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United States Government The Internet Your Rights Online

Bill Would Ban Paid Prioritization By ISPs 216

jfruh writes In the opening days of the new U.S. Congress, a bill has been introduced in both the House and Senate enforcing Net neutrality, making it illegal for ISPs to accept payment to prioritize some traffic packets over others. But the sponsors are all Democrats, and with Republicans now in charge of both house of Congress, the chances of it passing seem slim.
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Bill Would Ban Paid Prioritization By ISPs

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    But the sponsors are all Democrats, and with Republicans now in charge of both house of Congress, the chances of it passing seem slim.

    WooHoo!

    On another note, whenever those assholes work together, Watch out! Like when the PATRIOT act was passed. Or when the criminal Wall Street crooks were given a free ride and bonuses to boot at taxpayer expense.

    And where were the Teabaggers then? Nowhere.

    But there was plenty of those people condemning the Occupy Wall Street kids! Who were protesting against taxpayer money waste!

    Fox News watching morons.

    • tea party didnt exist at the time of the collapse....
      • by nobuddy ( 952985 )

        Incorrect. The Tea Party was formed in 1986 by the Heritage Foundation and Phillip Morris as an astroturf effort. It just got popular enough to be noteworthy in the 2004 elections, and really took off in 2008.
        All revealed in the documents obtained from heritage and Phillip Morris in the tobacco trials.
        http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/... [bmj.com]

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      If only the democrats had proposed this bill when they had a majority. They waited till now because they want it to fail but prefer that the Rs hold the bag. Much like the Rs putting bills they don't want before congress when the Ds are the majority.

  • Depending on how they word the "paid for" portion this could be a better bills then most of the other bills. Provided that it allow customers to pay for and allow the ISPs to block some types of traffic.
  • by jacks smirking reven ( 909048 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2015 @04:30PM (#48758325)
    Credit where credits due, the actual bill itself (linked in the article) is only 4 pages in total and although IANAL it does seem to be straightforward and to the point. It also generously defines "edge provider" as

    (A) any content, application, or service over the Internet; or
    (B) a device used for accessing any content, application, or service over the Internet.

    Maybe someone with a bit more knowledge can poke a hole in it, but in this age of 1000+ page bills that no-one seems to have the will to read it's a nice change.
    • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2015 @04:56PM (#48758667) Homepage Journal

      It's short only because it's telling the FCC to do the real work. The key bit is:

      Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate regulations that...

      A lot of major laws are like that. The law itself grants some kind of authority to an executive branch department, and they come up with the regulations that implement that authority. That can often run into many thousands of pages, and they can change literally every single day. Regulated industries often have employees whose sole job it is to ensure that they're in compliance with the regulations.

      This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Congress aren't experts in the domain. The executive branch employees are (or at least, are supposed to be). They work with the industry experts to clarify all of the corner cases and vaguenesses that make up any complex issue. And the issues are complex; they often seem simple to outsiders but only because they don't know what they're looking at. The same thing probably happens in your job.

      The departments aren't completely unsupervised. They report, ultimately, to Presidential appointees, who have to be approved by Congress and produce regular reports to the Congress. And when things go wrong, they get hauled in front of Congress to explain themselves.

      Er, digression aside... what would have happened were the bill to pass (it won't) is that the FCC would produce a lengthy set of regulations, which would surely provoke all kinds of outrage as the actual nitty-gritty details are less pleasant than the overall sentiment. In fact, I'd say that they're aware that it won't pass, which is why they get to make it so vague. Real bills, the kind where they want to strictly limit the authority of the departments to get exactly what they want, are the result of compromises within the legislature and are usually much more detailed. You can get the details in legislation or in regulation; the former is more permanent and the latter is more flexible, which can be good or bad depending on your point of view of the matter at hand. But there will be details, and they're going to be voluminous.

      • That can often run into many thousands of pages, and they can change literally every single day. Regulated industries often have employees whose sole job it is to ensure that they're in compliance with the regulations. [...] This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Congress aren't experts in the domain.

        And when you have thousands of pages of regulations, so many that you need compliance experts, that drives up costs for the business and ultimately the end consumer. It raises the barrier of entry for new comp

  • I didn't know Bill Gates had the ability to control ISPs in this way.

  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2015 @04:31PM (#48758337) Journal

    I've not been a fan of previous "Net Neutrality" efforts, because they didn't seem likely to fix the problem. This, however, is great. It totally undercuts the ISP extortion racket, without trying to fix a technical problem.

    The big ISPs can always find a loophole in any law that tries to prevent throttling by some technical rules - that's what engineers do: we game a system to maximize some value. Bad approach. By instead saying "do whatever, but you can't charge money for priority access simply removes the incentive to do it in the first place. Good approach.

    • Our state allows wealthy drivers to pay extra for the convenience and speed of the Express Lane. How is paid prioritization of Internet bandwidth any different?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        Our state allows wealthy drivers to pay extra for the convenience and speed of the Express Lane.

        When your state installed this "Express Lane" did it actually add a new lane, or did they wall off existing lanes, forcing everyone who doesn't pay up into fewer lanes than they had before, making the traffic for everyone else worse?

        • Also, there are arguments to be made that roads are a public good and should be paid for by the public as a whole, not as a premium good for the wealthy. I'm personally opposed to express lanes and toll roads in general; I can (to a limited extent) support tolls on bridges and tunnels that are unusually expensive to build and maintain, but otherwise roads should be funded by gas and car registration taxes and available to all on an equal opportunity basis, no special access for the wealthy.
    • What would be nice would be some real politics in Washington. Say, the Republicans support this (some already do btw), in exchange for Keystone.

      Heh. I know, I was dreaming...

  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2015 @04:33PM (#48758377)

    If the Democrats wanted this to pass, they would have brought the bill to floor when they had a chance of it actually passing. Far too many in the Democratic party are in the pockets of those that won't let this pass, but by bringing it up now, it can look like the Republicans are the bad guys.

    Which, they are. Both parties are opposed to net neutrality. But this bill is just there for grandstanding. The Democrats could have made net neutrality happen MANY times in the last few years, so this is just to try to smear team red, even though team blue agrees with them totally on this issue.

    • Who would the Democrats win points with? No one knows what Net Neutrality is and nobody cares.

      • by mjm1231 ( 751545 )

        Yep, that's why nobody submitted anything to the FCC comment filing.

        Oh wait: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org]

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Every company with smart CIO should know by know exactly what net neutrality is and how it will advantage 99.99% of them. The total campaigns contribution that would be favoured by net neutrality far exceed the campaign contributions of those who favour an internet they can censor, which implies being able to intercept and analyse all communications. Without net neutrality corporate and industrial espionage will explode, there is simply far too much money to be made by doing it for those who oppose net neu

    • Yep. Perfect timing. Between the timing, and the fact that (even if it passes), it doesn't seem to address the most grievous of the net-neutrlity issues (ISPs blocking or degrading competing services to force customers to use their extra-cost service). It really seems like they just don't want to see net neutrality really pass.
    • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2015 @04:49PM (#48758557) Homepage

      It was introduced in the middle of last year [loc.gov] in the House, where it was summarily sent to a subcommittee to die. It had no chance as a bill with zero Republican sponsors ever passing the House, just as it will quickly die in this Congress.

    • by Enry ( 630 )

      The Dems haven't had a majority in the House for the past 4 years. This wasn't a bit enough deal for others to rise to the level of legislation until the past..maybe 18 months.

      As for the Senate, well, requiring 60 votes to get anything done put a damper on that.

    • I'm quickly losing hope with this Congress, day 2 and we're already doing the present a bill partisan BS.

    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      If the Democrats wanted this to pass, they would have brought the bill to floor when they had a chance of it actually passing.

      When was that, exactly? The Democrats haven't had control of the House since 2010. They did have a brief period where they had a veto-proof majority, back in 2009, but that only lasted a couple of months (after the Minnesota election was finally resolved, and before Ted Kennedy died and was replaced by a Republican). They devoted that time to health care. They didn't expect to maintain that advantage long, though they didn't expect it to end quite so soon.

      Since then, there has been no chance of anything pas

      • Since then, there has been no chance of anything passing. Nothing has passed since then, aside from naming a few post offices and re-authorizing existing laws. I agree that the Democrats don't expect this bill to pass, and that this is more publicity stunt than serious attempt at legislation, but they might well be willing to pass it (or something like it) if they could. But they can't; the last Congress was the least productive in history and this Congress may manage to be even worse.

        Nothing has passed since then b/c Democrat controlled Senate brought only the minimal it had to to a vote; anything they didn't like they didn't bring to a vote; saving Obama from having to veto anything; and then blaming it on the Republicans and the House for not giving them what they wanted.

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      I'm old enough to remember that in a bygone era this was how legislation was made. You float a few trial balloons, and then see what happens politically to those who shoot them down. If the people who shoot that balloon down take enough crap, they won't be so quick to do it next time. If the idea is popular enough, eventually, some people in both parties will start signing onto the bills, and one will pass.

      So if you care about this issue, play your part. If you don't, go ahead and say nasty things about bo

  • by Last_Available_Usern ( 756093 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2015 @04:47PM (#48758547)

    and with Republicans now in charge of both house of Congress, the chances of it passing seem slim.

    To preface, this is not a partisan-based slam. This is a slam on our entire system. The fact that we accept something won't pass despite it being universally wanted by "the people" (not pronounced "corporations") shows our biggest hurdle that we as a country need to overcome. Not race/gender equality or financial disparity, but the ability of this country to be propelled forward by a system that is representative to the needs of the many, not the powerful.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      To preface, this is not a partisan-based slam. This is a slam on our entire system. The fact that we accept something won't pass despite it being universally wanted by "the people" (not pronounced "corporations") shows our biggest hurdle that we as a country need to overcome. Not race/gender equality or financial disparity, but the ability of this country to be propelled forward by a system that is representative to the needs of the many, not the powerful.

      I don't even know where to start on how dangerous this is. This is populism straight up, tyranny of the majority, screw any minority/individual's rights.

      When any group of people can hold a vote and force someone out of their house - or take away their property or life - that's plain wrong.

      • Some group in a society holds overruling power, and if the majority doesn't hold it then the minority does. There's nothing inherently wrong or dangerous about populism.

    • The fact that we accept something won't pass despite it being universally wanted by "the people"

      Citation required. "Universally wanted" is a pretty strong statement considering that the vast majority of the people don't know what the problem is, much less that there is a problem.

      And when the "problem" can be described as "network provider asks a commercial data source to help pay for upgrading the network connection that the commercial data source is filling up at a profit for the commercial data source", it's not going to be considered a problem this law would help instead of hinder, by many people

      • And when the "problem" can be described as "network provider asks a commercial data source to help pay for upgrading the network connection that the commercial data source is filling up at a profit for the commercial data source", it's not going to be considered a problem this law would help instead of hinder, by many people.

        Cogent was willing to pay for the entire hardware cost [cogentco.com] to upgrade major last mile ISPs' connections to Cogent. The ISPs refused to take Cogent's money, instead demanding rents on top of that.

    • by MacDork ( 560499 )

      I don't think it's realistic at this point to expect much change from the government. Unarmed black men die by cop in the streets and that's all part of the plan it seems. Even the black president appears to do nothing but pay lip service to the problem. Internet freedom seems downright secondary when unarmed kids are being shot by cops regularly.

      To the point, I think what we are witnessing is the end of what we currently understand as the internet. Net neutrality wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for th

    • The fact that we accept something won't pass despite it being universally wanted by "the people" (not pronounced "corporations") ....

      The geek's first mistake in politics is to begin by assuming that everyone wants what he wants.

      The second is to forget that people outside his own group may be actually and quite naturally aligned with the interests and values with whatever corporate entity he chooses to demonize.

      Net neutrality is a distant, ill-defined abstraction.

      What you see at ground level are the tens of millions of users drawn to add-supported and subscription media services like Netflix. This isn't how the geek expected the Int

  • So the dedicated traffic for LoL wont be allowed?

    I guess West Coast players remain fucked.

    http://boards.na.leagueoflegen... [leagueoflegends.com]

  • No the bill be be poisoned by some paid for congressman/women by adding some stupid addition that has nothing to do with the actual bill. THEN the finger pointing will begin. Its there fault, not its your fault. and so goes another few years of political bullshit.
  • by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2015 @07:56PM (#48760347) Homepage Journal

    But the sponsors are all Democrats, and with Republicans now in charge of both house of Congress, the chances of it passing seem slim.

    Which is why they're introducing it now instead of in any of the last 11 sessions when it might have actually passed. It's a way for them to appear like heroes to their constituents, without actually accomplishing anything (or pissing off their corporate donors).

  • And how would this affect landline telephone service offered by Time Warner and Comcast? Would the law force them to prioritize my Vonage traffic?

  • Federal regulation of the internet? What could possibly go wrong?

    The problem of the Comcasts and the TWCs of the world can be solved by abolishing government-granted cable monopolies. "Net neutrality" is a misguided attempt at trying to make a right out of two wrongs.

    -jcr

  • Funny this comes up now when the dems don't have power.
    Oh well... likely their sponsors don't really like net neutrality either, but they can toss a bone to the electorate who cares and say... see we did something.

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