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Obama FCC Caves On Net Neutrality 853

An anonymous reader writes "...the rule, which will be voted on during tomorrow's FCC meeting, falls drastically short of earlier pledges by President Obama and the FCC Chairman to protect the free and open Internet. The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it's become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users."
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Obama FCC Caves On Net Neutrality

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  • What a suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmonTheMetalhead ( 1277044 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:41AM (#34628598)
    Money rules this world...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Is this meant as a criticism of Obama or the fact that Obama had to cave in to people who are against net neutrality?
      • Re:What a suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:46AM (#34628690)
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:07PM (#34629018)

          Kosh, is that you? I thought you died!

    • Re:What a suprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by skids ( 119237 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:46AM (#34628684) Homepage

      There are likely deplorable provisions in the FCC's proposal.

      However, at the same time, we'll never know which proposals are particularly egregious because any competently put together "net neutrality" policy will necessarily be very complex, and will necessarily require input from the IT/provider business community.

      So even if it were a good proposal, it could still be called "full of loopholes" and "lobbyist driven" by anyone disingenuous enough to cherry pick from it and misrepresent it. Given we rely on journalism to boil these things down, and the total lack of ethics and objectivity in journalism these days, we are guaranteed to hear this same thing about each and every proposal for "net neutrality" that gets anywhere near the finish line.

    • Re:What a suprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:08PM (#34630060)
      Indeed it does, and since the FCC insists on crafting Law (a job I THINK was left to Congress in our Constitution) I think it is time Congress exercise her other power; that of the purse string: De-fund the FCC!
  • by AndyAndyAndyAndy ( 967043 ) <afacini@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:42AM (#34628608)
    Before we get all burn-the-town-ey... why did this happen? Who, if anyone, could have stopped it? What's our next move?
    • Re:Pitchforks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:45AM (#34628670) Homepage

      No clue. yesterday, I was advocating Net Neutrality in a discussion here on Slashdot, and I continue to advocate for it. What the FCC is showing here, however, is not what I and other like-minded folks are advocating. I think the first post has it runs things.

      PS: Sincere apologies to those who told me to read up that I have, I can see why you're calling bullshit. Please note that my support of Net Neutrality stands, but not this version of it.

    • What's our next move?

      clearly boycotting the internet is our next move. I plan on starting right after this post...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oic0 ( 1864384 )
      Next move is the pitchforks and fire... Or we could just smile and take it as we are sold out again.
    • Re:Pitchforks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:22PM (#34629254)
      The people of the USA could have stopped it if they were actually interested in performing their civic duty and not just in bread and circuses []. Our political obligations don't end with voting. Do you seriously think that any anti-net neutrality legislation would be rubber-stamped if even 1000 people gathered outside of the capital and refused to leave until their voices were heard? 10,000? 100,000? A million? The country is a fading empire; history is repeating itself, and the country will fade just like Rome did.
  • Backlash (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mprinkey ( 1434 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:47AM (#34628704)

    The ace in the hole for net neutrality is the latest crop of cheap TVs with built-in Netflix and other online services. My in-laws just purchased one a few months ago and they use Netflix constantly. These are dye-in-the-wool, Ann Coulter-reading, FOXNews-watching Republicans. I mentioned to my father-in-law about net neutrality being a big issue. He had never heard of it. When I explained the ramifications for their Netflix usage, his response was to immediately support it. It will be interesting to see this shake out. This is another chance where we can see if FOX and Rush can convince more people to act against their own self interest in support of some bastardization of "freedom."

    • Re:Backlash (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sageres ( 561626 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:06PM (#34629014)
      Why not deregulate the industry and disallow the cable company monopolies (such as Comcast for example) out there so that we actually have competition? That way if any ISP decides to bill "multi-tier" approach, you can vote with your wallet?
      • Re:Backlash (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:17PM (#34629168)

        That makes no sense. Disallowing Comcast and its ilk from doing something is regulation.

        Now if we split Comcast into a content provider and common carrier and deregulated the former while regulating the latter as a utility, that would make sense.

      • by d3ac0n ( 715594 )


        I've always felt that as nice as Net Neutrality is, it works better as a set of Principles than as a set of Laws or Regulations.

        The big problem in the ISP industry is not too little regulation, it's too MUCH. A huge part of the barrier to entry is the established legal monopolies and right-of-way laws. If we can get those removed and just allow anyone with the wherewithal to run some fiber, then the pricing and competition issues will go away.

        Not overnight, mind you, but in a much more stable and c

      • Re:Backlash (Score:5, Insightful)

        by beakerMeep ( 716990 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:33PM (#34629448)

        You mean regulate, right? There used to be a regulation the required telcos to sell their lines at wholesale to competitors but they removed that regulation so that telcos were as unregulated as cable companies (with regards to internet service).

        The local monopolies these ISPs enjoy are not a regulation but rather a grant/partnership of various cities/towns/etc to the cable/telco operator as well as some natural monopolies due to the giants being the only ones with infrastructure. The kind of competition you are promoting is exactly what we need, but don't kid yourself that there are federal regulations that are creating these local monopolies.

    • When I explained the ramifications for their Netflix usage, his response was to immediately support it.

      Yes, people will support something when you lie about what it does.

      Given the regulation we have now it's plain you were lying to him. So will you now go and try and turn him against the regulation to correct your wrongs?

    • Re:Backlash (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:28PM (#34630420)
      It is Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, among others, who have been warning you idiots that this was what you were going to get when the FCC created a "Net Neutrality" regulation. They keep telling you that the big corporations like regulation because it lets them get stronger control of the market and you keep telling them to stop shilling for the corporations. Then when new regulations are passed that give more power to the corporations, you blame the people who told you that was going to happen if you kept pushing for more regulations.
  • Color me Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sounder40 ( 243087 ) * on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:48AM (#34628726)

    Obama's net neutrality pledge was one of the reasons I voted for him after voting for Republican presidential candidates for so many years. (That, and attempting to right the wrong of voting for dubya--twice.) It is now clear to me that they are ALL a bunch of lying hypocrites. And that I'm just not as smart as I thought I was...

    • by rwv ( 1636355 )

      I voted for him after voting for Republican presidential candidates for so many years.

      Vote early and vote often. There are other offices where power is controlled in the government. The US Constitution, in fact, requires that the president not be able to enact any sort of change (except maybe declaring war for a year or two) without support of his Congress.

      The Congress during the past two years, despite being Democrat majority, has been hugely influenced by obstructionist Republicans.

      At the end of the day... these stalemates in Congress benefit the people because they prevent any sort

  • Unsurprising... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:57AM (#34628848)

    I've been reading Matt Taibbi's book, "Griftopia" (, and having worked in finance for ~10 years, I'm coming to realize more and more that the powers that be -- corporations, CEOs, and everybody that's basically not *you* are the people who are going to run the US for the coming future. A leaked memo from Citigroup ( has already declared the US a Plutocracy (rule by the wealthy).

    This is just another shot in the arm against a citizenry whose arms are already falling off from the shots before. The FCC coming up with a plan to (surprise surprise) support the plutocracy that we've already been labelled by Wall Street is not even a stretch any more. And while the Tea Party clamors about how government is trying to socialize everything, they miss that problem that the government has been co-opted in stealing America as a whole from the citizens themselves, and they are happy to have the folks in the Tea Party carry their banner without realizing what damage they are doing.

    I am a bit demoralized nowadays about all this -- and I'd love to take action but I don't know how. So while we as nerds who normally argue, bitch, and complain can actually stand up and figure a way to do something about this (short of something 4chan would do), then I'd be all for it. Let's strategize. Let's plan. And let's execute in the perfect ways I know that we can do thousands of lines of code, deploying hundreds of servers, or anything else "IT" that we do.

    I'm here to start the call to arms, I just don't know what to do after that.

    • Re:Unsurprising... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jimmy King ( 828214 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:20PM (#34629220) Homepage Journal

      I am a bit demoralized nowadays about all this -- and I'd love to take action but I don't know how. So while we as nerds who normally argue, bitch, and complain can actually stand up and figure a way to do something about this (short of something 4chan would do), then I'd be all for it. Let's strategize. Let's plan. And let's execute in the perfect ways I know that we can do thousands of lines of code, deploying hundreds of servers, or anything else "IT" that we do.

      I'm here to start the call to arms, I just don't know what to do after that.

      This is my problem, too. Telling the government what we want and what is right hasn't worked. Voting hasn't worked. I'm certain there must be a few more steps we can take before attempting to shoot government leaders is the right answer, though. I just don't have a clue what those next steps might be.

    • The link in your post is dead. This one seems to work: []
    • Well, we nerds have access to a lot more technology than just IT servers and programming code. I am pretty sure there are nerds from every walk of life on here. Myself, I'm a space nerd. I can tell you how to design the control systems of spacecraft, plus a few other nifty tricks. So add that skill to your basket of nerd tricks.

      Anyways, I don't want to start rambling, but if you really want a call to arms, then the action that I think you/we could take that would be best would to be to start our own prop
    • Re:Unsurprising... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:58PM (#34630948) Homepage Journal

      I'm here to start the call to arms, I just don't know what to do after that.

      I'll probably be blacklisted for saying this, but what the hell --

      During most of the last century, we had an active, well-organized left in the U.S. Their simple method was to organize people to work together for their own interests against wealthier, more powerful organizations. They accomplished a lot -- getting negroes the right to vote in the south, building a union movement that guaranteed working people a better standard of living than they have today, Social Security, Medicare, a social safety net, and most of the progressive reforms we had then and are losing now. The left worked best by being militant, threatening liberal Democrats, Republicans and unions, and pushing them further to the left -- just as conservative extremists push them to the right today.

      I once read a memo from one of Franklin D. Roosevelt's aides to his boss, about how, on the street corners of Harlem, Communist orators were attracting crowds, and if the government didn't respond to their needs, the Communists would become more influential. During the depression, in negro neighborhoods, when people were disposessed from their homes and their posessions put out on the sidewalks, the Communists would mobilize a crowd, march to the home, and move the families and their posessions back in. It seems clear that FDR was pushed to the left by the socialist and Communist movement.

      The Communist Party had horrible problems, the worst of which was requiring its members to follow the Party line, even during Stalin's worst brutalities. (See George Orwell's Homage to Catalona.) But the Communists knew how to organize workers, including socialists and other allies (whom they often double-crossed), and they had a network that let them organize around the country (and the world).

      If the FBI is to be believed, Communists organized the Highlander Folk School, which taught Martin Luther King how to organize, starting with the Montgomery bus boycott. [] (This raises the question, "What was the FBI doing to guarantee negroes the right to vote during all those years?") If you want to know how to organize for change, a study of the civil rights movement is instructive.

      Almost every Communist reached a point where he got disgusted and left the party. They often went on to use their organizing techniques to organize other political organizations, like the civil rights movement, the peace movement in the Vietnam war days, and the gay rights movement. Hold a meeting, collect names and phone numbers, call them all to remind them to show up at the next demonstration, and use your numbers to get attention. Demand fundamental change, not compromises. Large demonstrations were a good way to show your strength. The Communist Party was to politics what General Electric was to corporate management -- people worked there, learned, left, and spread their techniques everywhere.

      The best thing the left did in this country was to push compromising politicians further to the left. Too bad we didn't have a Communist Party to push Obama to keep his promises and create a public option health plan. The most important message of the left is that we have to change the system, and we have to change it ourselves. We can't depend on leaders to do it for us. (People on the left saw through Obama a mile away.)

      Eugene Debs said: "I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition."

      Look where Obama lead us.

      Unfortunately, a lot of ex-Communists

    • Re:Unsurprising... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:59PM (#34630954)
      The more the government regulates the more powerful corporations become. It's really easy, fight government regulation. Work to reduce the amount that government regulates economic activity. Government regulations always favor larger companies over smaller companies. I am not arguing for no government regulation, but for minimal government regulation.
      There are too many people who agitate for government regulation to fix problems created by government regulation. The solution to problems created by the government is to get rid of whatever element of government caused the problem, not by creating new government regulations.
  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:04PM (#34628968)

    The FCC was bought, sold, and paid for long ago. That's why the vast majority of our spectrum 'belongs' to megacorps, and only the thinnest little slivers are given back to us.

    Can you imagine how much more useful WiFi would be if we had more than 3 non-conflicting channels that are completely trampled by microwave ovens? (OK, so there's also the 5GHz band, but I mean a nice big block, all in one clean band.) Cordless phones wouldn't conflict, wireless in-house TV distribution would have happened long ago, and more. Imagine if there was a decently sized band of relatively long-wavelength (sub-GHz), spectrum available that allowed a couple watts total / a few tens EIRP in a narrow beam. We could very easily set up private point to point links everywhere, instead of just barely getting them to work as it is now.

    Or standards... The rest of the world uses DVB. The US gets ATSC, which is a mess of patents. Same deal with HD radio.

    I'm not the least surprised that the FCC isn't protecting your interests, and is doing everything that keeps huge corporations in control of communications. It's what they do best.

    • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:33PM (#34629430) Homepage

      I don't think people are surprised, but very let down. "Expect the worst, hope for the best", right? Everyone expects corporate money and influence to win, but hoped nonetheless that this guy they elected would take a stand or that the internet would be a bastion of relative freedom.

      No one likes have having his hopes crushed.

  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <(moc.nozakeeg) (ta) (guodpoons)> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:09PM (#34629060) Homepage

    It's all about Freedom! Because how can we be free if the people with a compulsive need to own everything aren't free to own everything?

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:11PM (#34629088)

    I know it's a crazy thing to say around here, but owners of the telecommunication companies are just as deserving of having their needs served by government as the consumers of telecommunications services. Government doesn't exist to protect the rights of citizens who are consuming over those who are producing. I don't know much about this ruling, but in general a compromise between those interests is a good thing.

    I know the corporations are the 'bad' guys, but you don't want government playing favorites. Maybe it will make you feel better to know that pension funds, which keep a great many of our elderly working class and middle class housed and fed, are among the largest owners of those corporations.

    Again, maybe this ruling is different, but it wouldn't be a compromise if everyone was happy.

    • by chemicaldave ( 1776600 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:24PM (#34629278)

      Government doesn't exist to protect the rights of citizens who are consuming over those who are producing.

      This is absurd. The government should exist to serve only the needs of people. Treating a corporation like any other citizen is ridiculous, especially when you promote the interests of a corporation over those of the actual people.

    • It took me a minute to find the whole in your argument, as your reasoning seems solid on the surface. But there is a hole there. You say

      Government doesn't exist to protect the rights of the citizens who are consuming over those who are producing.

      Which is mostly true. But neither does government exist to protect rights of producers over consumers, or over other producers for that matter, which is what's happening here. You see the telcos and cable cos have been awarded exclusive rights to wireless spectr

    • by Jahava ( 946858 )

      I know it's a crazy thing to say around here, but owners of the telecommunication companies are just as deserving of having their needs served by government as the consumers of telecommunications services.

      Why would this be the case? It's a government of the people, for the people. The needs of the people ought to be the first and only priority of the government. The needs of corporations should be met only because doing so meets the greater needs of the people. If the telecommunication companies want to have their needs met, they ought to align those needs with the greater public good, and I have yet to see compelling evidence that they are trying to do this. Instead, I see evidence of physical infrastructur

  • by Arccot ( 1115809 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:34PM (#34629450)

    Could we actually get an article with some details, rather than an editorial about what the policy MIGHT contain?

    Commenters here and at Huffington Post are seriously suggesting we have a second American Revolution because you didn't get everything you wanted on a Net Neturality policy change?

    Jesus, get some perspective! I hope most of you realize that this is the first time Net Neturality is being tried in the US. At all. Anyone spending more than 5 minutes looking into Net Neutrality realize its a complex issue that can't be solved with "Don't discriminate." There are unintended consequences for any action they take.

    You do realize that policies can be changed at a later date, right? They aren't written in stone. These policies make more sense than the alternative of doing nothing, and they make more sense than being heavy handed and creating more problems then they solve. If problems crop up, they can be dealt with.

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:34PM (#34629452) Homepage Journal
    Can you fold under pressure?

    Like a lawnchair I can!
  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:42PM (#34629578)

    Is this "news for nerds" or "news for lusers"?

    There is a tech solution. Invent it. Build it. Patent/open-source it. Sell it. Get it out there.

    But DON'T just sit there whining that ulterior-motive politicians and bureaucrats won't do things your way.

    One solution:
    Build a cheap, open, legal, spread-spectrum, compact, no-setup, easy network relay box. Set broadcast power within legal no-license limits. Make a gazillion of them, plug 'em in wherever you can. Make a giant ad-hoc network. You know what I'm getting at.

    Heck, this should already be in place between the innumerable cellphones & wireless routers out there. Get the ad-hoc network big enough, and the individual load should be minimal and the total disruptions minimal. TCP/IP is intended to circumvent network failures, so long as there is a path. Make a path.

    And stop expecting powermongers to give you freedom.

    • That was my first thought as well, but as we've seen time and time again, all the gov't has to do is pass a law that "any" form of digital communications (even a tin-can and string network) falls under the same set of rulings and the effort would be for naught.

      A perfect example of this is Peer-to-peer. P2P was supposed to stop anyone from controlling what data user pass between them since there was no central server, but we see that the gov't put the brakes on that - not though technology, but through laws
  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:08PM (#34630070)
    Well pro-corporate right wingers. You've won again. Since Obama is turning out to be a pretty solid Republican president, do you think you can now lay off that whole Kenyan Socialist bullshit, please?
  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @02:02PM (#34631018) Homepage Journal

    Woz wrote a beautiful article [] on net neutrality that was posted today.

  • by thethibs ( 882667 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @02:11PM (#34631170) Homepage

    Government regulation never protects. Ever. It controls.

    Children generally won't understand the difference; adults are expected to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @02:21PM (#34631388)

    To all of you saying that the telecoms paid for installing their nets and therefore should be able to charge customers differentially based on what they want to do, we experienced this before. In the 1800's, railroads paid for installing tracks around the country, then proceeded to play nasty games and were forced to be neutral by congress. This is not new. See here:

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @02:36PM (#34631650)
    I'm still glad he won, given the screamingly terrifying alternative, but we all knew Obama was a corporate camp-follower when as a Senator, he voted to give AT&T a free pass for gleefully breaking wiretapping laws when asked by the NSA (who seemingly answers to no one).
  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @03:07PM (#34632148)

    I'm seeing both sides of this debate, corps and net neutrality activists, going all foamy at the mouth over this, and I'm not seeing any valid reasons one way or another. It seems to me that everyone is afraid of what could be in this, but nobody knows what *is* in it!

    From the WSJ []:

    "The new FCC rules, for example, would prevent a broadband provider, such as Comcast Corp., AT&T, Inc. or Verizon Communications Inc., from hobbling access to an online video service, such as Netflix, that competes with its own video services."

    From the HuffPo:

    "Instead of a rule to protect Internet users' freedom to choose, the Commission has opened the door for broadband payola - letting phone and cable companies charge steep tolls to favor the content and services of a select group of corporate partners, relegating everyone else to the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road. "

    So which is it??

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!