Wednesday, January 17, 2018

States sue to stop net neutrality repeal, predict telecoms will control content in court papers; Senate close on a vote


The attorneys general of twenty states have filed suit to stop the FCC’s network neutrality repeal, as they claim that the repeal would allow telecom companies become gatekeepers of what gets disseminated and seen, at their own profit.  (Will this really happen?) Here’s the MSN story.

  
The Senate appears to have 50 out of 51 votes needed to approve a Congressional Review Act to stall the FCC’s decision.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

States want to introduce their own net neutrality, but legally Congress will probably have to let them


Cecilia Kang reports in the New York Times that a number of states are pushing back on network neutrality repeal, introducing legislation to protect consumers and small businesses or individuals seeking sustainability in their ability to reach customers or readers online as today. These states include California and New York, which tend to be trendsetters and affect large companies, as well as North Carolina, Illinois, Washington, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Nebraska.  The list includes some red states.  The story is here
  
  
There are legal questions as to whether the FCC order would circumvent states who want to pass these laws, but that is one of the topics of upcoming litigation and Congressional debate.
  
There’s another video on the FCC’s pre-emptive attempt to override state laws, here

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

House GOP introduce pseudo-net neutrality replacement bill; Senate may vote on blocking FCC order


House Republicans have a compromise on Net Neutrality, “The Open Internet Preservation Act”, introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)  

Here’s a text of the Act.

The act would prohibit telecoms from throttling lawful web content, and would require them to obey state laws anywhere the do business, but would not allow the FCC to stop fast lanes or special packages or apps for targeted customers who don’t want everything.


Personally I think this is good enough (for me at least), but it isn’t playing over too well.
A good question could be whether telecoms could insist sites offer https or qualify as safe sites somehow.  I don’t see that in the language now.

There is movement in the Senate to overturn the FCC order, as Se, Ed Markey (D-MA) has collared the 30 votes to force a vote on overturning the rules, MSN story. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

FCC issues its official "repeal" of net neutrality


Electronic Frontier Foundation informs us that the FCC has just published it’s “order” repealing Network Neutrality on the Federal Register.
  
Here is the official PDF of the order. 
  
Here is EFF’s article and suggested manner of contacting Congress, link

California has introduced its own bill to protect Net Neutrality, which would affect most large telecoms, here
  
I don’t necessarily agree with the speaker’s conclusions in the video, but there may be something to it.  You don’t necessarily have a constitutional right to be heard all by yourself without “earning it”.  

Friday, January 05, 2018

FCC Dissenting vote by Clyburn: interesting reading


EFF has tweeted a link to the dissent by FCC member Mignon L. Clyburn 

The paper makes chilling reading.  Note that Clyburn admits that maybe nothing happens for a while, until service providers start a gradual came of “Mother May I” and possibly cloak everything in nondisclosure agreements.

She notes well that small businesses won’t be able to pay off big businesses to be found more easily by customers, so they won’t be formed. The world would tend to move into the direction of structure oligarchy of power, like Russia.

She mentions sole proprietors, who are actually helped by the recent Trump tax law. But this could make it prohibitive for people to publish on their own like I have at some point in the future if the worst were to happen.

She also mentions the discrete communities whose issues might be hidden if they didn’t have equal access.


Yet we got by fine until 2015.  Well, not quite.  There were scattered abuses.  Does web access itself need to be viewed as a utility? Is there some level of regulation that is logical and consistent with past policy?

But the very dependence on utilities puts us at an existential, singular threat that we haven’t face before. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Could the FCC soften the "repeal" before publication in the Federal Register?


Deve Coldewey of Tech Crunch writes that the FCC is still “tweaking” its network neutrality repeal” and “that’s normal”.  The Yahoo link is here.
  
Let’s hope this means that, before publication in the Federal Register (which I remember so well from my days at Lewin) the FCC will include some language that telecom’s should not compromise lawful web access that exists today, even if some fast lanes are actually desirable (for medical purposes, maybe gaming, virtual reality, and the like), and certain flexibility in low-served rural areas is also needed. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Telecom provider (Cox) offers its own search engine, which doesn't find everything (preferred content?)


Here’s a little oddity I just noticed by accident.

While in Google Chrome, I somehow invoked “finder.cox.net” as a search engine to look for the Washington Blade.  I got a “not found” result.  I retried and the normal Google search engine came, leading me to the site easily.

Maybe I hit a control key (in Windows 10 Creator’s Update Fall)  I did get to the site OK.
  
But the fact that a telecom provider intervened with its own search engine which did not find the site as somehow preferred is a chilling warning of how things could go wrong eventually with the loss of net neutrality.