Tag Archives: FCC

Sen. Jeff Flake’s bill wipes out the FCC’s landmark rule for Internet privacy protection

Arizona Senator Jef Flake does not believe in your privacy on the Internet. In fact, he believes that everything you do on the Internet, from your personal information, browsing history, the apps you use, etc. is fair game for your Internet service provider (ISP) to compile a personal profile on you and to use that information for their profit, as well as to sell to third parties.

Senn. Flake introduced S.J.Res. 34, a joint resolution of congressional disapproval of the FCC rule relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services.”

Last week the Senate voted on a party-line vote of 50-48 to undo landmark rules covering your Internet privacy:

U.S. senators voted 50 to 48 to approve a joint resolution from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission’s privacy rules from going into effect. The resolution also would bar the FCC from ever enacting similar consumer protections.

Flake’s measure aims to nullify the FCC’s privacy rules altogether.

Today, House Tea-Publicans voted overwhelmingly, by a margin of 215-205, to to wipe out the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections:

The resolution marks a sharp, partisan pivot toward letting Internet providers collect and sell their customers’ Web browsing history, location information, health data and other personal details.

The measure, which was approved by a 50-48 margin in the Senate last week, now heads to the White House, where President Trump is expected to sign it.

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John Oliver Calls on Angry Internet Trolls to Save Net Neutrality (video)

computer keyboardIt’s a sad state of affairs when a country that touts freedom of the press depends upon cable TV comedy shows to hear the real news.

Recently, comedian John Oliver– formerly with The Daily Show and now with his own satirical “news” show– aired a 13-minute explanation of net neutrality, why we should all care, and, most importantly, what we can do about it (besides blog, whine, protest, etc.)

According to Oliver, the concept of net neutrality is too boring and complicated for mainstream news outlets to worry their pretty little heads about it, so many Americans are uninformed. In its current state, the Internet is one, big, messy democracy of loosely organized information– all traveling at the same speed to and from your computer.  When you do a Google search, “news” (AKA spin) from multi-billion-dollar corporate giants can appear next to lowly blog posts dissing the same corporate giants. This is net neutrality. Thanks to social media and free blogging platforms, anyone with basic computer skills and time on their hands can be heard.

Telecom giants like Comcast and Verizon want to de-democratize the Internet by instituting two levels of access– the high-speed lane for corporate people with deep pockets and the slow lane for the rest of us. Verizon sued the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the net neutrality rules and won in January 2014.

Interestingly enough, multinational corporations like Google and Facebook (who would have to pay big bucks for that fast lane) are teaming up with everyday folks (who really want the Internet to be open to everyone equally and regulated like a utility) to fight for net neutrality. (Oliver says it’s like Lex Luthor teaming up with Superman.)

This is where you and the Internet trolls come in. FCC has opened up a comment period. (Commenting instructions and Oliver’s video, after the jump.)

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Federal Court Ruling: Is this Beginning of the End for Net Neutrality?

We-the-persons750-sig-sm72-b-wby Pamela Powers Hannley

If you don’t like the way Facebook shovels advertising and promoted posts into your “news feed”, instead of the latest photos of your friends’ vacations, you’re really not going to like the new and improved Internet.

Yesterday, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) doesn’t have the power to regulate net neutrality. What does this mean for you? Internet providers like Verizon can now cut deals with corporate giants to accelerate their content, while leaving non-commercial Internet content–like those pesky independent blogs– in the dustbin of a Google search.

From Think Progress

Net neutrality rules were issued by the FCC to prevent broadband providers from favoring some content over other content, potentially even their own. As the two-judge majority explains, “a broadband provider like Comcast might limit its end-user subscribers’ ability to access the New York Times website if it wanted to spike traffic to its own news website, or it might degrade the quality of the connection to a search website like Bing if a competitor like Google paid for prioritized access.”

Even as they struck down these rules Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit judges concede that this concern is real, writing, “broadband providers represent a threat to Internet openness and could act in ways that would ultimately inhibit the speed and extent of future broadband deployment.” The problem, however, derives from an earlier FCC decision that even advocates of net neutrality like Free Press president Craig Aaron say was a failure of FCC leadership to “ground its Open Internet rules on solid legal footing.” [Emphasis added.]

This is scary shit. A free and open Internet has been an incubator for person-to-person communication and community organizing through social media and blogging. Up until yesterday, anyone with access to the Internet and time on their hands could create a blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page and start publishing content out to the world. Anyone with basic writing skills and good search engine optimization (SEO) could be heard.

As corporate filters have been applied to news distribution and traditional television news has shifted to entertainment, citizens have turned to blogs for real news and non-commercial commentary.

The FCC can appeal this ruling, and the Court left the door open for future regulations, but in the meantime, you expect to be fed more advertising and more corporate content. From the New York Times

Federal regulators had tried to prevent those deals, saying they would give large, rich companies an unfair edge in reaching consumers. But since the Internet is not considered a utility under federal law, the court said, it is not subject to regulations banning the arrangements.

Some deals could come soon. In challenging the 2010 regulations at issue in the case, Verizon told the court that if not for the rules by the Federal Communications Commission, “we would be exploring those commercial arrangements.”

Internet users will probably not see an immediate difference with their service. Consumer advocates, though, warned that higher costs to content providers could be passed on to the public, and called the ruling a serious blow against the concept of a free and open Internet. “It leaves consumers at the mercy of a handful of cable and phone providers that can give preferential treatment to the content they profit from,” said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union.

Verizon and other corporate giants have spent millions lobbying against and fighting court battles to stop net neutrality. If we want to keep it, we have to continue to fight for it.