For a Free and Neutral Internet? Good, but that's not what this is about.

This is not as simple as being for or against "net neutrality" or "an open Internet" as it's often referred, like most of the articles you will read lead you to believe. It isn't about throttling, we know Comcast and others already throttle. My issue is that with the reclassification as a Common Carrier what new  regulations will be imposed and what legal implications & liabilities will that bring?

First -  Throttling - The truth is reclassification will not stop throttling, ISPs can't discriminate and can't charge for priority treatment, but they could still allow for higher tiers of service to amazon or Netflix for example, or charge per bit rates for different things. What it means is providers just can't discriminate*.

Second - Providers can't discriminate, but they can change their whole pricing structure. Could broadband's unlimited data go away like it did with wireless companies or worse? We have seen with other industries that regulation will negatively influence innovation and growth as well as result in more fees.

Third - Liability - There is a very real chance that being classified a common carrier (according to our legal system a common carrier is absolutely liable for goods carried by it, with exceptions) will bring new regulatory** attention to companies that provide the content  like the social networks, search engines, device makers & app creators - possibly affecting all our privacy.


As an IT security professional I am concerned if the ISPs or the government considers that liability a reason to start classifying and restricting what we can send and receive then what? Regulations involving the contents of the data would  be great right? When has the government ever had their good intentions go awry? We have already heard the Director of the FBI , the NSA and the President of the United States (1 & 2) call for backdoors in encryption products. This is a horrible idea (1, 2, & 3) for IT security and for our privacy as well.

What can be done? Well I think the providers affected by the FCC's decision (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, etc.) should definitely plan to bring a lawsuit if for no other reason than to resolve some of the ambiguity of the new rules.

Also, don't believe me, get out & sort through all the misinformation and find your own truth. Then when you have contact your Senator and Congressman and the FCC tell them what is really needed. TransparentSensible, and sustainable open Internet rules.


*Title II, the second subsection (202) clearly states that common carriers can’t “make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.” 

**Title II includes more than 100 pages of regulations that common carriers must follow to ensure they act “in the public interest.”


Further Reading: 

Net Neutrality: Lessons from the Past

Cameron & Obama talk about banning encryption

Analogy - When is a lock not a lock?

The FCC’s Latest Net Neutrality Proposal: Pros, Cons, and Question Marks

No Rate Regulation? Let's hope