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.
San Francisco, CA
Dubious??? Why would you call it dubious to assume "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"? Seems like standard fare to me.
Re: Dubious??? of course, now your beginning to see why the Obama + biden = FORBIDEN
The reason that the rules are vague is:
Murky because technology changes make hard rules obsolete
1 - Because bureaucrats like them that way. It allows them to make decisions based on what they think is best at any given moment. The fact that that leaves them wide open to lawsuits doesn't bother them because to override their decision in court takes years & lots of money and can only be undertaken by the largest companies of all those that they regulate. So the small companies knuckle under rather than fight. You mean you didn't know that regulators like to pick on those without the resources to fight back(the IRS & the EPA are notorious for that tactic).
2 - Technology changes rapidly. But getting laws and rules changed is very time consuming. The vaguer the rules, the less frequently they need to be changed to handle new circumstances.
But a big downside to murky rules is that the biggest and most well connected and lawyered up companies(big telcos & cable) can usually get a temporary injunction to ignore a ruling until a court case is heard. The end result being that those who theoretically need regulation the most are affected by it the least.
And THAT class is why government regulation is usually a big waste of time and money and never accomplishes what it is supposed to(except provide high paying patronage jobs for the people who contribute to pols election campaigns). Better that the companies fight things out on their own and let the marketplace adjust to technology changes.
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San Francisco, CA
Re: Murky because technology changes make hard rules obsolete Holy Shit! GOLFnSUN actually wrote *something* I agree with!
But, the only reason some gov't regulation is a "big waste of time and money" is because the corporations exert their influence to make it such. It isn't the system as much as this huge white-elephant called corporate personage that is pulling it down.
| |TechieZeroTools Are Using MePremium
Re: Murky because technology changes make hard rules obsolete Wow, it can't be that politicians are mostly lawyers and/or don't have a clue about what they are trying to regulate since they never actually worked in their life to earn money outside of the government.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Face it After the Insurance corps., the telecoms have the next largest 'war chest'. If your able to escape the dream, the fuzz will sharpen to reveal the legions of over-paid lawyers & lobbyists that dictate policy. No way will us peons ever be anything but supplicants.
Hard NOT to be vague They have to be a little vague. Simple and clear like some people want would basically say "bits is bits and no ISP can treat any bit differently than any other bit". Raise your hand if you want your phone call interrupted by a massive flood of music downloads the day after a celebrity death. Some type of prioritization has to be allowed to prevent such things.
Re: Hard NOT to be vague
said by Mikey1 :This is NOT the same as our bits are not the same as your bits. You can still treat different types of bits differently but you have to do it so that bits for the ISP's Services are treated the same as bits for the same service being served by another ISP. IOW: An ISP can not degrade a 3rd Party VoIP phone connection to give priority to their bundled VoIP phone connection. All VoIP should be given the same priority. The same with streaming downloads. If I go the Hulu/NetFlix I should not be downgraded due to the ISP being a Cable Company who is offering Video On Demand. Phone Calls are time sensitive and thus qualify for a QoS priority. So do Video Streaming. Email and Web can live with a lower priority (as can FTP and P2P).
They have to be a little vague. Simple and clear like some people want would basically say "bits is bits and no ISP can treat any bit differently than any other bit". Raise your hand if you want your phone call interrupted by a massive flood of music downloads the day after a celebrity death. Some type of prioritization has to be allowed to prevent such things.
| |sivranOpera convertPremium
Tread carefully While I'm all for net neutrality, any legislation absolutely must be written with the utmost care lest it turn out worse than having no regulation at all.
They need a team of geeks, a team of legal eagles, and preferably some legal eagle geeks, to sit down and hash things out. And then hand whatever they come up with to a second group.
The politicians themselves should not touch it at all except to vote yea or nay.
In dadkins' memory, Think outside the Fox...
Re: Tread carefully What you just requested is the process for rulemaking that is currently taking place at the FCC.
Note that this is not writing "legislation", but writing regulations.
Read the Letter Folks The prof's raise a very specific critique:
1) The proposed rule defines "nondiscriminatory" in a very narrow way, where only payment for prioritization would be banned. In other words, it would be perfectly acceptable for Comcast to prioritize Fancast traffic over YouTube traffic.
2) The FCC gutted the standard for "reasonable network management" established in the Comcast case. There, the RNM standard had to be narrowly tailored to serve a critically important interest. In the proposed rule, the FCC just rejected this standard, and replaced it with nothing. In other words, it would be perfectly acceptable under this standard for Comcast to forge RST packets to "delay" P2P, all in the name of fighting congestion.
These are specific critiques. The letter indicates the profs understand the rule must be flexible, but they are trying to get the FCC to close loopholes, or indicate that they did or did not intend for these loopholes to be in the proposal in the first place.
| |joebarnhartPaxio evangelist
Santa Clara, CA
Competition will guarantee neutrality The best protection of net neutrality is lots and lots of competition. If we focus on how we get THAT going, network neutrality will take care of itself. For example, my carrier (Paxio) features "open access" as one of their core advantages over the incumbents.
We need more companies like this. Companies who just want to be the pipe to the internet and not try to screw with the content. If one company decides to block bittorrent or streaming video, then users will vote with their feet.
Yarmouth Port, MA
Upon reflection, I do not wish to post. Take me back! Upon reflection, I do not wish to post. Take me back!
Re: Upon reflection, I do not wish to post. Take me back! but you did.
FCC is being lazy The FCC should do whats best for consumers. They are just being lazy and listening to all the wrong people "corporations" who don't have the best in mind for consumers.
Dubious! Dubious is a great word! You can attach it to any comment and people will say, "That's just ___ being ____. He's dubious about everything."
lets see this is dubious why?
cause it gives me freedom and choice and value and is the right thing to do?
yea dubious under the current capitalism structure of acta and wipo and the imf that it could work of course is what they meant to say cause the upper 1% are scared shitless of us net nerds
to them i say haha scaredy pants