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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: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.

  • 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:5, Insightful)

    by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:46AM (#34628690)
  • 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:Pitchforks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oic0 ( 1864384 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:48AM (#34628718)
    Next move is the pitchforks and fire... Or we could just smile and take it as we are sold out again.
  • 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...

  • Re:Color me Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:03PM (#34628934)

    The election went the way it did because Obama never puts up a fight over anything.

  • Re:Pitchforks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:04PM (#34628966) Journal

    Two words... Dumb pipe... That's what we're supposed to be demanding here.

  • 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:What a suprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:08PM (#34629050)

    any competently put together "net neutrality" policy will necessarily be very complex

    So. You are saying that "No internet provider shall at any time or for any reason discriminate against any particular types of traffic going to their subscribers." Needs some industry insider complexity thrown in for some mystical reason?

  • Re:Pitchforks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:11PM (#34629086)

    As soon as e911 was allowed by VOIP, this concept died.

    You cannot drop a 911 call because there's a particularly intense Halo deathmatch going on, or your neighbor is streaming Harry Potter in HD.

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

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:12PM (#34629102)
    Your rule is uncompromising - what happens when Anonymous decide to DDoS some poor 14 year old who criticised them on his self-hosted blog?

    The ISP may be able to handle 10GB/sec, but his ADSL line won't - plus of course the issues that 10GB/sec of traffic the ISP can do nothing about hitting their network... whats that going to do for other subscribers?

    Come up with a new rule please.
  • Re:What a suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:13PM (#34629122) Journal

    It would be illegal under your scheme to give real time or streaming applications priority. Try again. How about, "No Internet provider shall discriminate based on end-points." Discriminate by type of traffic, sure. Discriminate based on where it came from or where it is going, no.

  • Re:Pitchforks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:16PM (#34629158) Journal

    We could at least have low priced, fast, and fair service like most of the rest of the first world has. How about, oh I don't know, instead of charging us more, they reduce their profits to a fair and reasonable level? Why is it always the little guy who has to tighten his belt?

  • Re:What a suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sarhjinian ( 94086 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:16PM (#34629160)
    Remember the kerfuffle when Ralph Nader wondered if Obama would become a metaphorical "Uncle Tom" to corporate interests? This is what he meant.
  • 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.

  • Re:What a suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:18PM (#34629178)
    More importantly, what if a carrier network is carrying VoIP traffic? Your rule would make it illegal to give 911 calls priority over all other traffic, and would undermine the ideas of QoS. I agree with your rule in spirit, but it needs some amendments to be practical.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Re:Unsurprising... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sarhjinian ( 94086 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @12:26PM (#34629318)
    You want to know what to do? Vote for candidates that both sides of the aisle don't like. You know, the candidates who are fundamentally incompatible with corporatism. And no, this doesn't mean libertarians. Libertarianism is useful idiocy for the wealthy, which is why hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of video are shovelled at Tea Party candidates while the Greens have to make do with table scraps.

    You wanted hope? You wanted change? You should have voted for Nader.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • by ZOmegaZ ( 687142 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:06PM (#34630018) Homepage

    I hate to break it to the corporatist crowd, but the ISPs built those networks with our money, from government subsidies. They received those subsidies to enhance our national infrastructure. If monopolists have the same property rights as everyone else, the free market dies. And if monopolists control infrastructure without oversight to ensure equal access, democracy dies.

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Re:What a suprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:36PM (#34630570) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. And this is the fault of all you statists screaming for the government to "do something!!". Well, they did something.

    Next time, be careful what you ask for.

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

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:40PM (#34630618) Homepage

    I'm sorry this is long. I tried to narrow it down to 2 sentences that would get noticed by mods, but I can't do it...

    It would be illegal under your scheme to give real time or streaming applications priority.

    No, it means it would be illegal for *the ISP* to determine the priority. That's probably a good thing. To understand why, one must determine two things: 1) Who determines priority, and 2) What does priority actually do?

    1) The ISP and cannot determine the priority, and they should not try.
    In theory, an ISP could use deep packet inspection to guess a priority. Packet A looks like email, packet B looks like a youtube video stream, packet C seems encrypted on an odd port: so it doesn't know. But in reality Packet A is an email with a Powerpoint presentation that someone needs in 2 minutes for a video conference. Packet B is streaming porn. Packet C is a video game where latency is vital. So which of these packets gets priority? There's simply no fair answer, and even if we could agree to one there's no way for the ISP's routers to determine this.

    The TCP/IP protocol is designed to allow the *sender and receiver* to determine the priority. The problem is this relies on the honor system. If someone turns on BitTorrent and sets it to send packets as high QOS, then they are a jerk and they might slow things down for everyone (including themselves - they likely will have trouble browsing the web on their own network.)

    2) What to do with the priority?
    Priority mostly matters when you are saturating your bandwidth. If I am sending an email and it means your streaming video slows down, it doesn't mean you need priority. It means the ISP is out of bandwidth and needs to upgrade their pipes. Priority doesn't speed up packets, it merely slows down other packets. This is why giving ISPs the ability to determine priority is bad. It means they don't have to upgrade their networks to handle the traffic, it just means they can take "undesirables" who use lots of bandwidth and make them pay extra, without having to invest in their networks.

  • by Bespoke ( 1421741 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @01:40PM (#34630620)

    By owning a corporation you don't magically lose the protections you enjoy as an individual. Having the money to invest in corporations should not buy you more representation than those that can't afford to, or choose not to, own corporations. It's not that groups of people deserve less protection; it is that they don't deserve more protection - the whole "Equal Protection under the Law" thing you mention. Corporations already provide protection from certain liabilities - we really don't need to be granting them full citizen rights as well.

  • 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 Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @02:29PM (#34631516) Journal

    Your lawmakers didn't put any conditions on those subsidies that allow you to dictate terms.

    We don't need to have put conditions on those subsidies. If the cable companies don't play nice with their toys, we will take them away. We, the people, make the rules. If they are not behaving in a way that benefits society, we can change the law to deal with that.

    Or to put it another way, those subsidies didn't come with any restrictions, but they didn't come with any promises either.

  • 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).
  • Re:What a suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @03:16PM (#34632298) Journal

    Oh but you are missing the sneakier way they are gonna get you...caps. I'm in one of the test markets for the new caps, which BTW are 36GB for residential, and 76GB for business. Now that is $106! for the bundle with basic cable and phone, or $180! for the "business" which is the same just with a higher cap. Now here is how they get you:

    Vonage? Counts against the cap. Their VoIP? Don't. Linux and Mac updates? Count. Windows? Don't because they got "donated" a WSUS server. Anyone other than Netflix and Youtube? Counts. Their PPV along with Youtube and Netflix? Don't, and the only reason you are allowed Youtube and Netflix is they paid to put a local server. Starting to see a trend?

    At $1.50 a GB and a low cap it really doesn't take much to "steer" your customer wherever you want them to go. Remember the days of the AOL walled garden? Well its about to be back boys and girls. Sure you can go where they don't want you to, but it will cost you out the ass. Stay in this nice little garden and we won't bend you over the barrel.

    For all those that were "corporation yay!" you are about to get a taste of what uncontrolled greed is like, and you ain't gonna like it! We in the USA will be shuttled onto the short bus of the information superhighway while the rest of the world gets 100MBs+ lines and looks at us as the backwater that we are. I mean when the backwaters of fricking Romania have higher speeds than NYC and LA? Well something is VERY wrong here.

  • Re:What a suprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @04:39PM (#34633602) Journal

    will this regulation protect them and me?


    The only way to achieve net neutrality is to break up the big telcos. Telephone companies should not be broadband providers or content providers: period. Cable television companies should not be broadband providers, period. They have to spin off those divisions and keep them completely separate.

    Yes, it's time to break up the telcos, yet again.

    But that's not going to happen, so it's best to just assume the internet is going to become cable TV.

    I'm hoping for research into (I forgot what they're called) "honeycomb" networks that are basically internets without a backbone. Sort of an amateur radio internet. I don't really care if I can stream video. I just want to be sure I can get wikileaks and Slashdot.

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

    by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @04:39PM (#34633612) Journal

    He is worse in that he advertised so heavily that he was not as bad, and would bring a government that cared about the people rather than corporations. That was his mandate. Now people are finding that he is in fact a political huckster sucking so hard on the corporate cock that he is indistinguishable from a republican corporate whore. Personally I am not surprised as I never believe hype that is pushed as hard as his campaign and supporters pushed at us. I will admit that I am disappointed.

    I think the American political support of corporations will self correct however. Unfortunately it will be when the rest of the world overtakes America economically. When the U.S. finds itself dying economically because the corporate stranglehold on innovation a fair competition finally kills any pretense of the U.S. having sound business sense/thinking. Granted with 300 million people it will be a slow and painful death, but it will happen.

    The thing is, it has already started. China, Brazil, Russia, and India are becoming economic powerhouses (Brazil's economy is growing like gangbusters right now, and is expected to move up a place to be the seventh largest economy in the world in 2011... China will stay at number 2). If the EU finally gets its head out of its own ass and works together, it collectively can become one of the top three or four economies. But they need to balance their budgets and stop thinking they deserve one month summer vacations and free daycare and all their welfare state mentalities. And especially stop listening to U.S. lobbyists who want the E.U. to jump off the corporate control cliff with them.

    What puzzles me is that there are so many Americans that run around claiming they need guns because they can't trust the government. Meanwhile it seems like the corporations are fucking them over even harder. Mind you they are doing it by controlling the government. So maybe they have something there.

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

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:15PM (#34636656) Homepage

    ... because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taking actions which implied that certain risky actions were being guaranteed against failure by the government.

    Yes, and that explains why foreign real estate markets crashed, too.

    A nice right-wing talking point not born out by the facts. In fact, FNMA and FMCC did not start taking large percentages of high risk loans until well after private firms did. And why did they? Yes, politicians on the left were asking them to make homes more affordable. What is missed by the conservatards is that politicians on the right were doing the same thing - they called it spreading the American Dream - and they thought that if the GSEs were raking in the kind of money that Countrywide, et al. were, they wouldn't need to fund them at as high a level. So yeah, blame them all you want - you'll be stupid doing so, but go ahead.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"