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The Courts The Internet Technology

Court Unfriendly To FCC's Internet Slap At Comcast 215

Several sources are reporting that federal judges have been harsh in their examination of the FCC's action against Comcast in 2008 for the throttling of Internet traffic from high-bandwidth file-sharing services. "'You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good,' said US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle during an oral argument. The three-judge panel grilled FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick on the parts of communications law it could cite to justify the Comcast punishment. The FCC argues that it was enforcing an open Internet policy implicit in the law. Judge A. Raymond Randolph repeatedly said the legal provisions cited by the FCC were mere policy statements that by themselves can't justify the commission's action. 'You have yet to identify a specific statute,' he said. The judges' decision in the case could throw into question the FCC's authority to impose open Internet rules."
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Court Unfriendly To FCC's Internet Slap At Comcast

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  • Better Article Link (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:04PM (#30700010)

    For those who don't want to disable noscript, there's a better version of the article at

  • Re:Just Pass a Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheReverandND ( 926450 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:13PM (#30700138) Homepage
    What Comcast did isn't throttling. They engaged in willful packet tampering, by replacing seed packets with reset packets, and that IS already illegal.
  • Re:No Suprise here (Score:3, Informative)

    by jgtg32a ( 1173373 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:14PM (#30700144)

    Do you have any citations on Publicly Owned is better?
    Because IPL does a damn good job at keeping the lights on.

  • Forgery perhaps (Score:4, Informative)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:21PM (#30700248)

    If I understand this correctly what the judge is asking is what law did Comcast break in their actions. If I understand what Comcast was eventually charged with by the FCC wouldn't forgery or impersonating an officer or hijacking all be possible crimes committed? Comcast basically took a packet coming from a sender and hijacked it, injected it with the reset command (forgery), and sent the packet on it's way to the recipient (impersonating a packet from sender which could be looked at like a mail carrier or "officer" of the post office).

  • by undecim ( 1237470 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:22PM (#30700252)

    Any net neutrality law that could make it through congress would be worthless.

    Comcast justifies throttling bittorrent traffic by saying that bittorrent traffic slows down other users' connections making their service unreliable, and the politicians don't know any better.

    Unless it's either written or enforced by completely unbiased technicians (with the assistance of a few legislators), a net neutrality law would only give companies like Comcast a new place to dig up loopholes and lies.

  • Re:No Suprise here (Score:4, Informative)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:36PM (#30700436) Journal

    Nice anecdote. Perhaps it's even true. But the vast majority of publicly owned utilities do in fact provide better service at lower rates. Look at the TVA. [] Look at what happened in South America when water was privatized. []

    In general, privatization only works when there is a robust and competitive market. In the case of public utilities, they are a natural monopoly [], and therefore, a competitive market is impossible. Cooperatives and other forms of public ownership are the most efficient way to run any form of natural monopoly.

  • Re:No Suprise here (Score:3, Informative)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:59PM (#30700720) Journal

    Ooh, an early Reagan quote. Sounds more like a criticism of the Army Corps of Engineers, though, doesn't it? And the criticism could be leveled against any hydro-electric program. As for the debt, it was payed off years ago, (the quyote was from 1966) yet the project continues to protect against floods.

    As for the articles on Venezuela, yes, I agree that climate change has caused some terrible tragedies already, tragedies that affect public and private concerns alike, but how does that relate to my point?

  • Re:Just Pass a Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @07:33PM (#30701934) Homepage Journal

    And they very much can do something about it, they can route around C.

    The point, really, is that you as a customer can't do anything about it. You either accept that ISP C will degrade your traffic, despite having been paid to carry it through existing peering arrangements; or else you go with an ISP that pays a premium to ISP C beyond the peering charge and get shafted.

    Or, of course, you move to ISP C and get shafted by ISP A and B's retalliatory surcharges and/or throttling. As a customer, you still end up a loser.

    The real problem, of course, is that there are a lot more ISP Cs than there are A and Bs, at least for any given customer. If every owner of every yard of fiber in the Internet decides to add arbitrary surcharges, it could quickly cripple the internet. I can see how that might appeal to the likes of Sony and Michael Lynton [], but for most of us, it there really is no positive outcome.

  • Uhhh...dude? I hate to break the news to you, but We, The People [] actually paid for those networks to the tune of 200 Billion (with a B) + in tax breaks and other incentives, and all we got in return was a fart in our general direction. Look up the telecommunications act of 1996 if you want to read the whole bill, but we gave over 200 billion in breaks and payouts for 45Mb nationwide broadband. What we got was the finger.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.