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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs 140

Jason Koebler writes: Time and time again, federal agencies like the FCC ignore what the public says it wants and side with the parties actually being regulated — the ISPs, in this case. Research and past example prove that there's not much that can be considered democratic about the public comment period or its aftermath. "Typically, there are a score or so of lengthy comments that include extensive data, analysis, and arguments. Courts require agencies to respond to comments of that type, and they sometimes persuade an agency to take an action that differs from its proposal," Richard Pierce, a George Washington University regulatory law professor said. "Those comments invariably come from companies with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars at stake or the lawyers and trade associations that represent them. Those are the only comments that have any chance of persuading an agency."
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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

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  • No shit really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:42PM (#47470615)

    I am shocked, Shocked I say.

  • by mlauzon ( 818714 ) <> on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:47PM (#47470643) Homepage
    '...time and time again, federal agencies like the FCC ignore what the public says it wants and side with the parties actually being regulated...' This is because the FCC -- just like the CRTC here in Canada -- are run by former employees of the companies, and will side with their former employer every time, as they'd rather help them than the public at large. It boils down to conflict of interest, but nothing is ever done about it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:51PM (#47470681)

    ...where she stops, everybody knows. They are going to listen to the ISPs because the current head of the FCC is the former head of a communications lobby group, and the current head of a communications lobby group is the former head of the FCC.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:54PM (#47470705) Homepage Journal

    And corporations are people, my friend...

  • by felrom ( 2923513 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:00PM (#47470763)

    Turn the EFF into the NRA of online rights. If the EFF had 5,000,000 dues paying, donating, voting, vocal, invested members, we wouldn't be having these discussions about ISPs writing their own laws. The hardest part is already done: organizing some people who know what they're doing into what is now the EFF.

    People just need to decide that their rights are worth at least $25/year.

  • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HermMunster ( 972336 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:04PM (#47470805)

    Herein lies the kicker. Yep, Wheeler was placed there specifically for that purpose. It's an old Scientologist trick. They couldn't get the OK as far as their tax exempt status so they got their own people hired into those positions in order to make the decision in their favor. And, you know what? You can't do anything about it other than try to show proof that they did so with that intent, the intent to subvert the democratic process. It is a subversion of it but they know you can't do anything about it, so all they have to do is feign the desire to have the public concern heard even if they never intended to listen, and then make the decision in the ISP's favor. Wheeler, and his masters, knows that once the decision is made it will take Congress to counteract it. Then of course you have the President and the Vice President both of which favor the big corps that pay for this lobbying.

  • Provide Solutions. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:08PM (#47470829) Homepage Journal

    When you respond to a call for comments from a federal agency, don't say it sucks. Say what's wrong and provide solutions.
    Solutions should come in the form of exact text changes that the editor can copy and paste into the document. People are lazy. Text talks.

    See this: []

    In my comments, each comment comes with a resolution..

    The diagram shows inputs to functions including entropy, personalization string, nonce and Additional input. However the text calls out only the
    nonce input as being optional. By omission it leaves the optionality of the other inputs ambiguous. In a specification, where there is a list of items,
    some optional, some mandatory, it is necessary to identify the optional or mandatory nature of every item.
    Also, “depending on the implementation” is redundant and adds no meaning.
    Proposed resolution:
    Figure 1 provides a functional model of a DRBG (i.e., one type of RBG). A DRBG uses a DRBG mechanism and a source of entropy
    input, and may, depending on the implementation of the DRBG mechanism, include a nonce source. The components of this model are
    discussed in the following subsections.
    Figure 1 provides a functional model of a DRBG (i.e., one type of RBG). A DRBG shall implement an approved DRBG algorithm and at
    least one approved source of entropy input, and may include additional optional sources including a nonce source, personalization string,
    and additional input. The components of this model are discussed in the following subsections.

  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:13PM (#47470867)

    Can it really be Stockholm Syndrome though?

    That would be like saying that with Stockholm Syndrome you are paying the hostages.

    I think when money changes hands you would go, IMHO, from "hostage" to "collaborator".

  • Re:No shit really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:14PM (#47470881) Homepage Journal

    Yep. Just like the rest of the government. Citizen input is an illusion at best, and even then, only one that takes in the highly gullible and blindly nationalistic.

    And to the mods: The A/C's comment was harshly sarcastic, but that is entirely appropriate in this circumstance. Modding the A/c (parent) comment down is stupid. It's topical, accurate, and to the point. Mod it back up. Mod mine down instead if you must mod something down just to vent your spleens, or whatever your problem is.

  • Re:No shit really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by preaction ( 1526109 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:16PM (#47470887)

    Well, not that shocked.

  • by mendax ( 114116 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:17PM (#47470899)

    The government is corrupt, morally bankrupt, and will do what those with the most money want them to do. As someone suggested above, if the EFF was the NRA of Internet it would be a different matter. But, in the end, since this really is an issue of two conflicting corporate interests, and one of these interests just happens to mirror that of the people.

    Frankly, I think net neutrality will win out in the marketplace because of the things some companies, e.g., Google, are doing to let their users know that the ISP's are throttling them. The ISP's can't prevent them from doing this and ISP's customers can choose another ISP that doesn't do it, or at least offers better performance. Another possibility is that the content providers the ISP's are throttling will eventually become ISP's themselves, especially Google.

  • by suutar ( 1860506 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:36PM (#47471013)

    The important aspect is not so much that the companies are _former_ employers as that the companies are _future_ employers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:56PM (#47471149)

    This is a very natural (and I believe very intended) consequence of the drumbeat campaign in this country against people who work for the government. The notion at the outset was that government work is supposed to be compensated well but not lavishly, there's supposed to be job stability, and retirement stability. The idea is that you give up a lot when you work for the government: a good deal of your privacy, the ability to earn a lot of bonus money and other incentives, and of course dealing with blood pressure raising rules more than a bit.

    The idea was you trade the possibility of becoming extremely rich for the probability of being comfortable. Some personalities prefer that sort of arrangement, and government work has its share of superstars and super losers just like any organization.

    Enter the right wing: we need to stop raises, get rid of job security, get rid of pensions, and generally make working for the government have none of the benefits of the private sector and none of the previous benefits of the public sector either.

    What this promotes is the revolving door. It promotes corruption. It promotes regulatory capture. It promotes people doing whatever they have to do in order to get back what was taken from them.

    This was very, very intentional on the part (primarily) of right wing and libertarian types whose mantra should be "government is broken, and in case you find someplace it actually works just put us in charge and we'll break it for you". Those of you who hire people: would you really seriously let someone work for you whose opening in a job interview is to tell you that he or she doesn't believe in your organization, its mission, or anything about it? I think not. Yet that's exactly how a lot of people elect their politicians these days.

    Let's face it: government can be oppressive and controlling, and in fact these days is very much so where ordinary people are concerned at least. It is ALSO the only force that can stand up to monied interests when it is controlled by the people it represents. We don't have that now. The solution is to take back government and force it to do what we want. Throwing it away or gutting it simply gives power over to the huge corporations and the ultra wealthy that you cannot control by any other means.

  • Re:No shit really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:25PM (#47471333)

    Citizen input is an illusion at best, and even then, only one that takes in the highly gullible and blindly nationalistic.

      That includes voting. The biggest illusion of them all.

  • by supersat ( 639745 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:32PM (#47471391)
    The FTC seems like they have the right tools to tackle net neutrality, whereas it's not clear that the FCC does. For example, they could declare that ISPs letting certain peering links saturate to unreasonable levels without disclosure is an unfair and deceptive trade practice. If a customer purchases Internet access, they expect equal access to all of the Internet. They could also declare that cable franchise monopolies interfering with competing video services (like Netflix) is an anti-trust violation.
  • give up, the system is rigged. If they can't fool us, maybe they can persuade us to give up.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:29PM (#47471665) Homepage

    The chairman of the FCC is a dirty industry insider and does not give a fuck about the American public. All I know is that the next president had better fire his ass and put someone in there that will not game the system.

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:26PM (#47471921)

    The NRA has its deep pockets and resultant clout not (necessarily) from numerous individual private members but from effectively being an arms industry trade group, the USCoC of arms manufacturers and dealers.

    And so long as we continue to have the kinds of wealth disparities we haven't seen since 1929, catering to rich corporate interests (with varying levels of populist veneer) is the only way to get enough money to actually influence policy.

  • Re:No shit really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @09:33PM (#47471955)

    If you want public comments, you want them from knowledgeable members of the public. That's a good thing on the surface. The problem is that the most knowledgeable members of the public in a subject area are very often the same people affected by the regulations. Thus, the experts on nuclear energy production are usually employed or funded by nuclear energy producers. In this case, the experts on network interactions on the large scale are often from the very big network providers or network transport companies, and experts with a neutral position or neutral technical perspective will be relatively rare.

    So what's the alternative? I don't see one. Either the corporations control it all, or the government relies upon so-called experts with a change of inadvertently causing regulatory capture, or the government attempts to regulate without expert advice. None of those are good. Essentially right now we have the worst possible system, except for all the other systems.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday July 17, 2014 @12:41AM (#47472625)

    Since when was Obama a progressive? Sure, he campaigned as one, but his actions upon taking office revealed that to be a blatant lie.

  • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @11:32AM (#47475185)

    no, they arent the same thing, and "progressivism" is not an ideology, but an attribute, a direction of society, not a school of thought or system of government. "i dont see where progrssivism succeeded" ... because you've seen it so long you dont even see it any more.

    reigning in the power of the king and granting the citizenry basic rights (Magna Carta): progressive
    creating a nation under ideals of liberty: progressive
    ending slavery: progressive
    expanding the right to vote to women: progressive
    reigning in corporate excesses, busting trusts, regulating banks: progressive
    expanding the vote to minorities: progressive
    creatign social safety net: progressive
    creating rules to protect the water we drink and air we breathe: progressive
    expanding equal rights to LGBT community? progressive

    So where is progressivism working? Everywhere it's ever been done, currently that's most of Europe, and to a degree, in the US on some issues).
    conservatism is by definition the holding back of society to maintain the status quo, and progressivism the opposite.
    As such, both are constantly shifting political forces, and not political philosophies you can nail to a wall for all time.

    further food for thought: both socialism(and its kin) and social democracy were created in responce to the excesses of rampant uncontrolled capitalism ("the gilded age"). the difference being social seeks to end it entirely by taking over control of it, while social democracy simply tries to reign in those excesses through regulation, polishing its sharp edges while still channeling its better qualities towards the service of society.

    much like the famous quote concerning democracy, capitalism is a rotten system that is ultimately self-destructive....yet still better than the alternatives. so if you can control those excesses, and steer it away from its self-destructive tendencies, you can make it serve society, instead of letting it force society to serve capitalism.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson