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Communications The Internet

FCC Reminds ISPs That They Can Be Fined For Lacking Transparency 38

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the beware-the-$5-fine dept.
An anonymous reader writes The FCC issued a notice on Wednesday reminding ISPs that, according to the still-intact transparency rule of the 2010 Open Internet Order, they are required to be transparent about their services. "The FCC's transparency rule requires that consumers get the information they need to make informed choices about the broadband services they purchase." Applicable scenarios include "poorly worded service offers or inaccurate counts of data against a data cap...[as well as] blocking or slowing certain types of traffic without explaining that to the customer." The transparency rule gives the FCC the power to fine ISPs for non-compliance.
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FCC Reminds ISPs That They Can Be Fined For Lacking Transparency

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  • Transpaerncy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Lots of talk about from that from this Administration , that but it's all very opaque from the President on down.

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      Lots of talk about from that from this Administration , that but it's all very opaque from the President on down.

      They DO claim that "This Is The Most Transparent Administration In History." Problem is that it is only enforcing this transparency on others.

      Well, to be fair, it's pretty obvious what "transparency" means to them. It's obviously a "You show me yours!" without any "I'll show you mine" kind of transparency. But being obvious what they are up to, it's "transparency" in a opaque sort of way...

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        I'm pretty sure this administration is making sure that there are no backups available, and shredding HDD's as we speak. Then they can simply claim that in the "interest of transparency" that the data no longer exists.

  • by rainfay (757211) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @08:55AM (#47521843) Homepage
    About time, now will the actually follow through with it.
    • Re: About time (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How about a simple rule that says "The customer gets whatever deal is stated in the largest font as understood by a five year old." That would eliminate almost all marketing BS.

    • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Andrio (2580551) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @10:40AM (#47522433)

      In 2013... ...Verizon had 120.5 billion in revenue, 32 billion in operating income. ...Comcast had 64.7 billion in revenue, 16.6 billion in operating Income. ...AT&T had had 128.8 billion in revenue, 30.5 billion in operating income.

      What does this tell me? That unless the fine is a percentage of their profit (which to my knowledge doesn't happen in the US), internet providers probably aren't too worried about it. In fact, if lack of transparency nets them more profit than they lose by paying the fine, it's only good business to continue breaking the rule.

      • by Andrio (2580551)

        Damn, my formatting broke. Sorry about that!

        Hey Slashdot, how about a useful feature in Beta? Like a 5 minute window to edit your post!

      • by Lando (9348)

        These numbers don't seem to make much sense to be. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but if the revenue isn't coming from operations, where is it coming from? Do you have a link to where these numbers are coming from?

  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @08:59AM (#47521859)

    If this order still stands, why hasn't the FCC fined practically every ISP under this rule? Plenty of ISPs were (and some still are) throttling YouTube, and I don't think I saw a single notice from the ISPs themselves about it. I would think that YouTube counts as a "certain type of traffic" for the purposes of this rule.

    • If this order still stands, why hasn't the FCC fined practically every ISP under this rule? Plenty of ISPs were (and some still are) throttling YouTube, and I don't think I saw a single notice from the ISPs themselves about it. I would think that YouTube counts as a "certain type of traffic" for the purposes of this rule.

      ISP's get fined all the time. The fines are not advertised unless the FCC wants to make a political statement. I suspect this press release is a shot over the bow of one or more ISP's over a particularly egregious case that may even be local and not on our radar yet.

    • by alen (225700)

      who is throttling youtube?

      hosting video content on the internet without paying a CDN or directly peering with ISP's is asking for trouble

      • who is throttling youtube?

        hosting video content on the internet without paying a CDN or directly peering with ISP's is asking for trouble

        Right, Google is very friendly with the ISPs. I doubt there is any throttling of Youtube happening.

    • If this order still stands, why hasn't the FCC fined practically every ISP under this rule?

      It seems they've got quite a lot of bark, but not enough bite. Unless it comes to boobs on TV.

  • Gasp! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 24, 2014 @09:10AM (#47521929)

    It's refreshing to see that the FCC can and does behave like a regulatory agency. Despite all the "discussion" over Net Neutrality and all the maneuvers that appear to fly in the face of what consumers and end users want, this is a move that makes sense. Forgive my overt cynicism, but I can't ignore the fact that the individuals heading the FCC in recent years have all been former CEOs of the telcos they have been trying to *cough* regulate. There have been apt analogies by John Oliver that leaving these folks to runn the FCC is akin to "leaving the dingo to watch the baby."

    In a logical market, the consumer's wants and needs are supposed to be what drives the market. If a customer wants a smartphone, it should be a device provided at the point of sale with a cellualr service. Customers do not want the bloatware that the telcos push on them. From a network security standpoint, there is nothing more frustrating than apps that just appear on the device without customer interaction. Telcos have become too greedy for thier own good and it is simply a matter of time before the trend in business of "self-regulation" will fail to work. Arguably, and across multiple industries, it already has.

  • Perhaps they're also trying to send a message to consumers to not suffer illegal charges in silence. The FCC can't audit every single bill that an ISP sends to it's customers to see if it's in line with that ISP's advertisements, but consumers are hopefully pretty conscious of what they're paying for internet service. How many people do you know who, when faced with an egregious bill for internet or cell phone service, send a letter to the FCC?
  • "Peace In Our Time."
  • Lots of posters are asking why ISPs are not getting fined... why the FCC hasn't done anything... and nobody's asked the important question: "What CAN the FCC actually do?"

    This article by CommLaw (really great outfit that analyzes communication, broadband, ISP, VoIP, and carrier law) puts it in great perspective:
    http://www.commlawblog.com/tag... [commlawblog.com]

    The FCC is unable to regulate ISPs since they deregulated them and declared them not to be common carriers. The reason that the FCC won't make ISPs be common carrier

    • So here's the first thing I thought of after reading the summary. The quotes in the summary make it sound like a case of false advertising, deceptive practices, and/or fraud. While the FCC might not have the authority to do anything about the problem, what about the FTC? Can the FTC slap them around more than the FCC can?

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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