Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Court Unfriendly To FCC's Internet Slap At Comcast

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the unchecked-authority-generally-bad dept.

The Courts 215

Several sources are reporting that federal judges have been harsh in their examination of the FCC's action against Comcast in 2008 for the throttling of Internet traffic from high-bandwidth file-sharing services. "'You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good,' said US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle during an oral argument. The three-judge panel grilled FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick on the parts of communications law it could cite to justify the Comcast punishment. The FCC argues that it was enforcing an open Internet policy implicit in the law. Judge A. Raymond Randolph repeatedly said the legal provisions cited by the FCC were mere policy statements that by themselves can't justify the commission's action. 'You have yet to identify a specific statute,' he said. The judges' decision in the case could throw into question the FCC's authority to impose open Internet rules."

cancel ×

215 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Just Pass a Law (4, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699788)

So all that needs to happen is a law must be passed. I can't wait to see how many pages it will take to say NO THROTTLING!

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699820)

I could be way off but I believe net neutrality did go through recently. That said, it wasn't in place at the time, and since it isn't legalizing criminal invasions of privacy this means it isn't retroactive.

Re:Just Pass a Law (5, Insightful)

FlightTest (90079) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699872)

After all the unrelated pork-barrel is added? Thousands of pages, I'm sure.

Re:Just Pass a Law (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699890)

I can't wait to see how many pages it will take to say NO THROTTLING!

I'm curious too. Let me go ask the lobbyists who draft our legislation.

Re:Just Pass a Law (0, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700422)

But I thought the days of lobbyists drafting legislation behind closed doors ended on 20 January 2009?

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700564)

You fell for a big one. There is a reason both parties used to have the name Democratic-Republican. Our electoral process ensures a 2 party system, if you can use two different names for the same party, you can reduce it to a one party system.

Re:Just Pass a Law (4, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699962)

What if I want to pay for a 'lazy' broadband package, where I agree to be throttled when the network is loaded, in exchange for better throughput when things are less busy?

Re:Just Pass a Law (3, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700192)

What if I want to pay for a 'lazy' broadband package, where I agree to be throttled when the network is loaded, in exchange for better throughput when things are less busy?

Cool. What were you going to do if you wanted a package where your packets don't get throttled by third party providers with whom you have no direct financial agreement relationship?

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700300)

You mean like when a website limits download speeds for people that choose not to pay them money, like Rapidshare?

I'm in favor of a net neutrality where providers have to offer all comers the same service packages at identical prices, beyond that, I'm not real worried about it. It would be nice if conglomerates were required to separate content and infrastructure operations (to the point that the one actually bills the other), but they'll squabble amongst themselves anyway (as managers try to push costs off on other groups to make themselves look better).

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

wgaryhas (872268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700398)

More like the following:

You have service through ISP A

Website/peer has service through ISP B

for traffic to go from ISP A to ISP B it has to be routed through ISP C's network.

ISP C decides to throttle your connection.

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700446)

Well, as long as they are throttling all their customers (at a particular service tier) in the same manner, I wouldn't be real worried about it.

Re:Just Pass a Law (3, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700682)

Well, as long as they are throttling all their customers (at a particular service tier) in the same manner, I wouldn't be real worried about it.

Which certainly would not be the case. And even if it were, it doesn't take into account ISP C.

You paid ISP A to not throttle. The website/peer paid ISP B not to throttle. But ISP C thinks your content violates their rules, so they throttle it. So you both paid to get nothing, and your ISPs can't do anything about it.

Re:Just Pass a Law (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700718)

Then A and B are incompetent.

And they very much can do something about it, they can route around C.

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700460)

No, like when someone between Comcast and Rapidshare (or whichever ISP + website pair you choose) decides to throttle your bandwidth.

Re:Just Pass a Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701440)

Rapidshare has full rights to determine how much data they send you. They have no contractual obligation, they have not advertised to you any data rate and most of all, their service is free. An ISP has all these against it.

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701670)

. They have no contractual obligation, they have not advertised to you any data rate and most of all, their service is free.
Not if you pay them 9,90 Euros per month.

Re:Just Pass a Law (1, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700322)

What if I want to pay for a 'lazy' broadband package, where I agree to be throttled when the network is loaded, in exchange for better throughput when things are less busy?

If it works the same way as the health care reform legislation then you'll be limited to choosing a list of internet packages that were pre-approved by the FCC or some other Federal bureaucracy. This may or may not include one that meets your needs and provides you with the most value for your hard earned money.

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700776)

If it works the same way as the health care reform legislation then you'll be limited to choosing a list of internet packages that were pre-approved by the FCC or some other Federal bureaucracy. This may or may not include one that meets your needs and provides you with the most value for your hard earned money.

No. If it works the same way as proposed health care reform legislation, an additional 20% of your packets will be stolen from any transaction you initiate and they will be used to support others' zombie connections that just wont die. All network engineering (choosing which packets live and which ones die) will be handled by the largest operators in the game and highly politicized, mostly by Pelosi. Also, if you opt not to buy service, you will have to pay an extra fee.

And you thought running out of IPv4 addresses was bad...

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700338)

If you do agree to be throttled, please take precautions to make sure you don't end up like David Carradine.

Too soon?

Re:Just Pass a Law (4, Informative)

TheReverandND (926450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700138)

What Comcast did isn't throttling. They engaged in willful packet tampering, by replacing seed packets with reset packets, and that IS already illegal.

Except for the takings clause of the Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700358)

Whinge all you want about "subsidized telcos", but the fact is it's the telcos that got billions of dollars in loans to build out their networks, and it's a FACT that the telcos own those networks.

The government coming in and saying they can't charge others to send traffic across their property almost certainly violates the takings clause of the Constitution.

Deal with it.

Re:Except for the takings clause of the Constituti (1)

apez1267 (1311469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701298)

FREEDOM OF SPEECH they are encroaching on it by controlling my speed deliberately , THAT is UN-constitutional

Re:Except for the takings clause of the Constituti (1)

bmk67 (971394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701708)

Downloading torrents (or anything else for that matter) is not speech. I would also suggest that you actually read the 1st Amendment, particular the part that starts "Congress shall pass no law...". It's not applicable to private parties, only Congress.

Re:Just Pass a Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701026)

Ahem, NO! Speak with your feet. Is a service you're paying for not doing what you want? DON'T PAY FOR IT! Guess what, buddy.. this internet is not a right.

Re:Just Pass a Law (1)

bmk67 (971394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701654)

So all that needs to happen is a law must be passed. I can't wait to see how many pages it will take to say NO THROTTLING!

It's never that simple. The road to hell is paved in good intentions.

Let's say Lobbyist A wants net neutrality, and finds a sympathetic ear or three in congress. Draft legislation is written by legislator C, and Lobby B gets wind of it. Lobby B is opposed to neutrality, and contacts legislator D, who happens to be bought and paid for by Lobby B. Another bill is written, which on it's face looks like net neutrality, but in fact is not.

The first bill gets a few sponsors, who go out and try to get other legislators to line up behind them. In order to garner votes, the sponsors have to make concessions to other legislators, or add pork to benefit another legislator's state/district. Repeat ad nauseum until enough of the 435 representatives / 100 senators have slipped in their pet project or amendment.

Meanwhile, the second bill is going through the same process. There may be several competing bills, in both the House and the Senate. Usually when you actually get a similar bill to pass both the House and the Senate, there are differences to be hammered out.

What you end up with is a monstrosity of a bill that looks like neither original bill, and nobody is really happy with it - except the districts that ended up being the beneficiaries of all the pork that got packed into the bill on both sides of the capitol building.

No Suprise here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30699796)

Both Judges have a history of defending big buisness. This comes as no suprise that they would rule in favor of corporate interest.

Re:No Suprise here (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699862)

Well, depends on the corporate. Media companies love neutrality because then they don't have to pay ISPs to get full speed. ISPs hate it becuase they don't want to be dumb content providers, and want more money.

Consumer interest is pretty obviously on the neutrality side*, but there are corporate interests on both sides. Think Google.

* The real solution is actual competition on the part of ISPs but that'll be a cold day in Hell before it happens in the US.

Re:No Suprise here (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700000)

Actually, the real real solution is probably a publicly owned utility handling telecom and ISP, because publicly owned utilities have a history of giving better prices and service than their private counterparts for doing similar jobs.

Yes, there are corporate interests on the side of Net Neutrality, but they probably aren't media companies, for a couple of key reasons:
1. A lot of media companies have business ties to ISPs. Time Warner in particular is guilty of this.
2. If they pay the extra to ISPs, they gain an advantage over any upstart competitors. It produces a significant barrier to entry for, say, a successful blogger or independent news site.

Re:No Suprise here (2, Informative)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700144)

Do you have any citations on Publicly Owned is better?
 
Because IPL does a damn good job at keeping the lights on.

It depends on the amount of local control (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701278)

The reason corporations are a terrible idea for basic services is because of two issues: incentive and accountability.

When a corporation owns a basic service, the question is, "How much is the customer willing to pay?" The question when run by a local (meaning, city or county) government is, "How much does it cost to provide?" The incentive for a corporation is always to make the most amount of money possible. If there were no regulation or public utilities, America would look like South America, where a company can make a good profit providing services to the rich, and ignore everyone else. This leads to widespread poverty and income inequality, since you can't do any self-investment when most of your day is spent lugging water or kerosene or wood around for cooking, cleaning, etc.

The second question is of accountability. Corporations simply don't have to have any accountability towards individual customers. Sure, you can sue a company - if you happen to also employ dozens of lawyers and have a few million stashed away, you may have a fighting chance. When a very local entity is running the show, chances are you know the person in charge. They aren't hundreds or thousands of miles away in the top floor of some high security skyscraper - they're downtown, and you know some of the people who know them.

This method breaks down in large metropolitan areas if they aren't further divided into neighborhood councils. They work best when the board members running the utility can be voted out directly by the local populace.

The decision on what is and what is not a utility is an important one. Competition gives us good results in luxuries and commodities, since there are so many customers, and getting screwed on a dozen eggs or a TV isn't the end of the world. However, when the customers have no other options, and it's too expensive to duplicate services, locally controlled organizations are a great option. Better to make the internet a utility with 100% saturation - just like roads and electricity - and allow competitors to provide services over that platform.

PS All your privacy concerns are moot when the NSA is building NOCs inside of corporate datacenters already.

Re:No Suprise here (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700304)

Actually, the real real solution is probably a publicly owned utility handling telecom and ISP, because publicly owned utilities have a history of giving better prices and service than their private counterparts for doing similar jobs.

Just ask any Russian about the public hot water, they shut off hot water in the summer for matience.

Re:No Suprise here (3, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700436)

Nice anecdote. Perhaps it's even true. But the vast majority of publicly owned utilities do in fact provide better service at lower rates. Look at the TVA. [wikipedia.org] Look at what happened in South America when water was privatized. [alternet.org]

In general, privatization only works when there is a robust and competitive market. In the case of public utilities, they are a natural monopoly [wikipedia.org] , and therefore, a competitive market is impossible. Cooperatives and other forms of public ownership are the most efficient way to run any form of natural monopoly.

Re:No Suprise here (2, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700596)

Also, look at [wsj.com] Venezuela [circleofblue.org] .

Oh, and the TVA?

One such considered above criticism, sacred as motherhood, is TVA. This program started as a flood control project; the Tennessee Valley was periodically ravaged by destructive floods. The Army Engineers set out to solve this problem. They said that it was possible that once in 500 years there could be a total capacity flood that would inundate some 600,000 acres (2,400 km2). Well, the engineers fixed that. They made a permanent lake which inundated a million acres (4,000 km). This solved the problem of floods, but the annual interest on the TVA debt is five times as great as the annual flood damage they sought to correct. Of course, you will point out that TVA gets electric power from the impounded waters, and this is true, but today 85 percent of TVA's electricity is generated in coal burning steam plants. Now perhaps you'll charge that I'm overlooking the navigable waterway that was created, providing cheap barge traffic, but the bulk of the freight barged on that waterway is coal being shipped to the TVA steam plants, and the cost of maintaining that channel each year would pay for shipping all of the coal by rail, and there would be money left over.

from the wiki article.

Re:No Suprise here (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700720)

Ooh, an early Reagan quote. Sounds more like a criticism of the Army Corps of Engineers, though, doesn't it? And the criticism could be leveled against any hydro-electric program. As for the debt, it was payed off years ago, (the quyote was from 1966) yet the project continues to protect against floods.

As for the articles on Venezuela, yes, I agree that climate change has caused some terrible tragedies already, tragedies that affect public and private concerns alike, but how does that relate to my point?

Re:No Suprise here (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700340)

because publicly owned utilities have a history of giving better prices and service than their private counterparts for doing similar jobs.

Aren't "publically owned utilities" basically financed with tax dollars? No wonder they can give "better prices and service." They get my money somehow else.

Not saying it's not an option... just saying that the price you pay for a public utility isn't just the price on the sticker. Or ad. Or whatever.

Re:No Suprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700554)

Not always. There are plenty of public companies that charge just enough to break even. Internet would cost about $2/month if it was a public utility. Maybe they could get by with charging a one time $500/per house to have a fiber optic line hook up.

Seems better than the current system with everyone paying $40+/month and having all these wifi routers that can't be used by neighbors or travelers.

Re:No Suprise here (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700948)

$2/month subscription. How much in taxes, though?

Sorta like how we pay for city water, but we also pay (in taxes) for the water district stuff, too. Not necessarily bad, but it's sort of a "hidden" fee.

Not saying that doesn't necessarily happen with a company like Comcast, since the American government seems to like giving my money to companies, banks, and politicians (everyone but me).

Re:No Suprise here (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701240)

You do realize that the whole infrastructure of the Internet was already paid for through tax dollars, right? When there is a lack of competition (like in this market) yes, publicly owned utilities are a lot better (as in cheaper for you and run more efficiently).

Re:No Suprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701734)

Aren't "publically owned utilities" basically financed with tax dollars? No wonder they can give "better prices and service." They get my money somehow else.

I don't think that is very accurate. The post office, which is a publicly offered service, operates on a budget that comes from stamps and other shipping fees. Public roads are funded through gasoline taxes that are only passed on to the people who drive. If our payroll taxes paid for these services then there would be no need to pay for postage or high prices at the pump. This would be an unfair burden to those who don't use mail or don't drive.

There is no reason to believe that you would be charged twice for internet access as a "publicly owned utility." The budget to operate a utility of this sort would most likely come directly from those who were accessing the service. The reason that prices are often better with "publicly owned utilities", is that there is not an eternal drive for ever-increasing quarterly profits.

Re:No Suprise here (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700520)

because publicly owned utilities have a history of giving better prices and service than their private counterparts for doing similar jobs.

They also have a history of paying excessively above market wages/benefits to their employees. Their unions have a history of corrupting the political process to benefit their few members at the expense of everyone else. Just look at the states that are deepest in the red right now (New York and California come to mind) and compare the compensation packages of the public and private sectors in those states. Then look at how any politician brave enough to stand up to these special interests is immediately vilified.

1. A lot of media companies have business ties to ISPs. Time Warner in particular is guilty of this.

No it's not. Time Warner Cable was spun off from Time Warner some time ago. TWC is a bad example anyway -- they've never blocked any service (other than netbios and smtp, which is SOP these days for security reasons) or interfered with any protocol. As ISPs go, Roadrunner is a pretty good one, IMHO anyway.

Re:No Suprise here (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700202)

Both Judges have a history of defending big buisness. This comes as no suprise that they would rule in favor of corporate interest.

Actually, they are ruling in the favor of law. Just because you happen to agree with the FCC doesn't make what they did right.

Imagine the FCC thought throttling was fine, and created policies that punished content providers who didn't properly mark their high-bandwidth traffic. You'd be begging the court for relief for this exact same decision instead of calling them corporate shills.

Even though throttling is bad, the FCC making up their own rules as they go along is worse.

Re:No Suprise here (1)

Excelcior (1390167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700512)

Someone please mod the parent up, this is so important to say. If the law isn't there, we need to make a new law, not try to force everyone into whatever we want. If freedom is to exist, everyone needs to be subject to the laws; even the government.

Re:No Suprise here (1, Insightful)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700956)

AH oh, here we go again.

You're right, big government is the solution. Government in control is what we need. This is perfect. Instead of letting competition decide who wins, we let government hurrah!!!!

Do people not understand how capitalism works? And no, we don't have a capitalistic system in the US, we have big corporations and unions who get legislature passed, that is the exact opposite of capitalism. But the solution isn't to just go hogwild with stupid regulations that hinder improvement and innovation and meanwhile don't even achieve the results they desire?

and moreover, what are we btihcing about? throttling? geez. you know what? i had comcast, i started to hate them, they are incompetent(beyond throttling), so you know what i did? I did my business elsewhere. And don't tell me there aren't other options, because there are in almost all cases, other options.

The solution is rather simple, get rid of almost all regulations on business. Let individuals decide what their choices are and where to go. Let people vote in the best way, with our dollars, on what services are good, and what are bad. But nope, won't be done, all those regulations are supposed to help right? hahahahaha. they rarely help, and even when they do it's a short term, and in the long term are much worse for the consumer. The worst thing to do is judge legislation by it's intentions rather than it's results. Which is what we always do. At some point we'll learn freedom of choice, really does work. Well, we'll learn it again, we used to know it back in the 1700's and 1800's and even into the early 1900's. Which were our most productive times, but ah well. Hell, as recently as the 50's we had decent medical care, and shockingly, there was little regulation and government involvement.

Socialism does not work. Even in cases like this, where you want it to. The only exceptions, are literally where there are no other alternatives, but those cases are few and far between. And i'll put my mod prediction in the last part so no one will read it, either this post gets ignored or modded down, never know tho, occasionally some 'kook' libertarian posts do get modded up.

Re:No Suprise here (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701074)

> AH oh, here we go again.
>
> You're right, big government is the solution. Government in control is what we need. This is perfect. Instead of letting competition decide who wins, we let government hurrah!!!!

+...and who EXACTLY is "competing" for YOUR broadband business.

In my case it is two natural monopolies.

Great "market forces" at work there...

Re:No Suprise here (1, Interesting)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701542)

there's a few companies with DSL, there's satalite, there's dialup and there's the option of not having internet. quite a few options for me.

Of course, i live in a suburb of seattle, not everyone has as mayn options. But they still have choices. And if people like me make the right choices, they'll soon have better choices to make anyways, as I'll reward the companies doing the right thing.

Re:No Suprise here (1)

apez1267 (1311469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701482)

what , so i can sell my kids to walmart , or would you perfer to legalize kidnaping , if there are no laws on busnesses then i can kidnap someone and when the police can come but all i will have to say is , its a busness so leve me alone. ps , i live in maryland and i literaly have 2 choices dile up , and comcast and my work requires me to have a high speed concetion to my work so i dont have a choice at all

Re:No Suprise here (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701674)

Hey, since you bring up kids, protection of children is a place where i think the local governments do have a role to play. But you can't own people in a free society. They are responsible for themselves, and certainly no decent goverment would allow kids to be traded, even if you are responsible for them. But let's not compare kids to the free market, because it's a different beast. THe free market functions on people making their own choices, and living with the consequences of their own choices. You are in charge of yourself.

And your situation, you want the government to do what? regulation comcast because you put yourself into a situation, that relies on comcast? You still have options, you can move, you can get another job or whatever. sorry the situation isn't what you want.

But let's go further, let's say you get regulations passed. Then what happens? well your prices will go up(maybe not by much), and in the future the market's will be limited by these regulations. SO you MIGHT benefit int he short run. that is the best case scenario. In the long run you are hurting competition and you are basically increasing the likeliness an incompetent company (comcast) will remain in existence.

There's a lesson here (3, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699806)

Just because something is good policy doesn't mean a given implementation of it is legal. This is the reverse of the common rule that stupid laws aren't necessarily unconstitutional. The solution here is to get Congress to pass explicit net neutrality legislation. Unfortunately, the last such attempt died a gooey death.

Re:There's a lesson here (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700012)

if there is no precedent regarding a policy, it is not only legal tradition but global practice to rule in favor of public interest.

this is what precisely those fscking judges should have done. they have not. their approach little different than parroting corporate interests' statements.

Re:There's a lesson here (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700058)

if there is no precedent regarding a policy, it is not only legal tradition but global practice to rule in favor of public interest.

this is what precisely those fscking judges should have done. they have not. their approach little different than parroting corporate interests' statements.

In the U.S., if there is no law authorizing the Administration (the FCC is part of the Administration) to take an action, it is illegal for the Administration to take said action.

Re:There's a lesson here (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700262)

There is a huge body of law in the U.S. that protects the consumer from unfair or deceptive trade practices. How is what comcast doing a fair trade practice? You most often see this with credit cards and banks. IANAL, but I imagine there is something similar for ANY regulated corporation.

Re:There's a lesson here (1)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700744)

Right. And if the FCC had simply cited that law, then the judges hearing the case in question would at least have to make a determination as to whether it applied or not. The complaint from the judge was that they failed to do so. If true, then the counsel for the FCC didn't do his job.

Re:There's a lesson here (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701286)

As another poster mentions, the FCC failed to cite such a law. Now there are two possibilities. One, there is no law that the FCC believes applies to this case. Or, two, the FCC is not empowered to enforce any laws that Comcast was violating and knows it.

Re:There's a lesson here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701636)

That's true, but the unfair trade practices empower the FTC, not the FCC. It's gotta be the right authority exercised by the right agency.

Re:There's a lesson here (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700234)

I think most people in the US would prefer that government NOT be given the power to interfere in how any business runs its affairs in the name of 'public interest' just because there isn't a law either giving them said power or expressly revoking it. The 'policy' is fine, the FCC can make all the policy it wants. But it needs to have a law voted on by our elected representatives to give them the power to enforce it before it can go around punishing and fining companies.

Re:There's a lesson here (1)

bondiblueos9 (1599575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700260)

I didn't realize judges knew how to check file systems.

Re:There's a lesson here (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700290)

Unfortunately, the last such attempt died a gooey death.

That's one of the best and most concise descriptions of the lawmaking process I've seen to date. Well done.

"Laws are like sausages. You might like 'em, you might dislike 'em, but you do not want to know what went in to making 'em."

Sounds more like a firing squad than a "slap" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30699832)

From the 2.5 paragraphs I could read without subscribing.

8==C=O=M=C=A=S=T=I=C==D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30699838)

On day Comcast cock-slapped me by throttling my bit torrent downloads to zero.

For some reason they didn't throttle my bill to reflect the diminished service.

Since Comcast had a monopoly on my apartmets, I had no choice but to bend over and accept the throttling.

8==C=O=M=C=A=S=T=I=C==D

Re:8==C=O=M=C=A=S=T=I=C==D (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700048)

What did they say when you called them on it?

Re:8==C=O=M=C=A=S=T=I=C==D (1)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700882)

"Who are you? How did you get in my house?"

Apologies to XKCD [xkcd.com]

Re:8==C=O=M=C=A=S=T=I=C==D (0, Troll)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700444)

Funny, I just read a post from the fellas on your network segment, who wanted Comcast to refund their money on days when Comcast failed to throttle your connection and as it was impacted their connection speeds.

Isn't it interesting when people think they are getting screwed by big business, when it is really them screwing each other from a far?

If Comcast is really honestly raping you, then change to something else. If there is nothing better than Comcast, which is why have been willing to spread your legs and through some cash at them, I have to wonder ... What is it that makes you feel you are the one being taken advantage of?

Re:8==C=O=M=C=A=S=T=I=C==D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701112)

Funny - the people on his network segment should actually have been pissed that they were promised "unlimited" service and oversold by Comcast. Wow, looks like big business wins again!

simple... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30699914)

kill the judge. just kill him in his sleep or plant some child porn into his PC.

Excuse me, do you need a fscking law for this ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699976)

arent there already customer satisfaction laws in place ? guarantees for the product/service sold ?

wont wrongfully advertising X bandwidth/month and then curbing the user's usage despite charging full charge, a violation of these laws ?

or, arent falsified advertising, and hiding critical information in footnotes and smallprints illegal ? well it is such in turkey. if you want to sell something you have to make any kind of footnotes and small print big enough, and in bold text. especially in credit card contract statements.

Re:Excuse me, do you need a fscking law for this ? (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700072)

But the FCC does not have the power to enforce any consumer protection laws.

Re:Excuse me, do you need a fscking law for this ? (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700528)

False advertising regulatory powers belong to the FTC, not the FCC. Different agency.

Re:Excuse me, do you need a fscking law for this ? (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700640)

Which is why if you listen to the advertisements, it is always "up to" X speed, never stating a minimum, just a maximum, or if they show a number on the screen, there will always be some real tiny print at the bottom which basically says the likes of "advertised speeds are not indicative of actual speeds in your area, just a potential theoretical speed that can be reached in ideal circumstances".

It's time for a proper neutrality law (4, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30699988)

A proper net neutrality law is long overdue. I don't want ISPs to ever be allowed to block any content, cripple any protocols, or artificially slow down any kind of traffic beyond whatever is necessary to ensure reliable service for all customers alike. A ruling against the FCC on its own ruling against Comcast would cause significant injury to US broadband users, and that's why we need some kind of legislation outside of FCC rules that will ensure ISPs such as Comcast can't cripple customers' connections. Pro-corporate judges then won't have a leg to stand on.

Re:It's time for a proper neutrality law (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700188)

As much as I'm for net neutrality, I have to side with the Judges on this one. All the Judge is saying is the FCC can not create and enforce laws that seems pretty reasonable to me.

Re:It's time for a proper neutrality law (2, Informative)

undecim (1237470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700252)

Any net neutrality law that could make it through congress would be worthless.

Comcast justifies throttling bittorrent traffic by saying that bittorrent traffic slows down other users' connections making their service unreliable, and the politicians don't know any better.

Unless it's either written or enforced by completely unbiased technicians (with the assistance of a few legislators), a net neutrality law would only give companies like Comcast a new place to dig up loopholes and lies.

Re:It's time for a proper neutrality law (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700352)

I don't want ISPs to ever be allowed to block any content, cripple any protocols, or artificially slow down any kind of traffic beyond whatever is necessary to ensure reliable service for all customers alike

Yeah, that's the job for the government. As long as the censorship or restrictions has the label "democratic" attached to it, it's usually acceptable, right?

On that token, net neutrality would forbid speeding up or giving priority to certain packets, as well--and "beyond whatever is necessary" is convenient wording on your part because it is vague and completely sidesteps over the entire issue of what "whatever is necessary" even is, let alone how one begins defining that.

One of the worst things in this era is the belief that corporations are worse than governments. They're not exactly great, but Comcast can only cripple customers' connections if customers remain ignorant about the products or services they are purchasing. Government is among the few institutions in the world that can be relied upon to hold you hostage, perhaps for ransom, is you go out of your way to avoid doing business with them. You're gonna pay for whatever the government gives you, your own beliefs be damned--whether it's social security, healthcare, or international warfare shenanigans. Isn't a loss of autonomy beautiful?

If you don't want a business to offer a certain kind of service a certain way, perhaps you should just not purchase the product instead of demanding through threats that someone provide for you on your terms. I really have trouble seeing who is more selfish--the large corporations, or the customers that demand laws passed so they can take more from them. Of course, the corporations do the same thing, too, but legislation is effects everyone and usually lasts forever.

And before someone states that the ISPs are monopolies, you're right. They're monopolies either because consumers (who apparently are too stupid to make good purchasing decisions but smart enough to be able help make life-changing political decisions) let them become monopolies or because of sweetheart deals with the government (again, ultimately the fault of the voters anyway).

Re:It's time for a proper neutrality law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701010)

I've been screwed over by companies more times than the government. It doesn't help when the people voted in view companies as perfect things that can do no wrong.

There is no competition in the ISP market in many areas, there is no choice, or the choice is between bad and worse.

Re:It's time for a proper neutrality law (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701280)

Yeah, that's the job for the government. As long as the censorship or restrictions has the label "democratic" attached to it, it's usually acceptable, right?

Net neutrality is the opposite of censorship as it bars ISPs from blocking or crippling those network connections the customer chooses to open.

... net neutrality would forbid speeding up or giving priority to certain packets ...

Nonsense. It depends on how the law is written. If speeding up certain kinds of packets can help guarantee reliable service without rendering other services unreliable, a properly written law would still allow that.

"beyond whatever is necessary" is convenient wording on your part because it is vague and completely sidesteps over the entire issue of what "whatever is necessary" even is, let alone how one begins defining that

I'm not writing any laws. Legislators would, of course, explicitly define any and all such terms.

One of the worst things in this era is the belief that corporations are worse than governments. They're not exactly great, but Comcast can only cripple customers' connections if customers remain ignorant about the products or services they are purchasing.

Comcast can cripple customers' connections as long as it's legal for them to do so. Some customers might be able to switch ISPs, but when Comcast is the only ISP available or when all available ISPs are crippling users' connections, an unregulated market becomes a real liability for consumers.

They're monopolies either because consumers (who apparently are too stupid to make good purchasing decisions but smart enough to be able help make life-changing political decisions) let them become monopolies or because of sweetheart deals with the government (again, ultimately the fault of the voters anyway)

Whatever the reason they have become monopolies, once they have a monopoly I see nothing wrong with regulations that prevent them from taking advantage of their monopoly position in order to treat customers less than fairly.

Better Article Link (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700010)

For those who don't want to disable noscript, there's a better version of the article at http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=201001081217dowjonesdjonline000464&title=update-court-unfriendly-to-fccs-internet-slap-at-comcast

The FCC should ask the EPA how they do it (4, Insightful)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700060)

So the FCC can't rule by fiat? They should ask the EPA how they get to rule by fiat! Only seems fair.

roving commissions of do-gooders (1, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700088)

You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good

Yes, god forbid someone in the government actually try and help people. We must put a stop to this at once! The U.S. government should only work to protect the corporate profit, as it has been for the last thirty years.

I mean really, why don't these judges just go out and admit they're on comcast's payroll already? Somebody should tar and feather those judges. Gah, I'm so sick and tired of regulatory capture [wikipedia.org] . When will it all end? S

Here [cnet.com] is a non-pay link with the same info.

Re:roving commissions of do-gooders (4, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700380)

Because who defines 'good'? Giving a branch of government unbridled power to do 'good' one day gives them that same unbridled power to do something you vehemently oppose the next, and now they would have the legal precedent to do so.

You can't have a short term view of the law as a judge, and while it might not make them popular in the short run I'd rather our freedom be protected by forcing us to have our elected representatives pass a law for something we want (their entire job), rather then give a branch of our government unbridled power because they happen to be acting in our favor today.

Think about this, the FCC decided on their policy with little to no input from the citizens, and little to no recourse from the citizens. You can't vote FCC workers out of office. What would your view of the legality of what they just did be if they had come down on the completely other side of the issue and were punishing companies that didn't throttle p2p networks in the name of stopping piracy for 'public interest' but had no written law mandated or approved by our representatives to tell them or give them the power to do so?

You can't judge legality of a government organization's actions based on whether you think what they are doing is good, you judge legality based on whether they have the legal right to acting in the way they are according to the constitutions and laws set forth by congress.

Re:roving commissions of do-gooders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700388)

I believe the only real way to stop (or diminish) regulatory capture is even more simple, yet more important than "don't throttle bandwidth", it should be easily resolved with retraining lobbyists to work as prison guards, and then making the practice illegal.

Somehow allowing people and corporations to vote with dollars seems to be very anti-democratic.

Thank that Judge... (1)

cborg (197926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700096)

for calling the FCC's efforts 'a roving commission... about doing good'. Talk about a back-handed compliment...

Consumer Interest (2, Interesting)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700100)

I'd be happy enough if the ISPs were held accountable for delivering advertised bandwidth when they're not throttling. Does ANYBODY get advertised performance from ANY ISP? Most of 'em tell you up front they won't guarantee bandwidth. To provide some context, my whining comes to you today from the middle of Rural America- an area seriously neglected by the broadband industry.

So NOW we have the rule of law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700108)

If the health care bill has taught you nothing else ...
Lobbyist's will strip anything detrimental, to the corporations that back them, out of any new law that's proposed.

"Protect the children", "protect the artists", will drown out the humble voice of reason.

The Internet is ONLY a tool for making profit; the whole freedom thing is just a zany side-effect that will be remedied in future versions.

Hmm. I pay forr INTERNET ACCESS (2, Interesting)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700168)

I would think to a "reasonable person", who knows what the internet is (an internetwork of networks carrying internet protocol and internet control protocol traffic), that would mean I get to send and receive such packets to the ability of the provider to carry them, without discrimination, to the limit of the bandwidth I pay for.

IOW, if the traffic demand is D and the capacity is C, C D, the actual bandwidth available to someone desiring d is c=d*C/D.

When the law or contract is silent on a matter, the courts will generally apply a "reasonable person" interpretation on what the contracted agreement is.

Now, the FCC might have been out of place to punish Comcast, but that does not mean that subscribers would not be in a position to launch a breach of contract suit.

Comcast's tough if they oversold bandwidth to the point where they have to discriminate between their users so as to try to minimize the fraction that they piss off (which is really what they are doing -- punishing those that expect what they are paying for).

Disclaimer: I have Comcast business internet service with a static IPv4 address, and I had their residential service as well. I found significant variance in bandwidth available on their residential service, but not their business service. I expect it is not as oversold. I no longer subscribe to their residential service. I actually considered load-balancing outbound TCP sessions across both links at one point, but, given the variance, found it would have been more cost-effective to subscribe to greater bandwidth on their business line. In the end, I decided it wasn't worth it, or necessary, and dropped the residential service, keeping the business service.

Re:Hmm. I pay forr INTERNET ACCESS (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700412)

Are there monthly caps on Comcast's business service?

Right now, I'm paying $45 a month (plus I'm required to have $15 a month Cable TV) for their 3mb down / 256kb up plan. They have a $60 6mb down / 1mb up plan, which would actually work out to the same money, but if they have the same cap and throttling, forget it.

I can't find a terms of service for their business accounts.

Re:Hmm. I pay forr INTERNET ACCESS (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700756)

I have the 6x1 plan, and AFAIK, there are no monthly caps on their business service.

But, if my calculations are correct, saturating the download at 6 Mb/s 12% of the time would be required to hit a monthly 250GB download cap.

That's A LOT, and would generally warrant them suggesting you trade up to a higher data rate plan.

In practice I regularly see download speeds of 15 to 20 Mb/s, which are nice when downloading a Linux distro ISO. I'm sure that gives them plenty of room to throttle me to the agreed-upon rate of 6 Mb/s if necessary.

I suspect that Comcast simply really oversells residential service, and business service less so.

Now, there generally is a two or three year contract commitment for their business service.

I got it simply because I wanted reliable connectivity, a static IP, and the freedom to run whatever services I want. (Yes, port 25 is open. No, I don't have an open relay.)

Yeah! (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700174)

You can't have government employees doing good!

Translation:
This gives everybody the wrong fucking idea. Like we work for the good of the people or something. Makes the rest of us look bad!

Forgery perhaps (3, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700248)

If I understand this correctly what the judge is asking is what law did Comcast break in their actions. If I understand what Comcast was eventually charged with by the FCC wouldn't forgery or impersonating an officer or hijacking all be possible crimes committed? Comcast basically took a packet coming from a sender and hijacked it, injected it with the reset command (forgery), and sent the packet on it's way to the recipient (impersonating a packet from sender which could be looked at like a mail carrier or "officer" of the post office).

Re:Forgery perhaps (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700334)

Those are all good points. I am not sure that the laws you mentioned are written in such a way as to be applied to the Comcast case. The FCC apparently didn't think so because they did not appeal to those laws. Of course, that could possibly be because the FCC is not authorized to enforce the laws against the crimes that you listed.

Re:Forgery perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701372)

I'd think that comcast committed a felony! Why, because US mail is protected. No one can tamper
with mail that is being sent from me to someone or vice versa regardless of what the contents
of the mail says. Thus, in this modern day world, electronic email is the equivalent of the
old mail system. When I send mail from one point to another, the deliverer or Comcast
ISP can't tamper with the content since that would be a felony! So regardless if the mail
is a letter, picture, music CD, movie DVD or software from MSoft or anyone else, the US mail
must deliver it untouched. As for the internet, the electronic equivalent is email, gifs,
audio mp3 or iso, mpeg or iso, and binaries or iso's, comcast isn't allowed to touch it since
that would be interfering with the delivery of US mail from one person to another.

So yes, Comcast did break the law and commit a felony. Not only within the state boundaries, but
also interstate and international. I'd even goes as far as to say they commited wire fraud by
delivering a tampered product to me without telling me.

An old time equivalent to this is the telegram which was sent electronically. This is also considered
US mail and must be delivered and not tampered with. It's just that the internet is another
form of the dots-n-dashes that are now ones-n-zeroes!

Government isn't allowed to do good. Nice to know (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700356)

You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good,' said U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle during an oral argument.

But one CAN get unbridled roving commission to go about doing evil! Judges allow that all the time.

Government cannot do good, by definition. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700534)

Read "Atlas Shrugged". It will change your life.

Re:Government cannot do good, by definition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700904)

So much so that you will ignore reality after reading it.

Re:Government cannot do good, by definition. (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701084)

It was an ok book, very idealistic. But the problem with it is that Ayn Rand can say in 50 pages what could easily be said in 1 paragraph. The John Gault soliloquy sucked the life out of me. So yeah, that was kind of life changing.

YES! Let the free market decide! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30700386)

"Net neutrality" is a bullshiat term invented by statists who want to control what we John Galt's of the world can and cannot do. I am extremely glad to hear that some judges have finally come down on the side of common sense and not that of political correctness.

Re:YES! Let the free market decide! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701308)

You must be in college because any adult has already figured out that that Ayn Rand shit is a bunch of crap for teenagers who think the world is black and white.

Comcast must have made good arguments... (2, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30700586)

Or a few thousand of them.

Wow... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701188)

"'You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good"

This adequately describes more than one Appeals Court. Talk about calling out the kettle!

Breathtaking. Just stupendously breathtaking! He couldn't possibly have said that out loud with desperately wishing he had just shut up...

Terrible internet access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30701216)

My internet service of late has been awful. It's not Comcast; some little small local ISP. I called them today and the response I got was that they had oversold bandwidth and they would have my awful 500 ping, sub 1 mb connection, etc fixed "within a week."

Wasn't the FCC originally going after Comcast for overselling bandwidth in much the same way? How fitting I would read about this today.

told you so (1)

Jodka (520060) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701246)

In my insightful comment [slashdot.org] last week I alluded to something exactly like this happening.

This week, advocates for "net neutrality" still have a lot of excuse making to do for injustices of the patent and copyright system, rights violations in the war on terrorism, and the train wreck which is Obamacare before they get to advocating for an expansion of government into internet regulation.

Why is "But won't you think of the children?" a joke but "But won't you think of net neutrality" regarded equally?

Amanda Seyfried/Julianne Moore love scene? Check! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30701642)

> udge A. Raymond Randolph repeatedly said the legal provisions cited by the FCC were
> mere policy statements that by themselves can't justify the commission's
> action. 'You have yet to identify a specific statute,' he said.

Wait, I feel about this...uhh.

I have to first figure out whether I'm for this issue or not before I can decide whether I like the idea of a roving band of officials whose word is the power of law, rather than an actual law.

Political philosophy follows the ideas you want to impose on others, and not from first principles.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>