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Internet Strikes Back

Congress is attempting to repeal the FCC’s power to regulate the internet. The actual bill moving through Congress is happening pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA allows Congress to overturn regulations passed by federal agencies. In this case, the bill would overturn the FCC's recently announced Net Neutrality regulations. Importantly, the CRA does not just overturn the existing regulations. It also prevents an agency from passing future regulations on the same topic (basically so an agency can't just change a word and re-issue the regulations)

The Internet Strikes Back If the proposed bill passes it will not only repeal the FCC’s current rules, but also prevent the FCC from making any net neutrality rules in the future. Without government-backed Net Neutrality rules ISPs will be free to pick and choose which websites work and which websites don’t.

The Internet Strikes Back is a day – February 17th – where Public Knowledge, among others, is asking the Internet to call your Representative and tell them how important Net Neutrality is.

Go to www.TheInternetStrikesBack.org to find out more and you can sign up to get a text message on the 17th that will automatically connect you with your Representative.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

20 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention Internet Strikes Back | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 01:44:25

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Book Smugglers, dearauthor. dearauthor said: NewPost: Internet Strikes Back http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2011/02/17/internet-strikes-back/ [...]

  2. Upfront_Reader
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 06:59:35

    New York Law School did a study on the potential impact of the FCC’s rules–the study didn’t show the rules as being a good thing for either consumers or the economy. Net Neutrality, Investment & Jobs: Assessing the Potential Impacts of the FCC's Proposed Net Neutrality Rules on the Broadband Ecosystem

  3. carly m.
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 08:31:52

    I don’t see why we would rather have the FCC making these rules instead of Congress. The five commissioners are just as susceptible if not more so to capture by lobbyists. But unlike Congress they don’t have constituents to answer to at regular intervals.

  4. DS
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 10:23:42

    I called my representative and left my message. While the current rules aren’t perfect I trust the FCC more than I trust my congresspeople. The last one was notoriously swayable by lobbyists with lots of money. The current one has not yet proved that he is not, he’s a freshman and has not shown any particular initiative in his voting record.

  5. Lada
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 10:53:11

    I think the problem is that the language is too confusing for the vast majority to follow. Here is a really good website that explains clearly what this is about: http://www.savetheinternet.com.

    Large coroporations like Verizon, TimeWarner and Comcast want to create a tiered system of internet access based on fees and regulations they create. Net Neutrality guarantees a level playing field for all web sites, users, and internet technologies.

    The bottom line for me is that I do NOT want to pay my ISP more money to have full, unregulated access to the internet. The web was never created to allow restrictions based on wealth or prejudice of any kind. Neither the FCC nor congress should allow companies to regulate who has how much access based on renumeration.

    CERN technology, which created the WWW, basically gave the technology to the world for free. To quote from their website: “An essential point was that the Web should remain an open standard for all to use and that no-one should lock it up into a proprietary system.” I hope everyone takes some time to familiarize themselves with Net Neutrality and why it’s vital for it to be reinstated.

  6. IndyGirl
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 12:00:39

    When have government regulations ever led to more freedom for consumers? Not to mention that a court has already told the FCC they don’t have the authority to regulate the Internet.

  7. Ridley
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 14:31:42

    The “conservative” backlash against net neutrality amuses me. It smacks of pols wanting to appease their telecom donors and reflexively blocking anything the current administration favors.

    Net neutrality unequivocally ensures the communication freedom of consumers and entrepreneurs. That the right-wing has spun it to mean otherwise speaks of their singular talent for political messaging.

  8. katieM
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 16:15:59

    My congressman is the worst of the worst and he won’t go away. He keeps getting reelected by the conservative muckity mucks in my city. I called him and I doubt it will do any good. I can’t afford to pay anymore than I do right now.

    Governmenst want to regulate what they are most afraid of. They are afraid of knowledge. That’s why they want to regulate internet access, education (NCLB), and anything else that might improve public thinking ability.

  9. Gennita Low
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 16:29:22

    I’m conservative and I’m for net neutrality.

  10. IndyGirl
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 16:41:00

    @Ridley: “It smacks of pols wanting to appease their telecom donors and reflexively blocking anything the current administration favors.” Interesting point–I wonder if those who are now in favor of net neutrality would have been so enthusiastic about it if the previous administration had asserted its right to regulate the Internet. I suspect not.

  11. MaryK
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 19:14:35

    [Gah! Preview is gone. I'm a compulsive double-checker. How am I supposed to comment without preview? O_O ]

    Well, I’m certainly confused. I went to both TheInternetStrikesBack.org and savetheinternet.com and neither gave a clear explanation. There was lots of generalization and rhetoric and few facts.

    I understand the concept of net neutrality. It’s just not clear to me who is for it and who is against it in this.

    According to savetheinternet.com: “But as a consequence of a 2005 decision by the Federal Communications Commission, Net Neutrality — the foundation of the free and open Internet — was put in jeopardy. Now, cable and phone company lobbyists are pushing to block legislation that would reinstate Net Neutrality.”

    What legislation is that? The legislation we’re supposed to ask our representatives to oppose?

    According to publicknowledge.org: “This is the only time that Congress will vote “yes or no” on Net Neutrality, so it’s crucial that they vote the right way. Help us send a clear message to Congress: a vote for the repeal act is a vote against internet users.”

    If “as a consequence of a 2005 decision by the Federal Communications Commission, Net Neutrality — the foundation of the free and open Internet — was put in jeopardy” why shouldn’t that be overturned and regulatory power taken from them?

    It’s ironic to me that “the FCC's recently announced Net Neutrality regulations” seems to be what has actually placed net neutrality in jeopardy.

    I could be totally misunderstanding this, of course. But I’ll support the conservative side until somebody shows me facts (preferably a timeline) that demonstrate why I shouldn’t.

  12. library addict
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 20:14:54

    @MaryK: Did you read the FAQ page on the savetheinternet.com page? It’s pretty straight-forward with what’s what.

  13. MaryK
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 21:19:26

    @library addict: It talks a lot about net neutrality but mostly in terms of predictions of what could happen without it. Most of the page is devoted to the possible impacts of the loss of net neutrality. There are two short paragraphs about what actions the government is actually taking and nothing to tell me how those actions will lead to the loss of net neutrality. There’s not enough explanation and extrapolation(?) of consequences for me to decide whose actions are correct.

    The page left me with more questions than answers. The FCC apparently opened a hole in the status quo of net neutrality that everybody is now reacting too. That’s about all I know.

    [I followed the link to "numerous examples" that are supposed to show that "internet service providers will discriminate against content and competing services they don't like." And I was all "yay, concrete examples." But it turned out to be more "will's" and "could's." Not happy about that.]

  14. Ridley
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 23:59:06

    @IndyGirl:

    Well, I’ve been following net neutrality regulations for a while now, and I’m almost certain the FCC was for codifying the status quo even under Bush.

    No one seemed to pay it any mind until it looked like a point Republicans could score against Democrats.

    @MaryK: Is it so absurd to anticipate problems to try to stop them before they happen? Why wait until throttling and censorship becomes a problem to try to address it? In most communities, there’s only one internet provider to choose from, so it’s not like unhappy consumers could vote with their wallets.

  15. MaryK
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 01:04:20

    @Ridley: I’m not saying it’s absurd. Just that for me to be convinced me of something I need to see the relationship between cause and effect. They’d do better to give an equal amount of page time to that, IMO.

    So, XYZ are going to happen. Why? What, precisely, about A is going to cause XYZ? And what about B? Why is B not going to cause XYZ? What if B causes TUV instead?

    I was probably one of those annoying kids who never stopped asking “why?” I’m not able to choose between A and B without knowing what the ramifications are of each. In the meantime, I’ll have to leave it to those who (supposedly) know the ramifications and pray that the people who are right win.

  16. Ridley
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 02:17:18

    I’ve just remembered something. It was a debate over net neutrality that prompted the late Ted Stevens to make his now-famous “the internet is a series of tubes” argument.

    Since that was well before Obama’s time, I guess it shows that at least that Republican was against it. However, the utter incoherence of his argument speaks more to donor loyalty than it does to a principled stand on the issue.

  17. IndyGirl
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 07:57:03

    @Ridley: No one seemed to pay it any mind until it looked like a point Republicans could score against Democrats.

    Hardly. The Progress & Freedom Foundation, along with scores of bloggers, have been railing against regulating the Internet as far back as 2005 and their arguments are far from incoherent.

    It’s amazing to me that people are not looking beyond the basic idea of net neutrality to analyze the reality of it: that the FCC will be regulating something that has never been regulated. The “hands-off” Internet as we know it will end forever. And the FCC has never improved anything it has regulated–quite the opposite.

  18. IndyGirl
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 08:00:19

    @Ridley: No one seemed to pay it any mind until it looked like a point Republicans could score against Democrats.

    Hardly. The Progress & Freedom Foundation, along with scores of bloggers, has been warning about net neutrality as far back as 2005. And their arguments are far from incoherent.

    We need to look beyond the basic idea of net neutrality to analyze the reality of it: that the FCC will be regulating something that has never been regulated. The “hands-off” Internet as we know it will end forever. Net neutrality is a power grab, pure and simple, and consumers need to fight against it.

  19. Ridley
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 10:33:31

    @IndyGirl:

    Since I’m not a tea drinker myself, I have to say that I rather prefer government regulation to business self-regulation, especially in the case of monopoly. Business has a dreadful track record when left to police itself.

    But, I know, how gauche of me to trust a democratic government over business. What sort of American am I?

  20. Bianca
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 07:26:59

    @Ridley: WORD to this. Because Comcast would be a kinder, gentler overlord than the FCC?

    Sorry, but no. I’ll choose the FCC over corporate interests any day of the week. Like others have said, it’s not perfect, but government regulation is 1000x better than mega-corporations running the show.

    I’d rather the government than watch this transparent money grab by established communications corporations.

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