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Al Franken Makes a Case For Net Neutrality 604

jomama717 writes "In a post titled 'The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time' this morning on The Huffington Post, Senator Al Franken lays down a powerful case for net neutrality, as well as a grim scenario if the current draft regulations being considered by the FCC are accepted. Quoting: 'The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don't do that at all. They're worse than nothing. That's why Tuesday is such an important day. The FCC will be meeting to discuss those regulations, and we must make sure that its members understand that allowing corporations to control the Internet is simply unacceptable. Although Chairman Genachowski's draft Order has not been made public, early reports make clear that it falls far short of protecting net neutrality.'"
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Al Franken Makes a Case For Net Neutrality

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  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:12PM (#34618988) Homepage

    Stop spreading FUD. Net Neutrality is about preventing corporate control, not granting government control.

  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:12PM (#34618990)

    yeah, about that.... the govt track record is so much better.

    Is anyone supposed to get upset because a bunch of sites selling knock off products get shut down? It's funny how slashtards constantly say the government should go after the real "pirates" and yet when they do, as in the case you quoted, you still find something to bitch and moan about.

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:16PM (#34619050)
    What, they shut down websites with little oversight and even shut down legitimate sites? Yeah - who would care about that!
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:20PM (#34619134)

    Don't be a tool. This isn't an either-or situation where we get either oppressive government control or oppressive corporate control. Ground rules simply need to be laid that the corporations can operate in which bar them from abusing consumers.

    Simply declaring them Title II carriers would help, since they'd be blinded as to the content and unable to bill piecemeal or throttle abusively. As it is Verizon, AT&T et. al. will get their way and we'll be left with a broken wireless internet that serves entirely the desires of the corporations providing access and not the people who actually use it.

  • by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:23PM (#34619160)

    So you've never heard of "voting with your wallet"?

    Perhaps many people could do so in the form of choosing a different one of the total one broadband provider in their area.

  • Re:Liberals FCC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:24PM (#34619176)

    As oppposed to an FCC "run by conservatives for conservatives" where we get, what, exactly?

    I would much rather have Corporations control the internet by providing ISP services that have any government at any level involved.

    So you think the only options are "Government Abuse" and "Corporate Abuse"? Perhaps you shouldn't sit idly by while corporations take over the government, like you're so willing to let them do.

    Man, you're just an irrational idiot. I don't know why I'm responding to you.

  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:25PM (#34619184)

    Studies have shown that 'knock off' sites actually create more demand for the 'legit' products.

    And yet your post is suspiciously absent of even one citation.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:26PM (#34619210)

    The ONLY way to stop corporate control of something by a small group of companies with lobbying power is not to regulate it. End of story.

    Any other ideas are pure fantasy. As we can see with the notion that "Net Neutrality" is awesome, just not THIS specific regulation. Get real, any regulation written is going to benefit someone.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:27PM (#34619224) Journal

    You've been modded insightful, but you've not read the ideas coming out of the FCC. Their idea of net neutrality would indeed mean government control - such as the idea the UK Government proposed to block all porn (even nudity) unless the customer specifically asks for it. The FCC also discussed applying the Fairness Doctrine to the web, and 3 strike rules to ban customers for downloading songs (no need for trial - just do it).

    I trust corporations more than I do a Monopoly (government). The only time government should interfere is in the case of a utility monopoly like the phone, electric, water, or cable company. But in the case of yanking websites like or (as suggested by Congressman Rockefeller)??? That's taking it too far, but that's what these guys wish to do.

  • What I cannot get over is the complacency of the applications service providers, SaaS, Web 2.0 companies, and venture captilists whose entire business model is dependent upon a neutral net.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:42PM (#34619482) Homepage Journal

    [sigh] I'm going to explain this as simply as possible.

    There are people who want to censor the internet. Some of them are in government, some of them are in industry. There are also people who want to keep the internet free. Some of them are in government, some of them are in industry. Those of us who want the internet to remain a medium for free speech should oppose the actions of the first group, wherever they appear, and support the actions of the second group, wherever they appear. The choice is not "government control vs. industry control" but "censorhip vs. freedom," and net neutrality serves the "freedom" side.

    If you oppose net neutrality, you are on the side of the censors. If you support net neutrality, you are on the side of freedom.

    That's it. That's all there is.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:45PM (#34619530) Journal

    The People drove Circuit City into bankruptcy.
    Also GM.
    And Wards.
    They can do the same with any other corporation they don't like. Look at Blockbuster which is teetering on the verge of death.

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:46PM (#34619544)
    Only kooks dismiss net neutrality because they hate Al Franken. Lay off the Fox News.
  • Re:Yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:48PM (#34619584)

    I suppose the one thing we can expect a comedian-by-trade to understand is....

    On the contrary, I have always found a strong correlation between a sense of humor and intelligence.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:52PM (#34619672) Journal

    So you believe that corporations should be allowed to use any old dirty tricks they want, and we should simply wait until enough people catch on and decide not to do business with them? That approach leads to fascism, my friend, and then you won't get to vote with your wallet, because there won't be any non-fascist options.

  • by darjen ( 879890 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:53PM (#34619686)

    Enron collapsed as soon as we discovered they were doing wrong. That was the whole point. Nowadays, the wrongdoers get bailed out by taxpayer money, and keep on doing wrong without repercussion.

    AT&T and Time Warner exist in their current form solely because of government regulation, consolidation, and franchise of past utility companies, under the guise of "natural monopoly". Government is still the reason there is no competition. If it wasn't for that, there would still be several competing utility companies in my town. []

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:56PM (#34619736) Journal

    The problem is that by allowing corporations to grow into monopolies and mega-corporations who have diversified and subsumed entire markets, the only way to vote with your wallet is to move into a cave and start knocking out stone axes. Take any major industry... food for example. If you do a little research you find that it all boils down to half a dozen super corporations, that control everything from the seed that's planted to the packaging that arrives at your grocery store. What are you going to do? How are you going to vote? Do you honestly plan to stop eating at restaurants or buying the 95% percent of the food on the shelves that contains the wheat, soy, or corn products produced by those mega-corporations? You know the ones, that are receiving billions of dollars of your tax dollars in subsidies for the privilege of better controlling your life. Go a little further. Those same companies are also producing the ethanol that is mixed with the gas you drive your car with, or the soy oil that is used in everything from fried food to industrial solvents, or even the chemicals derived from wheat and corn that find their way into everything from textiles to plastic bottles to computers.

    WAKE UP! If you spend a dollar anywhere, any more, you voted for them. Voting with your wallet is now a quaint and sadly naive concept. The time for sleep walking is over, if you want a vote you'd better get real clear where your votes are currently going.

  • by beakerMeep ( 716990 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:56PM (#34619740)

    Copyright law and Net Neutrality are not the same thing. I think he clearly came down on the wrong side of that issue, but the right side of this issue.

    Net Neutrality needs supporters, if that happens to make strange bedfellows out of pro RIAA politicians, so be it.

  • by zero0ne ( 1309517 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @03:59PM (#34619792) Journal

    Net Neutrality isn't going to stop QoS, it is stopping the ISPs from double dipping... going to netflix and saying "hey if you don't pay us 100k a month, we are going to bandwidth limit _your service_ to all our customers tomorrow" The ISP then limits netflix traffic in their customer pool, and pushes their video on demand service....

    This IS the issue at hand.

    If we don't get some type of net neutrality, what happens when Joe the Plumber who runs starts getting strong armed by their ISP? Hey Joe, we noticed that you are getting kinda big in your city... if you don't pay us an extra 1,000 bucks a month, we are going to block our customers in your city from viewing your site...

    QoS on the other hand, is saying that _any_ type of VoIP packet traversing our network gets tagged priority 1, urgent and important (IE low latency and error free), and any bittorrent traffic will get tagged priority 7. This way VoIP on their network doesn't start experiencing latency if their network becomes saturated by torrent traffic.

    BAD QoS is when the company says ComcastVoIPService gets priority 1 while Skype gets priority 6... now they are unfairly limiting a competitors product, of course they won't have problems giving skype a priority 1 tag for you if you want to pay an extra $5 per month... and as long as Skype is paying them handsomely for the no latency privilege.

  • Re:Yay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @04:01PM (#34619838) Homepage Journal
    No surprise. There's a strong correlation between being funny and being intelligent. You have to be both intelligent and observant to come up with jokes that people find funny.
  • by NiceGeek ( 126629 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @04:02PM (#34619856)

    Of course, when *all* ISPs do this (and it will happen) how exactly do you vote with your wallet?

  • by TypoNAM ( 695420 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @04:21PM (#34620174)

    I normally don't reply to trolls, but in case anybody takes your comment seriously, consider this.

    How about this, I'm trying to have a skype video call with aunt Betty, but keep getting video and audio packet loss cause people like you keep hogging up all the neighborhood bandwidth by watching your netflix, youtube, and other media streaming services when you all could just go out and get DirecTV or something. And little Johnny down the street says you're killing him in online gaming cause his ping is so high he's unable to snipe the enemy sniper in the battles on 2fort in Team Fortress 2. That's not all. Dave next door says you're causing him to get up very early in the morning, say 3 AM-ish so he can get decent VPN connection speeds to the work VPN server in order to get work files uploaded and synced on time.

    It's so easy to blame everybody else for your connection issues, when in fact what you and countless others have been doing is causing grief with everybody else. And who's at fault? Not you, Betty, me, Dave, or little Johnny. The people at fault are the ones managing our connections, the ISP. They're the ones that are suppose to be managing this shit correctly by keeping their networks maintained, upgraded when necessary, using something like a round-ribbon load balancer to keep neighborhood bandwidth usage per peer fair (basically evenly distributed), and not deliberately cripple services in order to justify their yearly price increases.

    And look at it this way. The ISP sold me a up to 1.5mbps / 256kps DSL connection. So, who are you to say what I can and cannot use it for, and when and when not I can use it? I paid $53/month for this connection and I'm going to use it how I please. Just as you want to use it how you please. You want to watch your netflix and I want to watch a web cam of a christmas light setup from somebody in Boulder, Colorado.

    Net Neutrality is an idea to prevent ISPs from deciding that netflix and youtube traffic to their customers isn't cost effective, so they either throttle it way down, basically giving them the lowest QoS priority, unless they get paid extra by charging you additional fees to be able to use said services, and also billing netflix and youtube for the traffic going to their customers. Doesn't make sense since we the ISP customers pay the ISP already for said internet service, and netflix and youtube, etc... pay their ISPs for internet service. So, everything is already paid for. But its the greed of the ISPs that want to change the rules.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 20, 2010 @04:42PM (#34620434)

    Minnesota is not Wisconsin.

  • by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_20 ... minus cat> on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:18PM (#34620902)

    Same here.

    but on this issue, it appears that this *Comedian* certainly has a better grasp on this issue than the *Experts* at the FCC.

    Nope, his grasp is just as bad as the FCC's. He says the FCC already has the "power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality" but he does not name those powers. As a matter of fact court rulings have said the FCC does not have those powers. In order to get around those court rulings the FCC is unilaterally making changes to it's regulations.


  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:36PM (#34621152) Journal

    Where is your evidence? Your statement sounds like opinion. When has Franken disregarded the constitution? And for that matter, where in the Constitution does it prohibit socialism?

    I'm not trying to be mean here, but you come across as angry and uninformed in your posts. If you provided even one example of Franken acting against the Constitution, you wouldn't sound so juvenile. As it is, it sounds like you are trying to preach to the choir, to convince only those who are already convinced, and what good is that?

  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @05:39PM (#34621196) Homepage

    If you limit the power the government has over your life, then it doesn't matter who "controls" the government.

    I love the hidden assumption here: that by limiting the power of government, you increase the power of individuals.

    Of course, anyone familiar with the 1800s knows full well that doesn't follow.

    The reality is that, if you limit the power of government, you increase the power of corporations. And given the growth in size and scope of corporations in the last hundred years or so, that lesson is *especially* relevant today.

  • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @06:37PM (#34622048)
    Oh no, Socialism! What ever shall we do, with universal healthcare and trains that actually work? I do hope you reserve an equal portion of ire for the extraordinary rendition crowd and the guys trying to charge Assange for treason against a country he isn't even in.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday December 20, 2010 @07:06PM (#34622432) Journal

    On a race that tight, the opposition will naturally feel all of them should be checked.

    There's nothing wrong with "counting all the votes". If they'd all been counted in 2000, there'd be more than 5000 more US soldiers alive today, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis, not to mention the Twin Towers might still be standing and the people inside it alive.

  • Common carriers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hacksoncode ( 239847 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @07:27PM (#34622626)
    The problem isn't that ISPs want to filter content, it's that they want to filter content and still have common carrier safe harbor provisions that relieve them of all liability for the content they are controlling.

    You can't have it both ways (well, logically, at least... of course ISPs may get it both ways, but they shouldn't). If you don't want to be responsible for content, you can't filter on content.

    If this were made legally clear, I doubt many ISPs would touch content filtering with a 10' pole. They *want* freedom from liability.

  • by Goody ( 23843 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @08:01PM (#34622960) Journal
    There is no evidence. The "he hates the Constitution" and "he's a socialist" retorts are boilerplate right wing labels for liberal and moderate politicians and candidates, or knee jerk dog-whistle political responses to legislation they dislike. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard it uttered that Obama has "shredded the Constitution". These same people didn't say a word when Bush called the Constitution a piece of paper. Ironically, most of these "Constitution protectors" hate the 14th Amendment. But you're labeled a patriot if you propose repealing it, not a Constitution hater.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Monday December 20, 2010 @08:42PM (#34623410)
    Sure, I'm a socialist. I believe that public education, health care, and infrastructure are good things to have. Capitalism is a nice theory, but taken to its extreme, you get crap like the latest wall street meltdown.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson