So much awesome. Everyone should read his statement.
President Obama personally wrote the tweet to his statement.
3.9 million people have commented, and President Obama’s is a first among equals.
I earlier wrote a piece in Slate about Obama’s lack of comment, and then wrote that Obama clearly seemed to be in favor of strong net neutrality on Title II. Turns out he has now made himself crystal clear.
Question asked: “Consumer broadband” means Obama opposed the latest FCC “hybrid.” It’s real Title II, not some wishy washy compromise with the cable and phone giants who’ve been blitzing the FCC.
I published an article today in Slate explaining why the FCC’s most recent apparent direction on net neutrality will fail in court and hurt the open Internet.
I’m not alone. So far, there has been a lot of public opposition to the FCC’s latest trial balloon. The proposals are based partly on an idea put forward earlier in the year, so there has been a lot of commentary on it.
Tech companies have already come out.
A major city.
Digital rights groups, consumer groups, activists are opposed.
A well-known net neutrality legal expert.
The carriers and their vendors don’t like it either. So the FCC’s apparent plan of appeasing the carriers–with a rule that’ll get struck down in court instead of one resting on straight-forward Title II–doesn’t seem to be working.
Mozilla and Tim Wu, which initially proposed very different variants of the idea, believe straight-forward Title II is better.
Members of the House
Mayors and States, etc.
Tech Companies & Startups Across Economy
Telco and Cable Companies
Public Interest Organizations
The following would support the FCC if it pursued Title II.
The incident of celebrity photos being leaked on 4chan has everything to make it a fascinating law school exam question, a sociological novel, or a Supermarket tabloid–all wrapped in one.
Let’s begin with the Supermarket tabloid.
And let’s turn to the sociological novel.
Then there’s the law school exam. We have interesting questions of:
If you talk to lawyers at the web companies, they’ll be quick to say there are 10 other hard questions they have to answer every day; this is just the tip of the iceberg. I just published an article in the Harvard Law Review about free expression on Internet platforms like Twitter and I’m sometimes asked my thoughts when Twitter bans photos or videos (LA Times, Fox Business, etc.) Since Twitter is suspending accounts for sharing Jennifer Lawrence’s
leaked stolen photos, I might get questions, but the questions (above) will be more interesting than the answers I’d give.
And there are also security engineering and personal security-practices exams in here too, but I’m a lawyer and will leave that to technologists.
Looks like Title II, the only authority capable of supporting real net neutrality rules after a court decision in January, is now politically feasible. For months, opponents of Title II suggested that Congress would destroy the FCC if it chose the Title II path. One skeptic of strong net neutrality rules wrote: “Republicans and pro-telco Democrats in Congress will grind the FCC to a standstill, starve its budget, and do everything in their power to inflict permanent harm on the agency.” Even the FCC Chairman apparently mentioned politics as a reason against Title II.
Since then, over a dozen Senators and dozens of Congressmen (and dozens of companies, investors, and trade associations) have come out strongly for Title II.
And the Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid, has sent a letter saying that if the FCC does the right thing and stands up a rule under Title II, the Majority Leader would lead the fight to defend the rule.
That’s a far cry from where we were months ago, when one could plausibly claim that the FCC would successfully be defunded and crippled for adopting real net neutrality. In fact, the political arguments were, effectively, that of course the House (controlled by Republicans) would make the FCC Chairman’s life difficult no matter what. Unless the Senate has the Chairman’s back, he couldn’t do anything. That means the Chairman needed to know if Senate Democrats would support him if he pursued Title II and this letter answers that question. Yes.
Kudos to Senator Reid. This is a game changer. It allows us to argue on the merits, rather than have the FCC hide behind their political fears.
Senate Leader Harry Reid Pledges to Support Open-Internet Rules
2014-07-29 21:17:28.128 GMT
By Todd Shields
July 29 (Bloomberg) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a letter he would support “any Open Internet rules” passed by U.S. regulators, language welcomed by supporters of strict rules opposed by telephone and cable companies.
The pledge gives the Federal Communications Commission political cover to regulate Web services like a utility, rather than relying on less robust rules that allow for so-called fast lanes on the Internet, said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, a Takoma Park, Maryland-based policy group that received the letter dated yesterday.
Reid’s support is “a reason for the FCC to move ahead with the strongest rule possible,” Segal said in an interview. Other groups that are urging the FCC to approve rules requiring Internet service providers to treat Web content equally also received the letter from Reid, Segal said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given the Federal Communications Commission a much-needed political boost as the agency decides whether to move toward a more robust Open Internet policy favored by many net neutrality advocates.
“First, Reid’s letter undercuts the FCC’s argument that Senate Democrats won’t support a Title II order,” Segal said. “Second, it undercuts the FCC’s argument that there won’t be much of a political fight over a 706 order. Reid makes clear that he expects a political fight either way, and with his backing, now the FCC can decide this issue based on the merits, not on the politics.”
Segal makes a good point. The simple fact is that many Republican lawmakers oppose any kind of net neutrality rules whatsoever, whether issued under the authority of Section 706 or Title II. …
“Here’s why this letter matters,” Aaron told Motherboard. “There’s no longer any question that Tom Wheeler has the political support to do the right thing. And the right thing is reclassifying broadband access providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. Senator Reid makes clear that when Wheeler reclassifies that the Senate leadership will have his back.”
From National Journal:
Reid’s letter did not urge the FCC to use its authority under Title II. But he acknowledged that liberal groups are pressing the FCC on the issue and said he would support “any Open Internet rules” the FCC enacts.
David Segal, the executive director of the advocacy group Demand Progress, said the letter shows Senate Democrats will defend the FCC if it uses the Title II option and that Republicans would likely fight the rules no matter what authority the FCC uses.
The FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed to end net neutrality–while claiming to uphold it. Comcast and AT&T unsurprisingly support the Chairman’s proposal, even though they have fought net neutrality for over a decade, tooth and nail. So that should probably tell you all you need to know about the Chairman’s proposal. Oh, also millions of Americans, hundreds of companies, venture investors, churches, and consumer groups and democracy activists stridently oppose the Chairman’s proposal.
Indeed, you can look at the proposal’s language: it authorizes for ISPs “negotiating individualized, differentiated arrangements with similarly situated edge providers.” That is legal-speak for: ISPs congesting their networks then discriminating technically, creating fast lanes and auctioning them off to large companies, while leaving everyone else in a crappy slow lane and killing startup innovation and jobs. (At least, that’s what over 1 million people are saying.) Chairman Wheeler is actually resting his proposal on a part of the law (called Section 706 of the 1996 Telecom Act) that requires giving the ISPs “substantial room for … discrimination in terms” and simply cannot “bar broadband providers from charging” websites for fast lanes. Meaning, you can’t do net neutrality under Section 706–you can only authorize discrimination and new tolls.
Hundreds of companies have made it clear they don’t want a world of individualized deals and slow lanes, but the Chairman’s office seems to insist that people specifically point to Title II (the part of the law that he should use instead of Section 706) as the essential evidence of disagreement with the Chairman proposal. That’s a little odd–it’s very clear, for example, that the Internet Association Comments (an association of the largest tech companies) is deeply opposed to almost every facet of the Chairman’s proposal, from his exempting mobile and interconnection to permitting discrimination and paid prioritization. The Internet Association is just focusing on substance, not jurisdiction, in its comments.
Nonetheless, I have been keeping a list of companies that have filed something in the FCC docket specifically and explicitly calling on the FCC to rely on Title II not Section 706. If you have more, please let me know.