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FCC Claims Regulatory Power Over Home Computers

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the when-power-hungry-bureaucrats-attack dept.

Privacy 406

Pointing to Assistant Professor of Law Susan Crawford's blog, iman1003 writes "The FCC has filed a brief where it claims regulatory power over all instrumentalities, facilities, and apparatus 'associated with the overall circuit of messages sent and received' via all interstate radio and wire communication according to a blog published by Susan Crawford. The blog can be found here and the brief here (in PDF format). Kind of scary if you ask me." Ars Technica has good commentary on this, also referencing Crawford's findings.

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406 comments

They'll take my mouse (5, Funny)

spidergoat2 (715962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828816)

When they pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

Attention Slashbots (5, Insightful)

aborchers (471342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828941)

Stop posting here and WRITE to your congressional representatives.

Congress defines the mandate of the FCC, and without your input, all they hear is the clatter of change from the entertainment lobby.

Re:Attention Slashbots (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829141)

Congresscritters respond more positively to 100 people yelling outside their office window, or to one person writing a $1000 check, than to 1000 letters that can safely be answered with canned response and autopen.

Re:Attention Slashbots (1)

aborchers (471342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829191)

OK. If that's your bent, then stop posting here and go yell outside their window or write a $1000 check.

Re:Attention Slashbots (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829208)

Right. Of course. You email your representatives and the FCC will change its tune. (sarcasm over ;)) Well, unless you have millions of dollars to bung someone, nothin's gonna happen. Squat. Nada. Seriously - posting stuff here has just as much effect as a one-on-one with your congressperson.

Re:They'll take my mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828951)

The FCC won't let me be!

Did they not in the recent past (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829154)

Re-Write THEIR OWN CHARTER? Where did that come from???

Their entire argument is fallacious at best (4, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828829)

"Congress hasn't said that we DON'T have the power to do this, so we're going to go ahead on the assumption that we do."

Uhhh, that's not the way the government works. A government agency must be given the authority to regulate by Congress, which is ultimately accountable to the People. A government agency can't just do whatever the hell they please just because they feel like it. They must have a mandate and be granted Congressional authority to do so.

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828855)

The rules are what the Bush admistration and their FCC, Supreme Court buddies say they are.

If anyone else was doing it, they would be called fascist.

Naive (3, Interesting)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828887)

That's how it's supposed to work, but when you are dealing with bureaucrats, that's not likely to be what actually happens.

Witness the FDA's attempt to regulate tobacco. There is no authority for them to do so, yet they are still trying to assert regulatory authority over tobacco. Say what you will, there's no authority for that to happen.

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (1, Insightful)

PerpetualMotion (550623) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828899)

If the FCC had to get congress to put their heads together and pass something (house and senate) every time they wanted to make a decision, they would never get anywhere. The IRS does it's job without congress pulling every puppet-string, while it looks like the CIA may need a little congressional intervention.

If cellphones interfere with hospital equipment, the FCC needs the power to indepentantly step in and tell people to shut the damn cell phones off anywhere near hospitals without waiting for congress. If congress, the courts, or a presidental directive ("The voice of the President") wants to overrule them, so be it.

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828920)

*rolls eyes* That's a straw man argument. They don't have to get permission for every decision.

The FCC does not have control over everything under the sun. They have been granted control of certain types of devices. Hence, the FCC has control over cellphones. They have to get permission for a decision in an area where they have not already been granted control.

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (2, Insightful)

Jameth (664111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829061)

"If the FCC had to get congress to put their heads together and pass something (house and senate) every time they wanted to make a decision, they would never get anywhere. The IRS does it's job without congress pulling every puppet-string, while it looks like the CIA may need a little congressional intervention."

Don't be suckered by the press. The IRS doesn't do its job. The IRS is hugely understaffed and underbudget and tax fraud is rampant, yet the media doesn't say much about that. However, the CIA gets a bad rap because they gave accurate information to the administration about the situation in Iraq and were ignored, because they only gave a fairly good report about how 9/11 would happen and weren't given enough funding or freedom to do anything about it, and because they do a generally fairly good job until the administration orders them to stop.

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (2, Informative)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829165)

The FCC has jurisdiction over RADIO transmissions. The purpose of their power is to prevent one company from shouting the other out by installer a bigger amp. The radio spectrum is finite, thus it needs to be managed accordingly.

WiFi aside, computer communication is more akin to telephones. It's point to point, so there is no way in which an individual node can crowd out everyone else... at least once it's plug being pulled.

This is a power grab. Pure and simple. Nevermind that the Supreme Court has ruled on this sort of thing before. (And not in the agency's favor mind you.)

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828943)

Do you realize you are arguing over news from a blog, noobs!

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (5, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828981)

Actually Bush and his party have little if any effect on this. Sorry, but both parties have collected power to the Federal Government through out our history. This process accelerated after the Civil War and continues today. The Constitution is rather clear when read with the 10th Amendment, most of what the government does these days is unconstitutional. But depending on where your ideology stands, you approve when it is your group accumulating power but disapprove when it is the other group. After both sides get their way long though, most every area of our lives are now controlled by the Federal Government. I don't think the average citizen today even realizes that the states are supposed to be the controlling authority in most aspects of our lives, not the central government.

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829007)

A government agency can't just do whatever the hell they please just because they feel like it.

No doubt. The wrong Powell is leaving office.

Re:Their entire argument is fallacious at best (1, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829229)

You're confusing what IS and what SHOULD BE. There are huge differences. An election should count every vote - that doesn't mean to say all the votes in the last election will be counted. Government does what Government wants.

Bush Junta sez: (5, Funny)

markbark (174009) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828831)

All Your Computers Are Belong To Us

The Cure for 1984 is 1776

Bush Junta doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828908)

1984 started in 1776 (a new order has begun), had a major coup in 1913, put into practise in 1933, went worldwide in 1945.

The first part of the 20th Centuary the Bush family bankrolled the Nazis (union bank). The first part of the 21 centuary and the Bush family has more power the nazis could ever dream of.

Re:Bush Junta sez: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829056)

I just noticed your 1776 statement and I wanted to say that I agree. Be aware of revisionist history, however, as it may begin to hide this understanding.

Business As Usual? (-1, Flamebait)

Mentifex (187202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828832)


It is disgusting that Business As Usual goes on at Slashdot while the American government murders thousands, treating Iraqi civilians and dead American soldiers [cryptome.org] as so much trash to be traded for oil. Stop reporting drivel, Slashdot. Do your existential duty to Stop the War.

Re:Business As Usual? (1)

Leeesher (831509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828884)

I can't tell if you're serious or not. You can go to any other news source for *TEH HOLY WAR ON TURROR* 24/7... I'd rather not be bombarded with war coverage from every direction.

Re:Business As Usual? (2, Interesting)

benzapp (464105) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828933)

existential duty

Please, tell me more about these existential duties.

Re:Business As Usual? (0, Offtopic)

goatan (673464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828988)

It is disgusting that Business As Usual goes on at Slashdot while the American government murders thousands, treating Iraqi civilians and dead American soldiers as so much trash to be traded for oil. Stop reporting drivel, Slashdot. Do your existential duty to Stop the War.

Don't expect the world to hold your hand everytime your president has problems with telling right from wrong. hell i don't expect other countries to remove tony blair for me i and others will do it at the next election. This is the direction that your fellow citizens wants to take it is up to you to sort them out not us.

Re:Business As Usual? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829171)

They call the Iraqi terrorists, then what is the US! When they have killed over 100.000 civilians! Saddam wouldn't have been able to do so much damage if he ruled for several lifetimes... Look beyond the propaganda machine and maybe you'll understand that you're a citizen in a country responsible for mass murder.

Yes! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828841)

I hope they fine the GNAA $1 billion dollars!

I wonder who? (-1, Flamebait)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828854)

Would have made a better president for e-privacy and rights issues?

mmmmm.

Dear FCC,

Hahaha I don't live in the US. So, erm it'll probably be another 5 years before you pwn my computert too...

You know, the FCC are just tired of looking for thier own w4r3z and M$ paid them to copy all the l33t war3z off everyones computers so they can continue developing longhorn, and make sure all the wav files work etc etc.

Seriously, this is stupid, although, it is more like trying to get computer repair men to pay for a tv repair license, than big brother controlling our every move.

Actually it is to stop us all having freedom of hardware and software too... :-(

Proud not to be American (or is that lucky?) :-)

FCC: Get the Hell Out (4, Insightful)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828858)

If there is one industry that does not need regulated, it's the computer industry. We are doing fine without you. Kind of makes you wonder what the state of radio, telecommunications, etc... would be without the FCC locking us into paradigms that are literally older than most of the people reading this message.

Get the hell out FCC we don't want or need your help.

-- the entire computer industry

Re:FCC: Get the Hell Out (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829040)

Damn I can't believe I am going to say this.

MSFT?? Hell even IBM there are more monopolies in the computer industry than ANY other industry. Why becuase a select few force control on the rest.

The simple solution would of been the break up of Microsoft a few years ago. two-three companies would of created compition and add features and security by NOW. Unlike the Current XP SP2 which has holes in it, and it's the most secure version of windows to date.

Now do i want to see FCC trying to control the hardware industry? not really as there is lots of competition there and low prices as a result. The software industry is dominated by one company that tries to control everything. The only two saving idea's is that they screw up eveything they don't control, and once they control an area they stop workig on it.

Re:FCC: Get the Hell Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829073)

"Unlike the Current XP SP2 which has holes in it, and it's the most secure version of windows to date"

And what would these horribly significant "holes" be exactly?

Or were you just spouting unsupported claims for their dramatic effect?

Re:FCC: Get the Hell Out (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829268)

How would removing the IE department from the Windows department raise competition? I don't think two subsidiary Microsoft companies which specialise in seperate technologies would compete. That's just ridiculous.

Anyway, Microsoft isn't where it is because it produces crap software, it's successful because people can do lots of stuff with that crap software, more than the competition. Don't blame microsoft for them running unchallenged.

voIP (5, Insightful)

snig64 (793215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828863)

another step in regulating voIP may be a driving instrument behind this.

Telecommunications Act of 1934 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829226)

A PDF can be found here http://www.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf Read it and weep.

Eric Idle has a few comments (1, Funny)

Jrod5000 at RPI (229934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828868)

Fuck you very much the FCC, Fuck you very much for fining me, Five thousand bucks a fuck, So I'm really out of luck, That's more than Heidi Fleiss was charging me. So fuck you very much the FCC, For proving that free speech just isn't free. Clear channel's a dear channel, So Howard Stern must go. Attorney General Ashcroft doesn't like strong words and so, He's charging twice as much as all the drugs for Rush Limbaugh, So fuck you all so very much. So fuck you very much dear Mr Bush, For heroically sitting on your toosh. For Halliburton, Enron, all the companies who pale, Let's send them a clear signal and stick Martha straight in jail. She's an uppity rich bitch, And at least she isn't male, So fuck you all so very much. So fuck you Mr Dickhead Cheney too, Fuck you and fuck everything you do, Your pacemaker must be a fake, you haven't got a heart, As far as I'm concerned you're just a pasty faced old fart. And as for Condoleeza, she's an intellectual tart, So fuck you all so very much. So fuck you very much the EPA, For giving all Alaska's oil away, It really is a bummer, When I can't fill my hummer, The ozone's a no-go zone now that Arnold's here to say, "The Nuclear winter games are going to take place in LA," So fuck you all so very much. So what the planet fails, Let's save the great white males! And fuck you all so very much

hate to say it (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828875)

but the FCC is heading right to the crapper. Michael powell needs to resign and let someone else more qualified do the job. if only he was 1/4 the man his father is.

Since when did the the tenth ammendment read... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828885)

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the FCC??!

Re:Since when did the the tenth ammendment read... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828977)

Since when did the Constitution mean anything anymore? The government wipes its collective ass with it every day Congress is in session.

FCC (5, Insightful)

RagingChipmunk (646664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828888)

So if the FCC has regulatory domain over PCs, does that mean they're the ones to contact so i can download Janet's Titty Shot ? If they can regulate the content on Radio, Television, Print and Cable, does that mean they're willing to step up to regulating content on the Internet? Ha! Will I have to get an "Internet User License" like ham/cb hobbyists? Does that mean my TCP/IP driver will require little stickers of FCC compliance like my modem does? Just when I think that the economy is really suffering, and begin to stress about layoffs and outsourcing, I re-assure myself that beuracracy always grows, and so creates a never ending employment trough. I should start studying for my GSA exam.

Re:FCC Radio comms (1)

Meredeth (821492) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828972)

I'd say it would apply if you have wireless broadband only, or if you like to download pretty pictures to your phone. I don't think their mandate would extend to things like a home LAN. The statement is very broad though. i can see expensive litigation over this. Lawyer's love broadly worded laws.

The regulatory power (3, Insightful)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828890)

The regulatory power should mean the power to regulate our equipment so it wouldn't break the infrastructure and other equipment, or jam the spectrum in the case of wireless communication. It shouldn never mean anything more than that. Specifically, it should mean that our modems cannot send high voltage down the line and the prohibition of DOS (a digital equivalent to spectrum jamming) but should never mean which software do we use and how do we use it, provided it does not damage other equipment, and equipment only. In that context we should have nothing to worry about, though of course every regulatory body tends to increase its power way beyond what is reasonable, if it itself isn't regulated as well. What we need are better checks and balances, not more legislation.

Re:The regulatory power (1)

drspliff (652992) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828966)

I'm all for regulation by the FCC, sure there will be flames about 'OMG their tring to take over the world' etc. etc.. But I think it will add aditional reliability to (what it is know as today) the 'intaweb thingie'

Yeah right! Their real reasons will soon become apartent, but for now we can only speculate.

My $0.02

Re:The regulatory power (1)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828985)

Your modem is already forbidden to send high voltages down the wire. It must be FCC certified to be permitted to connect to the phone network.

Hopefully, they just mean to apply the same requirements to WANs. Frankly, I doubt it - it looks like a power grab.

Knowing the FCC - and Bush - it seems likely to me that they're probably going to start proposing impractical and heavy handed "solutions" to problems like botnets. This is probably also another attempt to gain control over VoIP - they seem to want that _very_ badly.

Shame (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828897)

Shame that the head of the FCC doesn't have the same grace, dignity, honour and intelligence as his father.

Re:Shame (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829106)

Because Colin Powell lied more than 1,000 Americans died in Iraq. He sold his integrity for a title. I think I see where Mike gets both his moral compass and business acumen. A courageous man would tell the truth. Maybe I don't deserve it, maybe I can't handle it, but his brothers in arms did. Last I checked The Declaration of Independance didn't asipre to mark the beginging of a nation of children who were lead by lies by men without sufficent courage to speak the truth.

Whatever kind of man Colin Powell might have been, a man who lies to send his brothers in arms and other people's children to die is who he is now.

Bzzzzzzzzzt!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828904)

Oh I'm sorry; the correct answer was "No."

write your senator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828905)

the only way to stop the idiotic FCC is to get your senator to do something about it. it's sad that something as retarded as this would even come up. Let's just forget the damn constitution and bill of rights.

Good (3, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828924)

You should have to take a test and obtain a license to get an IP address, before you can spew into the ether(net), just like for radio. The test should cover things like installing anti-virus, de-worming and spy-catcher software, turning on firewalls and the proper way to deal with attachments from strangers. Especially if you insist on using low quality, consumer grade software like Windows.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829025)

At first I thought, "fuck you, FCC", but you have actually convinced me that this probably wouldn't be a bad thing. It would teach people to use a computer as a complicated piece of engineering, instead of a mere appliance. It shouldn't be very hard of course, but it's not like it needs to be, given the average person's intelligence.

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829039)

In a really sad way, I kinda agree with you. Too many stupid end users out there who need to get their head out of the sand and need to learn these lessons, rather than rely on us techies to fix their computer every time.

Re:Good (-1, Offtopic)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829138)

I don't know how to install anti-virus on my home computer. Is there a Debian AV package?

An incompetent interpretation of the law (3, Interesting)

lenski (96498) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828938)

The FCC has authority over the *transmission* of signals in most wireless frequencies and at some power levels. The FCC has authority over the *transmission* of signals over the phone lines. The FCC has absolutely no, zero, zilch, nada authority over *MY* PC.

Authority over Cable companies, for instance, is also held by local communities.

This same FCC that doesn't bother to even *look* at how broadcasters are misusing their licenses? (to quote an oft-quoted phrase) They can pull my OPEN SOURCE, PRIVATELY OWNED AND OPERATED PC out of my cold dead hands.

Re:An incompetent interpretation of the law (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829117)

The FCC has authority over the *transmission* of signals in most wireless frequencies and at some power levels. The FCC has authority over the *transmission* of signals over the phone lines.

You mean like the ones used to transmit your post?

They can pull my OPEN SOURCE, PRIVATELY OWNED AND OPERATED PC out of my cold dead hands.

They're not after your PC, just the wire plugged into the back of it.

KFG

The wrong Powell... (2, Interesting)

beaststwo (806402) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828940)

Sounds like the wrong member of the Powell family resigned.

And this is the party that claims to get Government off the people's backs? The founding fathers' dust would roll over in their graves, except the FCC probably claims juridiction over that as well!

We have two options (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828948)

1. Ignore the whole thing and wait for FCC to really do something. 2. Everybody writes a letter to FCC and requests that they provide you with sufficient information about what to do. Even though alternative 1 would be the most likely, alternative 2 will be more fun, just to see FCC unable to do anything due to the workload it creates to handle all mails. :-)

can you say greed (1)

suezz (804747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828963)

this is all about greed. If I pay for hdtv and I want to record something shouldn't I be able to and play it as many times as I want and as long as I want - just as long as I am not selling it or trying to profit from it. And can't I view with my friends that aren't as fortunate to have HDTV. After all they are my friends. I pay for hdtv so I can recieve the signal and so once I have it received it isn't mine to do with as I please. Isn't that why I am paying for it? As long as I am not trying to sell it or make a profit I should be able to keep a copy of it on cd as long as I live. I guess not though - they want us to pay for it everytime I want to watch it. - this is nothing but pure greed plain and simple.

Jus wanna get make this clear (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828973)

Ok so i RTFBrief & RTFBlog and i jus wanna make sure i understand, the only reason the FCC claimed my TV and possibly computer was so as to not allow ppl to record shows watched on TV? This is merely to justify their implementation of the Broadcast Flag system? So the FCC defered to corporations that want their programming watched only when they want to broadcast it? Well hasnt this been happening for years with VCRs? Why didnt they do something about that? Or is just because we have the technology to do it now, and filesharing is such a problem? Well in a world where everything has a price, this is what happens. Nothing is free any more folks, accept it and change the channel because you wont get to see this program every again, unless the 5:00am slot is looking a little bland tomorrow.

So that's where Palladium is going to come from! (5, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828978)

Jan, 25th 2005:

The FCC announces that all computer equipment sold in the USA must now incorporate CCC (Complete Control over Content) technology.

CCC is, by the most incredible coincidence, almost equivalent to Microsoft/Intel Palladium specifications.

Early Feb. 2005:

Dell, IBM, HPaq and most other computer manufacturers quickly announce their support for the initative and the tech industry goes into an orgy of upgrading. All machines not incorporating CCC are then outlawed and/or barred from connecting to the Internet.

Dec. 2005:

FCC, in its capacity as Internet regulators, introduces the "Great Homeland Firewall", which bars USA citizens from connecting to foreign sites deeemed dangerous and/or terrorist. Some people note that Democratic blogs also appear to be rejected by the FCC Firewall.

Liberal cries about "freedom of the press" and "right of information" are promptly dismissed by Fox News and Republican lawmakers as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic".

In 2008, after successfully repelling the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, President George W Bush is triumphantly re-elected as President for a 3rd term.

Re:So that's where Palladium is going to come from (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829068)

OT, but admittedly, the 22nd amendment is flawed. True that fresh blood in the Whitehouse is a good idea, it's a bad idea to have Presidents who are only focused on an 8 year term.

Dubya doesn't care about the budget defecits because he's not going to have to be the one to deal with them down the road. Kinda sad, but there's a disincentive to be long term focused.

IMHO, the 22nd amendment should be repealed.

Re:So that's where Palladium is going to come from (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829219)

This is supposedly why checks and balances exist. The president may forget the long term issues maybe, but congress shouldn't.

Re:So that's where Palladium is going to come from (0, Offtopic)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829241)

Dubya doesn't care about the budget defecits because he's not going to have to be the one to deal with them down the road. Kinda sad, but there's a disincentive to be long term focused.

Hell, he didn't care about it four years ago. Too busy doing whatever the hell he does.

Re:So that's where Palladium is going to come from (1)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829223)

Your theory only works if people take it up the butt without fighting back.

You're forgetting about the Apathy factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829278)

The majority of people seem to be quite happy to bend over and take it up the ass, just as long as it means they don't have to engage their grey matter. :o/

Anyone remember the "Patriot" Acts?

Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10828983)

OK, who are all the assholes that voted for Bush? This is only the start, folks. We were all given the chance to change America, yet that chance wasn't taken. Welcome to the Powell age.

Howard's right...

Misleading Title (5, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828984)

"FCC Claims Regulatory Power Over Home Computers"? By extension, yes, but the Ars Technica piece describes this as being mostly in the context of the broadcast flag on HDTV transmissions.

And, whether we like it or not, the Federal Communications Commission does have regulatory authority over interstate communications. It was set up specifically to regulate interstate communications.

The question (and the lawsuit) is, does this authority extend to what is done with a broadcast after it has been transmitted and received?

What are you talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829143)

Interstate communications?

Are you sayign they have not jurisdiction over intrastate communications?

I.e. if I set up a radio transmitter that doesn't got across state lines, then they have no say?

everything at its extreme becomes its own opposite (2, Insightful)

kardar (636122) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828993)

Or the Eastern theory of extreme yin becoming yang, extreme yang becoming yin. It's hard to understand.

More is sometimes less, less is sometimes more. The danger is that by trying to be more, agencies like the FCC end up having their authority weakened. People will not take their policies, and other policies seriously. The more they do to try to crack down, the less effective they become. This is a proven fact, at least in theory.

An oldie but a goodie (4, Insightful)

Meredeth (821492) | more than 9 years ago | (#10828994)

I guess you'd better buy any hdtv equipment at the mid 2005 'non compliance' sale. I always find that early generations of any given new technology are easier to use because they have fewer copyright type restrictions on them.

No more porn before 10 pm? (1)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829004)

So if the FCC has authority over all this stuff, does that mean everyone has to take down their porn during prime time?....

This just means (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829005)

I won't be buying my PC from the US.

And why folk outside the US should care too (3, Insightful)

e6003 (552415) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829012)

Firstly there are already rumblings of a European Broadcast Flag equivalent (despite the fact that unencumbered DTV equipment has been on sale over here for 6 years or more, providing an even more massive hole than the anything-up-to-July-2005 FTC rulemaking). We all know how US media interest-sponsored IP laws tend to get "exported".

More importantly, this affects all of us because of the economies of scale. If unencumbered equipment can't be sold in the US, it will be at least more expensive elsewhere as a massive potential market is cut off. Think of the Taiwanese motherboard industry being forced to produce two models - one DRMd for the US and the other unrestricted for non-US use.

Yes, even as a non-US resident, I care deeply about the foolishness going on in the US. If only I knew what to do about it, besides donate to the EFF...

Re:And why folk outside the US should care too (2, Informative)

Meredeth (821492) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829233)

Yep. And more pointedly, Australia has already agreed to enacting the DMCA as Australian law, in exchange for a free trade agreement. For your sake I hope the EU has enough clout to resist being forced to adhere to all of the conditions of the DMCA. I'm not against the principle of the thing, but there are some sections that make my blood run cold. Anyone who hasn't read it, should read it.

FCC .vs. Orthodontists (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829014)

So, if someone starts receiving radio broadcasts on their braces, is the FCC going to start regulating orthodontia?

More sense? (1)

topical_surficant (819238) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829017)

Wouldn't it make more sense to simply regulate the actual devices responsible for communication, such as modems and ethernet cards? I mean, a computer doesn't necessarily have to be connected to a network, and therefore can't always be subject to FCC regulation.

So what does that mean for internet radio? (1)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829030)

This may be the one that ends up regulating internet radio.

If this is true... (4, Insightful)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829044)

...let's all call the FCC with complaints about viruses/worms/crackers/etc. They should be able to "regulate" it.

So? (2, Interesting)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829079)

I can claim that I own the Empire State Building. Doesn't mean anyone (specifically the courts) will agree with me.

Wake me up if this request is actually granted, then I'll start to worry. Until then, I'll let the courts do their job.

They better not (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829088)

They better not take my good free cable away from me.

I will be pissed if they turn The Shield ino NYPD Blue (which is apperently pushing the limits of broadcast TV).

Constitutional Rights Zones (0)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829105)

What we needs in Bush's US are some Constitutional Rights Zones, sort of like his Free Speech Zones. You know, places set up by the federal government where we could use our guns, use our property in the way we want to, and make unpopular political speeches with impunity.

Yeah, this was both troll AND flamebait, but it still needed to be said!

Resistance is futile (1)

AbsurdProverb (831079) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829114)

Why all the resistance? Don't you realize that control over the home PC will put to screws to terrorists, internet predators, pornographers, evil file sharers, newly criminal spammers, and self-absorded forum trolls? After all this is the people's internet and we must protect the children. We must protect those who do not wish to experience indecency. end sarcasm

Re:Resistance is futile (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829258)

All the things you mention are already 'regulated', ie, are already illegal. No need for the FCC to step into that.

Read Part 15 (1)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829125)

And you will find that they are covered anything that can cause RF is under the FCC rules. This is nothing new. you will see a FCC notice on all electronic devices you buy and it will state it is in part 15 aka Must accept interfernce and Must not cause interfernce.

Scope of Brief . . . (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829126)

The brief discusses the requirement of the broadcast flag in digital television; something Congress implicitly allows. Congress gave the FCC authority over all interstate radio and wire communication, and gave them sufficient latitude to use its authority. Accept that your computer is bound by FCC regulations which are given tacit support by Congress who has tacit support of the majority (50.1 percent at least) of voting Americans.

The bottom of my laptop has an FCC number. It also has numbers allowing operation in countries I'll probably never visit. Your computer is already regulated.

When briefs are filed in court, they typically focus on one legal issue. This issue appears to involve broadcast flags on Digital TV. Courts are supposed to address only substantive issues the parties are in conflict over.

well yeah that should be obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10829133)

"since most electrical gear states that it will accept harmful interference, from the fcc, and the device will cause no harm to other devices, or something like that, that is why anything electrical that you own can get turned off remotely"

not sure i would agree with the above theory call it, such theory is only a subject of my research and as such i'm unable to talk about it at great length, as i'd not want to appear ignorant

Third Leg of Government (1)

bayers (155001) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829168)

Congress and the regulatory agencies are always stepping over their bounds. That's why we have the courts around to bitch slap them when they do.

But after reading the article, this looks more like the FCC is trying to interpret the law.

Is the brief unrelated? (4, Insightful)

danwiz (538108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829212)

Maybe the brief linked to in the posting was the wrong one.

There is a mention of associated with the overall circuit of messages sent and received but it is just a small quote.

From the PDF brief ...

The issues presented here are:

* Whether the FCC reasonably concluded that the Communications Act provides authority for it to adopt broadcast flag rules.
* Whether the particular rules the Commission adopted were reasonable and supported in the record
* Whether the rules conflict with copyright law.


Although the expansion of FCC authority is of valid concern its neither the topic of, nor addressed in, the brief mentioned.

But ... IANAL

Enforcement of standards (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829242)

If they interpret their 'power over' as having the authority to enforce standards, and to prevent others from stepping all over the infrastructure, then I'm all for it.

Its pretty much been shown that companies, left to their own devices produce a lot of incompatible chaos in their attempt to be the only guy on the block.. And the private citizen does not wield enough power to prevent it..

not that I'm 'pro government', but sometimes a 3rd party is needed to keep things from getting out of hand..

So Long Media PC (1)

webzombie (262030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10829270)

Just wait until Microsoft finds out that all these broadcast flags will render their Media PCs functionally useless.

They will spring from Redmond by the thousands screaming broadcast flags are stifling innovation.

Maybe. Just maybe their monopoly might make a difference. But then again if they get a cut of the fee broadcasters will somehow try and extract for viewers for "recording" their favouriate televsion show instead of buying them on DVD at Best Buy then you all screwed!

And they call me a priate for sharing music!

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