Discussion in 'Security, Privacy & Anonymity' started by pumpingiron22, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. pumpingiron22

    pumpingiron22 Member Supporter

    President Obama has come out in support of reclassifying internet service as a utility, a move that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to enforce more robust regulations and protect net neutrality. "To put these protections in place, I'm asking the FCC to reclassifying internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunications Act," Obama says in a statement this morning. "In plain English, I'm asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life."


    There's been a growing battle around protecting net neutrality — the principle that all internet traffic, no matter what it is or where it comes from, should be treated equally — ever since the FCC's original protections were struck down in court earlier this year. Those protections were able to be struck down because the commission didn't make the rules in a way that it actually had authority over, so it's been trying to create new rules that it will definitely be able to enforce. It hasn't chosen to use Title II so far, but net neutrality advocates, now including President Obama, have been pushing for its use.

    Regulating internet service under Title II would mean reclassifying it as a utility, like water. This means that internet providers would just be pumping internet back and forth through pipes and not actually making any decisions about where the internet goes. For the most part, that's a controversial idea in the eyes of service providers alone. It means that they're losing some control over what they sell, and that they can't favor certain services to benefit their own business. Instead, providers would be stuck allowing consumers to use the internet as they want to, using whatever services they like without any penalty. If that sounds pretty great, it's because that's basically how the internet has worked up until now.

    Obama's support of Title II reclassification comes at a critical time for net neutrality. While the FCC is in the process of making new rules to protect net neutrality, those rules would actually allow internet providers to offer so-called "fast lanes," effectively defeating the purpose of net neutrality in the first place. During a public comment period over the summer, Americans spoke out loudly against the proposal, but it's not yet clear what the commission plans to do in response. FCC chair Tom Wheeler has said that he isn't entirely opposed to Title II, but that's appeared to be only if other methods won't work first.


    In a statement outlining what he'd like internet service to look like, Obama highlights four major points: internet providers wouldn't be allowed to block websites offering legal content, they wouldn't be allowed to intentionally slow down or speed up certain websites or services based on their own preferences, and they wouldn't be able to offer paid fast lanes. Obama also asks that the FCC investigate and potentially apply net neutrality rules to the interconnect points that sit between service providers, like Comcast and Verizon, and content providers, like Netflix. That's potentially huge news for Netflix, which has been arguing that this area of the internet should be covered by net neutrality all year.

    Obama also asks that the commission apply these rules to mobile internet service. That would be a significant change as well, as mobile service hasn't previously been subject to the same net neutrality rules that wired connections have been. That said, Obama does leave a significant amount of room for exceptions in the wireless space, potentially allowing some amount of throttling so that providers can manage their networks when under heavy use. Notably, his proposal also asks the FCC not to enforce rate regulations on internet service.

    There's still the big question of whether the FCC will listen to Obama's recommendation and whether Congress will actually allow it. Obama's support of Title II reclassification may provide the political support that the commission needs to justify such a rule change, but with Republicans wary of regulation taking over the Senate, it's an increasingly risky proposition. The FCC may set the rules, but there's plenty that Congress can do to sway its decisions. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has already tweeted out, "'Net Neutrality' is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government."


    Following Obama's announcement, the FCC responded with a statement that doesn't really move the needle — and, in fact, basically says that it'll lump Obama's opinion in with everyone else's. "As an independent regulatory agency we will incorporate the President’s submission into the record of the Open Internet proceeding," chairman Wheeler says. "We welcome comment on it and how it proposes to use Title II of the Communications Act."

    Obama is well aware that he doesn't set the policy here, but his statement points out to the commission that this policy change is well supported by the public."The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately the decision is their's alone," Obama says. "But the public has already commented nearly 4 million times asking that consumers — not the cable company — gets to decide which sites they use."

    The Hill reports that Republicans are already moving toward an overhaul of the Communications Act after last week's election, potentially streamlining the rules used to regulate different types of services, like phone, TV, and internet. Exactly what those changes will mean are unclear, but net neutrality advocates are reportedly concerned that it could move toward a deregulation of the communications industry.

    In its statement, the FCC also confirms reports that it's been examining taking a "hybrid" approach to net neutrality. It's believed that the commission's hybrid plan would place heavy regulations on interconnect points — making content providers like Netflix happy — while still allowing some degree of fast lanes for consumers.

    Ultimately, the FCC just says that it needs more time. While it had hoped to have net neutrality rules in place by the end of the year, it's clearly found that its current plans aren't what people want. It now says that it needs time to determine what legal obstacles would come up should it use a hybrid approach or full Title II reclassification. "The more deeply we examined the issues around the various legal options," Wheeler writes, "the more it has become plain that there is more work to do."

    You can read Obama's full statement below:

    An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

    "Net neutrality" has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

    When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach.

    The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:

    No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.

    No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called "throttling" — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.

    Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called "last mile" — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.

    No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a "slow lane" because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

    If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness.

    The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.

    To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data.

    So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.

    Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.

    The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy — and our society — has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology’s promise for today, and future generations to come.

    Millard Baker likes this.
  2. Millard Baker

    Millard Baker Member

    President Obama's youtube statement on net neutrality:

    pumpingiron22 likes this.
  3. Obama words are powerless with this matter . His control in the legislative branch is minimal .
  4. kawilt

    kawilt Member

    I'm about half way through "No place to hide" by Glen Greenwald. About his initial meeting with Edward Snowden, and who's watching us on the internet. "Control" is the key word, and we sure as hell don't have it.
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  5. pumpingiron22

    pumpingiron22 Member Supporter

    I believe people will fight back on this one as other countries have. It seemed to be one of the only things that really pissed off the younger generation and one of the reasons why Obamas polls went down.
  6. kawilt

    kawilt Member

    I am one of the many, I guess, computer challenged people. I am happy when it turns on when I push a button. In my humble opinion the government wants the internet to be "open" and "accessible" to anyone and everyone. Why not? If they desire, they can be sitting right beside you and listen to everything you say and who you say it to. Accessibility and openness and "freedom" of choice is not the point. This government is twice as big and many times more intrusive under this administration than it has ever been. Power. They will never give it up.
    greenddog1 likes this.
  7. berniec

    berniec Junior Member

    Obama says one thing and does another - the guy he appointed to run the FCC was the biggest lobbyist for the Cable Companies as his last job - thats like having the fox watching the hen house
  8. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

    Republicans Lay Plans to Fight FCC’s Net-Neutrality Rules

    WASHINGTON—Newly fortified Republicans in Congress are considering a number of ways to stymie the Obama administration’s planned regulations on broadband Internet providers in 2015, making Capitol Hill a new front in the fight over “net neutrality.”

    Concern about the rules is playing into Republican efforts to rein in what they say is regulatory overreach by the Federal Communications Commission.

    Dissension over the Internet rules is so rancorous that it could end up impeding progress on technology policy areas where there is potential for agreement, such as cybersecurity and the allocation of wireless spectrum, according to telecom lobbyists and congressional aides.

    The FCC spent most of 2014 drafting the new rules for how broadband Internet providers manage their networks, and it plans to vote on a final rule in February. Shortly after the midterm elections, President Barack Obama called on the FCC to impose the strongest possible rules on providers by classifying broadband as a utility, which would make it subject to much greater regulation. The rules are designed to protect net neutrality—the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

    Many conservatives and the broadband industry say utility-like regulation is a step too far, arguing it will stifle innovation in the industry. That view is held by some pivotal players in the new Congress, such as John Thune (R., S.D.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

    “The regulatory tools at the FCC’s disposal are outdated and its previous efforts to create rules to regulate the Internet were struck down by the courts,” Sen. Thune said in a statement. “It’s hard to imagine that its new attempt will escape legal challenges and avoid the kind of regulatory uncertainty that harms Internet innovation and investment.”

    In the House, a Republican staffer for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC, said lawmakers won’t know what steps they will take until they see the agency’s final plan. But all options are on the table, he said, including legislation to block reclassification and cutting the agency’s budget. The FCC is already straining to complete the many outstanding items on its docket with its current resources. Lawmakers also could try to implement a seldom-used law, the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to void major rules issued by federal agencies.

    Another option is legislation to preserve net neutrality without resorting to utility regulation. However, such legislation would be anathema to many Republicans who oppose any regulation of Internet access.

    Moreover, any legislation to override or undo the Internet rules would be a heavy lift in Congress. It would have to pass both the House and Senate, then override a likely veto from Mr. Obama, which would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers. Moreover, the most effective challenge to the rule may come not from Congress but from the industry; within the FCC, officials take it as a given that whatever the commission produces will be challenged in court.

    “There are many paths that opponents of strong net neutrality rules can follow in the Congress,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of the group Public Knowledge, which supports strong net neutrality rules, in an interview. “However if the White House remains firmly in favor of strong net neutrality rules, all legislation is likely to fail.”

    As a result, the most likely venue for taking on the agency will be the hearing room, where GOP-led committees can be expected to grill FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on the policy while making it clear that they oppose expanded regulation of broadband providers. A date hasn’t yet been set for a net-neutrality hearing.

    The net neutrality issue could overshadow a debate over the best way to allocate government spectrum, specifically airwaves that wireless carriers can use to transmit data for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. The federal government still holds the most spectrum, which is typically shared between various agencies for a multitude of purposes.

    Demand for spectrum has increased significantly in recent years as mobile devices have become the primary Internet connection for millions of consumers. That demand produced a spike in the prices paid for spectrum by the carriers in the FCC auction that ran from November into December. Both parties would like to see more of that spectrum freed up for public use, though there is some debate over the best way to do so. Republicans have traditionally favor selling the airwaves to wireless carriers for their exclusive use, while Democrats would also like to see more spectrum sharing, and more unlicensed spectrum that is free for any device maker to use.

    Similarly, the net-neutrality fight could exacerbate the divide over cybersecurity legislation, which has become a higher priority thanks to the continuing run of high-profile cyberattacks against Sony Corp. and other companies. Both parties agree with industry on the need to update the law, but there is debate on whether industry should face security regulations or be liable in the event of an attack. The fight over net neutrality could make it tougher for individual members to cross party lines to end the long-standing logjam on even modest changes to the cybersecurity laws.

    A sense of the Republicans’ eagerness to challenge the administration’s tech agenda came at the end of 2014 when they included in the fiscal 2015 spending bill language prohibiting the Commerce Department from using funds to terminate the U.S. government’s oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Icann manages the Internet Domain Name System, which serves as a set of central signposts that help computers locate the correct servers and websites. Conservatives argue that without U.S. involvement, oversight of the Internet could fall into the hands of repressive governments.

    Commerce officials said they are still evaluating the language to determine whether it would impede their plan to transfer oversight of Icann to an international group of nonprofits, academics, and engineers.
  9. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

    Shifting Politics of Net Neutrality Debate Ahead of F.C.C. Vote

    WASHINGTON — Last November, when President Obama proposed strict rules to prevent broadband companies from blocking or intentionally slowing down the web, Republicans pounced on what they called yet another heavy-handed liberal proposal. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas pronounced the regulations “Obamacare for the Internet.”

    But what was, on the surface, a simple fight over big government versus small has put Republicans in the awkward position of aligning themselves with the cable giants, among the most maligned industries in the country, against the sad Netflix viewer waiting for “House of Cards” to break through its “buffering” vortex.

    In the intervening weeks, politics on the so-called net neutrality issue have shifted so much that House and Senate Republicans are circulating legislation that would ostensibly do exactly what the president wants: ban the blocking or “throttling” of web traffic and prohibit the creation of paid “fast lanes” for Internet content providers willing to pay for faster delivery.
    Millard Baker likes this.
  10. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality.

    After more than a decade of debate and a record-setting proceeding that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived. This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months.

    That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections.

    Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.