Tagged: FCC Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 10:06 am on February 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FCC,   

    60 days to die: Can net neutrality be saved? 

    60 days to die: Can net neutrality be saved?

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    Yesterday, the apparent demise of the net neutrality became more of a reality. The Federal Communications Commission published the ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Order’ in the federal register yesterday, meaning that on April 23rd, 60 days after publication, the order will go into effect. This will allow internet providers to throttle internet traffic and limit speeds as they see fit.

    So what’s being done to stop the order before April? Well, a coalition of 23 state Attorneys General are suing the FCC claiming that the order itself is illegal. In Congress, net neutrality supporters say they have the votes to have the order blocked, but not enough to override a Presidential veto which is almost a certainty.

    While politicians have a history of turning a deaf ear to their constituents, the unprecedented and overwhelming support of net neutrality is just one of the many examples how tone-deaf the current administration really is. They show that the will of the people means nothing in the face of corporate campaign money.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on December 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FCC,   

    Net Neutrality is dead. Now what? 

    Net Neutrality is dead.  Now what?

    As I’m sure we’re all aware, yesterday the FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality regulations that were put in place by the Obama administration to treat the internet as a utility ensuring equal internet access for all. So what happens now? The internet hasn’t collapsed overnight, but it definitely has the potential to as internet service providers could potentially start charging consumers for fast lane plans to sites like Netflix and Facebook. So is the end really nigh? Not quite.

    A number of state Attorneys General, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, are planning to sue the FCC to reverse the Net Neutrality repeal on the grounds that an investigation into the claims of fraudulent comments in support of Net Neutrality that were submitted to the FCC never happened. The FCC will probably also be sued by consumer watchdog groups and Congressional Democrats will be trying to pass legislation to restore Net Neutrality.

    Unfortunately the courts and Congress are notoriously slow and heavily bureaucratic, so what can the average consumer do? Well, beside waiting around and hoping ISPs don’t start taking advantage of us, you can become active. You can educate your friends and family as to what Net Neutrality is and why it’s important. The most important thing we can do at this point is to vote for politicians who would support the restoration of Net Neutrality. Here’s a list of Congress members who were in support of Net Neutrality. If one of them represents you, you may want to consider voting them out of office when the time comes. In the meantime you can write your representatives in Congress that you support a free and open internet that is available to all and let them know that support for Net Neutrality will not go away any time soon.

     
  • Geebo 10:23 am on December 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FCC,   

    Is there a sliver of hope for Net Neutrality? 

    Is there a sliver of hope for Net Neutrality?

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    With the impending repeal of Net neutrality less than two weeks away there are some people in positions of power who are trying to attempt last-minute solutions on at least delaying the FCC’s imminent execution of a free and open internet. However, is it too little too late?

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking the FCC to delay its December 14th vote on Net Neutrality while Schneiderman’s office investigates the claims that many of the public comments to the FCC in support of repealing Net Neutrality were fraudulent. This is in addition to 27 Senators who have also asked the FCC to delay the vote pending a court ruling on whether or not the Federal Trade Commission has any authority over internet service providers. If the court rules in favor of ISPs there could basically be no protection for consumers from predatory practices by the ISPs.

    Unfortunately, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has publicly stated that he has no intention of delaying the December 14th vote.

    This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai’s plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled. The vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14.

    It’s ironic that Chairman Pai refers to the death of Net Neutrality as internet freedom as it’s anything but. The fact that he uses the word freedom brings to mind the famous quote by 18th Century writer Samuel Johnson. “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Ajit Pai is no patriot. He seems more like an enemy of the American people.

     
  • Geebo 10:31 am on November 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FCC,   

    Is the FCC trying to silence American voices? 

    Is the FCC trying to silence American voices?

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    On this blog, we’ve discussed the FCC’s plan to dismantle the net neutrality policies put in place by the Obama administration to try to keep a free and open internet. Long story short, the Trump administration’s FCC, helmed by Chairman Ajit Pai, will be voting next month to determine the fate of net neutrality in the US, and the vote is expected to scrap the protections that were put in place by the previous administration. This was inevitable considering Pai’s stance on net neutrality since he was made chairman. However, there have been two other recent FCC rulings when you put them all together paint a pretty bleak picture.

    Last week, the FCC loosened a decades long restriction on one company owning more than one TV station in the same market. Locally it could lead to one company’s dominance of the media in that market essentially only providing one voice in news. That effect could happen nationally as well as any one company could own multiple outlets in each market.

    The other ruling from last week was that the FCC voted to roll back Lifeline subsidies that helped provide low-cost internet and phone to low-income families. In that same ruling, the FCC put a cap on service providers offering Lifeline plans. With the internet being an essential tool today for trying to accomplish any kind of basic function, this will make it extremely difficult for low-income families to look for employment or find financial assistance if needed.

    When you look at the three of these rulings together, one can almost see it as small parts of a larger plan to stifle the voices of the average American consumer. Ajit Pai’s plans almost seem like that of a totalitarian regime except offered under the banner of false promises of competition and innovation among broadcasters and internet providers.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FCC,   

    The FCC seems to think we have enough internet 

    The FCC seems to think we have enough internet

    When they’re not busy getting ready to dismantle a free and open internet, the FCC seems to think mobile broadband is enough for most homes. According to Ars Technica, the President Trump-backed FCC is leaning toward declaring mobile broadband speeds as the national standard. As Ars Technica points out, this could mean we may see a slow-down of broadband infrastructure and services being improved in the near future.

    While mobile data is great for when you’re out running errands or using your GPS, it’s neither financially nor practically feasible to think homes can run on mobile internet. Mobile data plans are already expensive and usually cap your data at around 5GB of bandwidth. A normal home where the family uses services like Netflix, or plays online games, can use that amount of bandwidth in less than a day. At that point a number of mobile providers start charging customers an exorbitant rate for going over their data limit. Mobile networks are also prone to failure when too many people try to use the same network at the same time. For example, say some kind of natural disaster strikes and a large number of people in the affected area try to tell their loved ones they’re all right by using social media. Everyone trying to reach Twitter or Facebook at the same time in a concentrated area could bring the entire local data network down.

    This really shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the FCC’s appears to be giving heavy favor to the mobile broadband providers with their recommendations. Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a former counsel for Verizon who stands to gain a lot if the FCC removes Title II protection from broadband. It almost seems like the FCC won’t be happy until we’re using 56K modems again while being charged by the minute.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on June 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FCC, ,   

    Is Netflix fighting for net neutrality once again? Sort of. 

    Is Netflix fighting for net neutrality once again? Sort of.

    Previously, the CEO of Netflix said that his company was not worried about net neutrality since he said they were “big enough to get the deals they want.” Now it appears the subscription video streaming service may have changed its tune. Recently, Netflix made an announcement they were participating in the July 12th Battle for the Net campaign, alongside sites such as Reddit, Etsy, Kickstarter and Amazon among many others.


    Relative content between 4:36 and 5:12

    In a tweet from Netflix they said, “Netflix will never outgrow the fight for #NetNeutrality. “Everyone deserves an open Internet.” The tweet also included a link to the ‘Day of Action’ website. It’s still unknown what is going to take place on July 12th, but back in 2014 many websites participated in a similar protest where they displayed animations to make it look like their websites were loading very slowly.

    So why did Netflix have a change of heart? Probably for PR reasons. Many Netflix subscribers are cord-cutters, meaning they’ve gotten rid of their expensive cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of the less expensive internet streaming service. Their customers do not want to see those savings nullified by internet service providers raising their rates even further just so people can have quicker access to prioritized sites.

    Again, even with Netflix wearily on board, this latest campaign for net neutrality may be like trying to hold back the ocean with a broom, as the President Trump-backed FCC has full intentions of repealing the net neutrality regulations put in place by the Obama administration.

    You can go here to voice your opinion about net neutrality to the FCC.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on June 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FCC, robocalls, telemarketers   

    FCC could allow telemarketers to go straight to your voicemail 

    FCC could allow telemarketers to go straight to your voicemail

    We’ve all gotten that call. We see a number we don’t recognize, but we answer the call anyway. There’s a longer than usual pause after you say hello before you hear a vaguely robotic voice attempting to offer you some unsolicited deal. If certain businesses and politicians have their way, we could all be avoiding those calls, but not necessarily in a better way. Telemarketers and the RNC are asking the FCC to allow their calls to bypass ringing your phone and let them go straight to your voicemail.

    The companies behind these annoying robocalls claim that allowing their calls to go to voicemail does not violate the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act since the phone doesn’t actually ring. The RNC is in favor of this because they say not allowing this could affect political outreach campaigns. When telemarketers and politicians agree on something we should all be a little concerned. The FCC says the complaints they receive most are due to robocalls, but considering they ruled on the side of big business with the proposed repeal of net neutrality regulations it seems like they could actually agree to this practice.

    What do you think? Do you think this is a worse better or worse option than actually taking the call? Are you worried about your voicemail being flooded with telemarketing messages or do you look at it as a way of avoiding talking to them altogether?

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on May 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FCC, ,   

    Is net neutrality dead? 

    Is net neutrality dead?

    Yesterday, the President Trump-backed FCC voted 2-1 to overturn the net neutrality regulations the Obama administration had put in place in 2015. Net neutrality basically states all internet traffic should be treated equally and internet service providers should not charge consumers extra for prioritized traffic.

    FCC chairman Ajit Pai has stated he believes overturning net neutrality will promote competition between ISPs and will result in more choices for consumers, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In most US markets, consumers only have a choice between either their local cable company or their local phone company. In most cases those companies are part of larger conglomerates like Time Warner, Comcast, and AT&T. So if anything, these companies will more than likely offer less actual choice to consumers while raising prices. Instead they will offer tiered services offering faster traffic to popular sites for more money, disguising that option as choice.

    Net neutrality isn’t dead just yet, but it’s on life support. The public has 90 days from yesterday to respond to the FCC’s actions, but no matter how rose-colored your glasses may be, it’s unlikely they will reverse their decision to kill net neutrality.

     
  • Geebo 10:08 am on May 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FCC, john oliver,   

    The battle for net neutrality is being fought on the FCC’s website 

    The battle for net neutrality is being fought on the FCC's website

    For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the concept of net neutrality, it can be best described in this way. Let’s use popular streaming site Netflix as an example. Netflix is a bandwidth hog when it comes to internet service providers. Most users need a pretty fast connection in order to use Netflix. Now say that internet providers started offering tiered services where you had to pay extra in order to get a fast connection to Netflix. Or it could be other popular sites like Facebook or Gmail. Net neutrality says that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Proponents of net neutrality wanted the FCC to regulate ISPs like a common carrier which would prevent ISPs from favoring certain web traffic over others. Opponents of net neutrality don’t want the government interfering with internet in general under the belief that once the government starts regulating the internet they will never stop regulating the internet, leading to accusations of possible censorship. Under the Obama administration, the FCC ruled that ISPs were in fact common carriers, however, under the Trump administration, those regulations have largely been gutted. This is a battle that’s been going on for years but it reached a fever pitch recently when a large salvo was fired against the Trump-controlled FCC the other night.

    It all started when political humorist John Oliver started talking to his audience about net neutrality. On his HBO show, he asked his viewers to go to the FCC website and leave their comments about how they feel about net neutrality. This included Oliver promoting a humorous but slightly off-color URL in order to lead his viewers to exactly where they needed to be on the FCC website. This led to so many users flooding the website, that it was basically knocked offline due to all the traffic it was receiving.

    This led to the FCC calling Oliver’s campaign a denial of service attack, or DDoS for short. Normally a DDoS attack is a form of cyber-vandalism used in order to intentionally knock a site offline with a flood of traffic. The difference with Oliver’s campaign is that he wanted his viewers to leave legitimate comments. This has led opponents of net neutrality to fire back by launching a number of automated scripts called bots to swarm the FCC’s website, leaving comments in support of the Trump administration’s handling of net neutrality. In case you were wondering, yes that sounds more like a DDoS attack than what John Oliver’s viewers were doing.

    Unfortunately, this is the way of the internet. When one side of an argument starts speaking up about an issue, the other side tries to shout them down. In the end, while Oliver’s actions may have been well intended, this will ultimately have no effect on the net neutrality debate, thanks to many of the players involved acting like petulant children.

    If you want to make real change about net neutrality, the best way is to write or call your representatives in Congress and let them know how you feel. Congress still operates in an old school way and gives letters and phone calls more weight than e-mails and online petitions. Also, to better get your point across, always be respectful when dealing with politicians whether they deserve it or not. If you’re rude or ranting in your communication with them, your voice will largely be disregarded.

     
  • Geebo 10:55 am on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FCC, , , TOR, VPN   

    Congress repeals internet privacy rules. What does this actually mean for you? 

    Congress repeals internet privacy rules. What does this actually mean for you?

    As was expected, the House of Representatives also voted to repeal internet privacy regulations that would have prevented internet service providers from selling your personal information to advertisers. President Trump is expected to sign it into law once the legislation reaches his desk. However, the questions remain about how this affects the individual user and what can they do to protect themselves?

    First off, if your web history is sold to a third-party it won’t be sold as an individual’s history. Instead, it will be sold off as part of a multitude of users who fit a certain demographic, for example males ages 18-34. Also, that’s only if your ISP or wireless provider engages in selling your data. Most large ISPs have voluntarily promised not to sell your internet history.

    If you’re still unsure about your history being sold you could always use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A VPN is basically a tunnel that goes through your ISP’s connection but hides your direct activity from them. You could also use the TOR browser which reroutes your internet traffic throughout many servers across the world, however, with the TOR browser you would sacrifice speed for a certain level of anonymity. While VPNs and TOR would hide your traffic from your ISP, they will not hide you from law enforcement if you’re engaging in illegal activity, as VPNs can just as easily sell disclose your browsing history and law enforcement has been catching bad guys through TOR for years.

    If you’re really worried about your privacy there are options out there, however, they may cost you a little bit of money or speed, but in the end they may be worth it.

     
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