The “Battle for The Net” – a Little Twin of Climate Alarmism

I thought that “climate change” was a unique issue in our time where the Left, including the formerly mainstream media, has succeeded to convince the public that black is white and the moon is made of cheese.  No, it isn’t. So-called “net neutrality” is another one.  Both issues are built upon scientific or technical matters, serving as an obstacle for public understanding. 

If you browsed the web on July 12th, you probably noticed the “Battle for the Net” or the “Net Neutrality Day of Action.”  You might have gotten the impression that net neutrality or open Internet access has been threatened by Trump’s administration.  Do not worry, those are lies.  On the contrary, in 2015 the Obama administration declared itself the guardian of public access to the Internet under the guise of “net neutrality.” Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard that – most TV networks were busy reporting fake news. This evil scheme, like many others, was doomed on November 8, 2016.  Now those behind that attempt are trying to exploit this failure to incite hatred and re-invigorate “the resistance,” with the help of many Internet giants. 

Net Neutrality is the good principle that a provider of information access service, a device, or a platform must be neutral regarding the content accessed or transmitted by its service, device, or platform.  In particular, Internet Service Providers must not discriminate between net traffic based on the content or originating website.  Also, they must not give preferential treatment to their own services, such as voice over IP, relative to their competitors. The principle of Net Neutrality was accepted and applied by the George W. Bush administration toward broadband ISPs.   

But when Obama was elected in 2008, he appointed his classmate and fundraiser Julius Genachowski as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman.  Under the pretext of net neutrality, FCC crafted multiple regulations that made broadband ISPs almost unable to manage their own networks, and put their whole operations in the legal grey area.  Not incidentally, the robust growth in broadband providers’ competition that preceded Obama election stopped and many new broadband technologies (like WiMAX) became buried. For the first time in the history, Internet access prices started to rise!  But that was only a prelude to the real action.   

 

“Freedom is Slavery”: FCC puts the Internet under Title II of the Communication Act of 1934 

In March 2015, Obama’s FCC under Chairman Tom Wheeler issued an order (FCC-15-24) that reclassified the Internet as a public utility, subject to government control under Title II of the Communication Act of 1930’s.  In Orwellian fashion, the FCC called FCC-15-24 an “Open Internet Order” (1).  In an unprecedented power grab, the FCC vested into itself total control over the whole Internet backbone, all Internet access (other than obsolete dial up) by all consumers, and all broadband and mobile ISPs. The order sprawls on more than 300 pages, never mentions “net neutrality” (except in the footnotes), but frequently references the Free Press and other leftist groups and foundations.  Free Press was among the most active lobbyists for that order.  The Order was written in secret following intense lobbying by the mentioned Free Press, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future et al.  Following are quotes from the dissenting opinions of two Republican Commissioners (emphasis in quotes is mine throughout the article): 

Commissioner Ajit Pai (2): 

The Internet has become a powerful force for freedom, both at home and abroad.  So it is sad to witness the FCC’s unprecedented attempt to replace that freedom with government control.  It shouldn’t be this way.  For twenty years, there’s been a bipartisan consensus in favor of a free and open Internet.” 

But today, the FCC abandons those policies.It seizes unilateral authority to regulate Internet conduct … So why is the FCC changing course?  Why is the FCC turning its back on Internet freedom? We are flip-flopping for one reason and one reason alone.  President Obama told us to do so. 

The Commission’s decision to adopt President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet.  It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works. 

While the media and the public were focusing on events at the FCC, the real action was occurring behind closed doors at the White House.  Of course, a few insiders were clued in about what was transpiring.  Just listen to what a leader for the group Fight for the Future had to say:  ‘We’ve been hearing for weeks from our allies in DC that the only thing that could stop FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler from moving ahead with his sham proposal to gut net neutrality was if we could get the President to step in.  So we did everything in our power to make that happen.  We took the gloves off and played hard, and now we get to celebrate a sweet victory.’ What the press has called the ‘parallel FCC’ at the White House opened its doors to a plethora of special-interest activists: Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Public Knowledge, just to name a few.  Indeed, even before activists were blocking Chairman Wheeler’s driveway late last year, some of them had met with White House officials.  But what about the rest of the American people?  They certainly couldn’t get White House meetings.  They were shut out of the process.  They were being played for fools.” 

“It [the FCC order] differs so dramatically [from the public draft] that even net neutrality advocates frantically rushed in recent days to make last-minute filings registering their concerns that the FCC might be going too far.  Yet the American people to this day have not been allowed to see President Obama’s plan.  It has remained secret. 

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly (3): 

Today a majority of the Commission attempts to usurp the authority of Congress by re-writing the Communications Act to suit its own ‘values’ and political ends. 

“Net neutrality is now the pretext for deploying Title II to a far greater extent than anyone could have imagined just months ago.  And that is the reality that the Commission tried to hide by keeping the draft from the public and releasing a carefully worded ‘fact’ sheet in its place.” 

Hardly anyone at the time thought that the Commission would seriously consider applying Title II.  And truth be told, the Commission did not give it much thought either, as is evident from the NPRM.  Outside parties warned the Commission to take a few months to seek further comment, but the Commission was not operating on its own timetable because it has to be responsive to the political winds and views of the perpetually outraged. 

This is it.  The net neutrality alarm is a very small subject.  Free Press is a mockery of freedom of press just like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a mockery of democracy and people.  Free Press is a revolutionary Communist group advancing “media reform” as a part of a broader agenda to destroy our society.  In the words of Free Press founder McChesney written in the Monthly Review, 2008: “any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist political economy.” (4) Obama appointed to FCC at least two Free Press Board members. Another one, notorious Van Jones, became a “green jobs czar.”  The FCC-15-24 order was a stepping stone in its strategy. Quite an unexpected turn for “net neutrality,” is it not?  (Obama’s FCC also threatened on-air broadcasters, but it is out of the scope of this topic. See Remarks & Quotes).  These are the same groups that lead the current “battle for the net”.  www.BattleForTheNet.com is their main website.  Notice the similarity to climate alarmism – there is no debate.  The debate is over and the battle is on.  These extremist groups are joined by the Left coast Internet giants. 

Just like climate alarmists, Free Press et al. created a bogeyman and declared it the enemy in the battle.  Only this time, it’s not “fossil fuels,” but broadband ISPs and cable companies, especially AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.  But these companies support net neutrality!  See the AT&T statement AT&T Supports an Open Internet.  The Left has recognized a unique advantage in fighting a bogeyman – the bogeyman neither fights back nor argues.  Thus, they win every debate!  All the time, the formerly mainstream media obediently repeats the talking points of the hard Left.  Just like in the climate debate, some conservatives and libertarians followed their instincts (i.e., understood that the whole agenda is a leftist power grab), but mistook the strawman argument for the real thing, and started defending it.  

 

All Hell Breaks Loose 

After the elections, Republicans gained majority in FCC and Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai the FCC Chairman.  Rather than using that Obama legacy to suppress its foes, as Obama administration intended, the Trump administration decided to repeal FCC-15-24.  And “the resistance” branch, headed by Free Press et al. and supported by the Left Coast multi billionaires, raised hell under the false cover of net neutrality.   

It’s hard to believe that they really want that FCC order in place.  Rather, they use it as an opportunity to defame the Trump administration, and to incite hatred against Republican lawmakers and the people that elected them.  For the Left, this agenda has the added bonus of attracting demographics that are receptive to other Leftist agendas.   

The support and participation that the Free Press and its accomplices receive from the Internet giants is amazing.  They act against their obvious economic interest –  the continuous private investment in the Internet infrastructure, impossible under the FCC-15-24 order.  There is a large overlap between this group and The Dirty 129 that resisted Trump’s January travel ban in collusion with groups that used force in international airports.  Among the most active “battle” participants who placed their names and trademarks alongside radical groups and the Big Porn are:  Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), Yelp (YELP), Vimeo (a division of IAC), Internet Association, Reddit, Dropbox, Pinterest, Tumblr, PLOS (the nonprofit Public Library of Science), AirBnB, Foursquare, and Y-Combinator.  When contacted for comments, Reddit and Yelp confirmed their participation, while the rest have not replied to the email.  The Internet Association has Google (GOOG), Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB), and other well-known Internet companies among its members. 

 

Remarks and Quotes 

The following brief notes and quotes are not a result of a research, but simply a few things that caught my eye.  Much of the information comes from 2011 book by Klein, Aaron. Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated to Save America.  I have no doubt that further investigation into these matters would be extremely fruitful. 

Free Press is against free press. Don’t be fooled by its name.  Leftist groups routinely take good-sounding names that are opposite to their actual aims. Free Press was co-founded in 2003 by Robert McChesney, then editor of the Marxist Monthly ReviewMonthly Review is Marxist-Leninist communist revolutionary journal, applauding Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and the following Communist crimes (5).  Free Press advocated governmental ownership of the press, and has urged the FCC to investigate talk radio and cable news for what it called “hate speech.”  (See Klein, Aaron. Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated to Save America, p. 215) Multiple other Free Press employees held influential positions in Obama’s administration, which threatened and harassed on-air broadcasters.  

 

Michael J. Copps served in the FCC over 2001-2011 as a commissioner and a Chairman.  He has been on the Board of Free Press since at least 2012 (6).  From Klein, Aaron. Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated to Save America

“In early December 2010, Michael J. Copps, one of the five commissioners on the FCC, came up with a ‘new’ television and radio licensing plan that is ripped from the pages of a 1997 European Union treaty agreement. Yet, once again, the creativity demonstrated by progressives in finding new and radical approaches to force diversity in broadcast media upon the unaware public is boundless.” 

“Washington Times associate editor Peter Suderman wrote in May 2010 at Reason.com that Copps, who has ‘pushed to involve the FCC in everything from journalism to satellite TV service’ and ‘been the Commission’s chief proponent of strong net neutrality regulation, wants an FCC with few or no limits on its power.’” 

“Copps is quoted as saying, ‘I’m not trying to establish a national nanny here, but we only have to send one case to [license] hearings and the message would go forth to broadcasters all over the U.S. that this is a new era. Right now, [broadcasters] not only don’t fear us, they don’t respect us, either.” – that was in 2010.  I think that since that time Obama’s administration made broadcasters fear themselves, this might have been a cause for the conversion of the mainstream media into the fakestream media. 

“In his December 2, 2010, speech, ‘Getting Media Right: A Call to Action,’ at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York, Copps proposed replacing the current licensing process for television and radio stations with a public value test. Copps said the test ‘would get us back to the original licensing bargain between broadcasters and the people: in return for free use of airwaves that belong exclusively to the people, licensees agree to serve the public interest as good stewards of a precious national resource.’” –  reasoning which gives ground to climate alarmism.  Let me complete his idea as applicable in the climate debate: “air belongs exclusively to people, and in exchange to the privilege of exhaling carbon dioxide into the air, citizens agree to serve public interest, as told by EPA and IPCC.”   

“Copps proposed the FCC ‘should “determine the extent of its current authority” to compel stations to disclose who pays for anonymous political ads.’ Copps suggests that if the FCC should ‘lack the tools we need to compel disclosure,’ it would ‘go ask for them.’ Copps does not say whom the FCC should ask.” 

Under the public value test rules, Copps also wants to increase the frequency for television and radio station licensing. Instead of every eight years, licensees would have to apply every four years. We could find no precedent in the United States for a public value test, or the use of the phrase before December 2, 2010, by Copps.” 

 

Mark Lloyd is a Director of the New America Foundation’s Media Policy Initiative (7). The Chairman of the New America Foundation is Eric Schmidt of Google. [link to suppression article.]  From 2009–2012, he was the FCC associate general counsel and chief diversity officer. Lloyd participated in Free Press conferences together with Michael Copps.  From Klein, Aaron. Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated to Save America

“Case in point is President Obama’s ‘Diversity Czar’ at the Federal Communications Commission, who was officially designated the FCC’s associate general counsel and chief diversity officer in July 2009. Mark Lloyd is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. At CAP, Lloyd ‘focus[es] on communications policy issues, including universal service, advanced telecommunications deployment, media concentration and diversity.’ Lloyd is also a consultant to Soros’s Open Society Institute. In 2007 Lloyd wrote an article for CAP called Forget the Fairness Doctrine, in which he instructed liberals to file complaints with the FCC against conservative radio stations. ‘What [his article] lays out is a battle plan to use the FCC to threaten stations’ licenses with whom they do not agree politically,’ said Seton Motley, director of communications at the Media Research Center, in an August 14, 2009, interview on the Glenn Beck Show. ‘And now he’s at the FCC waiting to take their calls. This is not about serving the local interest, it’s about political opposition,’ Motley said.” 

Lloyd says he is not interested in reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, an FCC decree that at one time required broadcast stations to demonstrate balance to the FCC in the presentation of public issues. … Instead of pushing to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, Lloyd calls for equal opportunity employment practices, local engagement, and license challenges to rectify that perceived imbalance, Fox reported. According to Lloyd, there is ‘nothing in there about the Fairness Doctrine.’ … Lloyd wrote: ‘The other part of our proposal that gets the “dittoheads” upset is our suggestion that the commercial radio station owners either play by the rules or pay. In other words, if they don’t want to be subject to local criticism of how they are meeting their license obligations, they should pay to support public broadcasters who will operate on behalf of the local community.’” 

“Additionally, Lloyd writes that he did not want only to redistribute private profits but also to regulate much of the programming on these stations to make sure they focus on “diverse views” and government activities.’ Lloyd contends that large corporate broadcasting networks have ‘driven liberals off of radio’ based on a belief that ‘diversity ownership will reflect in diversity programming.’”  

This article by Lloyd is still live.  See https://archive.is/L6PrW

Endnotes 

To be continued. 

Disclosure: I hold short positions in GOOG, AMZN, and FB. 

Thanks to H.J. for collaborating on this article. 

Advertisements

69 thoughts on “The “Battle for The Net” – a Little Twin of Climate Alarmism

  1. Even without Marxists involved, regulating the Internet service providers under Section II is a really bad idea. If you are old enough to remember Ma Bell, it was glacially improving technology, high prices, and bad service, but a cash cow for the regulators.
    The Government Party misses when they had a lock on the distribution of news. While it was not all that long in historical terms (the Franklin Roosevelt administration to Reagan), it kept the political class in power with not much challenge. Three TV networks and one paper per market, especially when they mostly copy the New York Times on what is “newsworthy” , is evoking nostalgia by the former beneficiaries.

    • This is typical shallow understanding of what the regulations actually were, and why Ma Bell was broken up.

      I will state up front that innovation was slow, and rates pretty high. I don’t think anybody could argue otherwise. That often does come with government bureaucracy.

      But one thing Title II did was make sure that telephone companies COULD NOT ENGAGE IN SURVEILLANCE of your telephone conversations. Something that is very sadly, and alarmingly, absent in current internet regulations. And make no mistake… the technology was there. As people discovered to their horror in the early 90s. More on that later. I don’t want to write a book here.

      The point most people miss is that telecommunications AT THE TIME most of the infrastructure was built, was a “natural monopoly”. Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments against that, but they’re BS. All you need do is compare to the other countries that allowed competition during that era. Even some small countries had 3 or more telephone companies, with incompatible equipment. They did not interoperate. In many cases you could not call your next-door neighbor, because they were on a different, incompatible, phone system. Not to mention 3-4 times as many wires in the sky.

      The U.S. bypassed all that, and thanks to the “natural monopoly” that was allowed to grow, we ended up with a single, country-wide, fully compatible telephone system. Prices might have been somewhat higher but it WORKED BETTER. It was (back then) the envy of the world.

      The problem was that in order to enjoy a monopoly on telephone infrastructure, Ma Bell was prevented by law from engaging in the telephone hardware (handset) business. However, over time, Bell built and operated Western Electric, which became its sole provider of telephones. It then forced any competing telephones to use a special “interface” device, which was never really necessary, and had to be installed by a Ma Bell technician, to “protect their lines”. Then you had to pay a premium every month to have that hooked up to the line.

      Those two things: engaging in the hardware business, AND leveraging their infrastructure to basically monopolize that hardware business, were the ultimate cause of Ma Bell’s breakup. By doing that it had been violating a strict Federal injunction for 20 years (and should not have been allowed to do it that long).

      It wasn’t broken up because of unfair prices, or monopoly over telecommunications. It was broken up because of the whole Western Electric thing.

      Here’s the problem: in the U.S. today, big ISPs have already been caught with their pants around their ankles engaging in monopolistic, anti-competitive business practices. A reasonable government would have invoked antitrust regulations already.

      A couple of examples: in order to coerce money from Netflix (for bandwidth, by the way, its own customers ALREADY PAID FOR), Verizon created an artificial bandwidth shortage with Netflix. Netflix proved that Verizon already had all the infrastructure and equipment, but was refusing to turn it on, in order to piss off its customers and get them in on the double-dipping bandwagon.

      The major cable ISPs have 80% of the U.S. land area (illegally) divided up into “non-compete” zones, in which people only have one cable provider. They even bragged about that to the FCC when it was proposing its regulations. They literally said “See? Your regulations won’t matter! We don’t compete anyway!” Yes, they really did.

      And yes, that does matter. For high-speed low-latency internet, fiber and cable are all that matter. Satellites can’t compete.

      I could go on for a long time. But contrary to what this article implies, most of the battle is about (A) allowing or creating real competition in the ISP marketplace, which does not exist in the current market almost wholly owned by a few bad actors, and (B) what they are allowed to do with your communications… including snooping. Which they already do.

      • There are other ways to deal with the problem than using the FCC. Anti-trust, like not allowing cable companies to own satellite providers, or using the Federal Trade Commission on certain practices.

      • Tom:

        That only addresses part of the problem. But let’s take that first. We have had two consecutive 8-year Presidential administrations that have acted as though they don’t even know what antitrust is.

        While I agree that antitrust is called for, there is more to it than that. They should also not be allowed to own more than a certain % of the industry, AND should be prevented from merging with content-providers.

        But neither has taken place. As a result we have today a few giant corporations that not only control the content, but also how and when it gets to your living room. And for how much. Keeping the roles of content-provider and content delivery separate has been one of FCC’s driving concerns throughout much of its history.

        A couple of short decades ago the very idea would have been horrifying to most of America. But that’s not where we’re going, that’s where we already are.

        FTC plays a role, of course, but where has it been? It has abdicated its authority. It has okayed mergers that would have been undreamed of only a short time ago.

        And none of those things address the freedom of speech, censorship, or privacy issues, which are at least half of the story here.

      • A couple of examples: in order to coerce money from Netflix (for bandwidth, by the way, its own customers ALREADY PAID FOR), Verizon created an artificial bandwidth shortage with Netflix.

        Bad example.

        https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/03/25/netflix-throttling-video-t-verizon-users/82248762/

        March 25, 2016

        Netflix says that it has been sending lower quality video to mobile subscribers on AT&T and Verizon networks to help customers avoid racking up steep data charges.

        Netflix was criticized for keeping its actions under wraps for so long. “We’re outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent,”

        Netflix’s throttling of content is ironic, said Randolph May, president of free-market think tank, the Free State Foundation. “Netflix’s complete lack of transparency about the practice, especially in light of its strident advocacy against treating Internet communications differentially … is pretty stunning,” he said.

        It is not as simple as it appears.

      • Me thinks Anne Ominous needs to write us a true and proper essay expanding on the above piece – truly fascinating!

      • Me thinks Anne Ominous needs to write us a true and proper essay expanding on the above piece – truly fascinating!

      • To further elaborate. The Internet is a collection of private networks that are interconnected through peering agreements. At the top level are Tier 1 networks which are considered the backbone. The Tier 1 networks provide a gateway to Tier 2 networks like Comcast and Time Warner (Spectrum) so they can communicate with services like Netflix. For a service on one Tier 2 network to deliver content to a user on a different Tier 2 network the data has to be routed through a Tier 1 network (this is an gross oversimplification). AT&T and Verizon are both Tier 1 but most Tier 1 providers are not names people are generally familiar with. Tier 1 providers obviously don’t provide this service for free with peak usage being a large component in the cost of the infrastructure.

        In the specific case of Netflix and Time Warner, Netflix argued that Time Warner should pay for upgrade (higher peering agreement charges) because it was already being paid for providing the high speed service to its customers. Time Warner argued that Netflix should be responsible for upgrades since it accounted for about a third of data consumption during peak hours.

        Without Netflix footing the bill Time Warner had 2 options for their customers. Start charging by the amount of data an end user consumes, never popular with the end users, or spread the extra cost evenly across all their end users. Can you say free rider? The final solution, which in my view was the correct one, was Netflix connected directly to Time Warner’s network thus avoiding increased peering agreement charges through a Tier 1 network and improved service to their customers.

        IMO, the advocates of “Net Neutrality” fall into 2 categories. They either have little understanding of the structure of the Internet, or in the case of companies like Netflix, have a financial interest in passing off part of the cost of their service to 3rd parties. How the above situation would have been worked out by the regulators would likely be determined by regulatory capture. In my humble opinion the likely winners of that battle would have been the providers like Google, Amazon, and Netflix with solutions like above never seeing the light of day.

      • Good informative post.

        Yes it very much is all about the control of ‘natural monopolies’ and who in fact pays for data transfer, and how. (obviously the customer does in the end).

        Similar arguments can be made about railway networks, about electricity and gas supply grids and the like.

        And that is who tuns them, who pays for them and how much – given that they are natural monopolies – can they be allowed to charge, and on what basis.
        In the UK the largest owner of ‘last half mile copper’ – and indeed backhaul fibre – is Openreach. Formerly a division of the state owned Post Office who were responsible for all telephones until privatisation as Bristish Telecom.

        There are other fibre and copper and backhaul companies out there, but BT is the largest. The problem is that it is now also a content provider. And service provider. So it is natural it would prefer its content to stream faster than its competitors.

        The solution adopted here, is that OFCOM – the office of communications,. has been trying to separate openreach – the engineering and comms part of BT – from the parent company. Openreach sells its copper and fibre to BT the parent as well as to any ISP who wants to access a UK customer. Telephone exchanges are forced to allow competitors to install their own DSLAMS etc .

        So there is a measure of separation between the operator of the data networks and the content provisions end of the net.

        As a model it is far from perfect, but in practice it’s not that bad either. Better I suggest than the USA, and it was definitely better than many European countries where the incumbent state run monopolies were years behind broadband anyway.

        So much for monopolies, but what about discrimination not on the grounds of whose content it is, but on the grounds of what type of content? No one would argue probably that VOIP traffic that needs real time responses should not be prioritised. Or that e.g. e-mail traffic that gets delayed by a few seconds is in any way a problem for any one.

        The problem area begin when we look at say – web traffic. We might want to prioritise video, but to the routers, web traffic is web traffic. A slower loading page looks like a video till you start really digging in to the data stream to see what’s going on, and when you start doing that the possibility of extracting all sorts of other useful (from a marketing perspective, or security perspective) data becomes visible.

        And this raises disturbing questions. Sure its great for antiterrorism but ‘quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’ How do you prevent leaks about your politicians’ sex lives indicated by who he sent emails to – and even in the limit their content, if unencrypted – coming from employees of state organisations whose politics are a different flavour?

        As sysadmin of what at the time was one of the biggest public mail servers in the UK, I could read every single message stored on it and could have, should I chose, tapped anyone’s messages in transit.

        Imagine if you could also ‘look over their shoulder;’ and read their web browsing sessions. That is why today you will see ‘https:’ in the navigation bar of your browser. Art least with end to end encryption you cant read the content…except that by and large you dont need to., If they are browsing a public site, you know what pages they are looking at – you can look at them too!

        It only works for private data like the ‘cloud’ holds. But of course anything in the ‘cloud’ can be read by the system admins of the cloud servers…

        What I am saying is that even the net neutrality bit is part of a far wider and more disquieting set of rules that people are trying to apply to the ‘net’ for the best possible motivations. Of course.

        And so naturally all the usual suspects are out in force, trying to bring the bit they are affected by under political control. Trolls upsetting your politicians? Legislate against trolls and ‘hate speech’. Websites showing alternative news and truths an irritation? get them taken down.

        Why a long post?

        To show a bit more of the overall picture, and some of the possible remedies.

        This isn’t as much about what is dine as how its done and how its policed if its done.

      • Government creates monopolies, then since monopolies are bad, the government needs to take complete control of the industry.

      • I’ve lost track of the number of people who have used the fact that most cities have only one cable provider as proof that cable is a natural monopoly which needs to be regulated by the government.
        The fact that it is government regulation that created this one provider per city arrangement in the first place is beyond their grasp.

      • MarkW July 28, 2017 at 7:36 am

        Patents and copyright are also “natural monopolies.” Many so-called “natural monopolies” were formed through private action. PG&E in California bought up many smaller electrical companies and rolled them all into one big where all the copper was owned by PG&E. Various municipalities acted to acquire chunks of PG&E’s resources as it became clear that they could provide the same products and service at lower cost that PG&E. That lead to “MUDs” all over the place. PG&E even worked at cleaning up it social act. One of the most important law suits over water rights in California was lost by PG&E. These days PG&E provides natural gas to most municipalities but electricity only in non-incorporated areas and towns that don’t have a MUD. Similar histories have followed the railroads too, and the meat industry, coal and oil.

  2. After investing the time to read this post, I have not a clue what point the author is trying to make. What is needed is a clear description of exactly what Obama’s apointees wanted and exactly what the author wants, and why one is better than the other. It is the worst, most obscure, and gobbledy-gook filled post evah!

    • Indeed, and that in itself is a sure sign that was it really going on is not what appears to be going on.

      I think the OPs real point is that net neutrality is no longer about whether or not its cool to slightly slow up competitors data so yours runs faster, or whether or not real time protocols like VOIP need to be given priority over say e-mail, but has become about principles of political control over what the net does. That more people have skin in the game than just the ISPs.

      Because net neutrality has spilled over from traffic type, to traffic content and traffic source.

      Think Chinese walled gardens where certain sites are inaccessible from the state run internet.

      Think ‘deep packet inspection’ where data streams might be examined for key worlds like ‘jihad’ (Hi NSA, no just saying. Honest).

      Or indeed ‘Trump’. (gotcha spooks!)

      So it behoves us to be mindful of what is presented as a technical matter, in that it is also a deeply commercial matter, and a deeply political matter.

      Educate yourselves.

  3. Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall cogently explained in 1972 that:
    “Above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content. To permit the continued building of our politics and culture, and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship. The essence of this forbidden censorship is content control. Any restriction on expressive activity because of its content would completely undercut the ‘profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.'”
    Wikipedia on freedom to speech in the United States.”

    “It can’t happen here” is always wrong: a dictatorship can happen anywhere.”
    ― Karl Popper, Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography

    • “It [the FCC order] differs so dramatically [from the public draft] that even net neutrality advocates frantically rushed in recent days to make last-minute filings registering their concerns that the FCC might be going too far.
      *************************************
      believe the statement you question was written some time ago by Pai and dealt with this statement.have not read the 60+ page linked document so not sure if there.

      • “advocates frantically rushed”

        But who were the ‘advocates’? Inquiring minds want to know. I assume it was the TelCom’s, they are the ones with the money and the lawyers. Until proven otherwise it does not hold a lot water.

  4. It is not a lttle twin. Both the issues and the underpinning facts are quite different. The only resemblance is stretched legal underpinnings. CAGW a grossly stretched CAA concerning the definition of pollutant. Net Neutrality, a stretched definition of common carrier from the copper bound wireline telecom era. Justice Scalia would have had no problem quickly dispensing with both.

    • The issues are different. The similarity is in how much the public, including conservatives, is deceived about the real issues; and how far the issue traveled from the original mild concern. Also, technology or science are involved in both issues.

  5. In the United States, net neutrality has been an issue of contention among network users and access providers since the 1990s.[1][2] In 2015 the FCC classified broadband as a Title II communication service with providers being “common carriers”, not “information providers”. link

    A common carrier has to take anyone’s traffic without discriminating. A common carrier, like the telephone company, isn’t responsible for what they carry. If you plot terrorism over the phone, the feds won’t charge the phone company.

    An information provider, on the other hand, can be held responsible for what it carries.

    So far I can’t see a problem with Title II. ISPs should be common carriers.

    Lots of thoughtful people think net neutrality will protect the little guy against big corporations. I don’t see a problem with that either. link

    I realize that regulators and legislators do hide nasty stuff in with the good stuff. Even so, we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water. Net neutrality needs to be protected.

    • I tend to agree Bob, I have not read FCC-15-24 but government cannot leave Telcom’s to regulate themselves as we all know they have only the best interest of consumers at hart (/sarc). Government does need to set a few ground rules in the industry. Imagine if the water company could decide who gets water, at what time and if it would be hot or cold?

    • The point is that the Obama era FCC was trying to place the internet under Section II regulation, while only claiming they were doing it for “net neutrality”. It was a stalking horse, a bell wether, or something that would place this comment into moderation.

      • Tom, I wish you could elaborate on why Sec II is bad in your view, so I could learn something. Potential overreach stifling competition/innovation is one thing I could agree with. Suggesting this is a false pretext or hidden indicator does deserve further elaboration (to what?).

      • The FCC was very active in regulating content indirectly with broadcast media, with the result of bland, “respectable” content. I have no idea how old you are, or what country you were watching media in for that matter, but the behavior of the “public” media, like PBS, the BBC and from what i gather the Australian ABC currently was general practice. Up until the repeal of the “fairness doctrine” in the US, and the somewhat later rise of cable and the internet, there was not any real discussion of politics or anything politically sensitive except that which agreed with the (mostly soft left) consensus.
        Section II would place the carriers of the internet under FCC control, and given the history of their behavior with broadcast media, something that appeals mostly to authoritarian zealots.

      • Thanks Tom for the reply, 40ish, Canada, been around the bush a few times. Our Canadian CRTC (regulator), like you described, supported the soft approach to content (TV at the time), kowtowed to the captive market that government closely regulates, usually siding with the providers (to the detriment of customers). But lately they have reversed course, very refreshing, mostly due to populous revolt.

        To me your approach is, “trust but verify”, based on history, rightfully so. I am positive on Government regulation, unfortunately they are way to slow to adapt to the industry. I am for small government but in the case or ISP’s, they are an essential service, we’re not talking widgets from China that follow the supply/demand chain.

        When in some markets there may be one or possibly two ISP’s, due to the high capital costs, they falling into a grey area, “we’ll let you have captive market but here is your social contract” type of stuff

      • Again you miss the boat, Tom.

        As “Common Carriers” under Title II, neither the FCC nor the cable companies can regulate what information is being carried.

        That is between the FCC and the CONTENT PROVIDERS, not the carriers. And always has been.

      • In principle, yes, but given the history of the FCC, no way in hell would I trust the FCC to fairly regulate anything.

      • Tom, agreed, no regulation is perfect, history is full of lessons. We do trust many other regulations, such as stop lights (red stop, green go) but they still don’t stop all accidents. You should agree, allowing ISP’s to be completely unregulated come at a cost as well, yes?

      • It is also the notion of regulating the internet providers as if they were landline phone companies. The technology is different, where in a dense enough market one could have three sources of access to the net==>landline cable, satellite, and cellphone broadcast. Only cable approaches being a “natural monopoly”. With satellite and broadcast, the only real issues are interference and bandwidth.
        This is more a matter of anti-trust than regulating the behavior of a natural monopoly.
        The other issue in the US is the history of the FCC, which has a long and destructive history of both regulating content on broadcast media and regulatory capture generally, almost always writing rules to favor incumbents.

  6. Lloyd contends that large corporate broadcasting networks have `driven liberals off of radio’ based on a belief that `diversity ownership will reflect in diversity programming.’

    The left had Air America https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_America_(radio_network) with personalities like Al Franken (yes, THAT Al Franken) and Rachel Maddow (yes, THAT Rachel Maddow). Listeners stayed away in droves.

    I’m of 2 minds on net neutrality. Given the way the FCC switches every time that the balance of power in the US Congress changes, it’s probably not the right body for this. A strong FTC is probably a better overseer of the good part of net neutrality.

    The real fear for net neutrality activists is that, e.g. “ComcastFlix” ends up being “zero rated” while viewing Netflix does chew up your monthly quota if X gigabytes. This is a case of using a monopoly in one area (broadband internet delivery) to favour a company-owned product in another category (i.e. streaming video). There is plenty of precedent for the FTC there.

    For those cord-cutters who’ve dumped cable to get out of the $100/year ESPN tax, there’s the fear that Disney might buy their cableco and include streaming ESPN as part of “basic broadband”, and raise its cost accordingly.

    • I’d have to agree with this assessment. There is a reason that America’s two largest cable companies: AT&T and Comcast have legendarily poor service. In many or most areas, we have essentially no choice in internet provider. In every apartment I ever owned, the internet service was chosen by the apartment owner.

      I understand the problems with regulatory control, and I agree that this should be regulated by Congress instead of torturing the FCC’s mandate to include them. However, we currently have monopolies or near-monopolies, and they are not afraid of exploiting their advantages. I would support both a more reasonable piece of legislation, and trust-busting these mega-corps and localized monopolies. However, these have to come before or simultaneously with the repeal of the current policies. It should not be a repeal and then a fix that comes sometime in the future, maybe, if Congress can actually write it.

  7. Obama wanted a PC Propaganda Machine without having opposition ideologies like Hitler did in NAZI Germany. If you silence the opposition from being able to voice their ideologies and reporting on the government doing bad thing’s to the masses, the masses remain ignorant and compliance in what the government is doing is obtained. Most of the German Conquest was obtained by offering government assistance to people in need during the Global Great Depression Era and they welcomed them into their countries. It was not until their Jewish neighbor’s began disappearing and the Military started forcing them into compliance that they realized they were screwed. They were blocked from hearing outside radio broadcast and news papers from only German Propaganda were allowed. This Net Neutrality is just that. It is to silence opposition and control the population to think what the government wants you to think.

  8. Its simple, benefits Amazon, Google and Netflix…..what a surprise…Allows them better data compilation for advertising and cheaper bandwith costs for Netflix. Simple as that, why do you think they support the dems so much?

  9. I ended up respecting and commenting on WUWT because:
    1: I was interesting in delving deeper into the bowels of the climate issue.
    2: I tend to search for information at a glance by searching for graphs via Google images.
    And a climate issue as a search plus the word “graph” tends to invariably yield a heap of material that is hosted here on WUWT.
    Google doesn’t yet seem to have figured out that certain graphs should be hidden from view in order to make the public safe.
    Of course, my mind has now been forever corrupted.
    If only I hadn’t been allowed to see the wrong kind of graphs…

  10. 1) This generally comes down to a “religious issue”; if you have Faith in government, you support the 400-page regulation with a sticker that says “Net Neutrality” on it.

    2) Show me a 1-page bill and/or 10 pages of regulations, and we’ll talk. You do NOT need 400 pages if the Neutrality lobby’s goals are what they say they are, period.

    I’m totally in favor of the two-sentence aspiration, it’s just translating into a monstrosity of power-mad bureaucracy.

    • We have to walk between the power-mad bureaucracy and power-mad monopolies. If we had effective anti-trust regulators or a valid law, I’d be all in favor of repealing this regulation. However, we don’t. What’s the least of our choice of evils?

      • Dupont didn’t need much help in the late 1890’s to round up 70% of the explosives market. When they were busted up, you wound up with Hercules, Atlas, and Trojan as purveyors of gunpowder and explosives.

      • 70% isn’t a monopoly.
        It was just politics that caused the breakup. Competitors found out it was cheaper to hire politicians rather than hire scientists and engineers.

      • PS: Check out how the government contracts were going. Not all monopolies are created by outlawing competition.

  11. I hope Mr. Goldstein recently placed his short bets on Google, Amazon and Facebook. Otherwise, he is deep underwater on those trades. This article has nothing to do with climate change, but is more geared to getting out the negatives on those stocks to improve his trading position.

    • Not quite. This is a science and technology blog, usually centered on climate. It is whatever Anthony Watts wants to discuss, or his surrogates.

      • … and this is a blatantly biased political polemic. If someone wants to kill WUWT, this is the way to go.

  12. I’ve been trying to get this explained to many people for several months. Thanks for the clear description of what is actually going on.
    I sincerely believe that many of the silicon valley companies are hiring trolls on many discussion areas to muddy the water and push the narrative that black really is white.
    There WAS Net Neutrality. Like far too many things, 0bama messed it up.

  13. The one bit of science the left gets correct is their view of drug addiction. They understand police can not fix a medical problem.

    For those who believe police can fix medical problems I suggest putting them in charge of cancer eradication.

  14. Climate science is science, not politics…

    It is not of the left or right and the science will be proved or disproved by scientific evidence, not in any other way.

    If you ascribe the persistence of the AGW paradigm in science to ‘the left’ then you are arguing on personal political convictions.

    Your debate does not involve science.

    • There is no field that involves human beings and money that does not involve politics. Bumper sticker statements like the one above completely overlooks the political predispositions and personal opinions of those involved. Your phony high-horse is a strawman based on an idealized mythology about academia and the practice of science that simply does not exist.

      AGW will be disproved (or proved) by time, when reality asserts itself, and not by any scientific ‘study’.
      And not in our lifetimes.

    • Science itself is neither left nor right. However the field of “climate science” is dominated by leftists who seek to use misinformation to justify the implementation of their preferred economic and political systems.

    • If you truly believe that, I pity you. Nutrition, for example, is also subject to political efforts. Ever encounter a vegan? Politics is the description of how organized groups of people interact, and once one gets beyond one-on-one interactions, it is “politics”.

      • “Ever encounter a vegan? ”
        Yes actually – my GF is one.
        And it has zero to do with politics, it is based purely on an empathy for animals and insight to how it is that humans torture and abuse them.

      • My ex and one of my sisters are people who apply ethical standards to food. Religion very soon becomes politics, but food superstitions rarely imply empathy with people in general.Consider India, and the large number of vegetarians running pogroms.

  15. So if we just let the large private monopolies do whatever they want everything will turn out rosy, right? That’s how my grandfather ended up dying of brown lung and the New York skyline was invisible due to air pollution in the ’70s. Based on my experience working at large (and small) companies I have no doubt that without regulations and transparency the telecommunications monopolies/oligopololies will not hesitate to mine our browsing records to sell our detailed psychological profiles to Putin so he can continue to destroy what’s left of our democracy.

  16. The work of Anthony’s stand-ins is greatly appreciated. Greatly. So…

    WHY is this article published here? It is so far off-topic, it can’t even SEE the topic.

    It doesn’t concern science. It isn’t argued scientifically, (or correctly). It doesn’t concern–and is not similar to–the debate regarding Earth’s climate, despite weak attempts to make the two issues appear similar.

    It is a political/economic issue discussed with a confessed lack of research, and a poor understanding of both the history of telecommunications and the actual intent of the regulatory principles under discussion.

    When is Anthony coming back?

    —————————————————————–

    PS: Until he does, can I post my essay “Which Bay-Area TV Station’s Weatherperson is Hottest?” It may be subjective and illogical, but there’s at least an oblique connection to the subject of Wattsupwiththat. It has the words “Weather” and “Hot” in the title, after all…

  17. Unlike many commenters I appreciate the post. Guys, do you think that Ajit Pai was just being churlish when he made his criticisms? What part of “Marxist-Leninist” don’t you understand?

Comments are closed.