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EAGLE EYE
04-07-2010, 04:42 AM
06 April
2010

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Neutrality Interrupted: Court Rules In Favor of Comcast... (http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/040610net)

A federal court has ruled that Comcast is authorized to interfere with user accounts and traffic flows, a decision that solidly challenges net neutrality positions in the US. The unanimous, three-judge decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturns an earlier order (http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/082808fcc) by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and suddenly rearranges the neutrality debate.
The FCC got involved in 2008 after Comcast was found to be throttling high-bandwidth, BitTorrent-related requests, a move that Comcast defended as necessary to ease traffic congestion. Indeed, congestion is a major issue that ISPs struggle with daily, especially on high-bandwidth assets like movies, games, and video content. But neutrality advocates are more concerned with the theoretical next steps, including favoritism towards certain sites, software packages, or hardware setups.
Comcast and other access providers are obviously thrilled with the decision, and neutrality advocates predictably distressed. The pro-neutrality group is varied, and spans heavyweights like Google, the Obama administration, and consortia like A2IM in the music world.
But this is hardly a closed book. "Today's court decision invalidated the prior Commission's approach to preserving an open internet," the FCC stated. "But the Court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end."

EAGLE EYE
04-07-2010, 04:43 AM
A step in the wrong direction.

Ghost In The 'Lac
04-07-2010, 06:12 AM
Dem fools tryna get mah internet like cable TV, with just different channels you have to chose from. This is a bigger issue than the gen pop realise. As soon as they start picking and choosing who gets bandwidth and who doesnt, its a dark road.

Why are american courts so constantly sucking dick of corporations though? You have to have the most anti-progressive judges in the the world.

I cant believe they let them use the bandwidth excuse. Thats their problem to sort out. They shouldnt be allowed to change the entire structure of the internet just because they cant deal with demand.

check two
04-07-2010, 11:47 AM
It wasn't that long ago when cable was like $10 a month. It's a rip off.

Steezy
04-07-2010, 01:25 PM
Soon, we'll see websites being censored by the ISP, then, we'll see cops knocking on the door because you even tried to access the website.

EAGLE EYE
04-07-2010, 02:17 PM
Soon, we'll see websites being censored by the ISP, then, we'll see cops knocking on the door because you even tried to access the website.

They don't have the resources to send the law knocking at your door. The RIAA recently gave up their efforts of individually seeing p2p users since was too costly on their behalf.

Permanent disconnections are whats on the table right now for net users in the EU. I could see comcast white listing & blacklisting sites they don't like though.

Steezy
04-07-2010, 04:39 PM
They don't have the resources to send the law knocking at your door. The RIAA recently gave up their efforts of individually seeing p2p users since was too costly on their behalf.

Permanent disconnections are whats on the table right now for net users in the EU. I could see comcast white listing & blacklisting sites they don't like though.

AT&T Blocked their clients from accessing the (number)chan.org group of websites, aha.

EAGLE EYE
04-08-2010, 05:23 AM
by Adam Thierer (http://techliberation.com/author/adam-thierer/) on April 7, 2010 · View comments (http://tlf.disqus.com/?url=http://techliberation.com/2010/04/07/did-you-say-you-wanted-another-editorial-on-the-comcast-decision/)Comments (http://techliberation.com/2010/04/07/did-you-say-you-wanted-another-editorial-on-the-comcast-decision/#disqus_thread)
Well, you got it! Here’s a essay of mine that The Daily Caller ran today (http://dailycaller.com/2010/04/07/fccs-hand-smacked-over-internet-power-grab/) discussing the ramifications of the decision.
___________
Internet freedom got a reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia slapped down a brazen attempt by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ignore the rule of law and begin imposing onerous regulations on broadband network operators. The decision,Comcast v. FCC (http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/common/opinions/201004/08-1291-1238302.pdf), deals with arcane matters of regulatory agency jurisdiction, but the stakes were profound and the ramifications for the future of the Internet will reverberate for years to come.
In a nutshell, the FCC argued it had the right to impose so-called “Net neutrality” regulations on a private broadband operator based merely on a handful of principles that the agency had previously said it would not be enforcing as law. Net neutrality regulations would put FCC bureaucrats in the Internet’s driver’s seat and let them determine what was “just and reasonable” of private networks. Critics have rightly feared that Net neutrality sounded all too much a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet (http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2007-10-18at.html) since similar language had been used in the broadcast era to justify all sorts of FCC meddling and micromanagement.
Regardless, the FCC’s original position—that its Net neutrality principles were only principles and nothing more—made sense since even a high school civics student can tell you that only Congress can make laws. Moreover, for a brief time, even the FCC seem to realize that laws that would comprehensively regulate such an important sector of the American economy, as Net neutrality rules would, almost certainly require our elected leaders in Congress to reopen and tweak existing statutes like the Telecommunications Act of 1996. After all, Congress had never authorized wide-reaching regulation of the Net or broadband networks, and so, if the agency wanted to extend its regulatory tentacles and wrap them around the Internet it only seems reasonable they get the blessing of lawmakers before doing so. And, for a time, the FCC stuck to a “Hands Off the Net” approach.

Regrettably, the FCC decided to ignore that earlier logic, throw statutory authority to the wind, and instead concoct creative interpretations regulatory authority via something know as “ancillary jurisdiction.” To simplify things greatly, the agency has some leeway under existing laws to use various clauses of previous congressional enactments to regulate the sectors and technologies it oversees. In this case, the FCC claimed that it had “ancillary jurisdiction” to enforce amorphous Net neutrality policy principles against Comcast under past case law or, more amazingly, via some of the deregulatory-minded passages from the Telecom Act of 1996. It was an astonishing display of bureaucratic hubris that flaunted the rule of law and asked the courts to essentially look the other way while the agency magically invented its own authority to act and expand its powers.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (the D.C. Circuit) was not about to turn a blind eye. In fact, this particular appeals court has been a near constant pain in the keister for the FCC since the agency’s regulatory shenanigans are frequently brought before the court and just as frequently struck down as over-zealous, unconstitutional exercises of power.
In yesterday’s Comcast decision, the D.C. Circuit calmly but meticulously decimated each and every twisted rational that the FCC set forth in defense of its Internet power grab. Paraphrasing an earlier Supreme Court decision, the court noted that the FCC’s decision, not only “strain[ed] the outer limits of even the open-ended and pervasive jurisdiction that has evolved by decisions of the Commission and the courts,” but sought to “shatter them entirely.” More profoundly, the court noted that “Were we to accept [the agency’s] theory of ancillary authority, we see no reason why the Commission would have to stop there, for we can think of few examples of regulations that apply to [] common carrier services, [] broadcast services, or [] cable services that the Commission… would be unable to impose upon Internet service providers.”
In other words: Stop right there FCC! This is exactly what courts should be doing when rogue regulatory agencies run well afoul of their statutorily-defined limits, but all too often agencies get a free pass instead in the name of “agency deference.” Luckily that didn’t happen this time around thanks to the D.C. Circuit.
The question now is whether the FCC learns its lesson — that it should seek the proper authority from Congress before it imposes new regulations like Net neutrality rules — or if the agency instead engages in another effort to concoct regulatory authority via regulatory re-classification. If the agency takes that latter approach and tries to pigeonhole the Internet and broadband services into the public utility regulatory models of the past, it will set the stage for Regulatory World War III. Lawsuits will fly. Some carriers have already promised as much (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/449514-ISPs_Warn_FCC_Against_Title_II_Regulation_of_Web_A ccess.php).
When will the agency accept the fact that it is not above the law and that there is a right way in a democracy to go about changing policies that have such a profound impact on our economy? Regardless of what one thinks of the recent health care bill, imagine if the Department of Health and Human Services would have tried to ram it through as a regulatory scheme instead of having Congress debate it and vote on it. People would have been outraged. And yet that’s exactly what the FCC is proposing to do when it comes to Net neutrality regulation and regulatory reclassification of the Internet as sleepy public utility. You know, because public utility regulation has worked soooo well in other contexts!
The D.C. Circuit’s decision yesterday should encourage the Commission to pause and reconsider its current approach. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that the agency will instead retrench and fight on in a futile attempt to take the law into its own hands and ignore the will of Congress. For the sake of Internet freedom, we have to hope the courts will continue to hold the line against such shameless regulatory overreach. And if Congress does use this as an opportunity to reopen the Telecom Act, they should tightly limit the powers of the FCC and make a strong stand in defense of (http://techliberation.com/2009/10/23/net-neutrality-slippery-slopes-high-tech-mutually-assured-destruction/) Internet freedom (http://techliberation.com/2009/09/22/the-day-real-internet-freedom-died-our-forbes-op-ed-on-net-neutrality-regulation/).
Tagged as: Comcast (http://techliberation.com/tag/comcast/), Daily Caller (http://techliberation.com/tag/daily-caller/), decision (http://techliberation.com/tag/decision/), FCC (http://techliberation.com/tag/fcc/), health care (http://techliberation.com/tag/health-care/), HHS (http://techliberation.com/tag/hhs/), net neutrality (http://techliberation.com/tag/net-neutrality/), public utility (http://techliberation.com/tag/public-utility/)
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