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Net Neutrality Supporters Hammered In Elections 402

Posted by samzenpus
from the alignment-shift dept.
Pickens writes "Gigi Sohn writes in the Huffington Post that one of the results of the mid-term elections was the defeat of Representative Rick Boucher, the current Chair of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, widely recognized as one of the most tech-savvy and intelligent members of Congress, and long an advocate for consumers on a wide variety of communications and intellectual property issues. Boucher has been the best friend of fair use on Capitol Hill writes Sohn. In 2002, 2003 and 2007, Boucher introduced legislation to allow consumers to break digital locks for lawful purposes, a fair use exception to the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and while the odds against that legislation passing were always great, Boucher understood the symbolic importance of standing up for consumers' rights to use technology lawfully. 'As important, he served as a moderating force both on the House Energy & Commerce and Judiciary Committees against those many members of Congress willing to give large media companies virtually everything on their copyright wish lists.'"
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Net Neutrality Supporters Hammered In Elections

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  • One step forward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shoehornjob (1632387) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:32PM (#34117960)
    two steps back. You can hear the lobbyists howling at the door.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Lobbyists aren't howling at the door, they're inside, having tea and biscuits.

      That's the PEOPLE howling at the door, like a dog begging to be let back in, but stuck out in the rain to starve.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:36PM (#34118000)

    long an advocate for consumers on a wide variety of communications and intellectual property issues.

    The loss of a friend for fair use was sad, but I think a few others may have come in so perhaps that will balance out. On the whole the Democrats were always befriended by Hollywood in ways Republicans were not, so I would hope a lot of new Republicans would be cool to the MPAA and other organizations...

    That said, "Net Neutrality" is not about what people think. It's about bringing the internet, and specifically ISP's, under more regulation to solve a problem that doesn't exist. How you you carefully craft regulation to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

    The biggest ISP no-no we have seen was Comcast and torrent tomfoolery. But no net neutrality ideas under discussions would have stopped that, because in that case Comcast forged traffic, they didn't limit anything. It was your network's stack response to forged packets that caused a slowdown.

    So even if you support regulation of the internet and the foot in the door for greater control over allowable traffic that brings with it, even if you support that - shouldn't we at least wait and see IF issues arise so we can construct regulation that actually solves a problem instead of just being there to make us all feel warm and fuzzy?

    • by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:45PM (#34118084) Journal

      because in that case Comcast forged traffic, they didn't limit anything. It was your network's stack response to forged packets that caused a slowdown.

      To a reasonable person, that's like saying "My plastic bag over your head isn't keeping you from breathing. It's your body's response to increasing levels of carbon dioxide that's causing you to black out."

      It's a cryin' shame our country is run by lawyers, rather than reasonable people.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:45PM (#34118088)

      On the whole the Democrats were always befriended by Hollywood in ways Republicans were not, so I would hope a lot of new Republicans would be cool to the MPAA and other organizations...

      Democrats may have greater support among the Hollywood celebrities that are visible to the public, but I don't think there is much evidence that they have closer ties to the megacorps that actually own the studios, who are who the MPAA represents.

      The biggest ISP no-no we have seen was Comcast and torrent tomfoolery. But no net neutrality ideas under discussions would have stopped that, because in that case Comcast forged traffic, they didn't limit anything.

      Forging packets as a mechanism to foil the use of any lawful software or device would violate every net neutrality proposal I've seen, all of which prohibit ISPs from preventing the customer from using any lawful device or software without regard to the mechanism by which that is done.

      • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:00PM (#34118258)

        Democrats may have greater support among the Hollywood celebrities that are visible to the public, but I don't think there is much evidence that they have closer ties to the megacorps that actually own the studios, who are who the MPAA represents.

        Let me enlighten you...

        • Gershengorn, a partner with RIAA-firm Jenner & Block, represented the labels against Grokster (.pdf) and will be in charge of the DOJ Federal Programs Branch. That’s the unit that just told a federal judge the Obama administration supports monetary damages as high as $150,000 per purloined music track on a peer-to-peer file sharing program.
        • Donald Verrilli, associate deputy attorney general — the No. 3 in the DOJ, who unsuccessfully urged a federal judge to uphold the $222,000 file sharing verdict against Jammie Thomas.
        • Tom Perrilli, as Verrilli’s former boss, the Justice Department’s No. 2 argued in 2002 that internet service providers should release customer information to the RIAA even without a court subpoena.
        • Brian Hauck, counsel to associate attorney general, worked on the Grokster case on behalf of the record labels.
        • Ginger Anders, assistant to the solicitor general, litigated on the Cablevision case.

        Source Obama Taps 5th RIAA Lawyer to Justice Dept [wired.com]

        • Let me enlighten you...

          That isn't remotely relevant to the issue I raised about questions about whether Democrats are really closer than Republicans to the megacorporations that run the studios, who are the people that the MPAA/RIAA/etc. represent. You've pointed to the Obama administration hiring people who previously the RIAA hired to represent them, which isn't relevant to any comparative question, and isn't relevant to proximity to corporations the *AAs represent.

          • Let me enlighten you...

            That isn't remotely relevant to the issue I raised about questions about whether Democrats are really closer than Republicans to the megacorporations that run the studios, who are the people that the MPAA/RIAA/etc. represent. You've pointed to the Obama administration hiring people who previously the RIAA hired to represent them, which isn't relevant to any comparative question, and isn't relevant to proximity to corporations the *AAs represent.

            This Democratic prick [wikipedia.org] is all the media companies need.

          • by Tailhook (98486) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @07:32PM (#34119154)

            but I don't think there is much evidence that [Democrats] have closer ties to the megacorps that actually own the studios

            http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.php?cycle=2010&ind=B02

            Time Warner $20,266,434 88% (D) 11% (R)

            Walt Disney Co $11,643,166 68% (D) 31% (R)

            Vivendi $4,682,771 66% (D) 32% (R)

            Sony Corp $338,730 80% (D) 19% (R)

            DreamWorks SKG $198,500 100% (D) 0% (R)

            Warner Music Group $178,600 88% (D) 12% (R)

            TV / Movies / Music overall 2010: 73% (D) 23% (R)

            Not a recent phenomenon either; that ratio has been consistent for years. Please don't take my word for it; the data is right there for you to investigate (and then discount/ignore.)

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by mbuimbui (1130065)

              quick! someone funnel that money through a non-profit which doesnt have to disclose where the money comes from!

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          Barbara Boxer, who has consistently pushed for more restrictive copyright. Even as someone who usually votes Democrat, the only reason I voted for her is that Carly Fiorina nearly brought a major Fortune 500 company to its knees, and we really don't need someone that bad at managing a business helping run our federal government. I was all set to vote against her until she ended up as the G.O.P. candidate.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            I was all set to vote against her until she ended up as the G.O.P. candidate.

            If you're going to refer to two women in the same sentence, please do not use pronouns for both. Since you were last talking about Carly Fiorina, the first "her" should be referencing Fiorina. Since that makes no sense in context, you should have simply said "I was all set to vote against Barbara Boxer until Carly Fiorina ended up as the G.O.P. candidate."

            It's the only arrangement that makes any sense.

            Carry on!

    • by bonch (38532)

      So even if you support regulation of the internet and the foot in the door for greater control over allowable traffic that brings with it, even if you support that - shouldn't we at least wait and see IF issues arise so we can construct regulation that actually solves a problem instead of just being there to make us all feel warm and fuzzy?.

      No! We want to feel warm and fuzzy!

    • by TheWoozle (984500) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:15PM (#34118414)

      That said, "Net Neutrality" is not about what people think. It's about bringing the internet, and specifically ISP's, under more regulation to solve a problem that doesn't exist. How you you carefully craft regulation to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

      So by your logic, I shouldn't get the flu vaccine this year?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rockoon (1252108)

      That said, "Net Neutrality" is not about what people think. It's about bringing the internet, and specifically ISP's, under more regulation to solve a problem that doesn't exist. How you you carefully craft regulation to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

      This.

      If I was to set up a hundred different machines all over the internet to hammer a single IP address with packets, usually that would be considered a Denial of Service (DoS) attack (even if it doesnt succeed in denying service.) Well thats exactly what Bittorrent does, right?

      Even if ISP's gave each of their users 10 times as bunch bandwidth as they do now, the problem would remain. Bittorrent's goal would still be to fully saturate the receiving pipe, and the only barrier to that happening in a lac

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Dems were already in power. Midterm elections tend to be overwhelmingly biased to the party principles of the second-largest party. Now add all the FUD spread by the Tea Party et al. Nobody should be surprised that the resulting observations are all leaning Right.

    "Liberal" stances like Net Neutrality and CA's Prop 19 (though neither of those are completely economically liberal, they are associated that way) suffer in elections like this. This is not a trend that you should expect to see continue i

  • by pspahn (1175617) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:38PM (#34118022)
    I plan on running for Congress in 2012. I'll fill a void.
    • by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:27PM (#34118518) Homepage Journal

      You can't fill a void, but you can fill a *void, provided it points to a valid address.

  • by orphiuchus (1146483) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:41PM (#34118048)
    Very few people that I know who don't work directly with computers have a decent understanding of net neutrality. I actually know several people who believed that moron Glen Beck when he said it was an "Marxist takeover of the internet", which is about as far from the truth as you can get. I don't believe that these candidates were voted out because of their net neutrality stances, I think it was more an issue of health care and the economy, but if they ever want this issue to be understood and voted on by the public then they need to run campaign adds explaining it in very basic, honest, terms.
    • by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:53PM (#34118184)
      The way politics in America works - from what I understood of it - is that as soon as you mention:

      Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Government Control, Government Sponsored, Government, or whatever, then the general consensus is to hate it.

      We don't want no government controlling MY internet. I'd rather trust big-company-x-with-no-ulterior-motives-whatsoever. God Bless America.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by noidentity (188756)

        We don't want no government controlling MY internet. I'd rather trust big-company-x-with-no-ulterior-motives-whatsoever. God Bless America.

        Yes, it's much better to have the big-governemtn-with-no-ulterior-motives-whatsoever control all the companies' data lines.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Haedrian (1676506)
          Ideally, the government represents the people - the best government is one which takes care of its people.

          Ideally, the company gets maximum profits possible in the market - the best companies are the ones which reap the most money.

          There is no reason for a company to do anything which will hurt its bottom line permanently. Always keep that in mind. If a company decides that it is supporting self-regulated net neutrality, its doing it to 1-up the competitors and get more money.

          Now I realise that the governmen
      • by salesgeek (263995)

        We don't want no government controlling MY internet.

        This is correct.

        The problem is that the people running the pro net-neutrality campaign are incredibly incompetent. Americans don't like big corporations controlling things either. Basically, Americans don't like anyone controlling anything. Unless it's them.

    • by yariv (1107831)
      People voted against them for other reasons, of course, but you should look for the amount of money in their campaigns and their opponents' (including indirect, after Citizens United). It might be just my impression, but from here (I'm not an american) it seems like the electorate is easily swayed if you have enough money for publicity. And you should ask yourself who pays for it and why, not why people vote.
  • No they were not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:47PM (#34118112)

    Net Neutrality was not on the radar of these voters. Support for net neutrality didn't hurt or save anyone.

    • by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:12PM (#34118394) Journal

      Wait. You actually believe that voters voted on substantive issues?

      These candidates were targeted by the corporations who don't want net neutrality. They heavily funded their opponents, no matter what nonsense the candidate's campaign advisors chose to use as campaign propaganda.

      You can bet none of the candidates even mentioned net neutrality. The supporters avoid it because it's complicated and will get them only a few votes. The opponents because it's complicated and if they actually explained it it would actually drive votes to the supporters.

      But while net neutrality was never an issue to the voters, you can bet it was the issue to some of the biggest donors.

      Elections following the Citizens United decision will absolutely not be about the issues, and will only resemble democracy in form.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by cynyr (703126)

        Wait. You actually believe that voters voted on substantive issues?

        if by substantive you mean, repealing the health care bill, reinstating tax brakes from former presidents, and making sure the gays can't get a civil union (so they can make health care decisions for their partners, and be protected by the 5th amendment on the whole couples thing), then yes.

        personally I'd like all the money from GM, and the banks, and the rest of the handouts back, and I'd like to build, by employing local citizens and residents, a national high speed rail system. In times of economic hards

    • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:14PM (#34118404)
      Nobody said they were hammered "because of" their support for net neutrality. That in itself was obviously not a big issue. But this election was a lurch to the right, which does not believe limiting corporations (e.g. net neutrality as a small example) serves a greater good.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LetterRip (30937)

      Net Neutrality was not on the radar of these voters. Support for net neutrality didn't hurt or save anyone.

      Due to the Supreme Court ruling regarding corporate sponsored advertising and donations - any stance against a heavily moneyed interest hurt a politician holding that stance. Since Net Neutrality was something of particular important to AT&T I would not be surprised if they funded a number of attack ads against Boucher on other topics to increase his chances of losing. Similarly any politician who expressed opinions contrary to Net Neutrality when their opponent did not, likely was the beneficiary of

  • intelligence was rewarded. In fact, if anyone has too much education, they are labeled an elitist.
  • by Ichijo (607641) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:49PM (#34118140) Homepage Journal

    With "unlimited" data plans, the incentive for the ISP is to find ways to keep you from saturating the network connection. Making the network non-neutral is one way to accomplish this.

    With pay-as-you-go data plans, the incentive for the ISP is to eliminate anything that prevents you from saturating your network connection. This means not slowing down traffic based on origin or destination (in other words, making the network completely neutral), and upgrading the infrastructure when it makes economic sense for them.

    We can't have our cake and eat it, too.

    • by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @05:56PM (#34118214)
      You kinda missed the point entirely.

      If I am paying for an unlimited plan with say 4GB/s - then I want an ultimated plan with 4GB/s. If I am 'saturating the network' in this manner - they should not have offered this plan at those speeds.

      Now, if I really am causing a problem - then if they just throttle ALL my speed would be fair. If they decide to throttle (say) most of the internet, but give me great speeds on a sponsored site - that has nothing to do with me using up 'too much' internet.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      With net neutrality, every ISP has an incentive to deliver the best service for the lowest price without screwing you out of what you paid for or conning you into paying more because you underestimated the bandwidth you use.

      And with net neutrality no ISP has an incentive to manipulate opinion in its subscriber base by throttling data from opinionated websites.

      Allowing your ISP to become the arbiter of your knowledge is not why the government (through DARPA) invented the Internet.

      • by Haedrian (1676506)
        "Allowing your ISP to become the arbiter of your knowledge is not why the government (through DARPA) invented the Internet"

        No, It was invented in order to provide redundancy of control in case a surprise attack destroyed a control center.
        • by blair1q (305137)

          Your ISP is the one directing that attack, and Net Neutrality is the redundancy you need to protect your control center's connection.

    • by jd (1658)

      It may be a way, but it is an inferior way. A better system is to maintain neutrality (ie: no bias towards or away from any specific source or destination) but to impose fairness. The most trivial form of fairness is to round-robin between inputs. One input, one packet. And simply rotate round. This ensures that nobody can flood the network (the excess packets would block the sender but nobody else). More advanced forms of fairness involve things like Hierarchical Fair Service Curve (to give everyone equal

  • Boucher introduced legislation to allow consumers to break digital locks for lawful purposes

    So they pass laws that outlaw breaking locks on things you physically own, and now they're being oh-so-gracious to "allow" us to break them, without putting us in jail for it?

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:06PM (#34118340) Journal

    The faster the better. Then we can set about rebuilding..in some far, distant future

  • Thankfully... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    Constitution supporters won.
  • Worst PR EVER (Score:5, Insightful)

    by salesgeek (263995) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @06:45PM (#34118726) Homepage

    The basic problem with the net neutrality battle is that it is called "net neutrality". The average American hears this when you say net neutrality:

    net = COMPLICATED COMPUTER THINGY
    neutrality = Switzerland

    So it's no surprise at all that people don't care, and the Republicans don't get it. Want to change the game? Make this all about Online Freedom and make the story how greedy carriers want to take away freedom / violate my rights. It's about explaining how carriers want to LIMIT WHERE YOU CAN GO, CHARGE YOU FOR ACCESS TO THINGS YOU HAVE NOW, AND TAKE AWAY YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO DO BUSINESS ONLINE.

    People aren't that stupid, but they are not that well educated. If you make your case using language that the average Wal*Mart consumer can understand, you can get anything you want out of Washington because those are the people that change their minds in elections and cause congresspeople to lose their jobs as they did yesterday. Nine out of ten times when you see voters support something that is bad for them, it's because one side used language like "net neutrality" to sell their side of the story.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @09:04PM (#34119818) Homepage Journal
    Sure, net neutrality went out the window. But now we have legislators who are going to spend all their time working to repeal a health care overhaul bill that didn't overhaul anything. And they are led by someone who said he will not compromise on his principles.

    Basically, the 2010 election only set the stage for a very early (as in this afternoon) start to the 2012 election cycle. On the plus side, the politicians will be so busy campaigning that we might not have to worry about them passing anything we don't like because they may well not pass anything at all (beyond their own gas and hot air of course). On the minus side, the politicians are already so busy campaigning that they might never pass anything at all.

    Provided they don't find some way to completely destroy the world, this might indeed be the government we deserve...

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