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FCC Explains How Net Neutrality Will Be Protected Without Net Neutrality Rules (arstechnica.com) 246

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission is still on track to eliminate net neutrality rules this Thursday, but the commission said today that it has a new plan to protect consumers after the repeal. The FCC and Federal Trade Commission released a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) describing how the agencies will work together to make sure ISPs keep their net neutrality promises. After the repeal, there won't be any rules preventing ISPs from blocking or throttling Internet traffic. ISPs will also be allowed to charge websites and online services for faster and more reliable network access. In short, ISPs will be free to do whatever they want -- unless they make specific promises to avoid engaging in specific types of anti-competitive or anti-consumer behavior. When companies make promises and break them, the FTC can punish them for deceiving consumers. That's what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen are counting on. "Instead of saddling the Internet with heavy-handed regulations, we will work together to take targeted action against bad actors," Pai said in a joint announcement with the FTC today.
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FCC Explains How Net Neutrality Will Be Protected Without Net Neutrality Rules

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  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:06PM (#55720515) Homepage Journal

    CEO: So we can do whatever the hell we want, so long as we promise nothing? DO IT!

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:08PM (#55720525)
    Not really seeing an up side to this nonsense. Am I crazy, like the voices tell me, or am I missing something?
  • Freedom is Slavery (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:09PM (#55720529)

    Ignorance is Strength

  • Useless... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZenShadow ( 101870 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:10PM (#55720543) Homepage

    "We'll protect consumers! We'll stop Nestle if they put poison in their bottled water. But there's no need for heavy handed regulation; we'll only do it if they say their bottled water doesn't have poison in it."

    • Sounds like the perfect opportunity for me to gobble up market share by releasing my new line of poison free water.

      • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
        If only ISPs were able to do that in the US. No sarcasm, if there was an even remotely free market this wouldn't be an issue.
  • Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concern ( 819622 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:17PM (#55720577) Journal

    Ah, right. The feds will hold the ISPs to their word. Then the invisible hand of the market will take care of everything.

    It's like these assholes think the free market fairy can just wave her little magic wand and make anything work.

    Except they don't think that. They know you have only 1-2 choices for ISP, and if both suddenly decide to provide shittier service, you're fucked. They even know that you know that. They're just testing to see if this makes it in above the pain threshold of the American voter, because everything that you can suffer, you will be made to suffer.

    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

      by msauve ( 701917 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:30PM (#55720667)
      "the invisible hand of the market will take care of everything."

      That's a great idea. No longer being common carriers, every local municipality and private landowner whose property their wires pass through should feel free to demand access payment, and cut the lines if they refuse. Fair is fair - free rights of way exist for regulated common carriers serving a public interest, not for unregulated for-profit corporations.
      • the power co's own the polls they should change more for there use.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        'The visible hand of the market', lies in print. What I don't get, is they know no one believes them but they tell the lies anyhow, it seems to be the thing with the US government now. They know, they absolutely know, no one believes this shit, yet they tell the lies any how, why, just why. The only thing I get is they actually want to look stupid and corrupt and somehow in the most stupendously arrogant fashion, it thinks it makes it look powerful by publicly telling known lies, that are not challenge by c

        • they know we have zero power, we have not risen up with pitchforks yet and we likely will not. EVAR.

          they laugh at us middle class folks. we truly have no one to speak for us. they know it, they know we know it and they don't care at all, anymore.

          they have their power and they know we can't take it away.

          so, given that, why even PRETEND that they are serving us?

          they don't. they are giving us all the middle finger and daring us to fight them.

          MAYBE come election day we can turn things around. but I don't e

          • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

            MAYBE come election day we can turn things around. but I don't even have hope for that. I feel fully screwed by the powerbase that is installed. they used to at least act like they cared. now, they don't even try to do that, anymore.

            I'd like to think you're right, but you've clearly got countless millions of mouth breathers all to happy to vote for whoever seems to be the biggest cunt. And next time around, well - that'll be old Donnie again won't it. lol.

      • every local municipality and private landowner whose property their wires pass through should feel free to demand access payment,

        They already do. It's called a "franchise fee".

        free rights of way exist

        No, they don't.

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          I see the problem. You don't understand the difference between cable TV and Internet service.
          • I see the problem. You don't understand the difference between cable TV and Internet service.

            That's rich. I'm the one who keeps pointing out the difference, and the fact that NO ISP IN THE US HAS A MONOPOLY. The telco does, cable TV used to but no longer, ISPs never.

            This is one place where the difference is moot. The cable TV system and the telephone system both have franchises and pay franchise fees. The laws are clear on this, also: there are no exclusive franchises, and municipalities MUST accommodate additional franchise applicants. If you want to be an ISP and want to get a franchise agreemen

            • by msauve ( 701917 )
              " NO ISP IN THE US HAS A MONOPOLY"

              In exactly the same way bicycles provide competition to automobiles.
            • Just be aware that any existing competing ISP will sue [slashdot.org] you [slashdot.org] (or worse [slashdot.org]) if you try [theverge.com].

            • by Concern ( 819622 )

              There is no functioning market in broadband ISPs.

              Back when we all used modems to get on the internet, and anyone could set up shop with a bank of modems, and any customer could call any ISP they wanted, sure.

              Let's compare and contrast that with today's broadband ISPs.

              Broadband requires copper or fiber to each premises. Physical limitations prevent competitors, for the same reason you wouldn't have multiple electric utilities with multiple electric grids and multiple outlets in your house for each one. Then

    • Don't forget the Nuclear Option; we bail on the Internet and go back to a life where we just do without. It won't be pleasant but if it gets bad enough that might be the only way to protest that actually has an effect; if half the country decided to stop having Internet service at home because it's just too expensive and restrictive, things would either have to change for the better or there wouldn't be an Internet anymore.
      • by Concern ( 819622 )

        Ah, you may as well boycott the roads. They'll be thrilled, because your boycott is obviously doomed, and the very few silly enough to try it will curtail their own mobility (/ability to participate in society/democracy), hurting rather than helping their cause.

        The only nuclear option is in the polling place in the next election. Any elected representative who isn't fighting this is out of office.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        North Korea's looking to help out with the Nuclear Option.

    • it's why we got Trump and with him a Republican lead FCC. Trump promised the rust belters jobs. Hilary took their votes for granted. If we keep ignoring the plight of the lower working class and blue collar types this is only going to get worse. Remember in the 90s and 2000s when everybody on /. kept telling them to update their skills (ignoring the fact that it's hard to do that when you're a)over 30 and b) working for a living)? Remember when we did basically nothing to help the people displaced by NAFTA?
    • They're just testing to see if this makes it in above the pain threshold of the American voter, because everything that you can suffer, you will be made to suffer.

      48% of the country will willing to destroy the internet in hopes that another Democrat won't be able to nominate a Supreme Court Judge. There is not pain threshold that will surpass that.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      When the fairy of the free market is allowed to wave3 her little magic wand it do work.
      But this fairy is tied down on some basement of AT&T and have no chance to escape.

  • by modmans2ndcoming ( 929661 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:17PM (#55720583)

    The companies that give us access to the internet were being regulated....its completely different.....Regulating the internet is telling companies what services are and are not allowed on the internet (think China or Iran).....Regulating companies about how they are allowed to behave when giving people access to the internet prevents abuse of the people that use the internet.

  • Exit strategy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:25PM (#55720633) Journal
    Better prepare your Internet exit strategies, folks. If the dark prophecies of Walled Gardens comes to pass, that may be the only effective form of protest available to rank-and-file citizenry. Small ISPs seem to have to piggyback on the larger ones' last-mile lines just to exist, so they likely wouldn't be any help, and while talk about creating our own Internet 3.0 is a nice fiction, that's all it is really; it'd take billions of dollars to get it started, thousands of people you could count on, and ISPs somehow not noticing, sueing the daylights out of us all, and/or just buying up any startups in hostile takeovers, the dismantling the whole thing -- assuming that is they don't outright lobby legislators to somehow prevent it. Continuing to pay ISPs who behave badly because "the Internet is essential" is just rewarding them for being evil. After the 2020 elections (if not sooner; Mr. Mueller, I'm looking at you when I say that) we'll likely not have a Republican in the Whitehouse anymore, but it'll take years for all the damage done, this included, to be reversed and repaired, and it's going to be a rough ride for all concerned in the meantime. If we somehow end up with a Republican until at least 2024, there may not be an Internet left to save. If someone else has any bright ideas how to mitigate evil behavior incoming from ISPs (because they will take full advantage of this, believe you me), I'm all ears.
    • by kaoshin ( 110328 )
      I'm kind of tapped out around Christmas, so how about the numerous massive multi-billion dollar pro NN corporations combine their efforts to build and deploy a fork of the Internet? In the interim here are a few random ideas for alternatives to common Internet services:

      Online Games -> LAN Parties
      Wikipedia -> Encyclopedia/Library
      Netflix Streaming -> Netflix DVDs
      Ordering pizza with an app -> Call for delivery
      Pornhub -> Strip club
      CNN news -> National Enquirer
    • If someone else has any bright ideas how to mitigate evil behavior incoming from ISPs (because they will take full advantage of this, believe you me), I'm all ears.

      If you can shrink this amazing technology [rochester.edu] down to about the size and cost of a microwave oven, and provide high data rates with low latency, I'd say the problem is solved. A breakthrough like that would permanently eliminate the ability of corporations and governments alike to interfere with Internet communication.
    • You'd still have Pai and have the same situation even if Trump is gone. He'd do the same thing because the president doesn't have control over the FCC and Pai.

      I'm not defending anything. I'm just pointing something out.

      I think Pai is evil and he's been paid off. He's a puppet and nothing he can do will change that opinion.

    • " someone else has any bright ideas how to mitigate evil behavior incoming from ISPs (because they will take full advantage of this, believe you me), I'm all ears."

      We just roll it back a bit to internet 1.5. Everyone simply turns off their wireless encryption and changes their SSID to linksys. Then just multiplex all the signals in range.

      Linksys will once again be the biggest and freeist ISP in the world!

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      After the 2020 elections .. we'll likely not have a Republican in the Whitehouse anymore

      LOL. Such fantasy. If Trump gets nailed by Mueller (or chokes on his KFC or otherwise is prematurely removed from office) and Pence takes over, then _maybe_ the dems will have a chance in 2020.

      If Trump survives until the next election though, there's a very high chance he'll take it again. The dems just don't have the teeth to stop him right now. Bernie Sanders, Justice democrats and other progressives might have a chance but they're getting junk-kicked by their own party's infighting and there's a very

  • known a few of those. So if a "bad actor" turns out to be a friend (you know... one of those "good" friends you get in politics) we can just ignore their bad actions because there aren't really any rules, right?
  • Without some type of rules or regulations you haven't even defined what a "bad actor" is.

  • So, Idgit Poophead is gonna watch out for companies doing something they shouldn't and tell them they're bad - and not have any regulation ability to actually STOP them from doing it because there technically won't be anything wrong with what they are doing!

    It's like he's yelling "LOOK OVER THERE" to distract us while he shovels verizon cash into his duffel bag.
    • So, Idgit Poophead is gonna watch out for companies doing something they shouldn't and tell them they're bad

      No, it's not even that good. He's going to look out for companies doing evil things to see if they told you they're doing evil things. If they did, then all is well.

  • it _IS_ possible that when ISP's start to charge for content, that others will use this opporunity to rebrand services which are free... as a bonus..
    For example when Comcast charges $5/mo for access to facebook, a competitor can give that access free ... hence everyone changes to that ISP cause they are now offering a better service... and on that.. that company publicly stated that service is free.. they start charging for it, then the FCC has them by the balls...

    THEN, when Trump gets kicked out.. the n
    • That's a nice thought, but what will more likely happen, is that big companies like Comcast will hostile takeover smaller ISPs, gobble them up, to prevent competition like that. Or they'll tell the politicians they've bought and paid for to make what they're doing illegal under some sort of antitrust statute or something. Look at a company like Facebook; how evil have they become all because it's a private company and they're technically not breaking any laws? The Internet has become too important to allow
    • it _IS_ possible that when ISP's start to charge for content, that others will use this opporunity to rebrand services which are free... as a bonus..

      For example when Comcast charges $5/mo for access to facebook, a competitor can give that access free ... hence everyone changes to that ISP cause they are now offering a better service... and on that.. that company publicly stated that service is free.. they start charging for it, then the FCC has them by the balls...

      Must be nice to live somewhere you actually have a choice of ISPs,

      I have one "high speed" choice, and live too far away for DSL, and don't have any phone lines into my house for dialup services.

      I may just drop a fiber line or microwave link to a neighbor and toss them $20 a month for using their connection.

    • For example when Comcast charges $5/mo for access to facebook, a competitor can give that access free

      What competitor? This is the US. There is no effective competition.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:58PM (#55720875)

      Maybe you live in a country where there is actually a competition between ISPs going on. For many US people, there is no competitor to switch to. The joke is that the country that prides itself to be the pinnacle of the capitalist economy has more ISP monopolies than even China.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "it _IS_ possible that when ISP's start to charge for content, that others will use this opporunity to rebrand services which are free... as a bonus.."
      Thats the idea. Say a service is deranking results. Removing content. Removing comments. Banning and reporting users.
      Federal NN gives protection for existing bad services to keep having their censored service been passed on equally by every ISP for free.
      With NN removed an ISP can support a new service offering a better service that its consumers wan
    • What ISPs? My options are Comcast or paying way more for a high latency satellite connection. There's no competition most places.

  • we will work together to take targeted action against bad actors

    So he just promised to turn himself in then and will prosecute himself if he doesn't?

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:42PM (#55720743)

    This is what they've been saying from the beginning. The correct summary is "you have no protection."

    All they're saying is that when your ISP decides to screw you, all they have to do is tell you they're doing it and they're home free.

    That solves nothing at all. It might be useful if you had the ability to use a different ISP with better policies -- but the odds are overwhelming that you don't.

  • In short, ISPs will be free to do whatever they want -- unless they make specific promises to avoid engaging in specific types of anti-competitive or anti-consumer behavior.

    Reality check, folks: Do you really, REALLY believe the FTC can only investigate and punish anticompetitive behavior by a company if the company had promised not to be anticompetitive?

    "But, but... some tech journalist at Ars Technica said so!"

    It's been stunning to me throughout this NN debate to see how quickly and freely people simply abandon their critical thinking skills when someone who (at best) doesn't understand a whit about what they're writing about pens a purely inflammatory article like this.

    • by oic0 ( 1864384 )
      You're missing the point. What pisses everyone off is how this is being rammed through despite massive backlash. I still say treason.
  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @08:50PM (#55720809) Homepage Journal

    "We reserve the right to change the terms of service at any time, without notice."

    And they will never, ever, ever break that rule.

  • In short, ISPs will be free to do whatever they want -- unless they make specific promises to avoid engaging in specific types of anti-competitive or anti-consumer behavior. When companies make promises and break them, the FTC can punish them for deceiving consumers.

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen are counting on. "Instead of saddling the Internet with heavy-handed regulations, we will work together to take targeted action against bad actors," Pai said ...

    If ISPs make promises to behave as the "heavy-handed" rules would specify and they can be punished for breaking either, then how are having rules more onerous than relying on promises? (Hint: They're not.) Of course, if the ISPs don't make specific (or any) promises - or any that benefit the consumer -- then they're not "bad actors" and punishing those will be difficult. Oh, wait ...

    Seems like Verizon is getting their money's worth with Pai.

  • if the internet gets any shittier and more expensive than it is now i will call my ISP and cancel my account, pull the plug on it and say: "fuck it, the internet was good while it lasted but it is over now, the pigs screwed it up and that is why we cant have nice things"
  • Proposals to the effect of "We'll protect NN via these other mechanisms." just makes me think, "If you want NN rules, leave it alone?"

    Empty. That's all this is. Typical politician speak, hot air, words without meaning, may as well read the ingredients on a cereal box aloud. Would have learned more.

    Remember folks, FCC is bought and paid for now. The only hope for restoring NN is pressuring congress to pass a new law. So harass your congresscritters. Don't even bother with the FCC, redirect all that rag

  • I can choose an ISP that I like the best, and the FCC will only be interested in making sure that ISP lives up to their policies and promises?
  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @09:57PM (#55721235)

    are rarely comparable to the infraction.

    * * *
    For your crimes of deceiving customers and making a profit of $1.21 Billion dollars, we hereby fine you for $10 Million dollars and your promise to never do it again. You must, of course, pinky swear it and agree to undergo sensitivity training :|

    * * *

    Until he shows me otherwise, I have zero faith in the new head of the FCC. We can certainly hope it plays out like the Tom Wheeler era but, as we all know, lightning rarely strikes the same place twice.

  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Monday December 11, 2017 @11:05PM (#55721563)

    In what way is telling ISPs to not screw around with the data packets transmitted across their network "heavy handed regulation"? Is it an especially onerous process for ISPs to not install special equipment and software that prioritizes network traffic?

    (Jeebus, he is such an idiot.)

  • Because that works so well in advertising where they're already not allowed - by law - to make false claims.
  • The Judge in the Verizon case said they could do nothing unless the ISPs were classified under title ii. Wheeler's FCC reclassified them under title ii. Remove them from title ii and they can do nothing.

    This new FCC guy is evil. He thinks he can propagandize his way out of the massive backlash.

    120 million people said keep net neutrality. That represents the equivalent of every family in America.

    The current chairman will remove them from title ii and put them under the FTC. The FTC says they have no pow

  • My sweet little tot. There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side. So I'm taking it home to my workshop...

    Ooops, wrong villain. Carry on.

  • So instead of a simple rule saying that ISP's are supposed to pass along traffic, you find series of committees and investigations, specially catered for each company, based off of what companies promises, to be less heavy handed regulation? Right.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.

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