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The New York Times Wants Utility Regulation of the Internet The New York Times Wants Utility Regulation of the Internet

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The New York Times Wants Utility Regulation of the Internet

By Laura Ryan (@NJLJRyan), with help from Brendan Sasso (@BrendanSasso) and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: The New York Times Editorial Board comes out in support of using Title II authority to enact stronger net neutrality rules. T-Mobile and Sprint are asking the FCC to reconsider its rules for the upcoming spectrum auction. Edward Snowden claimed a cyberdefense system dubbed "MotherMind" is in the works at the NSA, and accused the agency of inadvertently causing an Internet blackout in Syria in 2012.



NYT BACKS TITLE II: The New York Times is adding to the pressure on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to reclassify the Internet as a "telecommunications service" under Title II of the Communications Act. The paper's Editorial Board said utility-style regulation is the best path to strong net neutrality rules that prevent telecom giants from dividing "the Internet into fast and slow lanes."

The board pointed to President Obama's comments last week criticizing paid prioritization of Internet traffic. "Mr. Obama is sending Mr. Wheeler and his fellow commissioners a message," the board wrote. "They should pay attention."

Thirteen Democratic senators have also urged Wheeler to regulate the Internet under Title II, and the FCC chief has said he is "seriously considering" the option. But it would spark a major battle with industry groups and Republicans, who warn it would strangle investment.


T-MO, SPRINT WANT FCC TO REDO AUCTION RULES: If the FCC is going to prevent Sprint and T-Mobile from merging, the least the agency can do is give them a stronger advantage in the upcoming spectrum auction. Or at least that's the implicit message in petitions from the two carriers asking the FCC to reconsider its auction rules.

The FCC already enacted limits on the ability of Verizon and AT&T to bid in the auction in an effort to help smaller carriers. But those restrictions are "inadequate to sustain a wireless market with four nationwide providers," T-Mobile wrote in its filing to the FCC. Sprint made a similar filing this week, and T-Mobile expanded on its arguments in a blog post Tuesday.

It would be unusual for the FCC to reverse a decision, but BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said he thinks there's still time for the FCC to tweak its rules. And T-Mobile has a "good argument" for why the FCC should reconsider "given that the FCC has set up some roadblocks for T-Mobile to gain scale with a merger with Sprint," he said.

LEAHY: THINK OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY ON NET NEUTRALITY: Sen. Patrick Leahy wants the FCC to take their recently announced net-neutrality roundtables on the road. In a statement Wednesday, the senator from Vermont urged the agency to visit with Americans around the country because "their voices are more important than industry lobbyists and Members of Congress." Leahy held a field hearing on the topic in Vermont last month.


In response to Leahy's statement, an FCC spokesman said that the roundtables will be streamed online and viewers will have the opportunity to ask questions. The spokesman added it has not ruled out the option of holding roundtables in other locations.

FORMER FCC COMMISSIONER WANTS MEETING WITH OBAMA ON NET NEUTRALITY: Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps and Free Press President Craig Aaron requested an "urgent" meeting with President Obama to lobby him for stronger net-neutrality regulations. In a letter to the president, the advocates said Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal "will undermine net neutrality and imperil the future of the open Internet." The White House declined to comment.

EDWARD SNOWDEN ISN'T DONE TALKING: Wired's sprawling profile of the fugitive leaker rehashed a lot of familiar territory (Snowden misses home, really doesn't like James Clapper, and sees technology as the "great equalizer"), but also contained a handful of explosive new claims. Chief among them is the a program known as MonsterMind that Snowden says the NSA was developing when he was still employed at Booz Allen.

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MonsterMind is a "cyber defense system that would instantly and autonomously neutralize foreign cyberattacks against the U.S., and could be used to launch retaliatory strikes," according to Wired, likening it to a digital version of Reagan's Star Wars defense initiative.

Snowden, who is pictured on the cover of Wired caressing an American flag, also told James Bamford that the NSA accidentally caused an Internet blackout in Syria back in 2012 after an attempt to hack the war-torn country's communications data went awry.


FISA JUDGE GIVES 'SCATHING REVIEW' OF NSA DATA COLLECTION: A Newly declassified court decision by a FISA judge reveals the NSA conducted years of "systemic overcollection" of private data. (Devlin Barrett, WSJ) 

FROM DICKENS TO AMAZON: A BRIEF HISTORY OF LITERARY FEUDS: Tolkien, Dickens, and Orwell went head-to-head with publishers, booksellers, and even in one case an entire nation over the value of their books. (Ryan)

T-MO WON'T LOWER ITS MERGER STANDARDS: T-Mobile is still open to offers that are higher than Illiad's "very flattering" but "very inadequate" bid last month. (Thomas Gryta, WSJ)

T-MO TO SLOW DOWN UNLIMITED DATA PLAN ABUSERS: "T-mobile has identified customers who are heavy data users and are engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing, and tethering outside of T-Mobile's Terms and Conditions (T&C)," the company said in an internal memo Wednesday. (Cam Bunton, TmoNews)

Y2K DEJA VU: As the number of Internet routers hits 512K, engineers worry that the Internet is outgrowing the routers that send data. (Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ)

FACEBOOK TO TRACK USERS' SHOPPING HABITS FOR ADVERTISERS: The social-media giant will tell advertsisers where an ad was first viewed and when it led to a purchase by tracking users between their electronic devices. (Sarah Frier, Bloomberg)

VENTURE CAPITALISTS THINK THE GOVERNMENT IS USELESS: A survey of venture capitalists showed VC's have pretty low confidence in the government's ability to get anything done. (Amy Schatz, Re/Code)

THE NEW SERVICE UNDERCLASS OF TECH COMPANIES: "They push mops and clean toilets. They cook and serve gourmet lunches. They patrol suburban office parks. They ferry technology workers to and from their jobs in luxury shuttle buses. But they are not on the payroll at Apple, Facebook or Google, companies famous for showering their workers with six-figure salaries, stock options and perks. Instead they are employed by outside contractors. And they say the bounty from the technology boom is not trickling down to them." (Jessica Guynn, USA Today)

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