Posted on Apr 27, 2017 by Caleb Chen

Dear FCC: Destroying net neutrality is not “Restoring Internet Freedom”


internet freedom

Today, the FCC unveiled their official notice of proposed rule making, titled “Restoring Internet Freedom (doc),” that would end net neutrality as we know it in the United States. The FCC recently lost the ability to keep Internet service providers (ISPs) from selling your private data. The proposal was announced by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai yesterday at a Washington DC event. The proposal would remove the Title II common carrier classification from ISPs. Separately, ISPs would be expected to include commitments to net neutrality principles into their end user agreements. If the FCC’s plan to destroy net neutrality goes through, all that will be left to protect net neutrality is a pinky promise from your ISP.

Let ordinary customers decide what the definition of “Internet Freedom” is

The FCC’s plan hinges on the false assumption that neutering net neutrality will somehow restore Internet Freedom. That the plan for an Open Internet approved in 2015, didn’t enhance any consumer freedoms and instead took away Internet Freedom from the average America, which now needs to be restored. Remember the type of net neutrality violations that were happening up until 2014. Jon Brodkin of ArsTechnica stated concisely:

“It’s not exactly clear which “freedoms” ordinary consumers lost.”

Internet consumers in the United States undoubtedly gained from net neutrality protections and if the repeal of Title II for ISPs is voted for on May 18th, we as consumers will be left without protections and left to the mercy of our data providers – that is the opposite of what I think of when I think of Internet Freedom. Not only is the FCC trying to attack Internet Freedom, they’re actively trying to usurp the very definition of the words.

Once more with feeling: Destroying net neutrality is NOT “Restoring Internet Freedom”

On their end, ISPs have started paying lip service to net neutrality, saying that they support it in theory but they do not believe that the FCC should be the ones enforcing it. Of course, because they’d rather use easily broken pinky promises not to violate net neutrality principles to back up their lip service, while intentionally eroding what net neutrality “means” in mainstream media – just as the FCC is trying to change what Internet Freedom means. Don’t let them.

Private Internet Access joined 800 other startups in Startups for Net Neutrality to release an open letter to the FCC fighting for net neutrality. Sign today. Let the FCC know at 1-888-225-5322 your opinion on net neutrality. Press 1-4-0-2 to speak to a human (Credit to redditor R_kellys_sheets for that tip).

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About Caleb Chen

Caleb Chen is a digital currency and privacy advocate who believes we must #KeepOurNetFree, preferably through decentralization. Caleb holds a Master’s in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia as well as a Bachelor’s from the University of Virginia. He feels that the world is moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.


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44 Comments

  1. fghgfh

    FREEDOM

    8 months ago
    Reply
    1. Caleb Chen

      Team America: “Freedom isn’t free.”

      8 months ago
      Reply
    2. Nick

      I will not let you down…

      8 months ago
      Reply
  2. esoxlucius

    I’m so tired of this argument. We didn’t live in digital armageddon in 2015 and we won’t be in 2018. Why can’t the FCC thoughtfully review any “bad behavior” by ISPs and make targeted laws addressing just the bad behavior? I’m old enough to remember AT&T when it was a monopoly. My father worked for them his whole career. AT&T sucked with customer service and the price for a long distance phone call was 33 cents a minute. By 1990 I was paying 2 cents a minute for long distance. ALL of that was the result of deregulation. The only way AT&T could charge monopoly rates while giving shitty service was because they were regulated. Take away their regulation and they got their asses kicked.

    8 months ago
    Reply
    1. Angel

      You may be old enough to remember it, but clearly your memory is faulty. It was the break up of ma Bell which caused competition, because of the competition long distance rates dropped. With broadband ISP’s we really do not have competition, so pre title II our ISP’s were starting to screw us and they will be happy to do so again.

      8 months ago
      Reply
    2. NRAmerica

      Which ISP is paying you to post comments? You demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of net neutrality and pass it off as if you know something. We are all now dumber for having read your comment.

      8 months ago
      Reply
      1. esoxlucius

        I like how instead of addressing my argument you accuse me of being paid by ISPs and insult me. Why not try actually making an argument that refutes my point of view? It’s harder. It requires reading and thinking, but you’ll feel better at the end of it. Or possibly you’ll find your point of view is wrong.

        8 months ago
        Reply
        1. Tim Kelley

          Well, you are wrong about deregulation causing price drops for one. Removing the regulations are not going to drop prices. Expect to be charged more for certain services if net neutrality is removed. I can’t even understand your point of view it is so misinformed.

          8 months ago
          Reply
          1. esoxlucius

            The evidence for your point of view is amazing. I’d love to be informed by you. Why not do a few google searches, scrape together some thoughts and explain why I’m wrong.

            8 months ago
    3. Benfu

      That wasn’t the result of deregulation. That was the result of regulations that broke up MA Bell’s Monopoly and forced competition into the marketplace. That is exactly the kind of consumer protectionism that this administration is throwing away.

      8 months ago
      Reply
      1. esoxlucius

        You are either too young to remember or willfully ignoring reality. AT&T was a coercive monopoly, permitted as the exclusive provider of phone services by the federal government. Literally any google search will tell you the same. Here’s the first one I came up with:

        http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/09/att-breakup-spinoff.asp

        It took MCI to sue AT&T under the Sherman Anti-Trust act to break up the monopoly. Even then, Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy were long on their way toward deregulating airlines, trucking, communications, railroads and a whole lot more.

        8 months ago
        Reply
        1. drenchedwildfire

          Competition is what drove down phone prices. You are assuming deregulation = increased competition. Eliminating net neutrality will do nothing to increase competition. In many parts of the US there is only one ISP, and if that ISP wants to prioritize their content in a post-net-neutrally world then the customers and small business owners loose out to ISP favored content. This is how you grow the ISP’s monopoly. Enforcing ISP competition is the only other way to safeguard a free and open internet.

          8 months ago
          Reply
          1. esoxlucius

            Deregulation IS what increased competition. By definition, coercive monopolies use government regulation to prevent competition. No regulation, no prohibition from competing, therefore competition happens. I didn’t just make this stuff up today, it’s a historical fact. Look at the United States Post Office. They prevent first class mail from being delivered by anyone else. It’s a coercive monopoly and their prices are high and their service is shitty. There used to be a time when the USPS was the only parcel post as well. Then UPS and FedEx kicked the crap out of them. This was deregulation of postal service.

            8 months ago
          2. drenchedwildfire

            Apparently someone doesn’t like my statements as my previous reply has disappeared.

            I agree with you when regulations inhibit competition. But net neutrality does not – it spurs competition by leveling the playing field. Can I have an example as to how exactly net neutrality hinders competition? The purpose of net neutrality is to give everyone an equal voice in the absence of real competition. The ISPs’s argument is tantamount to saying that the USPS, prior to a competitive marketplace, should be allowed to deliver whatever packages they want in whatever timeline they feel like, and should not be held accountable if they only allow packages from Postal Service employees to be delivered.

            8 months ago
    4. zach smithson

      Since you accuse NRAmerica of attacking you instead of the argument. They already reviewed bad behavior (the ones mentioned in the article cited as previous violations of net neutrality) and reasoned that allowing ATT to be the regulator of the use of the internet was itself the bad behavior. It’s pretty simple really, do you want to allow ATT, who “sucked with customer service” to regulate the customer’s experience, or do you want the customers to be able to control the customers experience through some form of democracy? It isn’t a market argument as market forces cannot work when they are their own supplier and exist in an area that has no threat from substitutes.

      8 months ago
      Reply
      1. esoxlucius

        There is “some form of democracy” it’s called “voting with dollars”.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar_voting

        It’s short-hand for capitalism. Look, I know you don’t trust market forces to sort this out but markets are very efficient in killing off shitty business models. Look at KMart, Sears, Montgomery Ward, Kodak, Xerox and thousands of other businesses that bought the dust or had near death experiences.

        If you regulate ISPs by turning them into utilities, you are locking in shitty companies with shitty service forever. Regulation will guarantee there aren’t new ISPs with new technology that will compete with existing companies because there will be no profit in it.

        8 months ago
        Reply
        1. David

          If there was any remote possibility of legitimate competition, your arguments make sound points. However, as someone else pointed out, local agreements more often than not limit which carriers can be where. You may have multiple carriers in a city, but any given house only has access to one, or two if theyre lucky. When new carriers, or local municipalities, have tried to fix this, they are hit with lawsuits or state backed legislation blocking them.

          8 months ago
          Reply
        2. spanky34

          The problem is, we’re already locked into these shitty companies with shitty service. They built these networks while taking taxpayer money to do so because it’s so cost prohibitive to build a network. No startup could even begin to take on anything more than a small, single city roll out. This is the reason you’ve seen so many municipalities try and do it (only to be met with lawsuits)

          Let’s use our crystal ball though and look past the next 5 years. The future of high speed internet connectivity will be fought over the airwaves. It’s much more cost effective to run wireless from a central tower to your customers. With any luck, there will be some great developments in this sector and ISP’s will have to compete for our business again.

          Now let’s compare it to the Cellular game. In most cities, you have your choice of 4 major cell carriers, Verizon, ATT, Tmo, Sprint. When one of them does you wrong, you have your choice to go to the other carrier. Tmobile has absolutely shaken up the cell phone industry in the last 3 years and it’s been good for everyone. They’re driving down prices and have even caused Verizon to bring back their “Unlimited” plan. It’s playing out exactly how I like to see businesses compete. Each one is fighting for our dollar and that’s a beautiful thing.

          In contrast, at my home, I have a single provider for internet that can provide me with enough speed to work remotely. I have no recourse when they overcharge me. I have no recourse if they want to raise rates. I can’t vote with my wallet because there’s not another candidate to give my money to. We can remove title 2 when most Americans have a choice of 4 ISP’s that can deliver true high speed internet to their home.

          8 months ago
          Reply
        3. zach smithson

          Like I said, it isn’t really a market forces argument due to the technological nature of networking. Deregulation of utilities actually has worked really well in Texas where multiple 3rd parties source energy independently and provide it to the customer through a regulated power grid. This is really deregulating the producer and not the provider. With regard to the internet, the there aren’t really producers. Things are connected and there is more “power” where things are associated (say, facebook or google.) Internet providers are almost perfect analogous to road providers, and anyone saying that interstates should only go to cities that provide more taxes would simply get laughed at

          8 months ago
          Reply
    5. spanky34

      Here’s a few things that has absolutely nothing to do with deregulation that caused your long distant rates to go down.

      1. Once the infrastructure is built, there’s less overhead. It simply didn’t cost as much to keep the network running as it did to initially build it.
      2. If I keep buying the same old telephone line, it’s becomes cheaper for my manufacturer to produce. The longer they stayed with the same technology, the lower the costs became.
      3. The government broke up the monopoly which inspired competition and drove rates down. – This one had the most effect in causing rates to go down.

      Competition causes innovation and lower prices. Unfortunately, they know they have no competition in the regions they service. Most cities have agreements in place where there’s only one cable company and one phone/dsl company. Then, when the cities have tried to right their mistakes and build a fiber network, many are hit with lawsuits by the cable companies. If there truly was competition, we would have no need for net neutrality. Since there is no competition, we must have it as a last line of defense.

      8 months ago
      Reply
      1. esoxlucius

        You just nuked your own argument. Look at your bullet point #3. The government broke up the monopoly. The monopoly that the government ITSELF created.

        Government creates monopoly = Regulation
        Government breaks up monopoly = De-Regulation

        What am I missing here???

        Listen up people, *You can not have a coercive monopoly without the government enforcing and protecting the monopoly.* Cannot happen. Never has, never will. What you are thinking of as free market monopolies are actually businesses who are really really good at what they do, delivering goods and services at prices people want with customer service people respect.

        Free market forces kill monopolies, they don’t create them.

        8 months ago
        Reply
        1. spanky34

          Definitions for the dense:
          Deregulation is the reduction or elimination of government power in a particular industry, usually enacted to create more competition within the industry
          Regulation:a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority

          Now, what went down with AT&T – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakup_of_the_Bell_System

          Cliff notes for the lazy: ATT was going to lose it’s anti-trust lawsuit vs the US. They proposed a settlement to breakup into a bunch of smaller companies. The US said OK, that’s cool. The court ruled on it and they were forced to breakup.

          So the ruling was made by an authority. It was also maintained by an authority. By definition, this was a regulation.

          8 months ago
          Reply
          1. Rich Aten

            This is a prime example of why ideologues like esox shouldn’t write history books. He has it completely backwards. AT&T was a monopoly because thier massive infrastructure was a high barrier to entry in the market for anyone else. Breaking up into the baby bells was a regulatory action, prosecuted and ultimately settled on by federal regulators, not deregulation. Forcing AT&T to open access to its infrastructure to the likes of MCI, Sprint and others was a regulatory action, not an act of deregulation. This guy is trying to argue some nonsensical fallacy that only government creates monopolies, and that is just untrue
            prima facie.

            8 months ago
          2. spanky34

            To his credit.. I do believe that a true monopoly can’t really exist without government assistance.

            All of these companies have had plenty of government assistance to get to where they are today. Especially on the municipal and state level. These companies have been granted the regional monopolies/duopolies (cable/DSL) by our local governments. There’s not much we can do about that now.

            If the US Supreme court came out and said, all these local agreements are now null and void 10 years after they were signed, I’d be pleased and would probably accept not having title II in favor of letting the market work itself out. I want competition and innovation to win out. I’d prefer to keep the government’s hands off shit they know nothing about. Since this isn’t my fairy tale world made up in my head, we need Title II/Net Neutrality to keep things fair and companies honest.

            8 months ago
          3. esoxlucius

            Soooo…. Now you’re agreeing with me that De-Regulation was the reason prices went down?

            Government Regulates the creation of a monopoly = AT&T
            Government changes mind, deregulates telecom = lower prices, better customer service

            8 months ago
          4. spanky34

            I agree on the following points:
            1. A monopoly can’t exist without government assistance.
            2. A free market is good for the consumer and will work itself out.
            3. I’d prefer the government to not get involved with shit they don’t know anything about.

            Like it or not, our local governments have given ISP’s regional monopolies and a market that isn’t free. There’s a reason why these ISP’s are constantly rated in the top 10 worst for customer service while making record profits. No new ISP competitor can use their poles, their infrastructure, or their trenches to get to the customer’s door. It’s simply not feasible for another provider to get going unless they have pockets as deep as google.

            If we had another huge breakup and forced them to open up their infrastructure to other last mile providers, we wouldn’t have the need for title II/net neutrality. This would literally change the game and be a huge win for all consumers. IF we got this, I’d give up on the net neutrality fight in a heartbeat.

            The only option left is to utilize regulatory means until wireless technology can support modern home bandwidth needs and level out the playing field. Once we get multiple high-speed providers to every house in America, deregulate it and let the businesses fight it out.

            8 months ago
          5. esoxlucius

            I appreciate the time you took to engage with me. I agree with all your points. I believe that what you describe is exactly what Ajit Pai is going to do. He has a fascinating interview here on Reason.com and he talks about access to utility poles specifically.

            http://reason.com/reasontv/2017/04/26/fcc-ajit-pai-net-neutrality-internet

            I freaking hate comcast with a passion. They are my ISP. However, I feel the only way to get more competition is to allow them to gouge for whatever prices they want so it’s profitable for some upstart to come kick the shit out of them. There IS precedence for this in our recent past. Gasoline used to cost $4.25 a gallon. It was exactly those high prices that created the demand for oil exploration that caused the boom in shale fracking. Essentially, the solution to high prices, is higher prices.

            If you would like to disagree on my last point that would be ok. I won’t argue it. But you and I are not so far apart on the rest of this.

            8 months ago
          6. spanky34

            Yes. You and I ultimately want the same thing, we just see very different paths on the best way to get there.

            I feel it’s important to regulate this particular industry to keep the playing field level/protect the consumers until the technology advances enough that it can self-regulate. I literally can’t do my job without the internet and can’t vote with my wallet. I’m STUCK with my current cable provider.

            I don’t feel that deregulating just Title II/Net Neutrality will have the affect of boosting competition. There’s nothing in it that stifles competition. You would have to open up the current telcom’s infrastructure to truly inspire competition.

            8 months ago
        2. Ero

          http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/173/576/Wat8.jpg?1315930535 wat? De-regulating net neutrality would cause an increase in the prices of everything. The cable companies are currently a monopoly and the U.S. is already pretty low on the chart in terms of Internet Speeds… Prices would skyrocket for services that are currently free. We would have to get around ridiculous speed packages per fucking individual website if you let these people have their way. Not to mention censorship through bandwidth throttling. Your argument is ridiculously backwards, and you are probably a paid Comcast shill. No one gains from this except a monopolistic service provider.

          8 months ago
          Reply
          1. esoxlucius

            Do you even realize the internet was completely unregulated as of 2 years ago? Did any of the things you describe happen before then? No, they didn’t and they won’t when this is all done with. But seriously, you’re about to find out because the FCC is killing what you call net neutrality in about 3 months.

            8 months ago
        3. Braaainz

          Esoluscius,
          Free market economics are a wonderful thing. I consider myself a Libertarian myself. However, it does have flaws. One being that corporations will attempt to use the state to force competitors out, or forbid their entry.

          Net neutrality helps protect small businesses from being driven out prematurely.

          Also, those small businesses we have close in which we use. We don’t have to use Google for example. However, many places can use only one ISP. There is no competition. Free market is limited.

          8 months ago
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        4. Michael Brave

          I could spend a week explaining how that isn’t true. Free markets lean toward monopolies all the time, only large amounts of disruption(like electricity taking away from gas lamps) and anti-monopoly regulations do much to stop it. Since the Reagan era though the government has done very little to break up monopolies with the gist being that so long as it’s in the consumers benefit they leave it alone, but that’s really subjective and hard to pin down.

          Look up anything with the word Barron or Tycoon in it, any history of early industrial age economics really, or any prominently wealthy for multiple generations american family (ex Rockefeller), most got their start with monopolies.

          8 months ago
          Reply
      2. Jack Bond

        “Since there is no competition…”

        We must therefore assume there can never be competition, and codify the status quo into law.

        5 months ago
        Reply
    6. Carlos lonmoer

      You do realize that AT&T was a monopoly when you were paying 33 cents and it was only breaking them up which led to you 2 cents rate. You are literally arguing for MORE regulation.

      8 months ago
      Reply
      1. esoxlucius

        How old are you Carlos? If you are 45 or older you’ll remember deregulation for yourself. If you are younger, you’ll need to read about it. Breaking up the AT&T monopoly in the 1980’s was called “deregulation”. Do a google search.

        8 months ago
        Reply
    7. Braaainz

      Esoxlucius,
      I think you’re forgetting the whole government breaking up the monopoly that AT&T had during that “deregulation”.

      If you’re suggesting that the government break up the ISPs, like Comcast, then you might be on to something. However, our Supreme Court has already ruled that local governments that wrote laws granting the ISPs monopolies are in effect I’m perpetuity (ie until at least we die)

      8 months ago
      Reply
      1. esoxlucius

        I’m not forgetting. In fact I’ve written extensively here about it. “deregulation” WAS the breakup of the telecom monopoly. Is there nobody here over 45 years old?? You should all remember this. The government created the AT&T monopoly in the early 1900s. Then, in 1984 they “deregulated” and by breaking up the monopoly they themselves created.

        8 months ago
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    8. Robb Topolski

      Prior to this episode, it was all the hardware and network could do to keep up with the growth — speed, speed, and more speed. In the last 10 years, the incumbent ISPs — all monopolies in their last-mile networks (and will remain so) — are now wanting to be slicing and dicing the traffic and selling it to whomever is willing to pay them both ways.

      One thing hasn’t changed — all electrons travel at light speed. THE ONLY WAY TO PRIVILEGE INTERNET TRAFFIC IS TO SLOW DOWN SOMEONE ELSE’S TRAFFIC. Net neutrality regulations preserve the status quo — it doesn’t treat all traffic equally, IT DOESN’T TREAT IT AT ALL. It puts ISPs in their traditional role — sending traffic as fast as possible without inspecting it and slowing some down if they’re not paid enough.

      8 months ago
      Reply
  3. iPayForSexxx

    Well I have nothing to worry about and nothing to hide from my ISP because I never do anything wrong over the internet… I don’t even Troll so I don’t care, as long as I get the services I paid for, then I’ll be happy.

    8 months ago
    Reply
    1. chris

      this has nothing to do with privacy. the point is, if net neutrality because carrier dependent then it is each carriers judgment if they want to let you view a website or not. Say, for instance, AT&T doesn’t like Fox news. Theres no reason they cant say ‘ya know what, lets slow down all traffic to foxnews.com so people stop going there. Or hey, why not just block the website entirely?’

      also, you may think you have nothing to hide, but you would be wrong. It’s not only about doing anything illegal.

      8 months ago
      Reply
    2. Bas Keur

      Looking at the logs, username checks out.

      8 months ago
      Reply
  4. Michael Brave

    They know exactly what they are doing, the whims of their campaign donors, the rest is just show for the masses.

    8 months ago
    Reply
  5. Jack Zhang

    You are wrong, even Disney’s CEO against net neutrality because of digital piracy issues and gate crashers. Net neutrality also enable many malicious sites that affect users computers with malwares and prone to many phishing attack from their email because net neutrality render ISP unable to filter the web

    8 months ago
    Reply