New Net Neutrality Laws set to take effect Nov 20 are Under Fire

In a very uncharacteristically American move the United States has decided to impose new government-meddling regulations on the Internet. These new Net Neutrality regulations or “open Internet rules” from the FCC will go into effect on November 20, 2011 — so long as it isn’t derailed by the lawsuits in place from Verizon and MetroPCS.

Verizon and MetroPCS are both suing the government over the new Net Neutrality laws and feel that the government is over-stepping their bounds, especially for a government that built its reputation on a free-market economy.

The new open Internet rules being put in place, according to the FCC, are made to define and refine three main categories of the Internet: transparency, blockage, and discrimination.

Transparency

The transparency rules are designed to ensure that fixed and mobile broadband providers are forced to disclose their network management practices, performance diagnostics and to clearly define their terms of commercial services.

Blocking

The second part of the new regulations are designed to ensure that no broadband provider blocks lawful content, services, applications or any other non-harmful devices or sites. This would include prohibiting mobile broadband providers from blocking competing applications, websites and services to their voice and video telephony paid services.

Discrimination

The third part of the new regulation states that broadband providers will not be allowed to discriminate against specific users, sites, services or applications which are lawful, despite their usage or content.

Many are criticizing the FCC’s tactics on implementing the new rules based on their current totalitarian control over broadband providers. The FCC has the option to break apart broadband provider control by reclassifying them in such a way that would allow for more specific regulations but would give the FCC only “ancillary jurisdiction” over the providers.

Not wanting to lose control over broadband providers the FCC refused to reclassify providers. Law professor and net neutrality follower James Grimmelmann was quoted as saying that the new rules will not stand a chance without such a reclassification, “the FCC is in a real tangle here. I think if they reclassified broadband service (long story), they’d have a better shot at getting their rules to stick.”

  • Politics Matters

    On the subject of net neutrality, Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, recently said: “It’s a debate that is going on in the Congress, and it’s really: Is the Internet going to be something that everyone has free and open access to, or, is it going to be something that is sort of controlled? What we don’t need is a lot of government control in the businesses of the internet. I think what we need is more of what we have with National Public Radio, which is a really true and balanced set of reporting that unfortunately has become politicized. What we are seeing is a shift from “anything goes” on the Internet to a shift where major corporations are shaping the news outlets and buying up more and more of the news outlets and putting them under corporate control and one set of a small number of hands.... We need freeware, we need shareware, and we need open access. People need to be able to trust sources that they can find on the internet, rather than have them controlled in a small number of hands or by the government.” (Gibson appeared on the Charlottesville, VA, politics interview program Politics Matters with host and producer Jan Madeleine Paynter discussing journalism http://bit.ly/pm-gibson)