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back to article Senator pushes data cap and ISP monitoring legislation

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced the Data Cap Integrity Act, which will limit the amount of capping ISPs can do and give consumers a clear idea of how much data they are using and what they are being charged for. "Americans are increasingly tethered to the Internet and connecting more devices to it, but they don't really …

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"D-OR" - Not Quite Correct.

"Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced the Data Cap Integrity Act, which will limit the amount of capping ISPs can do and give consumers a clear idea of how much data they are using and what they are being charged for."

Ron Wyden, (Fascist-OR) further attempts to win benefits and advantages for his masters at Google and Google's pro-piracy policies by eliminating any data-caps that might conceivable limit the amount of content which users can steal, thereby increasing Google's profits and their ability to expropriate the labor of whomever they want - but especially at the expense and to the detriment of small, independent, and individual creators.

No surprises here. At all.

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Anonymous Coward

If they put as much effort into reducing gun ownership as they do data caps and copyright/piracy issues they might make schools in the US safer.

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Re: "D-OR" - Not Quite Correct.

Wow... that's quite a statement there. I won't delve into whatever personal grudges you might have against Senator Wyden or the Democrats, but I'm pretty sure they don't have a place in this specific discussion.

As far as the profits to Google... I don't know. They make their money on click-through ads for the most part, so unless the law also mandates some kind of Google advertising on each data use app, I'm at a loss as to how this would improve Google's bottom line. But if you have evidence, I would love to hear it.

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@Eric Olson: What "Doesn't Belong".

"As far as the profits to Google... I don't know. They make their money on click-through ads for the most part, so unless the law also mandates some kind of Google advertising on each data use app, I'm at a loss as to how this would improve Google's bottom line. But if you have evidence, I would love to hear it."

If you don't know how Google earns large sums of money from piracy, then you know nothing, and it's difficult to understand on what you are condemning my post. Unless your admitted ignorance gives you some sort of expertise. (And, incidentally, they make their money not only from click-through, but from mere views. When you google a word, and the first results are "sponsored links", Google gets paid for that without you having to click on them.) (http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/adsense/Hl0i_AjWXWQ)

"Wow... that's quite a statement there. I won't delve into whatever personal grudges you might have against Senator Wyden or the Democrats, but I'm pretty sure they don't have a place in this specific discussion."

Let's look!

Wyden is a cosponsor of IRFA, the Internet Radio Fairness Act, amongst the provisions of which was one which would allow anyone speaking against direct licensing schemes to be prosecuted. Chris Castle (MusicTechPolicy.com): "IRFA allows monopolists like Clear Channel, Google and Sirius to threaten any artist organization with an antitrust law lawsuit if the artists 'impede' Big Media’s lust for direct licensing." "Section 5(a), which allows Pandora, Google, Clear Channel and their fellow travelers to sue any group of creators acting jointly to license their rights."

See http://thetrichordist.com/2012/11/08/irfa-section-5/ - "Section 5 of IRFA is perhaps the most pernicious part of the bill, for it would make it illegal for anyone to criticize digital sound recording licensees. If IRFA becomes law, artists and artist organizations will need to watch what they say in public in opposition to Sirius and Clear Channel’s direct licensing efforts."

"This is not an exaggeration or hyperbole — it is already happening. The provisions of Section 5 seem to be a direct response to groups like American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), SoundExchange, and major record labels cautioning recording artists about the drawbacks to a push by Sirius XM to license recordings directly following the latest rate-setting proceedings." "Sirius XM essentially argues that various public communications concerning its direct license program amount to anti-competitive behavior - not anti-competitive conduct, just speech."

(Wait! Let me guess! You have no fucking idea what "direct licensing" is, or why Pandora and Clear Channel et al would want it, right? And you probably don't also know that Pandora and Google have the same lawyers, right?)

What we have here is Wyden sponsoring a bill that both abridges the First Amendment Right of musicians to free speech, and of freedom of assembly. If you think that this is is a mainstream Democratic position, let me know why you think so, okay?

Pandora pays FOUR PERCENT its revenue for royalties, and Wyden introduced a bill to LOWER that. In the meantime, Tim Westergren, head of Pandora, is selling one million dollars of Pandora stock PER MONTH and has been doing for many many months...)

So let's see: Wyden wants to curtail freedom of speech and of assembly for musicians, to prevent them from organizing against Pandora, Clear Channel, et al's attempts to cut royalties, and increase profits for a handful of huge multi-billion-dollar corporations. I don't know what YOU call it, but to me, "fascism" seems to be a pretty apt description.

When fighting against SOPA, Wyden introduced a bill to replace the current DMCA copyright violation notices with a process that would have been handled by the ITC - the International Trade Court in Washington DC! For a description see http://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/rogue-sites-legislation-enter-the-amendments-for-the-1-part-3/

Now, Google gets THREE MILLION DMCA NOTICES EVERY WEEK and Google admits that 97% are legitimate. Of course Google finds this a problem and so Wyden introduces a law that will eliminate the current procedure of DMCA notices, and will instead require that an action to be started in the ITC in Washington DC - a costly procedure requiring lawyers and, of course, money! So once again we have Wyden acting against the interests of huge numbers of people who take photos, write news stories, or comics, or stories or books, or make films or music, and proposes to make it harder for these people to claim the protection of law, at the same time making it even easier for Google to profit from piracy.

If Wyden isn't a fascist, then fascism doesn't exist.

And what "doesn't belong" is a) your sanctimonious ignorance in this discussion, and 2) Wyden in any democratic institution.

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Re: @Eric Olson: What "Doesn't Belong".

"Act, amongst the provisions of which was one which would allow anyone speaking against direct licensing schemes to be prosecuted..."

"Section 5 of IRFA is perhaps the most pernicious part of the bill, for it would make it illegal for anyone to criticize digital sound recording licensees."

The article you linked says several times that IRFA would "outlaw" such speech, but the only real reference given is to a lawsuit filed by Sirius XM. But their lawsuit doesn't have anything to do with law, per se - I could file a lawsuit alleging that you harmed me by using the word 'fighting', but that doesn't mean that it's illegal to use the word fighting: I'm not a lawmaker, and I might not win the suit anyway.

I additionally don't see anything in the actual document that looks like it would outlaw said speech - only the rather optimistic interpretation of Sirius XM's lawyers. If you took every *attempted* over-reach by corporate lawyers, you'd come to the conclusion that almost everything is illegal.

If your position is that the mere ability of people like Sirius to file a lawsuit complaining about people's speech, sure, that's bad, but it's the case with or without IRFA and has nothing to do with a *law saying you can't say something*. If that were the case, it would be the government, not Sirius, and it would be a criminal trial, not a civil suit.

So, I'm really not sure what you're getting at. The music industry has indeed done and proposed some pretty horrid things, so I wouldn't necessarily put it past them - but I'm not seeing any game-changers here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "D-OR" - Not Quite Correct.

"...by eliminating any data-caps that might conceivable limit the amount of content which users can steal..."

Conversely, eliminating any data caps that retard consumers ability to purchase and consume content encourages them to use the many legal online services instead of "stealing" so content owners benefit.

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Re: "D-OR" - Not Quite Correct.

Try decaf man!

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@David W.: Fascism is as fascism does, or, What the fascists are up to now.

IRFA would make it a violation of the Sherman Act for “any copyright owners of sound recordings acting jointly, or any common agent or collective representing such copyright owners, to take any action that would prohibit, interfere with, or impede direct licensing.”

http://thetrichordist.com/2012/11/29/congressional-research-service-memo-on-constitutionality-of-irfa-section-5/ :

The following is an excerpt from a memo by the Congressional Research Service on The Constitutionality of IRFA Section 5:

"David Lowery, writing for the Thetrichordist.com, has argued that “Section 5 of IRFA is perhaps the most pernicious part of the bill, for it would make it illegal for anyone to criticize digital sound recording licensees. If IRFA becomes law, artists and artist organizations will need to watch what they say in public in opposition to [certain licensees’]direct licensing efforts.” It seems that Lowery takes issue with the use of the words ”any action” that would ”prohibit, interfere with, or impede ”negotiations.

He argues that these terms are too broad and could apply even to those who would criticize licensees for attempting to negotiate direct licenses with copyright owners. Another concern cited by Lowery in opposition to Section 5 is the ambiguity inherent in the language “any copyright owners acting jointly.”

This language does not necessarily seem to be limited to large member-based royalty collection organizations like SoundExchange. It may be broad enough to encompass, for example,the members of an individual band, who might be considered to be individual copyright owners, acting jointly. Under this broad reading of the language, an argument could be made that a band, posting its criticisms of direct licensing negotiations between a licensee and a copyright owner, would betaking an action that would interfere with a direct licensing negotiation, thereby violating Section 5.

Though this hypothetical presents a broad interpretation of the language of Section 5, it is not an implausible one. It is possible that the language may be broad enough to cover a blog post by a band expressing their opinion regarding contract negotiations between a licensee and a copyright owner. Nonetheless, it seems unlikely that, in practice, Section 5 would impinge upon First Amendment rights" (Emphasis added.)

Sadly, the Congressional Research Service neglects to say exactly *why* Section 5 would be "unlikely in practice to impinge on First Amendment rights". Because, considering the amount of money at stake, and the ease with which these large and wealthy companies could subject any critics to crushing lawsuits and their crushing expenses, and the fact that the bill PERMITS legal action against any speech that "interferes" with their business - I think that the bill's "impingement on First Amendment rights" would be "guaranteed".

Again, that long citation is from the Congressional Research Service Memo on the Constitutionality of IRFA Section 5. Do you think that your opinion is more authoritative?

It isn't.

And Ron Wyden, (Fascist-OR), is still a fascist. But of course maybe it's possible that I'm wrong. Maybe he is only a fascist hireling...

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RE: Re: "D-OR" - Not Quite Correct.

Is your paycheck signed by the RIAA or the MPAA, or one of its pawns???

The tenor of your comment would suggest that.

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Re: the bill's "impingement on First Amendment rights" would be "guaranteed".

I'd like to disagree with you because if the bill did infringe on the First amendment, it is by definition unconstitutional. Unfortunately, given the string of recent rulings (Kelo, Obamacare), that no longer seems to be sufficient grounds for SCOTUS to act, so I can't.

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Trollface

Don't feed the troll

There are plenty of sites to discuss that issue on.

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Trollface

Re: Don't feed the troll

Ah but he might not have enough on his data plan to go to another site...

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Can care less what companies payroll he is on, as long as it benefits the general public which this potentially could unlike SOPA, and al those other bad legislations that punish the people.

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re. "Can care less ..."

So, you do care at least a little bit. How much do you care?

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Headmaster

RE: Can care less

"Can care less"?

I think you could benefit from some extra lessons in Mr Mitchell's class, dear boy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw

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Re: as long as it benefits the general public

Nothing that is ever delegated to faceless apparatchiks benefits the public.

A law that requires companies to fully disclose their data caps (even the constantly adjusting ones based on how many standard deviations you are from the mean/median user) sure. But not turning it all over to the FCC who have no place on the internet.

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Coat

Wait a minute

I thought that the free-market capitalism that the GOP stands for (instead of the usual left-wing baloney the Dems here are suggesting) would cure every single market hiccups El Reg is writing about: if the current telecom infrastructure doesn't fit your use, every single Merkin is free to start their own multi-billion dollar telecom business and conquer the world.

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Re: Wait a minute

Capitalism can't truly be free because there are inherent barriers of entry. In this case, data networks require expensive investments in infrastructure, especially if using wireless communications. Plus the big boys in the market can engage in cartel behaviour to keep smaller players from competing against them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait a minute

Huh? There are still a ton of small ISPs using unbundled loops.

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Coat

Re: Wait a minute

"Huh? There are still a ton of small ISPs using unbundled loops."

Hum. I gather from that that you must not live in the USA.

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Re: are inherent barriers of entry.

what history has proven is that the only inherent barrier to entry is government granting someone a monopoly. They can do it directly like they once did with AT&T, or they hide their actions in obscure regulations handled out of public site and manipulated by lobbyists and lawyers. Wyden's proposal clearly falls into the second category and duped like Ian fall for it all the time.

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Unnecessary legislation IMO

Many ISPs already offer various data volume plans and tools for users to monitor their usage. By necessity the other ISPs will be forced to provide the same options of lose business. We certainly don't need some paid-for-politician passing bogus legislation to benefit his money master.

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WTF?

Hiddend contract terms

I ran into problems with AT&T's caps almost two years ago. The terms and conditions actually gave them the right to implement additional terms and conditions which they would only tell me about after I violate them.

How is that in any way legal or fair?

Many speculated AT&T implemented the cap to hurt Netflix and other alternatives to their U-Verse cable TV offerings.

Luckily I had one other broadband option and could simply do business with another company, not everyone is lucky enough to have options.

AT&T shouldn't be allowed to advertise unlimited service while having a hidden cap.

Every customer should have gotten a notice in the mail about the new limit on their unlimited service.

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Re: Hiddend contract terms...new limit on their unlimited service.

Didn't you know, some management asshole at Verizon stated that unlimited was strictly a marketing term, and not to be taken literally.

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Regarding the article

I have no idea what most of the previous comments are talking about, or why they came here to talk about it. Nevertheless, regarding this part of the article:

Americans are increasingly tethered to the Internet and connecting more devices to it, but they don't really have the tools to effectively manage data consumption across their networks

That actually makes sense. Most users are not that tech savvy and are not really aware of what their data usage is or how to find out for each of their devices and add them up. I personally don't see anything wrong with service providers helping with this. I've seen people get unexpected bills, and one of my neighbours has just been throttled so they can only check e-mail because they went over some limit they have no idea of how to monitor. This is a couple who normally only browse and have no interest in bandwidth consuming media. These things shouldn't happen.

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Re: Regarding the article

The devil is in the details and the feel good bits are there to take in chumps like you. Turning over to the FCC just guarantees the average citizen will be completely clueless and at the mercy of unaccountable fiends.

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Dangerous plan...

Allowing 3rd parties to monitor bandwith only brings you one step closer to monitoring contents.

IMO this shouldn't be something the government is to be involved with. If consumers feel they're paying too much for their ISP's services then what's stopping them from going to another ?

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Re: Dangerous plan...

Surely this is already monitored, otherwise ISPs couldn't actually enforce their caps.

We just need an easy way for consumers to access that data. A simple page offered by the ISP which shows data spent/left for the last/coming XX days.

Of course you could argue that you need 3rd party people to fairly monitor your usage, but then you'd have the ISP/consumer and the 3rd party disagreeing, which could just as well be simply the ISP and the consumer disagreeing.

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Re: Dangerous plan...

IMO this shouldn't be something the government is to be involved with. If consumers feel they're paying too much for their ISP's services then what's stopping them from going to another ?

The lack of regulation is what has caused the US internet infrastructure to fall so far behind. This may not be the most important piece of legislation, but more controls are definitely needed in order to bring back competition. As for going to another ISP, how would that solve the problem? Besides, many of us don't have another ISP to go to.

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Re: Dangerous plan...

"If consumers feel they're paying too much for their ISP's services then what's stopping them from going to another ?"

Well, in my case, it would be the fact that there are no viable alternatives - dialup (assuming it's even still available) and satellite are the only other possibilities where I live, and neither are practical for anything other than emergency use. There's one mom-and-pop cable inet provider; we're too far out in the sticks for anything like fios or DSL. So, yeah, there isn't any competition, and a lot of places here are like that.

Whatever my cable co decides to do is what I'm stuck with. Luckily they're (as a mom-and-pop company) pretty cool people, and constantly upgrade speed and bandwidth without touching prices or being asked. But if they decided to be jerks, we wouldn't have any real alternative.

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Anonymous Coward

Data Management

My ISP, here in the UK, has a data cap, and you can pay them extra for "Unlimited" which just doubles the the limit.

My ISP provides a utility on its web site for customers to check their usage.

This utility does not work. And, yes, I have tried it with Internet Explorer.

Whatever hidden motive there might be, whatever might go wrong with the details, Senator Wyden is saying something I can support. How can a free market work if the sellers are allowed to lie?

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Re: Data Management

I have up-voted you but would offer a slight query. You said 'if the sellers are allowed to lie?' However is not a problem that those who lie are allowed to sell, oh, I just realised stopping that, would catch a whole lot more than dodgy ISPs.

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Anonymous Coward

Smells FISHY!

What ELSE, does the bill do?

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Anonymous Coward

Citizens should be pushing for a performance vs. compensation plan

Instead of follishness like data caps, all countries should pay their government politicians based on performance instead of a platinum holiday program. If the politician does what the majority of citizens desire, then they get 30,000 Euros total compensation per year. If they fail to support the will of the majority of citizens, they only get 15K-20K Euros total compensation.

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