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FCC moves forward on net neutrality rule-making in unanimous vote

With a unanimous vote to move forward on a rule-making process for how the federal government will police access to the Internet, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski won a victory on his first major policy issue at the agency.

The chairman, picked by President Obama, said, "The heart of the problem is that, taken together, we face a dangerous combination of an uncertain legal framework with ongoing as well as emerging challenges to a free and open Internet."

Republican Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker voted in favor of the proposal but said they dissented on "facts" of the proposal. They said their votes are for the beginning of a data-gathering process, which should last at least 120 days. They did not say whether they will vote in favor of ultimate rules and have disagreed that the Internet appears to need more regulation.

"Today we do disagree on substance. I do not agree with the majority’s view that the Internet is showing breaks and cracks and that the government ... needs to fix it," McDowell said. "Nonetheless it is important to remember that the commission is starting a process, not ending one."

He also said that in considering such rules, the FCC needs to weigh whether the policy should apply to a broader array of companies that feed into the Web, instead of just access providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Sprint Nextel. The FCC doesn't have jurisdiction over the Internet but is the watchdog agency over communications companies that allow consumers and business to get onto the Web -- the so-called onramps to the Internet.

When asked about his views on expanding regulation to include Web content firms like Google, Amazon, and Skype, Genachowski said the agency should be cautious.

"This whole proceeding has always been about Internet access providers," Genachowski said in a press briefing after the meeting. "We should be cautious before tackling issues of onramp providers to the Internet itself."

"The government's role in preserving openness is important but also modest," Genachowski said during remarks at the meeting. "I have to be clear that government is should not be in the business of running or regulating the Internet."

The most contentious details will be on precise definitions for how carriers can "reasonably" manage traffic on their networks. There will also be much debate on what managed services, such as telemedicine and some video applications, should fall under final rules.

Genachowski said the rules would apply across all platforms of broadband access, including mobile Internet -- and that the agency will consider technical questions take into account the concerns by wireless providers. Wireless companies say their networks have capacity issues not felt by fixed-line broadband providers like cable and fiber operators.

By Cecilia Kang  |  October 22, 2009; 11:35 AM ET
 
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Comments

Chairman Mao would have loved this idea for government to regulate with Obama's friends in charge. China regulates, Cuba regulates, Iran regulates so why not Obama and Anita Dunn. Fox News beware. Freedom of Speech and Press beware. More?

The chairman was Harvard Law Review under Obama. For the Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign, Genachowski was Chairman of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications policy working group that created the Obama Technology and Innovation Plan. He also advised and guided the Obama campaign’s innovative use of technology and the Internet for grassroots engagement and participation.

He co-led the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Group for president-elect Barack Obama's presidential transition team. On January 12, 2009, several news outlets reported that Genachowski would be President-Elect Obama's choice to head the Federal Communications Commission as Chairman. This was confirmed by a press release on March 3, 2009.

Posted by: mharwick | October 22, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The Federal Government Is Our Friend. The Federal Government Is Our Friend. The Federal Government Is Our Friend.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | October 22, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Where is the outcry from liberals? Weren't they the ones who attacked Bush when he wanted to monitor potential threats on the internet as part of the Homeland Security debate? The hypocrisy is wide-spread and deep in this administration...and posing a treat to national security. Everywhere you look there's one of Obama's hand-picked "czars" or "progressive" operatives conducting business outside any controls except his. Rail against Bush/Cheney all you want - and mistakes were made. This is what you get when inexperienced idealogues are at the wheel. God save us.

Posted by: ddnfla | October 22, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Net neutrality is a rule that your ISP cannot censor, block, or slow your Internet content.

It's a protection against censorship.

In what alternate universe is that "controlling Internet content?"

I've been a techie for well over two decades - the disconnect between what this rule DOES, and what people are afraid of, is truly amazing to me.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 22, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

For anyone interested in an academic study of what net neutrality could mean for consumers, and not rhetoric gleaned from talk show hosts, I recommend this study from the University of Florida:

http://news.ufl.edu/2007/03/07/net-neutrality/

'“The conventional wisdom is that Internet service providers would have greater incentive to expand their service capabilities if they were allowed to charge,” said Kenneth Cheng, a professor in UF’s department of decision and information sciences. Cheng and his co-authors are scheduled to present the findings at the International Conference on Information, Technology and Management in New Delhi, India, next week. “That was completely the opposite of what we found.”

The research discovered that cable and telephone companies providing broadband to deliver the content of companies such as Google and Yahoo! are more likely to expand their infrastructure — resulting in quicker loading and response in a customer’s personal computer — if they don’t charge these companies for preferential treatment, Cheng said."

Regulation can mean censorship. It can also mean something like speed limits. This is more like speed limits. Net neutraility means "hands off, Comcast/Cox/TW" not, "hands on Mr. Obama". People study this for a living. Trust them, not the talking heads.

Posted by: aholtwilliams | October 22, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you even read into Net Neutrality at all? No one is trying to control the internet.

Net Neutrality is about forcing ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to not slow down traffic based on a specific protocol (ie. bittorrent). It keeps greedy companies like Comcast from slowing down your internet connection because you are downloading too much.

Posted by: HokiePokie | October 22, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't follow what everyone is so upset about. What Net Neutrality does is require internet service providers to keep the network neutral to all content. It is about preventing censorship by creating and enforcing rules of the road. It is about more freedom for individuals, not less. It doesn't allow this administration or any other to "monitor" the Internet.

You want to protect your beloved FoxNews? On the Internet, Net Neutrality is how you do it. People have this exactly, precisely backwards.

Posted by: awhalen71 | October 22, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

This article is very badly written. Either the reporter doesn't understand what net neutrality is or her 'research' is limited to reading news releases from the big telecoms.

Net neutrality means that the government does not allow Internet access providers to filter, block, or censor content. This article would have the casual reader believe that it is just the opposite.

Large telecoms want to ration broadband consumption so that they can provide Internet access at their current or higher rates, but at a lower operating cost to them. In essence, they want to return to the old days of metered access. Consider this example: suppose that your telecom wanted to sell you "unlimited" long distance, but limited individual calls to ten minutes in duration and blocked calls to certain numbers altogether. That is the equivalent what the net neutrality rule is intended to prohibit.

At best this is bad for the consumer and at worst it is corporate-imposed censorship.

Net content blocking: bad. Net neutrality: good. You got that now, Ms. Kang?

Posted by: hisroc | October 22, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see the patriot act bashing tree huggers taking Obama to task on this one. Or may be not.

Posted by: NoWeCant | October 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Kang was either just introduced to this issue ten minutes before deadline, or she also works for a cable company. Her description of net neutrality (included in the headline, so I assume it's about that?) as "policing the internet" is about as misleading as one can get.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 22, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"FCC votes in favor of crafting rules to let the government oversee access to the Internet................"

The NAZI Party (old Dem party) is consolidating their power and taking charge of all information.

And their being assisted by their liberal lapwolves in our MSM wolfpack press

Posted by: allenridge | October 22, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

We are in a world of trouble and liberals cannot see it.

Posted by: thelaw1 | October 22, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"The heart of the problem is that, taken together, we face a dangerous combination of an uncertain legal framework with ongoing as well as emerging challenges to a free and open Internet."

Does he understand what a mouthful of menaingless mush this is? Does he have any specifics? Any details? I DO NOT BELIEVE a word of this. Go away FCC!

Posted by: qball43 | October 22, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The new improved Washington Post: We distort, you decide.

Posted by: branfo4 | October 22, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that liberals would blindly go along with measures to control free speech! Of course, the same one have nothing to say about a war raging in Afghanistan. Instead, they mindlessly follow their leader in any direction that he points out. As the leader desires power, the followers help him acquire it. Now, he desires it all- ALL the media channels. Surely, this will make the cult's propaganda more effective. Of course, this translates into- MORE POWER!

Liberals/Democrats are to POWER what they claim the other side is to profits. Of course, unlimited power corrupts. This poses a danger for all Americans.

Posted by: nosam32 | October 22, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Net neutrality means that the company delivering service cannot monitor the content of your message. Is that a problem for the right wing? If the government can protect you from the depredations of someone, anyone, shouldn't they? If there is some alternative means of protecting me from the ISP's, please articulate it. Don't just whine. It's not very flattering.

Posted by: FWPerkins | October 22, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

nosam32 and the rest of you "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" types: may I suggest that you actually read the other comments before you go off half-cocked with a totally uninformed posting?

Posted by: hisroc | October 22, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

And I'm sure Obama will appoint a good, card-carrying Marxist Czar to oversee what you read on the internet.

Posted by: pgr88 | October 22, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

VirginiaGal2 wrote:

"Net neutrality is a rule that your ISP cannot censor, block, or slow your Internet content.

It's a protection against censorship.

In what alternate universe is that "controlling Internet content?"

I've been a techie for well over two decades - the disconnect between what this rule DOES, and what people are afraid of, is truly amazing to me".
_________________________________________

Take off your blinders. If only it was that simple. This needs to be looked at in its comprehensive context - and what this administration is attempting to do. Just listen to the rhetoric: Fair doctrine; Fox News bashing; BHO's email which asked for names of people who opposed his health-care plan, etc., etc.

The list of government intervention is just way too long, and is growing daily.

Ye have way too much faith in government...

Posted by: wearedoomed1 | October 22, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Net Neutrality means that web service providers can't provide preferences to some types of web content over others -- just like phone companies can't preference some types of telephone content over others.

Companies currently have the technology to block content, or make certain content reach users faster or slower, or charge different rates for different content. They would love to charge different rates and give preferences to content that they themselves generate. Net Neutrality requires them to treat all content equally and let web users decide what they will and will not access.

Unless government is going to give every little start up that wants to the right to lay down fiber optic cables along the streets, and erect cell towers and launch their own satellites, then it is only fair that the handful of companies that have been granted the right to do so and essentially given state-sanctioned monopoly power thus be required to provide open access over their internet connections.

Posted by: orftc | October 22, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

wearedoomed1,

And you have way too much faith in Verizon and Comcast.

BTW, not that you want to be dissuaded by the facts, but the entire net neutrality issue began back in the Bush 43 administration with complaints to the FCC. High content sites like Yahoo were being told by ISPs that they had to pay premium charges to have their content accessible or their sites would be filtered (slower access) or blocked completely.

Posted by: hisroc | October 22, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the nonsense that so-called "conservatives" are brainwashed into these days. Sometimes the government is needed to protect our rights as citizens, workers, and consumers. That's what the constitution is all about guys. The establishment of fair government for the people and by the people. We the people want fair access to the internet. We are happy to have steps taken by the current government to protect that right. How some of you go from there to NAZIs and Chairman Mao is too far-fetched to fathom. Based on your reasoning, we shouldn't establish an army or police force either, because any government action is a sign of coming fascism or tyrannical communism.

Posted by: olavsmith | October 22, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

PS -- It's my understanding that the NRA, Christian Coalition, Parents Television Council and many other traditionally conservative organizations support Net Neutrality. They don't want the telecom giants censoring their content any more than those on the left do.

This isn't a partisan, left-right issue. It is an up-down, money-hungry telcom giant vs. everyone else issue.

Posted by: orftc | October 22, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I think conservatives have just adopted the position that regardless of what they read or hear, they will disregard the facts and think anything the administration does is dead wrong. And to justify it, they will point to the liberals bashing Bush in what they perceive to be a similar fashion.

Liberals certainly had their beef with the last administration, but most were fact based and revolved around different philosophies on how to govern. For instance, liberals didn't like the fact we tortured people, didn't like the tax cuts aimed at the richest 1%, didn't like the complete lack of effort/competency to help New Orleans post Katrina, etc. One may agree or disagree with each position, and that's healthy and protected by our constitution. But once an argument is made with complete disregard to actual facts, it becomes meaningless and self defeating.

We saw this with "death panels" and it continues on every issue. Now, some how stopping ISPs from limiting speed and access to certain sites is considered an outrageous censorship by Big Brother? Add insult to injury, it's being mentioned in the same sentence as the Patriot act? Regardless of the one's position on the Patriot Act, that was landmark legislation. Net Neutrality, while quality legislation, isn't in the same league. We need to scale down the hyperbole and bring reason back into our conversations.

I will get off my soapbox.

Posted by: matt200091 | October 22, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It's astounding how all these people howling about control of the internet by a freely elected government (which is not what these rules are about) are stunningly complacent when it comes to control of the internet by unelected corporations.

Posted by: treetopflyer | October 22, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

And the 1st Amendment dies a little more.

Posted by: KBlit | October 22, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

It is so amazing that some on here do not even understand what "Net Neutrality" really means. They have got it backwards and place it in the censor policy. Too many people listen to the main stream news and the AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, NBC, Fox and all other big companies who don't want "Net Neutrality" to become the norm. Don't believe the news media research it for yourself and come back with an informed decision with the facts. If you look up "Neutrality" it means neutral for both sides this means that the big firms can not control content, speeds or what you see or don't see over your internet connection. This means you can pick any VOIP on any ISP connection not just the one for that ISP. Read first then make a comment otherwise stay and home and bury your head in the sand. It is so amazing that some on here do not even understand what "Net Neutrality" really means. They have got it backwards and place it in the censor policy. Too many people listen to the main stream news and the AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, NBC, Fox and all other big companies who don't want "Net Neutrality" to become the norm. Don't believe the news media research it for yourself and come back with an informed decision with the facts. If you look up "Neutrality" it means neutral for both sides this means that the big firms can not control content, speeds or what you see or don't see over your internet connection. This means you can pick any VOIP on any ISP connection not just the one for that ISP. Read first then make a comment otherwise stay and home and bury your head in the sand.

Posted by: Concerned5 | October 22, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The intellectually disingenuous assertion by those who wish to control, and limit access to the Internet for their own profit that all regulation is bad online is just laughable.

We need an Internet free of limitations for the USING PUBLIC, and free of taxes. That is how business grows online.

What we don't need is an Internet free of limitations for those who seek to profit from controlling our access to it.

Posted by: onestring | October 22, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

If Net Neutrality is yet another example of government's hand over-reaching, then call me a commie, 'cause this is a great idea and the government has waited too long to do it.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | October 22, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

According to wikipedia, "A neutral broadband network is one that is free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as one where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams."

Supporting network neutrality preserves first amendment rights and ensures all organizations have equal access to electronic bandwidth.

The opposite of a neutral network is one in which those that own the fiber cables and switching stations (i.e. Time Warner, AT&T, even Google) can control, limit, or charge for data moving over a network. In this scheme, high traffic sites (like Amazon) could be charged for our access to them. To stay in business, they would have to pass these costs along to the consumer. In a worst-case scenario, firms that owns the fiber could block certain sites to prevent competition. Imagine if AT&T could block Vonage or charge Vonage so so much that they cease to be competitive?

After seeing the behavior of banks and industry in the wake of the economic downturn and bailouts, we are naive to think that telecommunication firms would behave in way that protects the interests of individuals or the public good. Given the opportunity they will rob us blind, just like any other business entity that is driven by a need to maximize profits.

Posted by: desertdog1 | October 22, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Is there anything the government won't be running by the time Obama leaves office OR perhaps he doesn't intend to ever be leave? Let's see, how long has the famous dictator of Cuba been around?

Posted by: ReneesOpinion | October 22, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could go back to 2000 and take away my write-in vote for J. McCain. He has now proven beyond any doubt that he's another bought-and-paid for shill. Shame, shame on me for not seeing through him.

Posted by: public-washingtonpost-com | October 22, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, if you like the internet the way it is, you really should be on the FCC's side here. If you're cool with access to Google being slower than access to Yahoo because Verizon cut a deal with Microsoft (for its own profit, not yours), then by all means, keep throwing eggs at the FCC.

Net neutrality is a bid to keep backbone bandwidth out of the hands of corporate interests. It should be a no brainer, unless you're a large service provider who stands to make billions by simply erecting toll booths where there were none before. It's both hilarious and sad to hear AT&T, Level3, and all of the other tier 1s talk about how the government is trying to take over the internet. What they really mean is 'hey, no fair, we were going to take over the internet first!'

Posted by: ponkey | October 22, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

All the net-neutrality advocates are missing the point. Preventing the giant ISPs from double-dipping (collecting $$$ at both ends)--that is clearly un-American, and probably a socialist conspiracy. The FCC is not listening to the people, who want to be charged twice to view content, not just once!

Free Verizon! Free AT&T! Free Comcast! Free the oppressed telecom lobbyists! Bring back Colin Powell's son (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Verizon Corporation)!

Posted by: bucky_katt | October 22, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Of course, right wingers see the words government and internet and assume Obama wants to socialize the internet or something. If you read the article the Chairman clearly states he is not trying to get into regulating content. Net NEUTRALITY, means just that, internet service should be neutral and not censored by government OR corporate interests.

This is especially important considering how conglomerated media companies have become. Timer Warner, for example, is both a service provider and a content producer. If net neutrality, a principle which has existed since the beginning of the internet (indeed it first came up with the telegraph networks), is not enforced, Time Warner Cable could give preferred loading speeds to content (saying streaming video) produced by Time Warner, while slowing down speeds for content from competitors, like say Viacom.

And on the internet, the power to slow is the power to kill. Slow speeds will quickly turn of consumers, and if they are slow enough can make products like streaming video almost impossible to use (try watching Youtube on an old Dial-up connection).

Net neutrality is about keeping the internet free from such censorship and control on the part of your service provider. That is a good role for government. And if Obama's FCC tries to go beyond that role, progessives, libertarians, and other net root activists will be the first to call the out.

Posted by: siniod | October 22, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Net neutrality prevents the internet companies, like AT&T, from blocking competing technologies that cut into their profit margins, like Skype.

Say what you will about the mission at Guantanamo Bay, but the servicemembers who are assigned to the base are all patriotic, dedicated Americans who are getting screwed by the lack of network neutrality regulations.

The one phone company, SCSI, inc. is also the primary provider of internet services. This company also blocks all forms of VOIP tech such as Skype and Vonage. This is strictly done to protect their long distance rates of 9.5 cents a minute. Phone bills for service members who have been assigned away from their spouses and children often run into the hundreds of dollars a month. If for some reason you don't think that sounds too bad, then please look up what the basic pay is for our military.
And SCSI Inc has policies in place that say if you are caught using VOIP technologies, they have the ability to completely cancel your account, utterly severing your access to the real world.

THIS is the kind of anti-competitive abuse that network neutrality seeks to prevent.

Posted by: nullconnect | October 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Now Obama will be able to block access to Fox News

Posted by: pkhenry | October 22, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama grew up with the benefit of all the amazing freedoms America has to offer (living in Hawaii, doing tons of recreational drugs without consequence, going to top schools, making millions in the free market), but wanted to "Change" it all anyway. Therefore it's not surprising that he and the Democrats would look at the astonishingly successful Internet and decide it also needs to be "fixed." In a time when even casual disagreement with his Administration means that someone is ipso facto racist, it's not too hard to imagine that what was once a freewheeling marketplace of ideas might quickly transform into a tedious gridlock of politically correct propaganda masquerading as news and blasted into cyberspace by the few "real" news organizations approved of by the White House. Remember how quickly Google and other supposedly enlightened, good companies caved when China demanded that they actually help censor the Chinese people or face losing a lot of money. Google's rationale -- and I am not kidding -- was that giving the Chinese people "some" information was better than nothing. If the "some" information you give out is only the government's approved line, is that really a net positive? Do you really think those companies will stand up for the First Amendment or other noble but esoteric concepts in defense of unpopular viewpoints when faced with the risk of heavy fines and public attack by Obama? Of course not. "Net Neutrality" as a techie IT concept is well-meaning, but in practice is just another government euphemism actually meaning precisely the opposite.

Posted by: zippyspeed | October 22, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm still really amazed at the misunderstandings here.

The Internet was built, and became successful, under net neutrality, which has until recently been the de facto rule.

Net neutrality was weakened in the early 2000's, and there has been a significant push to reinstitute it ever since - coming from civil libertarians and technically savvy people, not from "liberals and socialists."

Net neutrality simply means that your ISP cannot censor your news, web browing, or the applications you use on the Internet.

NET NEUTRALITY DOES NOT PERMIT THE GOVERNMENT TO CENSOR YOUR NEWS.

How a rule to prevent ANYONE from censoring can be misunderstood as a rule allowing the government to do escapes me.

Net neutrality is essentially the First Amendment for the Internet.

That isn't a techie IT concept - it is what it is.

What I'm seeing here is akin to someone looking at a box of talcum powder and announcing it's a deadly weapon. It's almost difficult to figure out how refute it because it's so ridiculous.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 22, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

It is very clear that the 'fear mongers' are at work once again.

Obviously, many readers of this article have not read the proposed rules nor do not have any understanding of what Net Neutrality is really all about.

Once again the 'cable guys' are not telling the truth. And their followers have been duped and perpetuate this false information.

Posted by: hfaulk01 | October 22, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@zippyspeed @pkhenry

Do you understand what "net neutrality" means?

It means that the Verizons, Comcasts, and TWs of the world cannot limit your bandwidth based on what you download, institute bandwidth caps, keeping you from using certain software on the net, censor websites, et al.

It has nothing to do with censorship and everything to do with freedom of speech and not screwing over the customers. If you want to pay twice as much as you are for the Interwebs with half the bandwidth, be my guest.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | October 22, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Also, as an aside, the Internet was created by colleges and the government. Once it was released to the public, it was meant to be open to anyone.

They also allowed ISPs to form (to privatize the thing a bit) to sell access to customers to get on. It was not meant to be owned by anyone, and that's what this regulation is supposed to enforce.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | October 22, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

If Obama managed to stop an asteroid from vaporizing us, you right-wingers would be shrieking about how he blocked your easy access to space-rocks.

You Obama-derangement-syndrome-sufferers don't give even one damn about your country. All you care about is bad-mouthing the President. And you don't even have the decency to criticize him about real things. Instead, you just use whatever Fox "News" pulls out of its ass.

Posted by: edta | October 22, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

@ ddnfla...

"Where is the outcry from liberals? Weren't they the ones who attacked Bush when he wanted to monitor potential threats on the internet as part of the Homeland Security debate?"

First, you are comparing Obama to Heinrich Himmler or Frankenstein! Just look and count the absues that bush/cheney executed in the past 8 yrs doofiss! You neo-cons will never give up and do not know how to read and learn... you just want to bash at a President and highly qualified executive branch appointees... that are trying to better the lives of Americans... unlike bush/cheney DESTROYED our economy, constitution and world peace! So just STFU with your right-wing b.s. wanna-be so called christian values and opinions. Because no one is listening to you egg-heads anymore!


The hypocrisy is wide-spread and deep in this administration...and posing a treat to national security. Everywhere you look there's one of Obama's hand-picked "czars" or "progressive" operatives conducting business outside any controls except his. Rail against Bush/Cheney all you want - and mistakes were made. This is what you get when inexperienced idealogues are at the wheel. God save us.

Posted by: darbyohara | October 23, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Anyone, I've yet to think of a reason why "liberals" would object to net neutrality.

Net neutrality, in major part, is the First Amendment for the Internet. This is the first time in our history where corporations are really in a position to significantly destroy freedom of speech.

Net neutrality protects free speech against censorship and blocking.

In fact, the ACLU (huge free speech advocates) is in favor of net neutrality as an essential protection to free speech in the modern age.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 23, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

The article above is simply incorrect. The vote was not unanimous; two of the five commissioners dissented from the substance of the decision. Again, Washington Post reporter Cecilia Kang misstates and misrepresents the facts so as to support the agenda of Google, whose advertisements appear on this page.

Oh, and VirginiaGal2 (Is this also Cecilia? Or a representative of Google?) likewise makes false statements in the comments above. The First Amendment applies only to government activities, not to the activities of private entities such as ISPs. So, "network neutrality" regulation is not the "First Amendment for the Internet;" it is regulation of speech on privately owned networks. And it doesn't protect against censorship and blocking; it only prevents ISPs from doing certain things. Under the proposed regulations, Google can still effectively block most people from finding a site by banning it from its search engines.

The ACLU remark above is argumentum ad hominem. The ACLU also supported overturning such things as Washington's gun law. Was that a good thing?

Posted by: squirma | October 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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