Internet Gets New Rules of the Road

Internet Gets New Rules of the Road

Consumers Guaranteed Right to View Content; Service
Providers Allowed to Sell Faster, Priority Speeds for Extra Money

By AMY SCHATZ And SHAYNDI RAICE

WASHINGTON—Consumers for the first time got federally
approved rules guaranteeing their right to view what they want on the Internet.
The new framework could also result in tiered charges for web access and alter
how companies profit from the network.

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday voted
3-2 to back Chairman Julius Genachowski’s plan for what is commonly known as
“net neutrality,” or rules prohibiting Internet providers from
interfering with legal web traffic. President Barack Obama said the FCC’s
action will “help preserve the free and open nature of the Internet.”

The move was prompted by worries that large phone and
cable firms were getting too powerful as Internet gatekeepers.

Most consumers haven’t had a problem viewing whatever
they want online; few instances have arisen of an Internet provider blocking or
slowing services.

Rather, the FCC rules are designed to prevent potential
future harms and they could shape how Americans access and use the Internet
years from now. In the future, the Internet industry will be increasingly
centered around the fastest-growing categories of Internet traffic—online
video, gaming and mobile services, analysts say. Cisco Systems Inc., the
broadband network provider, has forecast those services could quadruple by
2014.

The
FCC has approved rules that would give the federal government authority to
regulate Internet traffic and prevent broadband providers from selectively
blocking web traffic. WSJ’s Amy Schatz explains what the new rules really mean.

Comcast Corp. and other Internet providers have
experimented with ways to handle the growing problem of network congestion.
Recently, Mr. Genachowski suggested that instead of selectively slowing certain
traffic to cope with congestion, providers could consider charging consumers
for how much data they consume. That would be a departure from the flat monthly
fees consumers pay now for Web access. It’s something providers privately say
is one of the only ways to make a profit and fund network infrastructure.

·
Such a system could
pose a challenge to companies like Netflix Inc., which streams movies over
broadband networks to

Public Interest Groups Want Tighter Wireless Provisions

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The new rules will also allow phone and cable companies
to sell to Internet companies like Amazon.com Inc. faster data delivery for
extra money, particularly on wireless networks. That would let a company that
offers streaming video, like Google Inc.’s YouTube, pay a wireless company like
Verizon Communications Inc. a bonus for guaranteed delivery of its videos to
consumers’ smart phones.

But FCC officials said any such priority service must be
disclosed, and they said they would likely probe and reject such efforts. That
could prompt some of the many expected legal challenges to the new rules, since
it is not clear if the FCC has authority to enforce them.

Consumer groups and other organizations, including the
American Library Association, oppose such high-speed toll lanes, arguing all
Americans should have the same quality of Internet access.

  • The FCC’s decision is
    a mixed bag for consumers. The new rules—which haven’t been released in
    full—say that land-line broadband providers can’t block legal content from
    websites, or “unreasonably discriminate” against companies like Skype
    or Netflix that want to use broadband networks to provide video or voice
    services. They also require providers to give consumers

But the rules come with some wiggle room for the
industry. Service providers will be allowed to engage in “reasonable
network management” to cope with congestion on their systems.

Wireless companies are less restricted by the new rules—a
win for the industry because consumers are increasingly accessing the web using
hand-held devices such as iPhones or Blackberries. Mr. Genachowski said mobile
carriers faced more congestion issues than other companies and need more leeway
to manage their networks.

Wireless companies would be prohibited from blocking
Internet voice services but they could block access to many other applications,
citing congestion issues.

Reaction the FCC’s rules was mixed. AT&T Inc. said
the rules were “not ideal” but would bring some “market
certainty so that investment and job creation can go forward.” Verizon
said it was “deeply concerned” because it didn’t think the rules were
needed. A coalition of Internet companies including Google said the rules were
a good first step but stronger regulations on wireless networks were needed to
ensure the same rules apply to both wired and wireless Internet.

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Bloomberg News

Steve
Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple Inc. and a staunch proponent of keeping the
Internet unregulated, after an FCC hearing on Tuesday.

 

Some venture capital firms that invest in innovative
applications and wireless technology expressed concern about how the rules will
impact the wireless business. “The problem is that there’s so much
ambiguity in the rules,” said Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures, which
has invested in startups including Foursquare and Twitter Inc.

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

 

           

overnment would have “absolute power” to seize control of the world wide web under Lieberman legislation

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The federal government would have “absolute power” to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch” to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.

Lieberman has been pushing for government regulation of the Internet for years under the guise of cybersecurity, but this new bill goes even further in handing emergency powers over to the feds which could be used to silence free speech under the pretext of a national emergency.

“The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined,” reports ZDNet’s Declan McCullagh.

The 197-page bill (PDF) is entitled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA.

Technology lobbying group TechAmerica warned that the legislation created “the potential for absolute power,” while the Center for Democracy and Technology worried that the bill’s emergency powers “include authority to shut down or limit internet traffic on private systems.”

The bill has the vehement support of Senator Jay Rockefeller, who last year asked during a congressional hearing, “Would it had been better if we’d have never invented the Internet?” while fearmongering about cyber-terrorists preparing attacks.

The largest Internet-based corporations are seemingly happy with the bill, primarily because it contains language that will give them immunity from civil lawsuits and also reimburse them for any costs incurred if the Internet is shut down for a period of time.

“If there’s an “incident related to a cyber vulnerability” after the President has declared an emergency and the affected company has followed federal standards, plaintiffs’ lawyers cannot collect damages for economic harm. And if the harm is caused by an emergency order from the Feds, not only does the possibility of damages virtually disappear, but the US Treasury will even pick up the private company’s tab,” writes McCullagh.

Tom Gann, McAfee’s vice president for government relations, described the bill as a “very important piece of legislation”.

As we have repeatedly warned for years, the federal government is desperate to seize control of the Internet because the establishment is petrified at the fact that alternative and independent media outlets are now eclipsing corporate media outlets in terms of audience share, trust, and influence.

We witnessed another example of this on Monday when establishment Congressman Bob Etheridge was publicly shamed after he was shown on video assaulting two college students who asked him a question. Two kids with a flip cam and a You Tube account could very well have changed the course of a state election, another startling reminder of the power of the Internet and independent media, and why the establishment is desperate to take that power away.

The government has been searching for any avenue possible through which to regulate free speech on the Internet and strangle alternative media outlets, with the FTC recently proposing a “Drudge Tax” that would force independent media organizations to pay fees that would be used to fund mainstream newspapers.

Similar legislation aimed at imposing Chinese-style censorship of the Internet and giving the state the power to shut down networks has already been passed globally, including in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

We have extensively covered efforts to scrap the internet as we know it and move toward a greatly restricted “internet 2″ system. Handing government the power to control the Internet would only be the first step towards this system, whereby individual ID’s and government permission would be required simply to operate a website.

The Lieberman bill needs to be met with fierce opposition at every level and from across the political spectrum. Regulation of the Internet would not only represent a massive assault on free speech, it would also create new roadblocks for e-commerce and as a consequence further devastate the economy.

Internet Freedom Challenged by Obama FCC

Internet Freedom Challenged by Obama FCC

May 21st, 2010

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, ExposeObama

 Obama wants to control the internet like they do in China

House Minority Leader John Boehner recently accused the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of pursuing a “government takeover of the Internet.”

Specifically, Boehner said that the FCC is engaging in an action that “amounts to a government takeover of the Internet, and yet another government takeover of a large portion of the private sector by the Obama administration.”

The scheme amounts to an online “Fairness Doctrine” but it goes under another equally benign name: “network neutrality.”

Can you imagine what would happen if we were required under penalty of law to “balance” all the information on the Internet? Well that’s exactly what Barack Obama wants.

Recently, the effort suffered a major setback when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals put up a road block to the plan. Fox News’ Phil Kerpen reported: “That effort suffered a major setback when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals emphatically smacked down the FCC’s regulatory proposals in Comcast v. FCC.”

But Obama’s not going to let the court get in his way. He’s going to “go nuclear” and defy the courts.

Kerpen continued: “President Obama and his close friend and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, however, refuse to back down. Instead they’re escalating to the regulatory equivalent of a nuclear attack on the free-market Internet: Chairman Genachowski will announce today his intention to reclassify broadband Internet as an old-fashioned telephone system as a pretext for pervasive regulatory control.”

The key phrase in Kerpen’s report is “pretext for pervasive regulatory control.” That means, once they have their foot in the door — once they have control — Obama and the FCC will go about instituting their own version of the “Fairness Doctrine” on the Internet.

According Contributing Editor Neil Stevens of RedState.com: “If the FCC is allowed to put the Internet in the U.S. under those powers, then the Obama administration will have total power to tax internet users, regulate content on internet servers, and even institute price controls on internet services.”

Of course, Obama and the FCC don’t really have the authority to do what they are setting out to do, but they don’t really care. The authority over regulation actually rests with Congress, but that means that Congress must act and exert its authority to stop this plan.

Obama’s FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski may be the man who will attempt to implement this plan to take over the internet but there’s more to this story. One of the shadow organizations that is joined-at-the-hip to Genachowski and is driving this plan is a Marxist-run organization ironically called Free Press.

FOX News’ Glenn Beck has already alerted his viewers to the plot saying: “Free Press has [had] three confirmed meetings now with Obama’s FCC to work on new Internet regulations…. The FCC chairman, not to be confused with the diversity ‘czar’ – this is the chairman of the FCC, Julius Genachowski – chose Free Press spokeswoman, Jen Howard, to be his press secretary.”

In another venue, Beck said: “The FCC is being inundated by a special interest group ironically named Free Press, whose goal it is to limit America’s free press and freedom of speech. This special interest group also claims that it’s due to special interest groups that it has become necessary for them to intervene on our behalf.”

Seton Motley, contributing editor of Newsbusters.org, has also addressed what is going on behind the scenes: “The groundwork for government information totalitarianism – favored by people like Hugo Chavez-loving FCC ‘Diversity Czar’ Mark Lloyd and Marxist ‘media reform’-outfit Free Press founder Robert McChesney – is being laid in the (p)lan being crafted by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.”

And just in case you may still doubt the motives of the folks creating this plan, consider these four past statements by the man-behind-the-curtain, Free Press’ founder Robert McChesney:

1.       “Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself.”

2.       “There is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”

3.       “We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimalize it and perhaps even eliminate it.”

4.       “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

Wow, no need to do more than quote their own statements

Obama ‘Internet czar’ linked to ‘Net neutrality’ effort

Obama ‘Internet czar’ linked to ‘Net neutrality’ effort

May 7th, 2010

WorldNetDaily

 Susan Crawford Obama’s Internet Czar

President Obama’s “Internet czar,” Susan P. Crawford, is tied to a Marxist-run liberal media think tank that advocates government intervention in the Internet, charges a new book released this week.

“The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and other Anti-American Extremists” officially was released Monday.

The new title from WND senior reporter and WABC Radio host Aaron Klein skyrocketed to No. 1 on the non-fiction list at Amazon.com and is now No. 4 on the overall best-seller list.

With nearly 900 citations, the book bills itself as the most exhaustive investigation ever performed into Obama’s political background and radical ties. Klein’s co-author is historian and researcher Brenda J. Elliott.

The book seeks to expose an extremist coalition of communists, socialists and other radicals working both inside and outside the administration to draft and advance current White House policy goals.

Read More:

New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

WASHINGTON—In a move that will stoke a battle over the future of the Internet, the federal government plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks. 

The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates. 

Breaking a deadlock within his agency, Mr. Genachowski is expected Thursday to outline his plan for regulating broadband lines. He wants to adopt “net neutrality” rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites. 

The decision has been eagerly awaited since a federal appeals court ruling last month cast doubt on the FCC’s authority over broadband lines, throwing into question Mr. Genachowski’s proposal to set new rules for how Internet traffic is managed. The court ruled the FCC had overstepped when it cited Comcast in 2008 for slowing some customers’ Internet traffic. 

In a nod to such concerns, the FCC said in a statement that Mr. Genachowski wouldn’t apply the full brunt of existing phone regulations to Internet lines and that he would set “meaningful boundaries to guard against regulatory overreach.” 

Some senior Democratic lawmakers provided Mr. Genachowski with political cover for his decision Wednesday, suggesting they wouldn’t be opposed to the FCC taking the re-regulation route towards net neutrality protections. 

Getty ImagesFCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, whose authority over broadband lines has been questioned by a federal court, plans to use regulation on traditional phone networks to establish rules for Internet providers. 

FCC

FCC

“The Commission should consider all viable options,” wrote Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, W.V.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a letter. 

At stake is how far the FCC can go to dictate the way Internet providers manage traffic on their multibillion-dollar networks. For the past decade or so, the FCC has maintained a mostly hands-off approach to Internet regulation. 

Internet giants like Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc., which want to offer more Web video and other high-bandwidth services, have called for stronger action by the FCC to assure free access to websites. 

Cable and telecommunications executives have warned that using land-line phone rules to govern their management of Internet traffic would lead them to cut billions of capital expenditure for their networks, slash jobs and go to court to fight the rules. 

Consumer groups hailed the decision Wednesday, an abrupt change from recent days, when they’d bombarded the FCC chairman with emails and phone calls imploring him to fight phone and cable companies lobbyists. 

“On the surface it looks like a win for Internet companies,” said Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus. “A lot will depend on the details of how this gets implemented.” 

Mr. Genachowski’s proposal will have to go through a modified inquiry and rule-making process that will likely take months of public comment. But Ms. Arbogast said the rule is likely to be passed since it has the support of the two other Democratic commissioners. 

President Barack Obama vowed during his campaign to support regulation to promote so-called net neutrality, and received significant campaign contributions from Silicon Valley. Mr. Genachowski, a Harvard Law School buddy of the president, proposed new net neutrality rules as his first major action as FCC chairman. 

Telecom executives say privately that limits on their ability to change pricing would make it harder to convince shareholders that the returns from spending billions of dollars on improving a network are worth the cost. 

Carriers fear further regulation could handcuff their ability to cope with the growing demand put on their networks by the explosion in Internet and wireless data traffic. In particular, they worry that the FCC will require them to share their networks with rivals at government-regulated rates. 

Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton and co-chair of the Arts + Labs Coalition, an industry group representing technology companies, telecom companies and content providers, said the FCC needs to assert some authority to back up the general net neutrality principles it outlined in 2005. 

“The question is how heavy a hand will the regulatory touch be,” he said. “We don’t know yet, so the devil is in the details. The network operators have to be able to treat some traffic on the Internet different than other traffic—most people agree that web video is different than an email to grandma. You have to discriminate in some fashion.” 

UBS analyst John Hodulik said the cable companies and carriers were likely to fight this in court “for years” and could accelerate their plans to wind down investment in their broadband networks. 

“You could have regulators involved in every facet of providing Internet over time. How wholesale and prices are set, how networks are interconnected and requirements that they lease out portions of their network,” he said. 

—Niraj Sheth, Spencer E. Ante, Sara Silver and Nat Worden contributed to this article.