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Verizon Claims Net Neutrality Violates Their Free Speech Rights 430

New submitter WickedLilMonkies writes "In a stretch of the meaning of 'free speech' that defies the most liberal interpretation, Verizon defends throttling your data speed." In its continuing case to strike down the FCC net neutrality regulations, Verizon is arguing that Congress has not authorized the FCC to implement such regulations, and therefore the FCC is overstepping its regulatory bounds, but (from the article): "Verizon believes that even if Congress had authorized network neutrality regulations, those regulations would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. 'Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners [e.g. Verizon] engage in First Amendment speech,' Verizon writes." They are also arguing that "... the rules violate the Fifth Amendment's protections for private property rights. Verizon argues that the rules amount to 'government compulsion to turn over [network owners'] private property for use by others without compensation.'"
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Verizon Claims Net Neutrality Violates Their Free Speech Rights

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  • How sweet the savour (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bruce_the_loon ( 856617 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:35PM (#40542401) Homepage

    You can taste the desperation in their arguments and it is the taste of victory for the man in the street.

  • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:45PM (#40542501) Journal
    THey do not have free speech. Its a sham. The land lines they run their business on and the airwaves they use are owned by US. WE THE PEOPLE. They LEASE the right to operate from US. We can tell demand of them anything we want, and it will still be constitutional
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:03PM (#40542673)

    "Corporations are people, my friend." - Thomas Jefferson

    Actually, Romney said that. []

    The U.S. government is EXTREMELY corrupt. It is, by some measures, the most violent government that has ever existed. It has 6 times the percentage of its citizens in prison as European countries. The U.S. government has invaded or bombed at least 27 countries since the end of the 2nd World War. The U.S. financial system is so corrupt that many people feel it is not safe to invest.

  • Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:18PM (#40542819)

    If they want to be treated as people, make the CEOs personally liable for every piece of child porn and other filth that's delivered by their network and throw them in jail.

  • by khipu ( 2511498 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:19PM (#40542829)

    US corporations should have neither more nor less rights than people; corporations simply should have the same rights as the people constituting them.

    That's why Miramax could trash Bush in Fahrenheit 9/11, and why Citizens United could trash Hillary in Hillary. But, apparently, attacks by corporations on Republicans are OK while attacks by corporations on Democrats are supposedly the end of civilization.

  • by IVI V K ( 2022732 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:29PM (#40542917)

    Verizon wireless' new Share Everything plans are also designed to challenge Network Neutrality. As the wireless phone providers continue to implement LTE, voice services will soon be just another part of your data stream rather than a separate service.

    Anticipating this change, verizon's new phone plans all have unlimited voice calling included in a low cost base price price phone plan. Most of the costs associated with higher minute calling have been shifted to the data side such that your first GB of data will now cost $50.

    After they have completed the transition to more expensive data plans, Verizon will next argue that net neutrality is bad for the customers because they might not be allowed to provide the free unlimited data for calling and texting. In reality though, they have just shifted the costs for unlimited voice into the lowest data plans, and have no intention of providing any free services.

    The communications companies are fighting against the commodity nature of data delivery, buy requiring you to purchase extra services such as voice or media just to access basic data.

  • Re:You're a company (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:31PM (#40542937)

    >>>the government has the authority to regulate commerce of both corporations and individuals. As an individual you may not like white people, and the Bill of Rights says you have the freedom to not associate with them, but if you run a taco stand, you still have to serve them because it is a commercial activity.

    Incorrect. Congress doesn't have the authority to regulate taco stands. Or any other business that never crosses a border. For example, Congress has outlawed natural milk, but farmers still sell it. Why? Because the farmers are not shipping the natural milk across a border. It's a "commercial activity" but Congress can not touch them.

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:36PM (#40542989)

    Verizon better watch it. If the courts accepted the argument that broadband service is like a microphone, any subcribers to Verizon could sue and claim a violation of their free speech if Verizon throttles their speed. That is a truly slipper slope they are working on. Since you are locked in to their service via a contract, you do not have the ability to switch to another microphone. They own and control the microphone. Throttling back the speed could be construed as limiting your use of the microphone and therefore infringing on your, the individual's, excercise of free speech.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:51PM (#40543141)

    Playing World Police sucks

    Other nations gets to wash their hands while we do the dirty work, even when it's stuff they'd otherwise do. And when we don't, we're criticized for inaction.

    Meanwhile, we send our kids to die and spend trillions of citizen dollars, while the back seat drivers of the world get to sit at home and talk shit.

    This is one of the few things I agreed with Ron Paul on. To hell with the hypocrites. It's time we took a break. Every soldier comes home. Cut our defense spending to 1/3rd, so we can still annihilate anyone if we need to. Cut foreign aid in half, because I'm tired of hearing that we bought people 500,000 vaccines from the wrong companies.

    Then, next time everyone starts crying about hostile nations, atrocities somewhere or epidemics of curable disease, we say, "We're done with the police role. Do it yourselves for a change."

    Then we criticize them for being so militaristic and spending their foreign aid dollars improperly while we enjoy the huge tax relief.

  • Re:You're a company (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @02:00PM (#40543227)
    I should add: of course that contradicts certain recent SCOTUS decisions, such as Citizens United.

    But how the Supreme Court could have forgotten the basic principle that human rights are "unalienable" are are bestowed upon us by nature of our humanity, and not granted by government, is beyond me. That is stated, pretty much in as many words, in our own Declaration of Independence.

    To me, that just illustrates how corrupt and politicized SCOTUS has become. There is very little doubt that Citizens Unitedflies directly in the face of the Declaration, and the Constitution as well.
  • Re:You're a company (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @02:17PM (#40543361) Journal

    What he meant is that corporations are made out of people

    Corporations are not "made out of people". They are aggregates of capital, nothing more. You could easily have a corporation with shareholders that are all other corporations. Mitt Romney's statement that "Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people." is demonstrably false.

    Yours is a common mistake, so you shouldn't feel too bad.

    And, to the extent that there are any people involved in a corporation, or working for a corporation, or on the board of directors for a corporation, they each already have individual rights.

    The Citizens United case was nothing more than a law put in place by partisans with the intent of influencing current and future elections. It is enormously unpopular with American citizens (more than 50% more unpopular than so-called "Obamacare") and will be seen by historians as a matter of shame for the current Supreme Court.

  • Re:You're a company (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drkim ( 1559875 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:54PM (#40543971)

    It might be more interesting if when a corporation is convicted of a crime everyone who works there goes to jail, except the whistle-blowers.

    It might make for more law-abiding corporations.

  • Re:You're a company (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:28PM (#40544289) Journal

    He was making a point that when you tax corporations you are still ultimately taxing people.

    But see, that's not true. When you tax a corporation, you are not ultimately taxing people.

    As I said, it is possible, even common, for corporations to be entirely owned by other corporations.

    Let me give you a personal example. I pay income taxes. I am the founder/CEO/owner of a small corporation. The corporation pays me a salary. That's my money. The money that's in the corporation is NOT my money. When the corporation pays taxes, it is not my money paying those taxes, it is the corporations. In fact, corporate charters do not ALLOW for intermingling of personal and corporate funds. If the corporation's tax bill came out of my pocket, I would be breaking the law. The corporation is an entirely separate entity. The corporation could be sued and it has nothing to do with me. The corporation could go bankrupt and my personal finances could be untouchable.

    In no way, shape or form are corporations people. What we call "corporate personhood" is simply a legal fiction that allows corporations to enter into contracts.

    I don't know how old you are, but my guess is you (and I) will live to see a time when people look back at this small window in history with disbelief that corporations were allowed to actually participate in elections, with absolutely no responsibility. They are not bound by libel laws, because it's political speech. They are not bound by disclosure laws, because the Republican House voted the DISCLOSE Act down.

    It really is rather stunning. Thomas Jefferson would never believe the Citizens United decision.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"