The world’s largest technology companies are coming out in force against the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed regulations of Internet access.
In a letter to the FCC Wednesday, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, Netflix, and dozens of other companies warned that the FCC’s plan to allow Internet service providers to charge websites for faster service in some cases “represents a grave threat to the Internet.”
“Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent,” the companies wrote.
“Such rules are essential for the future of the Internet.”
It’s not yet clear whether the tech giants are planning any larger protest of the proposed net-neutrality rules. Many of the same companies participated in a massive protest in 2012 that derailed the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Google, for example, blacked out the logo on its home page (the most visited website in the world) and collected 7 million petition signatures in a single day.
Two Democratic FCC commissioners also expressed concern with the proposal on Wednesday, throwing the regulations into jeopardy. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will need both Democratic votes to move the planned regulations forward at a meeting next Thursday.
The FCC first enacted net-neutrality rules in 2010, but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck them down in January. Wheeler is trying to rework the rules in a way that can survive future court challenges.
His proposal would ban Internet service providers from blocking websites but would allow them to charge for special “fast lanes” as long as the arrangements are “commercially reasonable.”
Wheeler argues that his proposal is on strong legal ground and would prevent abuses.
What We're Following See More »
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday he’ll begin punishing sanctuary cities, withholding potentially billions of dollars in federal money — and even clawing back funds that had been doled out in the past. Speaking at the White House, Mr. Sessions said his department is preparing to dole out more than $4 billion in funds this year, but will try prevent any of it from going to sanctuaries."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was on the White House grounds "on the day before his announcement that he saw information suggesting that communications of then-President-elect Donald Trump and his advisers may have been swept up in surveillance of other foreign nationals." He notes he was not in the White House itself, and the President's team has disavowed any knowledge of Nunes's visit.
"Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin, according to administration and congressional officials."
"With the collapse of Republicans’ health plan in the House on Friday, the Trump administration is set to ramp up its efforts to alter the Affordable Care Act in one of the few ways it has left—by making changes to the law through waivers and rule changes. The initiative now rests with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who has vowed to review every page of regulation and guidance related to the ACA." Some suggest that regulatory changes may be aimed at hastening Obamacare's demise.