The U.S. FCC’s Orwellian Internet policy

“President Obama’s secret plan to protect the ‘open Internet’ is locked inside the Federal Communications Commission. We don’t know what’s in the 322 pages, but we are told it includes a transparency rule,” Bret Swanson writes for Computerworld. “We think it also includes a no-blocking rule, which is crucial because the commission’s own website has been blocking access to the press releases of its minority commissioners.”

“The FCC, consisting of five appointed members, is celebrating the democratic process used in formulating the 332-page plan. In a campaign coordinated with the White House, commission staff solicited several million form letters from activists cheering the ever-popular ‘Title II reclassification,'” Swanson writes. “Nearly 1 million voters responded furiously with comments of their own, advocating the exact opposite policy, one of Internet freedom. Many senators and congressmen are skeptical an ‘independent, expert” agency is supposed to work this way. Commission staff, however, are warning Congress, and its 535 elected representatives, to buzz off, lest it intrude on democracy.”

“Congress doesn’t understand the law it passed in 1996. It thinks it told the FCC to leave the Internet alone. ‘It is the policy of the United States,’ Congress said in the bipartisan Telecommunications Act of 1996, ‘to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.’ Oh, dearest Congress. Such a quaint understanding of words. Concise statutory statements are no match for the FCC’s linguistic gymnastics. For starters, Internet service providers, the commission’s press secretary informed us, will no longer be part of the Internet. See how easy that is. Congress says the Internet should be ‘unfettered’ by regulation. The FCC says: ISPs aren’t the Internet. Voilà,” Swanson writes. “Unfortunately for the FCC, the courts will almost certainly overturn the president’s plan, and so all its creative rationales will vanish into the wind. Genius denied.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
EFF: ‘We are deeply concerned; FCC’s new rules include provision that sounds like a recipe for overreach’ – February 25, 2015
Democratic FCC commissioner balks at so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 24, 2015
FCC chief pressed to release proposed regulations governing so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 23, 2015
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Obama’s plan a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet – February 10, 2015
Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
FCC chairman proposes to regulate ISP’s under Title II – February 4, 2015
U.S. congressional Republicans’ bill aims to head off Obama’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ plan – January 17, 2015
U.S. Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road – January 15, 2015
U.S. FCC says it will vote on so-called ‘net neutrality’ in February – January 3, 2015
FCC hopes its rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ survive inevitable litigation – November 22, 2014
Obama-appointed FCC chairman distances himself from Obama on so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 12, 2014
What does so-called ‘net neutrality’ mean for Apple? – November 12, 2014
AT&T to pause fiber investment until net neutrality rules are decided – November 12, 2014
There’s no one to root for in the debate over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. FCC plays Russian Roulette with so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
Obama want FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ – November 10, 2014


  1. And so begins the corporate onslaught to ensure the Internet is controlled and regulated by Comcast and its ilk. Sadly, freezing out those who are in the middle class and below seems to be what is increasingly meant by freedom.

      1. Corporate Comcast and Obama’s FCC have been on the opposite sides of this issue.

        So whatever you think of this complex issue, your comment is pure nonsense. (And expressed like a dumbass.)

  2. When you elect a Marxist Muslim as President don’t be surprised if the regime starts stealing your freedom. But it’s just temporary and will end as soon as the achieve Utopia. Or you die.

      1. I don’t see any demonization. The ACA already started stealing from everyone and Net Neutrality continues it, followed soon by forced conversion of 401ks to government bonds from what some in WDC want to do to citizens, in the name of safety of course.

        Biden yesterday plainly stated he wants redistribution of wealth. How much clearer can they get.

        Our illustrious leader was trained by his socialist/Marxist/Communist mother, father, grandfather, 3 in the Ayers family, Saul Alinsky and Clowar-Pivens at Columbia. It ought to be perfectly clear our leader is Marxist.

    1. Exactly when will be electing this mythical Marxist, Muslim President? Or is it just reich wing code for “we don’t want a Black Man in the White House”?

      Obama is a center right guy that a generation ago would have been in the Republican Party. The American Conservative even published an essay by a former Reagan Administration advisor and official titled Obama is a Republican.

      I did not vote for Obama and am not very happy with his policies, but he is far from a Marxist. He is the member of a Christian Church and has raised his family in the same church. That does not sound like a Muslim to me.

        1. Stop and think about your statements. Do you really believe that people are happy with their internet/cable services? Comcast is one of the most hated entities in America. As to health care, it’s not just the last 12 months, it’s for the last 20 years. Health care might as well not exist for the vast majority of Americans. We are all just one major illness from bankruptcy. People die daily because they can’t afford health care, and the insurance company death panels regularly condemn people to die by refusing coverage of reasonable treatments. But you hate Obama so much you are willing to accept allowing Comcast to control the internet, and insurance companies to continue to profit from denying people health care. You’re what’s wrong with America.

          1. I don’t have Comcast. I have Time Warner. I can also choose my local telephone company. I can also choose a satellite company. I can also use my iPhone.

            How fucking stupid are you to turn over control of the most amazing and most free communications medium in the world to a government that wants to implement new “regulations” that it won’t let anyone see in advance. And you defend the 300 pages of regulations which you have no clue what they contain. You and your arrogant ignorance are what got our country the Muslim Marxist President who is transforming into a Tyrant.

            1. Have you ever heard of DARPA? The government invented and started the internet. Left to a “free market” the internet will soon be owned by big business. God save us from low intelligence voters!

          2. And by the way, regarding your insane defense of Obamacare the law that was 3000 pages that nobody read before voting on it that now changes every day as needed to keep the entire system from collapsing does include “death panels” so well paid bureaucrats who are exempt from Obamacare can decide which poor suckers who are now part of this communist mess get to live and who gets to die. You are a truly imbecilic individual.

            1. Please point to where I defended Obamacare. People who can’t provide a profit for our health care system have been dying for decades, long before Obama got involved. Obamacare was lifted directly from a Republican plan. The American health care system sucks and it has for decades. Obamacare didn’t make it any worse than it already was.

      1. It is not about what “people” want to do but what leaders want the bureaucracy to do so various entities they don’t like can be silenced.

        This is not unlike what the IRS did in the recent past, except this time they want it in a law so they don’t get dragged in front of Congress.

    1. A pull quote in the article – “If you’re left of center, you tend to distrust companies. If you’re right of center, you tend to distrust government. That is where the net neutrality debate has fallen.” – Robert McDowell, a former Republican member of the FCC

      1. So, the Republicans stand in opposition as they have stood in opposition to everything Obama for the past 6 years, and are holding out for congress to regulate net neutrality through legislation. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I trust the Congress (Both Rs&Ds) even less than the FCC or the giant Corporations. Why has the Congress decided they are going to administer through legislation, it is not their branch of government? This stupid polarization of the left and right is what will destroy freedoms and our country.

        1. These Republicans tried to block Obamacare, which luckily passed and it did everything Barack promised except the part about keeping your doctor. And the part about saving $2,500 per year. And the part about getting rid of the uninsured. And the part about being able to keep your plan. And the part about the law applying to Congress and the Executive branch. And the part about it saving the country lots of money. And the part about it improving health care. Except for these minor things and a few I forgot Obamacare is doing exactly what Obama said. He is so brilliant.

      1. A moderate is someone who can look at every issue or candidate independently and make a rational decision on a case by case basis.

        In my view, anyone who votes a straight party ticket, or stands solidly with the Democrats or Republicans on every issue is not only not moderate but are no more intelligent than a trained dog. I can teach a dog to pull a Red or a Blue lever every time.

        1. Exactly. It would be great if independent candidates could compete without a disadvantage against the two big political machines.

          But barring that, a moderate Democrat or a Republican that doesn’t always vote with their party is the best we can hope for.

      2. When it comes to subjects that are very politically controversial, a moderate would explain the opposing positions, without shying away from either viewpoint in the debate.

        When it comes to subjects that are not controversial, a moderate would explain it without adding controversy or drama.

        You make it sound like moderates have no place in politically controversial issues. In truth, that’s where their voices are most needed, to keep a debate intelligent and topical instead of descending into prejudice and misinformation.

    2. Thanks for the LA Times article. Here’s another quite pertinent quote which summarizes the underlying issue:

      “Although Wheeler said the FCC would lightly regulate broadband service, the agency would have the authority to be heavy-handed, said Jeffrey Eisenach…Eisenach predicted that public interest groups would push the FCC to take ever-stronger steps, such as regulating rates as it does for conventional phone service.”

      In plain english, the motivation to oppose is that this step represents a potential slippery slope which could put a crimp on their current level of profits.

  3. I’ve been around since the days of B-News and Bang paths (look it up). I’ve seen the internet evolve from Arpnet thru AOL thru the .com boom and ISPs. Corporations, left unchecked, will take control of the internet for their own profit motives and we’ll be left with whatever kind of internet they dictate and that makes them the most money. This is one case where I trust the government to keep things fair, much more so than the greed-based corporations.

    1. One can only laugh at people who distrust democratically elected officials more than corporate bigwigs who are beholden to no one but their own greed. Even if that corporation is Apple, there is simply no mechanism of checks and balances that ensures that Cook acts for the maximum long term good for the maximum number of people. That is why democracy can never be as “efficient” as a command-and-control pyramid structure like the corporation. The internal and external power balance of corporations today is no different than medieval feudalism.

      Democracy, if the populace was comprised of informed and engaged voters, would root out corrupt representatives, corporate lobbyists, and their shill political party operatives who undermine citizen representation. But we hear everyday the suckers who parrot the partisan bullshit rather than support pragmatic, fair long-term regulation of our society and the market that operates as PART of our society. The people like Kent who disrespect the elected executive rather than put forth wise recommendations for better execution of public policy is precisely what is wrong with the USA today. Under his nose, he has allowed partisan gridlock to destroy the fairness of electoral systems, funding, districting, and so forth. Thus the average citizen is not represented in congress — only the thugs who pay their puppet representatives by funding the two corrupt parties who divide the nation and dumb the populace with a steady stream of biased talking heads blathering on every form of media, now including tech forums like MDN.

      1. Unfortunately we are not really a democracy in that two organizations collude to keep power away from independents.

        In a healthy democracy, there would not be just two dominant political machines.

        So the population can be as educated as you like, but they would also have to coordinate all at once to break the two partys’ lock on power. Education alone won’t do it, as that only lets you vote for the better of two evils.

    1. Among other things, Comcast is for:

      Adult Literacy League
      African Development Center
      American Association of People with Disabilities
      American Cancer Society
      American Heart Association
      Make a Wish Foundation

      And hundreds more listed here.

      You’re for the opposite, so “Artist” is for:

      Adult Illiteracy
      African Languishment
      Letting the cripples take the stairs like everyone else
      Heart attacks
      Kids with cancer dying without having their last wish granted


      1. First, your list is from 2013.

        Second, the 2014 contributions from the Comcast Foundation totalled all of $18M…which in the context of their 2014 Revenue ($68.775 Billion) is a charitable “tithe” of a whopping 0.026%.

        Even if you say that corporate revenue isn’t analogus to a personal income for comparison, shifitng to just the pure profits – – Comcast’s Net Income was $8.38 BIllion, which means that this “tithe” improved by a full order of magnitude … to 0.21%.

        However, that’s still a full order of magnitude short of what the average American gives, plus it is shamefully far removed from the Bible’s call for a 10% tithe.

        Looks like you forgot the parable of the “Widow’s Two Mites” (Luke 20:45-21:4)

  4. Too many people are “single issue” voters, and they tend to vote with the party whose lies support their side of an issue. So instead of finding solutions to problems, we just take sides and yell while the politicians collect lobbying money and continue to do nothing except further our enslavement. A good example is gay marriage. There are pros and there are cons – and whichever side you’re on, the other guys are hateful, selfish, evil bastards. But there is exactly ZERO work going on to find an acceptable middle ground and starting to work out solutions that are amenable to the affected parties. The same thing with food labeling, gun control, voter ID, and every other issue. Calling each other names fixes not one God Damned thing. If you’re not just talking out your ass, start trying to find middle ground. If you’re not going to start trying to find middle ground you’re never going to fix anything. That’s binary. The solution is not binary.

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