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The decision by a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court to gut net neutrality is very bad news for all internet users. It means that internet service providers now have free rein to block any website or app that they want. The principle that no corporation can censor, or slow down, or block, or on the other hand give preferential treatment to certain web content is gone, thanks to this decision. Think of it as a whole bunch of Chris Christie companies, deciding who ends up in a traffic jam. Any of us could end up being Fort Lee.

The FCC says it is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court. But it's not going to have to take the Supreme Court to decide that the FCC has the authority to impose net neutrality on internet service providers—that's already been established, and was established again in this case. In fact, the decision actually might be one Verizon ends up regretting. You see, Verizon argued that the FCC doesn't have the legal authority to regulate broadband, and this court disagreed. It just ruled that the FCC didn't have the authority to regulate these companies the way it had tried to with the net neutrality rules it had in place.

It's all in how the FCC classifies internet service providers, and that's something that can change without a court.

The idea is called reclassification, and it basically transforms broadband providers from the untouchable companies they currently are into the kind of telecommunications companies the FCC regulates without question all the time, such as wireless operators. [...]

If the FCC were really determined to push net neutrality, it could try to redefine broadband companies as Title II common carriers, much like the telecom companies. This would give the FCC much wider latitude to implement its net neutrality rules. Tuesday's court ruling seemed to leave that possibility open.

Now, that's something well within the legal purview of the FCC, and it's not really a huge deal for the agency. Except that it's a huge deal for the industry, which absolutely does not want net neutrality to rule (after all, Verizon just sued over it). So, as usual, we've got a big battle against industry ahead of us to save the internet. Just like we did with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). But we won on SOPA, and we can win on net neutrality.

What's important in this particular fight isn't just going to be making the FCC do the right thing, it's going to be the groundswell for net neutrality that will help force the industry to behave. They're going to be less likely to abuse the principle of net neutrality if they think the FCC will punish them for it with reclassification. So please sign our petition to the FCC, asking it to reclassify broadband companies and assert its authority to regulate them.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 01:29 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (42+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 01:29:14 PM PST

  •  We're fooked. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, politicalceci, quill

    If someone can tell me the last time the corporations lost on an issue like this . . . .

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:02:20 PM PST

    •  There's Never Been an Issue Like This nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, politicalceci, quill

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:14:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're NOT fooked. WE are the PAYERS for this. (5+ / 0-)

      OUR tax dollars provided the R&D to make the internet happen and our Constitution has the right to FREE PRESS as its charter.

      So, let's give an ultimatum:

      1.  Restore Net Neutrality

      OR

      2.  We'll create a NEW internet (jobs, jobs, JOBS!) that is encrypted and 100% free to ALL and it will be funded by taxing the existing internet to reimburse us for our loss.

      Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

      by Einsteinia on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:33:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And you think this will occur through the (0+ / 0-)

        political process in a Congress - both houses - owned by the corporations?

        Please - I'm on your side - but our elected representatives (bwa-ha-ha) aren't.

        Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

        by bobdevo on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:49:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Our political system IS corrupt but our ONLY (0+ / 0-)

          piece left on the chess board are our spending DOLLARS.  An new enterprise can be born overnight with crowd sourcing (unless that is taken away) that would have a charter that it will be FREE to all.

          Seriously, if we're already at end game then what's the point of even playing by the rules.  Last time I checked that when all the pieces get slammed off the board in a hysterial tantrum and things change.

          Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

          by Einsteinia on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 03:00:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The internet needs to become (13+ / 0-)

    a public utility, just like the telephone, unrestricted.

    The FCC has to step up and make it happen.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:03:32 PM PST

  •  Happy to see FP post about this! (11+ / 0-)

    More, please! Net neutrality is an extremely important topic for anyone who uses the internet. People's eyes may glaze over when the topic comes up, but if we don't fight for it, non-neutrality will literally break the internet as we know it.

    "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

    by solesse413 on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:05:03 PM PST

  •  for the very ideal of a functioning democracy (13+ / 0-)

    this could not be more important. in its own way, this is as important as was killing the alien & sedition acts.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:05:23 PM PST

  •  Seems like an easy case to make (6+ / 0-)

    for reclassification. Verizon and Comcast's entire marketing strategy for the last half dozen years has been service bundling - which blurs their role as just an internet provider.

    I'll sign the petition, but generating the "groundswell" is the harder, and more necessary step.

    If Liberals hated America, we'd vote Republican.

    by ord avg guy on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:10:43 PM PST

  •  Let's be frank about Verizon (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, Eyesbright, Tamar, quill

    I have an account with them and while I love the speedy Internet and app access, I was completely duped by a Verizon store employee back in November 2012 who said when I was moving from my Blackberry to an iPhone 5 that I'd get my unlimited data plan, even if I was on a family plan.  Turns out, that wasn't the case and I got text messages from Verizon indicating I was at 75% and so of usage of my data plan.  I called Verizon and had a testy exchange with an arrogant customer service representative who wouldn't even let me talk to her manager.  

    Verizon is not run very well, doesn't seem to have sympathetic management and has people who work at stores with either limited intellect, training and education.

    Nowadays though, since I continue to use my iPhone, if I have any issues with it, I just go to my nearest Apple store in Berkeley on 4th Street and deal with them.  I never deal with Verizon representatives because they aren't all that bright and UGH.  Yeah, that's the end of my discussion on them.  I will say though that Apple Store reps really kick ass.

    •  I wouldn't say "they aren't all that bright," (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill

      because I've dealt with a fair number of Verizon people who were excellent. The problem has always been the company. I've had many difficulties with Verizon but they all seem to stem from company policy that limits the amount of information any one employee has and forbids them from actually talking directly to employees in other divisions of the company. For example, when I ran into problems getting FIOS installed -- I would get email reminders of appointments I had never made and then other appointments which were total no-shows by Verizon. I called and got someone who spent time trying to figure out the problem but got stuck. The Verizon employee said something like "I can see you here in the computer, but I can't tell what happened to the appointment on this system. You'll have to call the X department and ask them. We don't get that information on our system and I'm not allowed to call them myself."
      This happened across various types of problems and various departments, including someone who came out to set me up with my original DSL modem who told me the same thing -- and he was very very good at his job (and gave me lots of good advice).

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 04:32:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar

        My statement was a point of frustration and not necessarily meant to go after anyone who works for Verizon.

        But the problem is, Verizon really makes people become dicks in certain stores or at least the managers have a poor way of empowering employees so they can be able to treat customers better in the return.

        Either that or the salaries really aren't the best for employees.  I mean, there's only so much you can do with customer service and a crappy salary and a crappy job that won't get you anywhere.

        •  yes -- and we've actually been signed up for (0+ / 0-)

          extra "services" that we never asked for.
          Most recently: joke of the day or something. Since I signed up and knew exactly what I agreed to (and joke of the day wasn't in it) I was furious -- I don't know if it was the salesman or something they automatically do when you sign a contract, but as soon as we got the first bill with a $5/month charge for joke of the day, I got on the phone to Verizon. At first they gave me a song & dance about how it was a 3rd party service, not up to them. But I kept going up the chain of command and finally got a supervisor to remove the service and all charges. (Which shows that it was within their control).
          The same thing happened to my older daughter when she signed a contract several years earlier at a different Verizon store.
          Scam.

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:15:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why doesn't Apple offer cell phone service? (0+ / 0-)

            I say this because while I purchased my iPhone at a Verizon store in Downtown Berkeley (where I live), I almost feel that every time I have problems with my iPhone I always turn to Apple because at least people that work there:

            1)  Really know what the hell they're doing
            2)  Treat customers well and always do what they can to serve them and are always helpful.  They give customers what they want and no B.S.
            3)  Whenever you ask questions to Apple employees, you never feel as if you're unsatisfied with their service because they are more knowledge-based whereas Verizon folks are more about selling.

            But on the issue of net neutrality, I'm not surprised Verizon is fighting it.  They've had such a bad track record with being fully transparent with customers that you wonder if they are purposely trying to nickle and dime customers just because they believe as long as cash flow keeps coming, they can do what they want.

  •  This Isn't Like Turning It Into a Mall We Visit (10+ / 0-)

    a couple times a week.

    We live here, we meet and interact here, many of us earn our living here, we organize here, doctor here, there are internet concerts of players on different continents.

    It's worse than letting the FCC rule the high seas belong to the shipping owners.

    Of all the similes to feudalism there've been in the last 30 years, this one comes by far the closest. Suddenly the space where much of what society does is a few peoples' private property they can use to privilege, degrade and shut out any messages and activity.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:18:30 PM PST

  •  Pretty much needs to be like the old public (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, politicalceci

    utility model.  Comcast, Verizon and all the rest are selling bandwidth to me in some quantity to use as serves my purposes.   They have no say in who's content I buy.

  •  I get my phone and internet from RCN, so (0+ / 0-)

    how is one NOT from carrier?

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:25:54 PM PST

  •  Look, you did just FINE before... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joan McCarter

    You had the internet.

    If you don't want their product, spend your OWN several million dollars to bring a better product to market.

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:27:28 PM PST

  •  any chance for an internet for the People, from (0+ / 0-)

    independent satellites or something, the Bitcoin of internet service

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:28:22 PM PST

  •  I compare it to what cable TV has become (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, atana, politicalceci, Hastur, quill

    When cable bumped up to offering +400 channels there was all this talk about all the great channels that would offer topics that would appeal to everyone.

    It is now +400 channels of the same reality show. Blargh!

    •  This might be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi

      about the only thing I agree with John McCain on nowadays. Cable should be offered a la carte. Paying through the nose for hundreds of channels just to have access to the few you want is insane.

      "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

      by Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 03:50:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is what I thought of when I first heard (5+ / 0-)
    Think of it as a whole bunch of Chris Christie companies, deciding who ends up in a traffic jam. Any of us could end up being Fort Lee.
    of Net Neutrality:  "Pay me (ISP) a higher fee (aka, protection money) or I'll stuff you into the slow lane...."

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:37:53 PM PST

  •  Should have been "common carrier" from day 1 (7+ / 0-)

    This is all on the FCC, not the courts.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 02:43:14 PM PST

  •  Hearing by the full DC Circuit Court? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hastur, Phoenix Woman

    In some cases, a Court of Appeals like the DC Circuit Court will have a second hearing before the full Court.  That is called a "rehearing en banc."

    As we know, as of earlier this week, the full DC Circuit Court now has a Democratic majority.  Cases like this are one reason the Republicans fought so hard against confirmation of the President's 3 nominees.

    That would seem to indicate that the pro neutrality side might prevail if there were a hearing en banc.

    Does anyone know what the chances of an en banc hearing are?

  •  Is it possible that a internet company will (0+ / 0-)

    choose to ignore this ruling and offer customers what they want (neutrality) it seems to me thats good business sense right there

  •  This a battle of control between the corporations (0+ / 0-)

    and the people.  Because of Big Business' penchant for greed, society suffers.  It's disgusting because money will eventually dictate the messages we get and how we communicate.

    Let's face it.  We are going to be drawn further into a 1984-esque nightmare because of the upkeep a ludicrous lifestyle of the rich elite entails.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 03:35:11 PM PST

  •  The judge who wrote the opinion made (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify

    clear that it's because of the way the FCC chose to classify the internet:

    Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband
    providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as
    common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits
    the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such
    The judge who wrote this opinion is one of the more liberal federal judges. I have no doubt that he would have been happy to have decided in favor of net neutrality if the FCC had classified broadband providers as telecommunications rather than information services.

    While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

    by Tamar on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 04:18:02 PM PST

  •  The Court was 90% right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    groupw, Simplify

    The FCC's rules were designed to fail.  The Court recognized this in an instant.  The FCC can regulate common carriers, not users of common carriers.  Information services are users of common carriage.  So when the Bush FCC incorrectly reclassified the actual carriage of bits from the subscriber to the ISP as being part of an information service, when they had been telecommunications, that broke things.  And when the Genachowski FCC tried to pretend to fix that by regulating all ISPs, from AT&T down to a 200-subscriber mom'n'pop unlicensed wireless provider in West Podunk, they broke the law. They refused to invoke common carriage where and when it was needed.

    The Court did read way too much into ouside section 706, which empowers the FCC to pave the way for facilities construction, not much more, but they read a penumbra which one judge correctly dissented on.  But because this stands for now, the FCC can threaten to use 706 somehow or other on a large provider (probably not a mom'n'pop) who acts egregiously.  Still the right answer would be for the FCC to reimpose strict common carriage rules on the phone companies, so you can have a big choice of ISPs, and then pick an ISP you like.  McJoan's idea of regulating ISPs, while almost liberal gospel, is a very bad one; it is literally the equivalent of regulating newspapers to ensure that they're all "fair and balanced".

  •  We need a US built fiber optic superhighway (0+ / 0-)

    Just like our asphalt highways. And better satellite Internet as well. It is just as critical as the roads we drive on. We cannot leave the net in the hands of private companies. If they want to compete, fine but they should not be our only source.

  •  where do we go? its just more incentive for the (0+ / 0-)

    uber-brilliant techie types who dreamed up the 'net to come up with whatever the 'Net 2.0 is going to be.

    These judicial and legislative decisions are just fucking it up for US tech companies in the long run.  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are working on an alternative undersea/transcon cable network.  The US is giving up its tech dominance and other nations will make themselves havens or provide resources for small companies and start-ups that don't want to base in the US.

    The US is being incredibly short sighted on... well... pretty much everything.  Not just tech and science.

    elipsii: helping the masses express aposiopesis for...

    by bnasley on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 08:22:06 PM PST

  •  Has anyone else noticed that the "liberal media" (0+ / 0-)

    is sweeping this thing under the rug?

    So, for the last 3 nights, I've skimmed Hayes, Maddow, and O'Donnell for their stories.  That's 9 HOURS OF TV, and NOT ONE FUCKING MENTION of one of the biggest, potentially high-impact (in terms of effect on us) stories in a long time.

    Then it hit me...  Comcast owns them.

    Welcome to the United Corporatocratic States of 'Murka.  To paraphrase Dick Durbin: They frankly own the place.

    "The political system, including elections, is carefully managed to prevent the threat of democracy."  ~Noam Chomsky

    -7.38, -6.97

    by cotasm on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 02:13:19 PM PST

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