Law Experts: FCC Neutrality Rules Too Murky
As now written, could be utterly useless...
Part of the problem with the FCC's current rules governing network neutrality is that they're so incredibly vague, they're useless when trying to crack down on anti-competitive behavior by ISPs. Were you the dubious sort, you might argue they were intentionally made that way to give the illusion that the FCC was engaged in a pro-consumer action when really just pandering to major carriers. Regardless of why
they're murky, the entire reason for the FCC re-crafting these neutrality rules
is to design more concrete guidelines that actually, well, work.
The new rules are only just getting cooked up at the FCC, but a group of law professors have taken an early look and say there's a serious problem: namely that, you guessed it, they're so murky and vague that they might not actually be useful. Yale Law School's Jack Balkin, Stanford Law Professor Barbara van Shewick, South Texas College of Law Professor John Blevins, University of Louisville School of Law's Jim Chen and Harvard Law Professor Larry Lessig all essentially agree -- sending a letter to the FCC
warning that their current rules lack teeth:
The two sources of unusual ambiguity that we have identified appear at odds with that goal. Though surely unintentional, these sources of ambiguity appear likely to provide particularly generous opportunities to try to work around the Commission's efforts in this area.
Specifically, the professors don't like that the FCC continues to leave the definition of "reasonable network management" vague -- something that's at the center of their debate with Comcast
. The professors also argue that the FCC's proposed rules also fail to define "non-discrimination" in any meaningful way. As the professors note, surely
this "unintentional" oversight will be rectified as the rule-making process moves forward.