Mozilla is urging the Federal Communications Commission to enact new rules to bar Internet service providers from charging websites for faster service.
In a filing with the FCC on Monday, the nonprofit foundation that makes the Firefox Web browser outlined a new legal path to enact tough network-neutrality regulations.
Chris Riley, a senior policy engineer for Mozilla, said the group’s proposal is “grounded in a modern understanding of technology and markets” and would “help ensure that the Internet continues to be an innovative and open platform.”
The filing introduces a new angle to the debate over regulation of Internet access, but it’s unclear how interested the FCC will be in Mozilla’s proposal.
In January, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s old neutrality rules. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to rework the rules in a way that can survive future court challenges.
His proposal would bar Internet providers from blocking any websites but (unlike the old rules) would allow them to charge for special “fast lanes” in at least some cases. The FCC is set to vote on whether to move ahead with Wheeler’s proposal on May 15.
Liberals are outraged that the FCC would allow Internet fast lanes, saying it would allow ISPs to pick winners and losers and would tilt the Internet in favor of the largest corporations.
Consumer advocacy groups are urging the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet service as a Title II “telecommunications service” — a move that would dramatically expand the FCC’s legal authority and allow it to reinstate strong rules that ban fast lanes. But reclassifying the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act would prompt a massive backlash from Republicans and business groups, who warn the FCC would be granting itself new unchecked regulatory powers and would risk stifling the growth of broadband networks.
In its filing Monday, Mozilla proposed a third option. The FCC should use the Title II option — but only for the relationship between websites and ISPs, not the relationship between consumers and ISPs, the group said.
The proposal would allow the FCC to bar ISPs from charging websites for fast lanes while still using the current light regulatory regime for other Internet issues that affect consumers, the group said.
Mozilla argued that its proposal is not “reclassification” because the FCC has never explicitly defined the relationship between ISPs and Web companies.
“With our proposal, the FCC would be able to shift its attention away from authority questions once and for all, and focus instead on adopting clear rules prohibiting blocking and discrimination online,” Riley wrote in a Mozilla blog post.
Harold Feld, a senior vice president for the consumer group Public Knowledge, applauded the proposal, which he said is a “novel idea” for saving net neutrality.
He said the filing is significant not only because of the substance of the proposal but also because of who is making it. The cable industry has been warning against tough regulation, but Mozilla’s filing shows that powerful business interests are on the side of net neutrality, Feld said.
“This creates a new constituency that says Title II is not a ‘nuclear option.’ Title II is a technical thing that you’ve got to do,” Feld said.
But Mozilla’s proposal may not be much more politically viable than the full-scale Title II option.
Berin Szoka, president of the libertarian group TechFreedom, said the “practical effect of their proposal would be almost exactly the same as reclassification of broadband generally.” He said that the idea looks easy on paper but that in practice it would be “messy, slow, and unpredictable.”
“Opening the door to Title II at all would still create significant regulatory uncertainty that would harm broadband investment, and thus make consumers worse off,” Szoka claimed.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”