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FCC's Own Chief Technology Officer Warned About Net Neutrality Repeal (politico.com) 152

Margaret Harding McGill, reporting for Politico: The Federal Communications Commission's own chief technology officer expressed concern Wednesday about Republican Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to repeal the net neutrality rules, saying it could lead to practices that are "not in the public interest." In an internal email to all of the FCC commissioner offices, CTO Eric Burger, who was appointed by Pai in October, said the No. 1 issue with the repeal is concern that internet service providers will block or throttle specific websites, according to FCC sources who viewed the message. "Unfortunately, I realize we do not address that at all," Burger said in the email. "If the ISP is transparent about blocking legal content, there is nothing the [Federal Trade Commission] can do about it unless the FTC determines it was done for anti-competitive reasons. Allowing such blocking is not in the public interest."
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FCC's Own Chief Technology Officer Warned About Net Neutrality Repeal

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/42341736/what-is-net-neutrality-and-how-could-it-affect-you

    • by gnick ( 1211984 )

      <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/av/42341736/what-is-net-neutrality-and-how-could-it-affect-you">Link! [bbc.com]</a>

  • What me worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:14AM (#55737719)
    The repeal of Net Neutrality will work great.

    Just like Trickle Down Theory.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      The repeal of Net Neutrality will work great.
      Just like Trickle Down Theory.
      Abtrinance is a great way to prevent youth getting pregnant

      Do we have others?

      • The repeal of Net Neutrality will work great. Just like Trickle Down Theory. Abtrinance is a great way to prevent youth getting pregnant

        Do we have others?

        For profit prisons are the free market in action.

        • The repeal of Net Neutrality will work great. Just like Trickle Down Theory. Abtrinance is a great way to prevent youth getting pregnant

          Do we have others?

          For profit prisons are the free market in action.

          Tax cuts increase revenue.

  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:15AM (#55737727) Homepage Journal

    I had never seen such single mindedness "my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts" behaviour from US politicians.
    I realize it's a popular opinion to assume Pai has been bought and sold but it continually surprises me no one in gov't has launched an investigation into his ties yet.
    Sane people are simply not this zealous...

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:19AM (#55737743)

      >I had never seen such single mindedness "my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts" behaviour from US politicians.

      This isn't ignorance, but deliberate lying. They know what will happen, it just happens to be in alignment with their desires.

      This is what happens when you put a fox in charge of the hen house. When a bunch of rich people obviously want to reduce the impediments to getting richer and have a history of making moves in that direction, it's probably a bad idea to take them at their word when they say they're going to help you out at their expense.

      • This is what happens when you put a fox in charge of the hen house.

        In fact, we've nearly put Fox News in charge of the hen house, indirectly.

      • >I had never seen such single mindedness "my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts" behaviour from US politicians.

        This isn't ignorance, but deliberate lying. They know what will happen, it just happens to be in alignment with their desires.

        This is what happens when you put a fox in charge of the hen house. When a bunch of rich people obviously want to reduce the impediments to getting richer and have a history of making moves in that direction, it's probably a bad idea to take them at their word when they say they're going to help you out at their expense.

        (Rich People) "Trust us, we're here to help you."

        The ignorance you claim isn't present is actually represented by 300 billion Americans, who fall for that shit every fucking time.

        • >300 billion Americans

          Holy shit. You guys have been having a lot of unprotected sex in the last few years. Congratulations? :)

          Other than that math error (I am very bad with decimal places myself), I would reluctantly tend to agree with your assessment.

          • It was an accounting error that withheld birth-control for a few days. It would not have been a problem but it just so happened to be about one year ago and frantic end-of-the-world-debauchery ensued.

            I was able to be around some stairs so I was able to push that problem out of the way at the right time. :)

        • The wrong rich people...
          I seriously thought I'd *NEVER* say this, but I wish Bill Gates was more in charge of our government...
          Or Warren Buffet.
          Or anyone else who's actually self made really. (Except Ellison, he's just too much a dick).

          • I don't know about Buffet, but like most 'self-made' rich people, Bill Gates got a massive head start from his parents, both in money and critical insider connections.

            And while Billy was building his fortune, he wasn't exactly know for his fair business practices or being a trustworthy partner.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:43AM (#55737941)

      I had never seen such single mindedness "my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts" behaviour from US politicians. I realize it's a popular opinion to assume Pai has been bought and sold but it continually surprises me no one in gov't has launched an investigation into his ties yet. Sane people are simply not this zealous...

      His "ties"? His resume isn't classified. It's fucking public knowledge who Ajit "Verizon" Pai used to legally shill for.

      Putting him in charge of the FCC represents a level of deliberate collusion and corruption that makes mafia business look like an ethics committee in a monastery.

      • Just to be clear. Appointing a lobbyist to head an agency that oversees the industry from which that lobbyist shills for is akin to mafia style business. I hope you expressed the same contempt for Tom Wheeler [wikipedia.org].

        • In theory there's nothing wrong with taking advice from such people; after all, they are more likely to have relevant knowledge of how their industry works.

          The mistake is in letting them give orders. Actually, the mistake is in taking everything touched by the government and turning it into R vs. D.

          The FCC should be a non-political body receiving general direction from the legislative branch, and then setting specific policies in line with that direction (when practical - sometimes they need to be able to p

          • the mistake is in taking everything touched by the government and turning it into R vs. D.

            While I can agree with this that is nearly impossible. Not becuase everybody wants to turn things into an R vs. D. but because the R and D represent two different world views. That world view can influence behavior. We are not new to this and that is why there are so many hoops to jump through whenever the government is involved. It is an inevitable reality and why Obama had to, by law, nominate a Republican to the FCC. Diversity of opinion is what is important.

            The FCC should be a non-political body receiving general direction from the legislative branch, and then setting specific policies in line with that direction (when practical - sometimes they need to be able to push back when 'the boss' is wrong) based on their non-political expert opinions.

            That is what is happening. How the internet be

        • Actually, I did think that was going to be a disaster at the time, however, Tom Wheeler proved that he wasn't the industry toady that Ajit Pai is.
          • Right... Changing one decision that was made a few years ago in a discussion and legal matter that has been on going for decades is now akin to being a toady in industry. Sounds absurd when you put this into context.

            Maybe you can answer the question without being an "industry toady"; Is an ISP a telecommunications service provider or a information service provider?

            • Right... Changing one decision that was made a few years ago in a discussion and legal matter that has been on going for decades is now akin to being a toady in industry. Sounds absurd when you put this into context.

              It's not the changing of a decision that's the problem. It's changing a decision without justification, lying about why you're making the changing, making the change it when the original policy has support from almost 90% of the electorate, lying about the consequences of the change, all while taking money from the people who will benefit from the change that's the problem. Everyone knows Verizon owns Ajit Pai and that he's acting the best interest of his owners and not the public and that's why he's an i

              • An ISP is both.

                I agree but sadly the law makes them distinct. Should the FCC be able to ignore the distinctions made by law to get what you want? The law needs to be updated instead of the FCC over stepping their authority.

                It's changing a decision without justification,

                There is plenty of justification and the FTC has made good cases why it should be in charge of regulating it as it was before. You are upset that the FCC didn't restate what was stated 10 years ago?

                • There is plenty of justification

                  No there isn't. Partisan political hacks aside, there is literally no justification for this.

                  • For starters [wikipedia.org]

                    or AT&T Corp. v. City of Portland, 216 F.3d 871, 880 (9th Cir. 2000).

                    or 545 U.S. 967 (2005)

                    Yes, there is plenty of justification.

                    • Nothing in that document provides any justification whatsoever. Is your only goal to waste people's time with pointless side tracking?
                    • uh, those 3 are the basis of the issue of classifying ISPs that decide how they will be regulated. The entire NN argument can be summed up in those 3 things. Do I really have to spell it out for you ?

                      Law makes distinction. New technology has regulatory body set precedent. Appeals court uses that precedent to establish an acceptable interpretation for that distinction. Supreme Court in a different case overrules the interpretation of the appeals court to use the other classification that is falls under diffe

                    • I thought it was clear, you still haven't provided any justification for the decision.

                    • Obviously you are a troll. court disagreement and a indecisive government is justification enough.

                    • Obviously you are a troll. court disagreement and a indecisive government is justification enough.

                      And obviously you are a vapid moron. You dance around the issue, but you seem unable to actually articulate a single justification. You provide references to court cases, but no explanation of why the court case is material. You link to a history of regulation but can't say why it matters.

                      As far as I understand it, the current net neutrality regulation is based on the case law established by court cases, the courts ruled this was one way it could be regulated, so they regulated it through the FCC by assi

                    • Yes, you are correct in as much as that the classification of ISPs have been going back and forth between the FCC and the courts for a long time among different case. The courts said that the prior court cases were using vague terminology to apply Title 2 to ISPs.

                      You have said the same thing I have. The only difference is that because I recognize 1) these rules were initiated among party lines they were eventually going to be taken away on party lines 2) if you want to protect NN you have to change the la

                    • Sure, call me a partisan shill because I think there is a proper way to regulate things and when anything that goes back and forth like this between the government and the courts it is the job of Congress to fix.

                      I call you a partisan shill because you peddle self-serving justifications and lies. As far as I'm concerned you're the one peddling FUD and from what I see, no one with a half brain is buying it.

                    • Right... The ones screaming that the internet is going to end. The end is nigh. Misrepresenting open comments of the FCC. Misunderstanding the law. Screeching every slur they can think of is. Yet, the one quoting jurisprudence and law is the one peddling FUD.

                      Oh no! A I can't break the group think and mass hysteria that people have worked themselves into. What fear have I presented? What Uncertainty? What doubt? All I have done is try to understand the situation through jurisprudence and law without throwin

                    • Right... The ones screaming that the internet is going to end. The end is nigh.

                      I wrote nothing of the sort, and anyone who follows this thread can easily verify that, so why are you telling transparent lies about what I've written?

                      Misrepresenting open comments of the FCC.

                      Oops. I didn't do that either.

                      Misunderstanding the law.

                      According to you, amateur lawyer, right? Did you ever stop think about whether people who are actually qualified to interpret the law agree with your interpretation? Unlikely [rationalwiki.org]. You're the pot calling the kettle black.

                      Screeching every slur they can think of is.

                      Oh child. You are so very wrong, because I can think of so many, many more slurs. I've only used the ones th

    • I realize it's a popular opinion to assume Pai has been bought and sold but it continually surprises me no one in gov't has launched an investigation into his ties yet.

      Why would we? It's mostly legal to buy politicians in the US with political contributions. Besides, Pai is just an appointee. He's only doing Trump's bidding. If he doesn't do this, he'll just be replaced with someone who will.

      • Technically speaking the White House is not supposed to have any direct control over the FCC. They appoint the members and the chair, but they are not allowed to dictate policy.
    • Then your low /. number betrays your age if you think this is anything new.

      If Pai is so bad then Obama shouldn't have nominated him. He could have nominated any other Republican and ignored McConnell's recommendation. Pai is not the first to work previously in the industry he now regulates. His predecessor, for one, was a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry that the FCC oversee.

      It's really hard to take the recent complaints seriously about Pai when the previous administration made so many power gra

    • > it's a popular opinion to assume Pai has been bought and sold but it continually surprises me no one in gov't has launched an investigation into his ties yet.

      The people who'd be responsible for reining him in have no interest in doing so, and in many cases have an interest in not doing so.

      Consider how much things have changed in the past year, then contemplate 3 more years of Kris Kobach doing everything possible to cut down on voter registration and removing as many brown people as possible from the v
      • Heck, you even have things like this: https://www.propublica.org/article/pedestrian-tickets-lead-to-hundreds-of-suspended-licenses , the blatant voter ID / "close the drivers' license facilities" things going on in Alabama and the similar attempts by Wisconsin and North Carolina that were blocked by the courts that Trump is now packing with judges whose primary qualifications are than they supported him, etc. Want to bet against similar laws being attempted again in "purple" states with gerrymandered Republ
    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      The typical way that FCC commissioners are purchased is with a cushy position at the beneficiary company after the deal is done, often in a lobbying capacity. This is perfectly legal as long as no one explicitly admits that this is why that person is getting that job (only quid-pro-quo bribery is illegal in the US). A recent and particularly obvious example of this is Meredith Attwell Baker [dslreports.com].
  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:19AM (#55737745)

    Disney bought 21st Century Fox. All of it. That means the Foul Rodent Empire is increasingly in a monopolistic position in the movie, TV and sports content fields, plus they have a nice chunk of Hulu.

    But thank God Netflix might not face a little discrimination from Comcast or Verizon if they don't work out an agreement for all of that data that floods their networks. That'll save Netflix from one day being just another acquisition target of Disney at a reduced price after Disney chokes off most of the desirable content and forces Netflix to produce its own or go broke.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:29AM (#55737833) Homepage

      The customers already pay for that "data that floods their network". Should Comcast and Verizon get paid twice for the same data?

      • No, but they don't see it that way.
        They expect to be allowed to double dip.

      • The customers already pay for that "data that floods their network". Should Comcast and Verizon get paid twice for the same data?

        And how do I sign up for this racket where I get paid twice for every day I show up for work? I want in on this scheme.

    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:30AM (#55737839) Homepage Journal
      Netflix already partners with Comcast. Their app in now preinstalled on all their X1 cable boxes.
    • I've been surprised that Disney hasn't bought Netflix already.
    • A couple points here:
      1) It's not ALL of Fox, just 21st Century. Fox News and the Fox TV network aren't included
      2) It still has to be approved. It's likely it will be, given the pro-business/anti-competition slant of the current administration.
      3) "all the data that floods their network". To be fair, that's part of why people HAVE the internet. If your job is to provide me internet traffic for which I pay you, if you're my only option for broadband, and if you can't do it, then why do you have a monopoly

      • 1) It's not ALL of 21st Century Fox. Fox News and the Fox TV network aren't included

        Those are both part of 21st Century Fox right now.

  • So 100% of the stuff I read in online forums is against this, so I am going to try and argue the other side. I'm doing this because I find it weird that in a controversial topic there aren't even any shills around arguing the other side as there almost always are in an online debate topic. SO here goes:

    The big 4 Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Google are rapidly consolidating to control just about everything we see, hear or do on the Internet all over the entire world. Reversing net neutrality will allow fo

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Except that this won't result in blocking of throttling of the big 4 because they can pay to play.
      It is the new little guys that have to worry.

      Pretty much the reverse of the outcome you suggest.

      • Well what if a state/local government says that in order to lay cable the big ISP has to give preference to locally based internet companies or something like that. Any one of the big 4 would just ignore them if they asked for that kind of treatment. Net neutrality makes these companies more powerful than governments.

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @09:56AM (#55738033)

      Think of the 'big 4' as cars, and your ISP as the roads you drive them on. It's a lot easier to choose a different car than to have a second set of roads built in your area.

      Google may seem unassailable in the West (and they do have a huge market advantage), but there is always the possibility of a niche search engine growing into a rival. It's far less likely a niche ISP will arise with the resources to install the required infrastructure except in isolated communities - and since a physical presence is require to compete, they're never going to crack the major markets where NN is protecting consumers against vertically integrated media-and-delivery empires.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        Think of the 'big 4' as cars, and your ISP as the roads you drive them on. It's a lot easier to choose a different car than to have a second set of roads built in your area.

        This is more like the "big 4" being cities, and your ISP owns the roads. Should the NJ road authorities be able to say that you have to pay $15 instead of 15c tolls if you intend to drive to Boston, or that you can't use their roads at all if you came from Old Dime Box, TX?

      • People still search with google? I guess people also still use Facebook, so why not. Us cool robots use duckduckgo [duckduckgo.com]
    • Thanks for posting a different perspective.

      Netflix did indeed do a great job of establishing group think in many forums. And yes, Netflix made this an issue when they didn't want to pay their hosting bill. That's how NN regulation started. They wanted direct connections from all the major ISPs without paying for hosting like every other site in the world does.

      The other main counter-balancing is simple. Net neutrality rules were in effect for a year and half. Did things get massively better during that tim

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Netflix did actually pay their provider. Their provider has a peering agreement with comcast. The peering provider had upgraded to switch toward comcast with a higher bandwidth network card and asked comcast to do the same to their switch. Both switches are in the same room of the same building. Comcast didn't want to do this, and wanted extra money for this, and asked Netflix directly to pay for it.

        • Settlement-free peering (neither side pays) is used where there are roughly balanced flows on either side. When one side sends 100Mbps and the other side suddenly wants to send 10 Gbps, that's no longer a balanced flows and not covered under standard peering arrangements.

          Netflix wanted connections upgraded because they wanted to send a lot more traffic than Comcast sent. That's not peering anymore.

          Netflix could have been smart like Cloudflare and offered a service which would have them receiving a lot of t

          • Netflix wanted connections upgraded because they wanted to send a lot more traffic than Comcast sent. That's not peering anymore.

            Netflix was not in any peering agreement with Comcast. Netflix's internet provider was. If Comcast was not happy with the data flow they should have negotiated the peering agreement with their peer. Instead, they extorted money from Netflix, who remember, is only a customer of the the company that Comcast was peering with to pay for regular infrastructure upgrades.

            Netflix could have done something similar, and still could today, but apparently they've decided manipulating public opinion is easier than adding a new service, or partnering with a company such as Backblaze which offers a service that accepts a lot of data.

            Netflix does. They actually have co-located servers with Comcast to make sure that Comcast doesn't pull a stunt like that again.

            Are you just

            • > Netflix was not in any peering agreement with Comcast. Netflix's internet provider was.

              Putting a "Cogent" sticker on the Netflix-to-Comcast router doesn't change anything. Netflix and Cogent wanted to dump a shitload of hot potato traffic onto the Comcast network, far beyond what Comcast was sending to Cogent. That's no longer balanced, so they aren't peers. Peering no longer applies.

              > If Comcast was not happy with the data flow they should have negotiated the peering agreement with their peer.

              Th

        • You're technically true on all points, but you're missing some details:

          The peering provider had upgraded to switch toward comcast with a higher bandwidth network card and asked comcast to do the same to their switch.

          This, by itself, was not newsworthy because this is what they had done in the past. What was different was that Comcast refused (source 1 [qz.com], source 2 [consumerist.com]).

          Also of note is that Netflix tried to get ISPs to join their Open Connect program, where Netflix would install servers within Comcast's own network (at no cost to Comcast) so the switches wouldn't need to handle the traffic, but Comcast refused (source 1 [wikipedia.org], source 2 [arstechnica.com]).

          Netflix was trying t

    • by riley ( 36484 ) on Thursday December 14, 2017 @10:00AM (#55738057)
      Unfortunately, the devil is usually an idiot.

      How does that work for cable? Have a lot of choice of cable companies in your area?

      You don't, because state and local governments "negotiated" cable to a regional monopoly, without any significant regulation on behavior. Which leaves us with bundles of the one channel you want, and the 50 channels that the provider is paid to carry (ie shopping networks).

      Here what will happen. Your cable company is already your internet provider for most Americans. There is already no competition. The big four will pay the provider for better throughput. Think throttling other traffic to provide guaranteed performance for the big four to your device.

      Here's the problem. You are paying the provider for access to the internet. As in, access to whatever the hell you want. And they take your money. And they'll take the money from big corporations to get access to you (at least, more performant access). This will throttle anything you want that doesn't pay. So what you pay for will be slower access to the things you choose, and faster access for the things that the provider chooses.

      They get paid both ways, your choices get worse.

      • Yeah, but I'm saying that the local governments will be able to control what the cable companies do with their new power to act in state and local interests because they are regulated monopolies. The big 4 are above the law in this regard.

        • If any of those local governments try to enforce anything against the cable companies, they will suddenly find their opposition is very well financed in the next election. If they even manage to get anything done, it will be repealed very quickly by their replacements.

      • your choices get worse.

        That is speculation on your part. Every governing body does not want that to happen and it didn't happen when we didn't have these rules and is expressly forbidden by law.

        "It shall be the policy of the United States to encourage the provision of new technologies and services to the public. Any person or party other than the Commission) who opposes new technology or service proposed to be permitted under this Act shall have the burden to demonstrate that such proposal is inconsistent with the public interes

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      I don't see how ISPs being able to prioritise traffic from some services over others is going to help new entrants to the market. If you want more local control, running infrastructure as a public service is precisely what you want, not to repeal net neutrality.

      It can't be argued against because it's nonsensical. There is literally no benefit to people, just to large companies people seem to already dislike massively.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      This argument doesn't make any sense at all - acting as a monopoly your ISP will either only allow their own service, or they will charge a fee which would further entrench established companies who can afford to pay a fee.
    • Reversing net neutrality will allow for more competition with these services.

      Interesting theory, but many major ISPs are already part of media companies and would love to eliminate/throttle/ruin their existing competition.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      The big 4 Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Google are rapidly consolidating to control just about everything we see, hear or do on the Internet all over the entire world.

      Right now, nothing stops me from using (or creating) other services.
      A repeal of NN can change that. If I put up, say, a tech blog, and don't want to partner with any of the above, ISPs can simply block or throttle access to my web sites.
      Not to mention non-web traffic, which may soon be an extra charge...

    • Every single response uses the same talking points that don't address the main point of my argument which is:

      ISPS ARE LOCALLY REGULATED BY GOVERNMENTS THE BIG 4 ARE NOT. THUS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS GET MORE CONTROL OF THE INTERNET BACK FROM THE BIG 4.

      I can tell the group think is thick on a topic when I introduce a new argument and everybody thinks I am repeating some familiar argument and they copy pasta their previous reply to the familiar argument. If this was in person I could actually reply to you guys and

      • by Volda ( 1113105 )
        While we dont know fully what the fcc will do, they are looking to prevent states from forming their own rules. I dont think that them scapping the rules will give any local governments more power to regulate the ISP's. https://arstechnica.com/tech-p... [arstechnica.com]
      • ISPS ARE LOCALLY REGULATED BY GOVERNMENTS THE BIG 4 ARE NOT. THUS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS GET MORE CONTROL OF THE INTERNET BACK FROM THE BIG 4.

        People are giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you are not a moron. Nobody actually wants local government to have "more control of the internet". It's the internet, local governments are not supposed to matter. I don't want my local government deciding that I should be using Bing and requiring my local ISP to block access to Google. That's before we even start looking at how easy it would be for the cable companies to buy local elections and make sure that nobody on the local level dares s

      • by Rhipf ( 525263 )

        Local ISPs are the big 4. Just not Google, Facebook, Amazon, Nteflix but rather Comcast, AT&T...

        Sure the local government can regulate that local content needs to be favored but then these larger ISPs just won't set up. A smaller ISP may be willing to set up under these restrictions but where will they get their access from if the provider further up the chain makes them pay outrageous amounts to access all the content that the end user really wants access to?

        Also, the whole argument against NN is that

    • Did you you just use China as an example for a free and open Internet?

      You should be ashamed of yourself and go sit in the corner until you figure out what you did wrong.

  • If something is not a law, how then can it be "repealed?"

    Perhaps all this effort should be focused on the fact that net neutrality "rules" were originally enacted by executive and administrative fiat, and not the legal process, and can therefore be changed on the whim of an administrator.

    That said, "Net Neutrality," is not.

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