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Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T Want Congress To Make a Net Neutrality Law Because They Will Write It (theverge.com) 170

From a report on The Verge: Companies and organizations that rely on an open internet rallied on Wednesday for a "day of action" on net neutrality, and America's biggest internet service providers have responded with arrogance and contempt for their customers. Comcast's David Cohen called arguments in favor of FCC regulation "scare tactics" and "hysteria." Beyond the dismissive rhetoric, ISPs are coincidentally united today in calling for Congress to act -- and that's because they've paid handsomely to control what Congress does. There's one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on, and that's taking money from ISPs. The telecommunications industry was the most powerful lobbying force of the 20th century, and that power endures. It's no secret that lobbyists in Washington write many of the laws, and the telecom industry spends a lot of money to make sure lawmakers use them. We've already seen net neutrality legislation written by the ISPs, and it's filled with loopholes. It's not just in Congress -- companies like AT&T have deep influence over local and state broadband laws, and write those policies, too. Some pro-net neutrality advocates are also arguing today that Congress should act, and there are some good reasons for that. Laws can be stickier than the judgements of regulatory agencies, and if you want to make net neutrality the law of the land that's a job for Congress. But there's a reason the ISPs are all saying the same thing, and it's because they're very confident they will defeat the interests of consumers and constituents. They've already done it this year under the Republican-controlled government. Further reading: 10M+ web users saw yesterday's net neutrality protest -- but rules are still getting scrapped.

Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T Want Congress To Make a Net Neutrality Law Because They Will Write It

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  • Big surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2017 @12:50PM (#54801437)

    Imagine that, it's almost as if government regulation keeps competition out of the market by letting lobbyists influence the letter of the law.

    • That's democracy!
    • Letting the federal government decide exactly what is and isn't QoS (and hence legal prioritization). What can go wrong?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Remember when Congress let pharmaceutical companies write the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act in 2003 through the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America? The one that still bans Medicare from negotiating drugs prices?

      Let's not do that with the Internet.

      • Affordable Care Act that people can't afford.
        Citizens United that unites.... corporations.
        • Citizens United that unites.... people.

          FTFY. CU allows PEOPLE to form CORPORATIONS for the purpose of paying for speech, which the first amendment says congress shall not create laws to infringe upon. Remember, some of those "corporations" are unions, which we love because they usually speak on a certain side of the issues. If CU had not reiterated (not created) the concept that corporations could spend money on speech then unions, among others, would have had to stop, too.

          The difference between CU and ACA as examples is that CU supported an e

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Health Insurance lobbyists wrote Obamacare.

      Then Pelosi said, "You have to pass it to see what's in it."

    • influence, or write - full stop?

    • Re:Big surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @01:36PM (#54801863)
      As opposed to the free market utopia we have in service providers now?

      "Government regulation bad" seems like the worst possible interpretation to take from this. A still bad but better lesson would be "No matter what happens, they win."

      Maybe the best lesson is once you let regulatory capture happen and monopolies form, it's nearly impossible to undo it, so enact aggressive government regulations before that point.
      • Maybe the best lesson is once you let regulatory capture happen and monopolies form, it's nearly impossible to undo it, so enact aggressive government regulations before that point.

        There is a way to undo it. The people who created this country even enshrined the way to do it within its founding documents: Voting, or, in the worst case, overthrowing the current implementation of government itself. Please note that even if you do overthrow the government, the new government had better still be based on the US Constitution though or I will likely be against you.

        I am still waiting on a founding document that is superior to the US Constitution... and it has been 200+ years. What is the dea

    • Re:Big surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @02:02PM (#54802063)

      Imagine that, someone claiming this is government regulation on slashdot.

      This isn't government regulation, it's crony capitalism. This is the largest firms getting together with congress to write a law that will enevitably favor them to distract from the real issue. Whereas regulation would be the independent regulators who are not subject to the whims of politics creating a regulatory policy that gives everyone a level playing field then enforces those rules without regard to the size or political contributions of the violator.

      What will come out of congress will be exactly the type of regulation the big companies like Comcast and ATT prefer, that's the kind that lets them do whatever they want, with no enforcement and prevents the FTC from declaring anything a monopoly. Mark my words, the big ISPs will write the bill and it will do the exact opposite of what the net-neutrality movement is about.

    • In civilized world what you call lobbying is called bribery and is illegal.

    • or the history of AT&T you know it's basically the opposite. Government regulation is the only thing between you and the company stores. That's because little 'ole you and me with our meager wallets can't go toe to toe with mega corps let alone robber barrons. We've got to get organized and when we do we call that organization 'government'. Remember that picture of the snake cut into 13 pieces? That's you without an organized response.
  • "it is insufficient to protect ourselves with laws; we need to protect ourselves with mathematics. Encryption is too important to be left solely to governments." -- Bruce Schneier
  • Impromptu poll:
    How many of you would be willing to abandon the Internet entirely, if it came down to that being the only form of protest against this bullshit that was left to you?

    For my part, it would suck but I'd be willing if that's what it took to get the message across.

    Of course I'm holding out hope in two areas: One, that there will always be companies that see profit in doing what's right, attracting customers who won't tolerate being jerked around like the Comcasts and AT&T's of the worl
    • How can you see this and think...'We need more government'?

      This is a technical problem with a technical solution. Make 100% of traffic encrypted and good luck to the ISPs playing 'whack a mole'.

      Hopefully the Ds have a competent candidate next round. But it sure looks they they will pivot left instead.

      • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @01:29PM (#54801799) Journal
        Playing Devils Advocate for a moment: If I were ISPs and everyone did as you say, doing an end-run around my 'tiered walled garden', my response would be to ban all 'unauthorized' encrypted traffic, and threaten disconnection to anyone who violated the ToS that states that. I'd also ban use of Tor on the same grounds, since that's what most people would go to, to try to circumvent my ToS.

        If you believe that the Internet is something totally optional, just a luxury, then your assertion that we don't need 'more government' in this case might be correct.
        But even I think that the Internet is now too thoroughly integrated into everything to call it a 'luxury' anymore, not much more so than electricity, water service, and sewer service.
        If the Internet is NOT a luxury, then ISPs should not be allowed to fuck us over as if it WERE a luxury. Otherwise it starts approaching the jackassery of Mylan and their gouging people for Epi Pens.

        I'm serious when I say that if it came right down to it, I'd dump the Internet, and I'm fully cognizant of how much it would suck to do so. But if it came down to that, it would suck less to dump the Internet than it would to be fucked over by ISPs. If you can't get the government to step in and regulate bad behavior by private companies, then that may be the only avenue left to you to protest being fucked over.
        • How do you tell encrypted data from un-encrypted? It's just 1s and 0s.

          The ISPs can waste time playing 'whack a mole'. If I'm working, at all, to hide the encrypted traffic, they will lose.

          Regulation will MAKE IT WORSE. Start by looking up the definition of 'regulatory capture'...

          • What if the 'regulation' is 'NO regulation'? FREE AND OPEN INTERNET. All ISPs provide is connectivity and never mind the bullshit. Would you think that's OK? Or does it have to be the Wild West for ISPs, and let them do whatever they want?

            You think you're smarter than everyone else; that's clear enough. I'm saying you're probably not as smart as you think you are.

            Dear Customer,
            We've been detecting suspicious traffic on your IP address. We suspect that your computer might have been hacked. Please have a computer professional scan your computer for malware immediately. If you ignore this notice and we continue to see suspicious traffic on your IP address, we'll have no recourse other than to cancel your service.

            Have a Nice Day,
            Customer Service

          • How do you tell encrypted data from un-encrypted? It's just 1s and 0s.

            The encrypted data is the stuff that follows perfect statistical randomness. Every other kind of data has an identifiable coherence. Data compression produces a just-slightly-not-perfect statistical randomness that can be detected by a model with an order higher than the order of the model used to compress the data.

            • So you're saying: they can't practically tell encrypted from compressed?

              Higher order model? What does that even mean in that context?

    • >> For my part, it would suck but I'd be willing if that's what it took to get the message across.

      Don't let the router hit you on the ass.

      >> if it came down to that being the only form of protest

      Ah...but it's not. Even if you have no skills (sad but possible on Slashdot), you can get off your butt and 1) educate the people you know, 2) send letters (even copypasta) to your elected officials (who will at least count how many letters they got on X) and 3) send some money to organizations that fi
      • Could you please be bothered to READ WHAT SOMEONE WRITES before going off on them!? I SAID: IF IT CAME DOWN TO IT, meaning: IF ALL OTHER AVENUES OF ACTION FAILED. Please don't preach to the choir.
        • >> (I said) IF ALL OTHER AVENUES OF ACTION FAILED (and net neutrality expired)

          No, you said "if it came down to that being the only form of protest", where "protest" literally is about communications shutdown, not the enactment of a law/regulation.

          Please see actions #1-3 above if you're passionate about this.
    • Impromptu poll:
      How many of you would be willing to move to Canada where BS like "fastlane" is outlawed, if it came down to that being the only form of protest against this bullshit that was left to you?

      • Impromptu poll:
        How many of you would be willing to move to Canada where BS like "fastlane" is outlawed, if it came down to that being the only form of protest against this bullshit that was left to you?

        As long as most of the influential tech companies are in the US and the data has to pass through the US to get to you it won't help.

      • Canada? The nation where you can go certainly be bankrupt and possible go to jail for not calling someone that identifies as an attack helicopter 'huey' (it's chosen pronoun)?

        How about a nation that doesn't have a SJW shadow court system with no presumption of innocence?

  • I got a pop-up message when I visited my web host provider, DreamHost [dreamhost.com], yesterday.

    Please upgrade your plan to proceed.

    Just kidding. You can still get to this site *for now*. But if the FCC ends net neutrality, your cable company could charge you extra fees just to use the websites and apps you want. We can stop them and keep the Internet open, fast, and awesome if we all contact the U.S. Congress and the FCC, but we only have a few days left. Learn more. [slashdot.org]

  • >> The telecommunications industry was the most powerful lobbying force of the 20th century

    Hmmm...two special interests I'd stick ahead of that (certainly in terms of money-in-politics) would be the defense industry (which got theirs) and government employee unions (ditto).
    • The 'American Bar Association', they don't even have to lobby, shysters everywhere in DC. All the _worst_ politicians are lawyers.

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @01:25PM (#54801751) Homepage

    Comcast et al are scum, but the fact is that Congress is the proper place to implement net neutrality with the FCC's input. Then it can't be removed at the whims of whoever's running the FCC.

    The internet companies are going to lobby the hell out of Congress, so we need to make sure that the other side is heard as well. I don't see that as a problem with Google and company lobbying heavily.

  • by budsetr ( 4952293 ) on Thursday July 13, 2017 @01:34PM (#54801847)
    Why don't we fix the real problem here: massive corporations. All the bad shite comes down from these massive corporations. If we limited the size of a corporation and the number of entities one corporation can "own" most of these problems would go away.
    • but it'll just get circumvented through shell companies. A better solution would be a parliament system of proportional representation, and end to the electoral college and Senate systems. Careful regulation of gerrymandering and finally the crown jewels: Mandatory Voting. Everybody votes. You can send in a blank ballot if you want, but you're going to vote. And since everyone votes there's no such thing as voter suppression.
      • Mandatory Voting. Everybody votes. You can send in a blank ballot if you want,

        You think this will make things better? It will increase the impact that advertising has on the results, which is a BAD thing. People won't send in blank ballots. They're likely to think "I saw an ad for X and he seems ok, I'll vote for him."

        And since everyone votes there's no such thing as voter suppression.

        With the large number of blank ballots and uncaring people holding them, you're very likely to get the increased effects of ads like I propose, or the other result will be voting of those ballots by spouses or others. "Hey, honey, you're sending in a blank one, let me

    • Why don't we fix the real problem here: massive corporations.

      Because you have not proven that big corporations are a priori (really Firefox? You do not know what a priori is and flag it as incorrect? I get so tired of this crap.) bad.

      This is a country based on the idea of freedom, not dictatorial mandates. It would behoove you to change your perspective... or go live in another country that supports ideals such as prior intervention.

  • Congress should be running the show. Not a couple of GOP-appointed, former corporate shills with conflicts of interest on the FCC.

    The problem, however, is can Congress get it right - with all the money that flows around in the Capitol building and K Street?

    My faith in Congress is a shade above zero. Outright bribery (aka "political donations") have made it just about impossible for the Legislative branch (Congress) to do anything substantial for the common man.

    Because of that, the Executive (which manages g

  • ... and it never stops.

    Petrochemical companies write the EPA regulations.
    Big pharma and insurance companies wrote Obamacare.
    Senators and congressmen write the regulations on their income, retirement, and health care.
    And now, internet service providers write the regulations on net neutrality.
    Great.

    All of this is brought to you not by the parties, but by the partisan. You, those people who eat, sleep and drink the words of your "political party" and violently regurgitate them at everyone you meet, are the on

    • Completely agree, it's become this weird fucking fanboy attitude like you are rooting for your favorite sports team that can do no wrong. A two party system is broken at it's core. I can't stand either party, but it's funny how if I post a comment critical of one of the parties it automatically makes me a republican Nazi or a Libtard by half the respondents. They all just assume everyone is part of this sick red/blue liberal/conservative crazy divisiveness that is destroying the country. Sadly the few alter
  • The mind boggles at how a person already too lazy to yell at their congress critter over obvious corruption and industry capture expects to thrive in a fully deregulated marketplace.

  • The current net neutrality law was written by them and allows them to do things like zero-rate and prefer their own content while discriminating against Netflix and YouTube.

    Obama legalized the practices the Net Neutrality crowd is railing against. Read the current law, it has nothing to do with the bits on your Internet connection and should be abolished to the pre-Obama rules where common carriers were violating the law when they were rate-limiting Netflix and YouTube.

    I'm all for Net Neutrality but the onl

  • I sent a letter to my representative yesterday about basically not giving the keys to the hen house to the foxes... I did receive a response within a couple hours and while it may have been a form letter it was at least somewhat on topic. Unfortunately it was partisan drivel.. blaming the far reaching Obama administration for hurting competition and stifling innovation.

    I'm not sure if my response will get through but I asked "other than the dial-up era in the late 90s, when have we ever had competition?
    • other than the dial-up era in the late 90s, when have we ever had competition?

      You mean for an ISP? Today. There are at least two wired ISPs readily available in my city and half a dozen wireless. If I wanted to get other wired ISPs, I could. At least one dialup if I wanted that. Not a huge city, by the way, and not unlike many others.

  • The golden rule states "he who has the gold writes the rules"

Small is beautiful.

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