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FCC Finalizes US Net Neutrality Rules 299

milbournosphere writes "The FCC has finalized its proposed rules regarding net neutrality. The rules go into effect on 20 November, nearly a year after they passed in a 3-2 vote. The FCC's statement (PDF) summarizes the rules thus: 'First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services. Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services. Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.' It should be noted that some of the language is a little ambiguous; who is to decide what constitutes 'unreasonable discrimination?'"
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FCC Finalizes US Net Neutrality Rules

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  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:28PM (#37493100) Homepage

    Yes, this is how sound legislation is always written. Rather than trying to spell things out in technical details that will immediately be obsolete and also provide a roadmap for how to get around the letter of the law, they use subjective terms like "unreasonable discrimination" to allow judicial rulings to define and redefine it over time in keeping with the spirit of the law.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:33PM (#37493166)

    You can't reframe it in the media. They are the ones you are fighting against.

  • by bonch ( 38532 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:41PM (#37493248)

    What scares me about net neutrality is that people actually believe a private company running a private network doesn't have the right to regulate its network traffic however they see fit.

  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:48PM (#37493330)

    The private companies that are federally subsidized monopolies? Go look at how all that pipe got laid. That's tax dollars at work. You want to look me in the eye and tell me that anyone can just go run a giant network of fiber? Because these turkeys sure didn't, and even if you could, you would need massive government participation to bury stuff everywhere.

    These things are "utilities" for a reason. This isn't like "the only difference between these guys and the store at the corner is total money". This is different.

  • by spidercoz ( 947220 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @12:57PM (#37493432) Journal
    No, dude. Net Neutrality supporters want to be able to access whatever they want, unhindered by CORPORATE interests. It has nothing to do with private networks. People pay for access to the Internet, a PUBLIC network, and they want to be able to use it however they want. It's about freedom, not regulation.
  • internet access is not considered a right here, it's a privilege.

    Nor is wireless ISPs' access to FCC-owned spectrum a right; it's a privilege. Nor is wired ISPs' access to conduit under post roads a right; it too is a privilege.

  • by fingers1122 ( 636011 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @01:15PM (#37493682)
    He probably cares very little about the fact that the government created the infrastructure of the Internet. People like him don't really believe in minimal government (as they love to claim); they believe in a very strong, robust government--but one that works only in favor of private business. We of course see this in the financial industry, where at the top, losses are socialized and gains are privatized--with no real effort to end the "to big to fail" policy. These people are not capitalist, they are Marxists, but they're on the other side. They consistently LOVE government when it funds and protects private business, but hate it when it asks for anything back--like, oh say, protection of its citizens.

    At least government is accountable to the people in functioning democracies. Corporations are tyrannical in nature, owing no accountability to the public. We've seen what happens to unregulated industries. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it."
  • by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @01:29PM (#37493882) Homepage Journal

    Yes, this is how sound legislation is always written. Rather than trying to spell things out in technical details that will immediately be obsolete and also provide a roadmap for how to get around the letter of the law, they use subjective terms like "unreasonable discrimination" to allow judicial rulings to define and redefine it over time in keeping with the spirit of the law.

    No, it's not. It's how tyrannies are built. It's a way for an oppressive police state to arbitrarily decide when and against whom they are going to enforce the law. Fail to provide the right media support or bribe ... err, I mean "contribution", and you're targetted - and the law is simply made to apply.

    Sound legislation must disallow discrimination, provide equal protection, and enforce the tenets of the rule of law. It should be clear to anyone whether an action they take will violate the law or not. It should be unambiguous. In fact, overly broad or ambiguous legislation is often overturned on Constitutional grounds, and should be.

    It's a simple idea - if the laws are so many and confusing and open to interpretation, it means anyone and everyone can be said to be breaking the law at any time. And it's up to the enforcers to decide who to actually bring down.

  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:18PM (#37494440)

    No representational symbolic system (such as legal language) that has a functional relationship with a practical reality (such as the human condition) can eradicate paradox and ambiguity. You cannot create laws that are both useful and incapable of alternate interpretations, that's why we have judges and juries. Lawyers and kings figured this out long before Kurt Godel wrote down a suspiciously similar principle.

    This is why it's better to have fewer laws, of course - what did Tacitus say? Oh, yes, In pessima republica plurimae leges - "In the most corrupt republic, the laws are most numerous". Lao Tse said it even earlier, and it's an idea that seems to have been independently derived throughout history.

    Fewer, simpler laws (like: "don't kill anyone who is not doing harm" and "don't take stuff that isn't yours") are not only easier to understand and enforce than a large body of complex law, they are less prone to corruption by the powerful.

    Hey, didja ever notice how after "deregulation" there are always more laws than before? Deregulation is just a corrupt politician's code word, brought to you by the Ministry of Public Enlightenment. I think it means somebody has their hand in your pocket; whenever you hear someone say "deregulation" you should probably reach for your gun.

  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:50PM (#37494888)

    Nobody has yet to offer a single valid justification for so-called "net neutrality" legislation.

    That's only because you have your head so far up your butt that you can't smell tyranny when it comes knocking at your door.

    *Warning: US centric rant to follow*

    The founding fathers of my country left it to the federal government to establish "post roads". Why would a group of men so hell-bent on limiting the federal government specifically give them the power take land to create roads? Because leaving it up to individuals or the various states would leave the country with a mish-mash of levies and fines to get from one place to another, and ultimately weaken us all. Government is the grease that allows the machinery of society to operate efficiently. Open roads enables free and open commerce, which benefits us all.

    An open communication system is the same thing. The railroads, telephone, telegraph and electric lines should have been nationalized from the outset. Not the rail-cars, or switches, but the actual lines themselves. Anything that requires the power of eminent domain to implement should remain in control of the government entity that took it. Only then can we guarantee everyone equal access, and not tie up free commerce with entities that would like to see you tied up and limited to their walled garden.

  • by LordArgon ( 1683588 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:14PM (#37495164)

    Medievalist had a great response to this, but I have a few points that I'd also like you to see.

    First, it's utterly ridiculous to expect laws to start and remain unambiguous. Any half-decent engineer knows there are many ways a once-clear specification can be misunderstood, especially as your system grows and interacts with other systems. People miss cases or simply can't yet conceive of new situations. The goal of the law is what's important; losing site of the goals is what leads to ridiculous lawsuits and the litigation-heavy society we have now.

    Second, unambiguous laws are not necessarily just. For example, if you exceed the speed limit by 1 mph, you've technically broken to law, but have you really violated the spirit of the law? I would argue no; I would argue that the spirit is to keep people driving responsibly and safely and I don't think there's a magic speed where everybody drives like that. In a perfect world, I would rather have a subjective law focused on safety and rely on intelligent, upright enforcers to uphold the spirit. It's not a perfect world so we end up somewhere in the middle.

    Finally, you're really focusing on the wrong thing. What we need are simple laws with clear goals and accountability for the people who enforce them (at all levels). Unfortunately, effective accountability is a very hard thing to create, but I'm sure we could do a hell of a lot better than we do now.

  • by imric ( 6240 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:40PM (#37495464)

    You are incorrect. The type of law that you want to see is the type that is ALWAYS gamed; laws that disallow interpretation are the tools of tyranny. That's why the founders of the US specifically made the judicial system a separate branch of government on a par with the legislative and executive, rather than a simple tool of the executive, as the right would like it to be.

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