Feinstein to express my displeasure with her actions. If you live in California and you don't want to see this become law, I suggest you do the same thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:50PM (#26814433)
  • by Life2Short ( 593815 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:55PM (#26814539)
    She was always something dragged out of a cesspool. I was in California during her run against Michael Huffington for the Senate. Lots of dirty tricks... Among my favorites: both agreed not to use notes during a televised debate. Feinstein had written notes on her hand, and when she gestured they could be seen by the television audience; Feinstein's camp revealed that Huffington's house had been purchased under a contract that stated that he would not turn around and sell it to a member of a racial minority. The San Francisco papers then started digging and found that Feinstein had purchased a house under similar conditions. Better for everyone if she would crawl back under the rock from which she came, and I say that as a lifelong Democrat.
  • by kencoe ( 1474539 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @12:55PM (#26814547) Homepage
    I understand why we would all like to comment here, but why not send your comment to her directly, as this bill is supposed to come out of committee today... []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @01:07PM (#26814773)

    Control everything. How true. I really hoped it would be otherwise but already I'm getting a sense of deja vu with the Obama administration.

    When Tony Blair and the Labour Party gained power in the UK in 1997 there was the rock star entrance, big fuss, yay tories out, etc. Government grew rapidly in size. Taxation went way up. Borders disappeared and immigration went crazy. Everything was sold to foreign interests. They intruded more and more into our lives (how many UK /. stories about CCTV/monitoring/DNA/etc have you seen? There are loads). We now live in a hellish nanny state where we're taxed to death (wealth redistribution to the EU and newcomers) and can't do or say anything without breaking some EU law or upsetting a Muslim or ultra leftie socialist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @01:13PM (#26814885)

  • by justleavealonemmmkay ( 1207142 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @01:15PM (#26814915)

    I'd put it another way.

    Net neutrality is to the free flow of information as currency is to the free flow trade items.

    You want gizmos, you have gadgets. You tell the gizmo vendor you give him two mandays' worth of gadgets for two mandays' worth of gizmos, he tells you he doesn't need gadgets, he needs stuff. You go to the stuff vendor, and exchange the gadgets for stuff. You go back to the gizmo vendor and finally you have your gizmos.

    With currency, you just go to the gizmo vendor and buy the gizmos with simoleons, separating the gizmo-simoleons transaction from any other transaction. Provided you can always sell your gadgets at some market price points, you'll always have simoleons to buy gizmos.

    Now without Net Neutrality, you'd have to give extra money to the midget porn vendor so that HE can pay your ISP to get interested in relaying midget porn for you. Seen the anecdotical interest in midget porn, it's not even sure midget porn would be available. Compare to the current model where everybody, from consumer to ISP to online service provider, just pays for whatever upstream/downstream they need.

    Basically, without Net Neutrality, the Internet would have been yet another AOL/Compuserve/Prodigy.

    Basically, lack of Net Neutrality means some videos on online video sites are not available to me because they are "Not available for your country".

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @01:40PM (#26815319)

    I've always found it suspicious that the same ./ers who tell the government to "keep out of my internets" are so supportive of giving the government more footholds in regulating the net.

    While I'm on the side of the fence that you describe, I recognize that the internet was created by the government, is administered by the government, and is actually run by a small number of very large companies. Since multiple Internets running in parallel would be counterproductive, I recognize that the "free market" is not an answer here, and the government should keep the administering companies in line. It simply becomes a question of how much regulation, very much like other utilities.

    I also recognize a very large difference between regulating how a utility is run vs. how the utility is used. To add a bad analogy, I am all for the government regulating the power companies, but I don't want them telling me what I can do with the delivered power.

  • by jdgeorge ( 18767 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @01:44PM (#26815411)

    I mean, I thought it was the Republicans who were destroying America and the Democrats were going to save us? You mean to tell me that they are all beholden to business interests? Say it it isn't so!

    Ah, see? And yet again, because it's a Democrat party senator going against the ./ grain, the little (D) mark after the name is absent from the intro blurb. Curious how that always happens. Whenever it's a Republican senator or congressman in the hot seat, that little (R) is right there to make sure everyone knows it. I've pointed this out before, and here it is again. Coincidence? Oversight? Not this many times it ain't.

    Hmmm.... My gut thought this might be true, but my brain told me I should pay Myth Busters their due by actually taking a peek at a list of relevant stories posted in Slashdot [].

    By browsing through the list of stories which mention a US Senator, there is no identifiable pattern of senators being identified by party. I see many instances of less-known senators of both parties being identified with their party affiliation, and many more instances of well-known senators of either party being mentioned without noting the party.

    It is conceivable that a thorough statistical analysis would show some bias, but it is not at all obvious at a quick glance. The AC's post is demonstrably false as written. the R is not always noted, and the D does show up in a negative context (such as here [], or here []).

    I consider this myth busted.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @02:09PM (#26815803) Journal

    Also we are concerned about companies like and who are secretly charging the ISPs (and therefore the customers) to access their websites. And blocking access for those that do not pay (comcast customers). Perhaps the fee is only 10 cents per home, but it's still more than I want to pay for that shit.

    The net should be neutral with NO fees whatsoever, except voluntary subscriptions ( for example).

  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Informative)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @02:22PM (#26816039) Homepage Journal
    "Your sources are diverse "

    I'm at work and a bit lazy..just went for the first hits I could get when googling the topics, which I heard on various tv news stations last night and this morning.

    But indeed....a mandated electronic medical record system, that is accessible and controlled by the feds? Well, I think anyone can see the possibilities for abuse. Heck, I'm not thrilled with their other databases they have on people, like the no fly lists, and the soon to come RealID databases. Add that all in with total medical history, and govt. healthcare and voila....

    Look into the writings [] of the guy they wanted to BE in charge of health care, Tom Daschle. He's made statements "In my book, Critical: What We Can Do About the American Health-Care Crisis, I have proposed a Federal Health Board that would be a foundation from which we could address all three problems. In many ways, the Federal Health Board would resemble our current Federal Reserve Board for the banking industry."

    Yeah, I think we've ALL see the great work the Fed has done with banking and all today, eh?

    Again, from the guy that was to design the new healthcare system said "The decisions made by the Federal Health Board would be tough." but would be better than what we have. What are these TOUGH decisions they're gonna have to make? Rationing? Well according to this blurb "Perhaps most importantly, the Board would assess the effectiveness and costs of various treatments. He stops short of saying the U.S. should have a U.K.-style, hard-and-fast rule on cost-effectiveness. But he does say the U.S. "won't be able to make a significant dent in health-care spending without getting into the nitty-gritty of which treatments are the most clinically valuable and cost effective." [] his plan certainly sounds like the decisions of this board can overrule a local Dr's treatment decisions. We humans,despite looking a great deal alike, are VERY different, and a one size fits all tx regiment kinda scares me.

    I"m also not thrilled with a committee deciding [] if I'm too old to get a particular treatment.

    Sure, the medical record and collections thing looks pretty innocent as is stated in the bill, but, if you look at him wanting Tom in there to reform medical care, his beliefs, and, I don't think it is much of a stretch to see what this might be laying the groundwork for...

  • by virtigex ( 323685 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @02:26PM (#26816099)
    I do live in CA and here's what I sent:
    Network Neutrality. I have been reading about Senator Feinstein's attempts to introduce legislation into the current stimulus bill to allow ISPs to filter content. California is home to many internet business "start-ups" which would be adversely affected by this. I am aware that ISPs such as Comcast repeatedly lobby for this ability, since allows them to charge organizations for not reducing the quality of transmission of web services and to block services that compete with their own, such as VOIP.
    I'm also aware that the excuse put forward for allowing ISPs to throttle traffic is to prevent odious uses of internet technology, such as child pornography. However, this argument ignores the fact that content filtering can easily be subverted by determined individuals using a variety of cryptographic and other techniques. The end result of Sen Feinstein's proposed legislation is that legitimate actions and small businesses will be discriminated against by ISPs such as Comcast. Criminals will soon adapt continue their illegal activities with only minor convenience.
    I would like to ask Sen Feinstein to desist with her attempts to introduce this and other similar legislation and concentrate on trying to create a free, open and healthy economy in the US. If she persists, she can expect negative feedback from myself and other technologists through all available means, including the ballot box.
  • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @02:37PM (#26816297) Homepage

    Republicans always get blaimed for everything bad that happens in this country. The sad thing is most Americans don't even know which party is in control in Washington. While the Republican hating masses were giving Congress a single digit approval rating, most of them didn't even realize it was the Democrats who were in charge of Congress

    Republicans: in charge of the House from 1994-2006, in charge of the Whitehouse from 2001 until three weeks ago, majority of the Senate from 1995-2006 except for a brief period in 2002 when Jeffords' defection gave the Democrats a 1 member lead (and I guess three weeks when Al Gore was still VP and it was briefly split). Supreme Court essentially narrowly split, although you can credibly argue that the Roberts appointment made the court on balance Republican to some approximation. This is essentially Republican control from 2001 until early 2007.

    Democrats: majority in the house from 2006, essentially split Senate from 2006, bare majority for Democrats given Sanders and Lieberman's caucus choice. But given the narrow split, the veto stick held by a Republican presidency, and the composition of the Democratic majority (esp. blue dogs in conservative districts), "control" is a pretty tenuous term for even the two houses of congress. Meanwhile, Republicans still hold the presidency and with Alito's appointment the court becomes arguably more Republican.

    Who doesn't understand which party has been in control in Washington?

    In 2-4 years, the Democrats won't have that excuse anymore, and accountability is important. I have no problem with people calling them out on specific policy positions and voting them out next election if that's what it takes.

    But it's ludicrous to assert that Democrats are primarily responsible for the current state of things. And it's a little extra stupid to accuse others who apparently have a better grasp of recent history than you do of not understanding what's going on. U.S. policy for the last decade has been dominated by the Republicans, there's no other reasonable conclusion. Whether the Democrats can do any better is an open question, but it's really only been askable for about three weeks.

  • Reality Check indeed (Score:3, Informative)

    by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @02:39PM (#26816337)

    While the Republican hating masses were giving Congress a single digit approval rating, most of them didn't even realize it was the Democrats who were in charge of Congress.

    For TWO out of the last EIGHT years. And of course Republicans held the White House and the Supreme Court the entire time. But don't let that stop you from pretending that our current problems were caused by the 2006 election.

    DiFi is DINO on all but two issues: environmentalism and women's issues. Anything else, and she's your standard-issue big business, warmongering Republican.

    Ditch the bitch.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @03:06PM (#26816847) Journal

    That's a little misunderstanding that a lot of people have. ISP's are not common carriers even though they have protections similar to one and sometimes use lines that are regulated as common carrier status.

    The ISPs never actually had common carrier status at all. A few years back with the communications deregulation act, someone (I forget who) attempted to force Time Warner to provide access to their road runner lines. The FCC ruled that internet was an information service and not subject to common carrier status like Cable TV or Phone service. This made it through the courts [] upholding the FCC's notion of it being an information service and not a common carrier even though the lines it is delivered on, other internet services might be, and/or the parent company might be. The DMCA legislation provides common carrier like protections to ISPs which keeps the confusion alive.

  • Re:How ridiculous. (Score:4, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @03:12PM (#26816955) Journal

    I think if I were president I would veto virtually every bill that crosses my desk. Congress would have to demonstrate, through a 2/3rd override vote, that they really and truly want to make law. None of this "sneak amendments through the backdoor" shit.

    Imagine how much money we would save with the multiple failed bills & therefore less money spent.

  • Re:How ridiculous. (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @03:19PM (#26817069) Journal

    >>>the Republicans are any better, either. They're as guilty as the Dems for pissing away hundreds of billions in Iraq

    200 billion to be precise.

    For comparison the BushTARP and ObamaStim bills will have 1000 billion in *interest* alone. Plus around 2300 billion in actual stimulus. The money spent in Iraq is small potatoes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @04:35PM (#26818321)

    I have just called the good Senator's LA office and expressed my displeasure. According to the nice lady that answered the phone, the anti net-neutrality provisions did not make it on the bill.

    Los Angeles
    11111 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 915
    Los Angeles, CA 90025
    Phone: (310) 914-7300
    Fax: (310) 914-7318


    Rev. Stevo

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein