Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica as ever explains clearly how using the CRA to undo the FCC vote could work as well as the political likelihood of such an action succeeding. Part of me likes open internet supporters in Congress using the same act to preserve existing neutrality rules that was also used to undo consumer privacy protections earlier in the year. Another part of me wishes legislators would get on with what I think is really needful: a new piece of legislation to establish clear regulatory authority and constraints that is far better in step with the reality of the Internet than decades old telecom law.
Technology policy is hard to follow for the interested and invested. It is harder for a blogger and podcaster like me who wants in some way to make the legitimately complex issues in some way more understandable, to hopefully increase the number of people engaged in the very important, public discourse around these policy matters.
Mike Masnick at Techdirt unpacks a bit of Internet outrage around yet another tone deaf move by current FCC chair Pai. The sentiment that I think best sums up a piece that still is definitely worth the read is rightly angry but for the wrong reasons.
Why this is demotivating to me, on top of an an unrelated and overall lower energy level lately for all things technology lately, is that it makes the actual policy work so much harder. Signals from the public like open protests and calls to representatives are a very important contribution. However, when the rationale expressed in them is off base, if fuels exactly the kind of disregard that was critical to Pai and his supported in rolling back the rules around Network Neutrality.
Wherever you may fall on the budget concerns of an uncapped program like Lifeline, Jon Brodkin’s piece contains enough to worry about in terms of Pai’s continuing dismantling of his predecessors service to the public interest. Re-raising the bar on ISPs wanting to offer subsidized service, regardless of the cap issue, clearly says a lot about Pai’s stance of meaningful adoption and access.
Jon Brodkin at Ars leavens his coverage of the fight for network neutrality with this advice on writing a good comment to the FCC. He features suggestions from Gigi Sohn, long time and respected fixture of the DC technology policy world.
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Hardly surprising that Comcast would sink to both astroturfing then trademark bullying to try to keep it hidden. Good reporting by Brodkin, especially that Fight for the Future has a solid legal precedent on their side. For now, Comcast seems to be backing off. More important is the remaining question of what the FCC will do with the proven faken comments in support of dismantling the net neutrality rules.
The Hill has the details of Blackburn’s bill which are exactly what the right said they wanted when they repealed the FCC’s pending privacy rules. Worth noting is that this would apply to ISPs and content companies alike along with moving oversight and enforcement to the FTC. No idea if this will shore up the FTC’s authority but the concern I have is its track record in this space, which is not great, and the fact that it traditionally has had far fewer staff technologists to help with efforts like these than the FCC.
As Hillicon Valley notes, this is just the first step of what will take several months either way. Thanks to the attention of John Olliver and the support of orgs like EFF and FftF, the public interest has strongly waded into the fray. Like FftF, I am deeply skeptical of the FCC’s claims that the overloading of the comments system was the result of multiple denial of service attacks. Clearly there has been some automated actions but this issue resonates with the public more than folks at the agency will admit.
This is an episode of The Command Line Podcast.
I talk about the privacy rules repeal at the FCC and the fight starting to shape up again over network neutrality.
- Important, clear background on the FCC privacy rules repeal
- Detailed coverage of the House vote to repeal FCC privacy rules
- The limits of using a VPN to protect your privacy
- Think twice about signal jamming ISPs tracking
- Guide and recommendations for privacy protection by VPN
- Senate dem questions Pai on FCC net neutrality roll back
- GOP aims at FCC net neutrality repeal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Schatz’s criticism is on a procedural basis. In the years I spent advocating and representing the public interest at the FCC, my experience was the agency takes these processes very seriously. I worry, of course, that the right has shown a tendency to disregard habits, norms and rules where convenient.
The contours of this move to repeal are similar to the privacy rules repeal. Not only would it undo the open internet order, it would prohibit the FCC from making a similar future rule. The privacy rule repeal was a good warm up for this fight though we should not take any outcome for granted.