back to article Net neutrality secrecy: No one knows what the FCC approved (BUT Google has a good idea)

US watchdog the FCC formally approved new net neutrality rules on Thursday for America. But you're out of luck if you want to know exactly how your access to the internet will be now be governed. Despite getting the green light, the exact rules have not been revealed and will remain a mystery for some unspecified length of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck you Tom Wheel'man

    It's really fucking bullshit that corporations can change our laws while the citizens can't even view them.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Up

      Re: Fuck you Tom Wheel'man

      See TTIP for the worst example of this so far...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fuck you Tom Wheel'man

        "See TTIP for the worst example of this so far..."

        If T.T.I.P. goes through, T.T.I.P. is literally proof that you're owned by corporations, you can't argue against it, because corporations will LITERALLY not allow it. Corporations are literally legally allowed to dictate the laws of citizens of any nation in the "club", with the all inclusive fail safe of being able to sue the government if the government stands in the way!

        It's 2015, and all of us are sold.

        1. Mike VandeVelde
          Unhappy

          "If T.T.I.P. goes through..."

          On this side of the pond that happened in 1994 with NAFTA chapter 11. Corporations have the god given right to collect all the profit they plan on collecting no matter what democracy tries to whimper about it. The idea has been spreading like cancer around the globe ever since.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investor-state_dispute_settlement

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Fuck you Tom Wheel'man re: TTIP

        Interesting comparison with TTIP.

        What is interesting about this comparison is that we (in the EU) at least did get to see a leaked draft that set the ball in motion to force the EU to be a little (and only a little) more open about TTIP. However, it would seem that there has been no leaks of drafts. So does this mean that the commissioners only got to see paper copies at tightly controlled meetings with no access to photocopier/fax machines?

        So I can only conclude that those who voted against adoption, were only half-hearted in their protests.

    2. VernonDozier

      Re: Fuck you Tom Wheel'man

      Well, how exactly does this work with companies like T-Mobile who give free data for music websites, but puts everything else through a toll-booth..?

      1. Political Chains

        Re: Fuck you Tom Wheel'man

        The public doesn't have a clue. The truth of what these new rules will actually be is NOT AVAILABLE, nor accountable to the public, and much of it will be rewritten and/or expanded, long before you or I will ever be able to read it. Anyone celebrating a victory is either a fool or an insider that has just expanded their unfettered power.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Democratic process is heavily democratic

    Secret decisions about unspecified objectives to assert control? Obama administration standard operating procedure.

    Well, there will be leaks soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Democratic process is heavily democratic @destroy all Monsters

      Obama said this would be the most open administration in history.

      Yeah Right.

    2. Graham Marsden
      Boffin

      Re: Democratic process is heavily democratic

      US administration standard operating procedure.

      FTFY

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Democratic process is heavily democratic

        Exactly. This is the same thing the Bush administration did with the Energy Policy Task Force Cheney chaired. Administrations of either party always hide stuff from public debate when they're afraid the public won't like it - usually because it is full of giveaways to corporate interests. I'm sure Google won't be the only big company to get changes made before the public is allowed to see it, but by then it will be too late for us little people to do anything about it.

        1. Political Chains

          Re: Democratic process is heavily democratic

          Comcast, is also onboard with the FCC on this, and in exchange, the FCC is allowing a huge merger with Comcast and AOL/Time Warner. As with all Public Utilities, we will likely see a reduction in choices (more mergers, oligoplolies, and monopolies), and if you're unhappy, you'll have to fork over millions to a lobbying firm to even have a minute say over the service you are provided.

  3. Uncle Ron

    To Lag Behind and to Erode--Just like the middle class...

    The corporate shills said, "...the dissenting voices – including those arguing that the FCC needs to bring itself into the modern internet era – have so far received much less of a hearing." What a load of crap. Theirs is the -only- voice that is -ever- heard. I'm not trusting this new set of rules any farther than I could throw the 350+ pages. Everything Wheeler touches is for his old masters--not for the people. He worked to get Obama elected so he could become FCC Chairman and rule the future of telephone, cable and internet profits for decades to come. We'll see how much of a joke these new lobbyist-written rules are when they're published. Watch for internet rates and fees and profits to sky-rocket in the US in the coming years. Watch for technology in the US to lag and erode. Watch for it. If you are a competitor of the US, you're in good shape.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: To Lag Behind and to Erode--Just like the middle class...

      Watch for technology in the US to lag and erode.

      You say that as if it is not already the case.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Double Secret Probation?

    Business + Politics = People get shafted and don't even know it.

    My colleagues seem to think I'm too cynical but this proves I'm not. Google (or the secret company) can get things revised before anyone supposedly knows what they are. Certain politicians scream bloody murder about "transparency" and "open doors".... and things still go on behind closed doors. I have a smidgeon of hope left, but I think we're screwed. The lobbyists and suitcases full of money have win. We just don't know it yet.

  5. Ian Easson

    Last minute revisions are just that...

    Anyone who has ever worked on a detailed document of hundreds of pages knows you don't publish the daily drafts.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Last minute revisions are just that...

      So, from 15 pages to upwards of 300, that's normal in your world for a 'last minute revision' is it?

      You also don't 'sign-off' the draft versions, you wait until all the revisions are completed.

      So if this document has been signed-off (i.e. voted on and approved) then by definition it is a release version - so why not release it?

      1. DaLo

        Re: Last minute revisions are just that...

        "So, from 15 pages to upwards of 300..."

        I think you may have mis-read that part?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Last minute revisions are just that...

          Thanks for pointing that out.

          "That is seemingly true, with the report suddenly dropping 15 pages to 317 pages following a last-minute letter from Google"

          When I first parsed this I thought it was typical El-Reg sarcasm, that'll teach me not to try and work whilst I am reading El Reg articles :)

        2. Tom 13

          Re: I think you may have mis-read that part?

          While it changes the order of magnitude, the point still stands. You don't lose 15 pages by deleting a couple of words here and there. I've spent more hours of my life than I care to admit to trying to figure out a way to edit a document to bring a single word up one line to save a page before going to print. Sometimes it's simple, but it's just as often a royal PITA. And yes, it was worth it to the publisher because that one word was going to save one page which in turn was going to save a four page folio in a 3000 scientific publication print run.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: I think you may have mis-read that part?

            "I've spent more hours of my life than I care to admit to trying to figure out a way to edit a document to bring a single word up one line to save a page before going to print"

            I usually just fudge the line spacing for that page, or reduce the font size in a table or something :)

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Last minute revisions are just that...

      As my first job was working in precisely that environment, I call you on your BS deflection.

      While it is technically true that you don't publish the daily drafts, it is standard practice to:

      1. Establish the draft version.

      2. Distribute amongst ALL stakeholders with suitable period for comment.

      3. Receive all comments, debate them, resolve them.

      4. Incorporate the changes into the document, update the revision level.

      5. Distribute the update amongst ALL stake holders with suitable period for comment.

      6. Go to step 3 and repeat until the number of changes is suitably low to go to Final Draft for approval.

      After approval, only editing changes to correct spelling or grammar are permitted, no substantive changes.

      None of this was done with the FCC regs. Hell, they didn't even include all the major telcos in the consultations let alone all the stakeholders. Of which the US public is most certainly the most important.

  6. Daniel B.
    Go

    Nice

    It seems that the Big Bad Telco/Cable operators are mad at this.

    Which means it's probably good. Hopefully the FCC will be able to strongarm telcos into submission this time around.

  7. Daniel B.
    Boffin

    GOPtards are already at it

    Now they're claiming "OMG now internet is going to get higher taxes, thanks Obama!" which shows how stupid the rightwingers are now. It's the FCC, not Obama, the one passing Net Neutrality rules.

    And really, the telcos brought it up on themselves by challenging the Open Internet rules. They deserve to get regulated.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: GOPtards are already at it

      You pretend that the FCC is an independent agency now that it's under The Big 0, but before it was Bush's stooge. Newsflash: All three FCC members voting for this travesty ARE BIG 0 appointees. That means it IS his change, and at his direct ORDER.

      No they don't deserve to be regulated. They BUILT the internet, the government is stealing it from them.

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: GOPtards are already at it

        Um... Tom Wheeler was also a "Big O" appointee, and he was all for allowing ISPs to charge extortion fees against content providers. It wasn't Obama who forced his hand, it was the general public. You know, US citizens, the ones that actually vote people into office. In fact, Wheeler was mostly seen as an odd choice for FCC chairman as he has been mostly associated with cableco lobbying groups.

        No they don't deserve to be regulated. They BUILT the internet, the government is stealing it from them.

        Nope, DARPA built the internet. If it weren't for ARPANet and NSFNet, there wouldn't even be an internet in the first place.

  8. Mikel

    What I posted in May here

    Over before it began

    The only thing better for the cable giants than a weak FCC rule is a completely muddled, unintelligible and unenforceable rule. That way they can do whatever they want for years and the courts will protect them.

  9. Uncle Ron

    The Fight is Far From Over...

    When you read headlines tomorrow saying, "Republicans Vow to Fight Intrusive Internet Rules," or "Comcast and Verizon Plan to Sue Over Net Neutrality Rules," or some Senator or Congressman calling the new rules "government overreach" or some such, just remember that the new rules are STILL A SECRET! They haven't been published yet. The 350+ page document that the FCC voted on today is totally unknown to anyone but the commissioners themselves. There have been no leaks, and revisions were made only a few hours before the vote. The fight is far from over, there are very likely loopholes and exceptions and other very sour stuff in the new rules, and Congress and Lobbyists will continue to make the system uncertain for years. There is just TOO MUCH MONEY at stake for these slugs to go home. We cannot declare victory just yet.

  10. james 68

    Hmm

    Maybe with a nudge and a wink those nefarious superhacking "North Koreans" could be convinced to show us a copy.

  11. danbi

    Ah, the U.S. is going back to the Stone Age of Internet.... Where they were, when that technology was heavily regulated over there. History is cyclic.

    Or perhaps it's the Middle Ages for them now, with the inquisition et al.

  12. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    One thing is certain

    ISPs will raise their subscriber rates and blame it on FCC.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Warning!

    This WILL be turned into a muzzle for those who oppose anythihg the US government has decided to do. It is aimed at the rank and ifle of both major parties.

  14. Crisp Silver badge

    "This is not a 'secret plan'" - "It's part of a process."

    Yes. A secret process.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somehow I can't help wonder, if all the clamouring from commissioners isn't actually because more openness will make it easier for lobbyists to know that they need to "give advice" on the issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's exactly what's going on here.

      If only the idealists above were right that what this process really needs is openness and an intelligent and meaningful discussion by all affected parties.

      What would actually happen is that the cable companies would throw lobbyist money at it like there was no tomorrow, and the whole process would drown in partisan politics and legal challenges.

      I still prefer the process to be open, but Wheeler is shit scared that an open process would scupper any chance of getting *anything* through.

    2. Mike VandeVelde
      Megaphone

      "more openness will make it easier for lobbyists"

      "What would actually happen is that the cable companies would throw lobbyist money at it like there was no tomorrow, and the whole process would drown in partisan politics and legal challenges."

      Hello? McFly? That's the current situation, not some hypothetical future scenario.

      "with the report suddenly dropping 15 pages to 317 pages following a last-minute letter from Google... in response to a last minute submission from a major California based company, an entire core part of the document was removed with respect to broadband subscriber access service... spend the next few weeks in ex parte meetings listening to stakeholder concerns"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "more openness will make it easier for lobbyists"

        > Hello? McFly? That's the current situation, not some hypothetical future scenario.

        There's hardly any *specific* politicing at the moment and there are no court cases pending on this at this point in time. Since the details are secret, what would you build a case on?

        When the details come out, the guns will start firing certainly, but there's hardly anything going on legally at the moment.

  16. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Senetor O'Riley ...

    should serve himself with a Freedom of Information request to release all the versions of the regulations he has been given :-)

  17. Ralph B

    Oh Really, O'Rielly?

    I thought it was always spelled "O'Reilly", but this one really seems to be "O'Rielly". I wonder how that happened?

  18. majorursa
    WTF?

    Those rules could have impact on the whole world. Why do we leave such in important decision to an obviously corrupt government of a nation driven by greed where only 5% of world population reside?

  19. DugEBug
    Stop

    Regulations and Freedom

    When was the last time any government regulations on private businesses resulted in more freedom for the people? As soon as you get regulators trying to 'save the middle class', you get big companies willing to help them with their regulations. When the big companies are really helpful (with unrelated contributions, of course), the regulations tend to favor them. Net neutrality is no different. It sounds good... "Neutrality is goood, favioritism is baaaad. We need the government to protect us from those evil corporations". So, politician A gets together with CEO B, and they meet with Bureaucrat C, and so the process begins...

    I beg the government to STOP trying to help me!

    1. Aedile

      Re: Regulations and Freedom

      The only one I'm really aware of is the breaking up Ma Bell. That increased freedom for the people because people could then attach equipment/phones to the network that didn't belong to AT&T. If that hadn't changed you might have only been able to get online via a rented AT&T computer/terminal.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What to expect

    If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. - 4.93 million individuals lost employer coverage in the first 9 months of 2014

    If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. That didn't happen either. See above statistic.

    If you like your Internet, you can keep your Internet. What do you think will happen?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am a Exception

    What is Good for me, May not be good for you

  22. James 100

    Comment now on the report coming later?!

    This is rather bizarre - they've "approved" the rules, but can't yet publish them because they're waiting for comments on the rules they haven't yet published?!

    Wouldn't it make more sense to publish the draft rule first, then collect comments, address them and approve the results, instead? It would save on royalty payments to Mr Orwell...

  23. spiris333

    This all smells of Obama, and the liberals who voted for more government intervention in America's freedoms. This country had better wake up to the fact that Obama does not have America's best interest in his agenda.

  24. Political Chains

    I think the main problem here, is people with good intentions are arguing in favor of what they want Net Neutrality to be, while failing to realize Washington insiders and the affected corporations are the ones actually crafting the language. Regardless of sides, I think most people mean well. Having said that, I don't appreciate the FCC in the least. Remember, the FCC censors speech and works to expand their reach everyday. Everyone should be wary of an agency that can write its own rules in private without having to use the proper process.

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