Hosted By: John Bush and Jason Rink.
Join us as we discuss……..
After more than a year, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday finally approved rules regarding net neutrality by a vote of 3-2.
The order provides three high-level rules: transparency; no blocking; and no unreasonable discrimination.
The most problematic section….
No unreasonable discrimination: A key term being thrown around this week is “network management,” which basically governs how an ISP like Comcast or Time Warner Cable runs their operations. Under the FCC rules, ISPs can manage their networks, but it can’t be “unreasonable” or discriminate against specific applications. In other words, Comcast could slow down its entire network to handle an influx of users, but it could not cut off a specific, bandwidth-hungry service – like BitTorrent or Netflix or Hulu. The FCC acknowledges that network management is necessary to block harmful things – like malware and child porn – from making its way onto ISP networks. Blocking child porn and spam? Good. Blocking Netflix or BitTorrent because it competes with your own service or eats up bandwidth? Bad.
Again, we haven’t seen the actual text of the rules, so what makes something “unreasonable”? In a press conference after Tuesday’s meeting, an FCC official said the agency has included specific language in its rules to define unreasonable network management.
“Generally if there are practices that are targeted for specific use – like controlling spam or malware – [that] would be reasonable,” she said. “Certainly things that appear to be discriminatory would be a red flag.”
Among those things that would probably be unreasonable? Paid prioritization. The whole idea behind net neutrality is that everyone has equal access to the Web; a wealthy company like Amazon should not be able to pay to have their Web site load faster than a mom-and-pop e-commerce site. While this practice of paid prioritization is not strictly banned in the net neutrality rules, the FCC said yesterday that it would likely be deemed unreasonable.
THE QUESTION: Why does the FCC have the authority to pass this, and define “reasonable discrimination.”
McDowell said. “The FCC is not Congress; we cannot make laws,” he said. “The FCC has provocatively charted a collision course with the legislative branch.”
Check out TAG in the news fighting the TSA and their plan to bring naked body scanners to Austin.
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