You are here

Facebook

FCC Changed “Can-do” Internet into “Can’t-do” Internet – Daily Caller Op-ed

Please don’t miss my latest Daily Caller op-ed, “FCC Changed “Can-do” Internet into “Can’t-do” Internet.

  • It puts into perspective how the FCC’s assertion of Title II utility regulation of the Internet changes the ethos of America’s Internet.

***

FCC Open Internet Order Series

Part 1: The Many Vulnerabilities of an Open Internet [9-24-09]

FCC’s “Gotcha” Game of ISP Regulation & Enforcement

The FCC’s just operative Open Internet Order, with its classification of broadband as Title II common carriage and vague Internet conduct standard, sets ISPs up for FCC “gotcha” or contrived regulation and enforcement.

FCC Commissioner O’Reilly exposed the FCC’s “gotcha!” game: “I will be vigilant in resisting any attempts by the agency to act as a referee enforcing rules known to none of the players and made up along the way.”

And the FCC’s Enforcement Chief, Travis LeBlanc, tacitly admitted to playing the contrived “gotcha!” game in an article with the National Journal entitled: “The FCC’s $365 Million Man.”

Will FCC Lock-in Net Neutrality Gains in Legislation or Risk All in Court & Ballot Box?

The appellate process will only get tougher for the FCC’s Title II Open Internet Order from here, which means both legal and electoral uncertainty over the permanence of the FCC’s net neutrality authority will only grow as the appellate process plays out and the 2016 Presidential election approaches.

Simply, do the FCC and its congressional supporters essentially cash in and keep their net neutrality gains long term for consumers in bipartisan net neutrality legislation now, or do they double down by waiting and maybe losing it all in either the Supreme Court or the 2016 Presidential election?

From their current position of relative strategic negotiating strength, an operative Open Internet Order empowering the FCC to enforce protection of net neutrality, the FCC and its congressional supporters, need to take stock of their situation and ask themselves if they want to lock-in their bright-line net neutrality protections now and permanently protect consumers against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, in bipartisan legislation?

Or do they want to roll both the court and electoral dice that their relative strategic negotiating position will improve from here and risk losing most all their net neutrality gains and authority, in the next 18-24 months to an ultimate court loss in the Supreme Court or to a Republican elected President in 2016, who would likely overturn the Order in 2017?  

Three Big FCC Title II Privacy Questions – My Multichannel News Op-ed

Below is my op-ed “Privacy’s Big Three” on the FCC’s pending interpretation of its newly asserted Title II section 222 privacy authority. It is a side-bar in this week’s Multichannel News cover story “Who’s Watching Whom?” Click here for the full Multichannel article.

This succinct op-ed spotlights the three biggest privacy questions the FCC must grapple with here:

  1. Any privacy protection predictability?
  2. Any competitive privacy policy parity?
  3. An FCC Do Not Track List?    

 

Privacy’s Big Three

How FCC Hurt Its Title II Anti-Stay Case

The FCC’s latest legal brief opposing a stay of its Open Internet Order, hurt its legal case more than it helped.

The FCC brief unwittingly: exposed a glaring internal inconsistency with the FCC’s Open Internet Order; spotlighted its arbitrary and capricious decision-making; and exposed a big mistake in its legal strategy.    

If the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rules on the legal merits of the industry’s petition, it remains very likely they will grant a partial stay of the Title II reclassification part of the FCC’s Open Internet Order.

Why Court Very Likely Will Stay FCC’s Title II Reclassification

Based on the latest best arguments this week from both the FCC and broadband petitioners, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is very likely to partially stay the FCC Open Internet Order’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II service and imposition of a new Internet conduct standard -- in the coming weeks.

Expect Court to Partially Stay FCC’s Title II Internet Reclassification

In the coming weeks, expect the D.C. Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court to grant a partial stay, of only the FCC’s Title II reclassification of broadband and its new “Internet conduct standard” (not the FCC’s net neutrality prohibitions of blocking, throttling or paid prioritization), even though stay requests normally have a low probability of success, because petitioners must convince the court that they are likely to win on the merits and that the opposed action will cause irreparable harm.

FCC’s New Do Not Track List Authority

Will the FCC create an Internet “Do Not Track” list like the FTC created the “Do Not Call” list enjoyed by three quarters of Americans?

In ruling the Internet to be subject to common carrier consumer protection law, the Obama FCC’s recently passed Open Internet Order applied common carrier privacy law (Section 222) to Internet telecommunications as part of the FCC’s unilateral efforts to modernize communications law for the 21st century.

The Obama FCC’s Open Internet Order also ruled that the Internet now encompasses the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and that an IP address is the functional equivalent of a telephone number.

Thus, logically it could follow that information that’s considered legally private in the telephone world now could be considered legally private in the Internet world.   

This central consumer protection question should come up this week as the FCC hosts a Section 222 public workshop to explore the FCC’s “role in protecting the privacy of consumers who use” the Internet.

What is Section 222?

It is a common carrier provision of the Communications Act entitled “Privacy of Customer Information.”

ObamaNet vs EuroNet -- “Competing” Protectionist Industrial Policies

The US-EU “competition” of protectionist digital industrial policies -- U.S. Title II net neutrality vs. the EU’s emerging “platform neutrality” plans -- creates an ironic backdrop to negotiations for the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) “free” trade agreement. Heightening the irony, the Obama Administration, not the European Commission, has been the protectionist digital industrial policy leader, trailblazing the political path for the EU’s Single Digital Market to follow.  

At least on the digital markets front, TTIP will be much less a commercial “free” trade negotiation and much more a political “fair” trade negotiation.    

The U.S. has long set the tone and trajectory for this digital “fair” trade dynamic in championing net neutrality to protect its Silicon Valley national champions, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, etc., and by skewing antitrust enforcement to benefit Google and Silicon Valley.

Nationalistic Net Neutrality Naiveté

The New York Times’ editorial, “Global Threats to Net Neutrality,” scolds the world for not following the FCC’s nationalistic concept of net neutrality.

They feign shock and indignation that Europe and India would dare think of politically doing what the FCC has done and impose their own national industrial policies -- under the convenient political cover of “net neutrality.”

America’s elites naively imagine that other countries’ authorities don’t “get the joke” of the FCC’s politically-contrived net neutrality policy.

Other countries’ authorities are not as gullible and pliant as American elites imagine them to be.  

They know “net neutrality” has become an increasingly vacuous political slogan, whose definition conveniently changes meaning like a chameleon changes colors.

They know the FCC is pressuring them to do as the FCC says and not as the FCC does on net neutrality.

Pages

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths