back to article Could US appeals court save us all from 10 years of net neutrality yelling?

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has agreed to rehear a critical case on data privacy – one that may reset how Uncle Sam treats phone companies and internet giants, and may even prevent another ten years of fights over net neutrality. If the decision is reversed, it would provide clarity over which federal …

  1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Meh

    Either way the court decides it's likely that Thune will reintroduce a bill of some sort. It might even be better if they don't reverse themselves and likewise when it goes the next step to the Supremes. The whole concept of relying on legislation that is old enough to drink or a law that was enacted about the time the eldest member of the Supreme Court was born is a bit of a stretch as it doesn't address the reality of today. It would be nice if there was some law that was less than a thousand pages and clearly set forth a set of neutrality & privacy rules that didn't crush new entrants nor so heavily favor one internet company over another simply because they got arbitrarily divided into a different category that has different government oversight.

    1. strum

      > The whole concept of relying on legislation that is old enough to drink or a law that was enacted about the time the eldest member of the Supreme Court was born is a bit of a stretch as it doesn't address the reality of today.

      It may be that the law needs to specify some of the technology - but, if it does, it's likely to be out of date before the ink is dry.

      Wouldn't it be better to lay out general principles, which would apply to any and every technology? After all "privacy" wasn't invented at the same time as the Internet.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      ... some law that was less than a thousand pages (incl. 900 pages of pork) and clearly set forth ...

      FTFY

    3. Swarthy Silver badge

      Role-based permissions? I seem to remember that being a thing when I was studying InfoSec. I think that role-based legislation would be an outstanding way of defining accountability and responsibilities, without defining technology or picking winners/losers.

      If you do X, you are answerable to Y; if you commit A, B will decide your chastisement. If it is implemented as "Duck Rules" (IE: "It looks like one, and quacks like one") it may even help curtail some of the more egregious arguments from CableCo's that they are, and at the same time are not, utilities. (the particular case involved not rolling out more network because they were under no obligation, not being a utility; but also blocking a competitive install, because as a utility, they were contracted as the sole provider of infrastructure in the area.)

  2. dew3

    An "en banc" panel in the US 9th circuit is not "the full Ninth Circuit". The 9th circuit has 29 judges, and an an banc panel is the chief judge plus other 10 randomly chosen active judges from that court.

    In any other US federal courts of appeals, an en banc panel is indeed all the active appeals court judges in that circuit.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      "an an banc panel is the chief judge plus other 10 randomly chosen active judges from that court."

      make that 'activist judges' (the only kind that are on the 9th Circus Court, it seems)

      Perhaps the Supreme Court needs to fix it. Hopefully will side with the FTC being the regulator. Otherwise, it will be Con-Grab having to do something about it with legislation.

      Ultimately I think data privacy will be dealt with the same way it was done with banking transactions. The FTC most definitely regulates THAT.

      1. DubyaG

        Re: Activist Judges

        @bombastic bob,

        "make that 'activist judges' (the only kind that are on the 9th Circus Court, it seems)"

        I have come to the conclusion that 'Activist Judge' means one with whom one disagrees; otherwise they are wise and impartial judges.

  3. Herby

    Might not stay with the 9th circuit...

    Given that the 9th is the most overturned court of its type, I don't see this ending at this level. I suspect that Roberts & the Supremes will get their hands on it. Time will tell.

    We can hope for the best!

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Might not stay with the 9th circuit...

      Just because Hannity claims it, doesn't make it so. It is overturned more than average, but two other circuits are more overturned. Per Scotusblog:

      6th Circuit - 87 percent;

      11th Circuit - 85 percent;

      9th Circuit - 79 percent;

      3rd Circuit - 78 percent;

      2nd Circuit and Federal Circuit - 68 percent;

      8th Circuit - 67 percent;

      5th Circuit - 66 percent;

      7th Circuit - 48 percent;

      DC Circuit - 45 percent;

      1st Circuit and 4th Circuit - 43 percent;

      10th Circuit - 42 percent.

      All are overturned a lot because an appeal won't be granted if the lower court got it right (unless there is another case that with a different ruling, in which case an appeal will be heard that will affirm one ruling and reverse the other)

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Might not stay with the 9th circuit...

      Why do people keep on trotting this bull shit out. lets put this in context. The 9th circuit hears the most case in the country so yes if you look at the raw numbers they do have more case over turned but percent wise it is no higher then any other court.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't you yanks put net neutrality in the constitution?

    You could even replace one that you're not using much anymore.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      If you read Article V, you will find it would take a two-thirds majority in BOTH houses to pass a Joint Resolution supporting this. THEN you would need three-fourths of the State Legislatures to pass the same resolution. The last time that happened was 50 years ago with the 26th Amendment, which was fast-tracked due to student protests over the Vietnam War (it lowered the voting age to 18; before then, people were old enough to be drafted to die but not old enough to vote for the people making those decisions). The Congressional environment then was nothing like it is now. A hyper-partisan Congress agreeing on such a divisive topic would be less likely than the Inferno freezing. Frankly, if we DID have the power to Amend the Constitution, there'd be A LOT more than just Net Neutrality we'd codify.

      PS. The 27th Amendment doesn't count, as that one actually passed Congress around the same time as the Bill of Rights but never given the state legislature ratification until 25 years ago--long story.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Unfortunately, this government

      I might have misunderstood the story, but the point seems to be that the conduct of internet companies is to be either regulated by Pai, with a very friendly light touch, or else regulated by nobody.

      Either way, net neutrality will disappear, you may have to pay separately to your ISP for each distinct web site or service that you want to use if they even permit it - note, cable television companies won't want to let you see video that isn't theirs, including DVD rental by mail - and the next constitutional amendment you can expect will begin with the words "Wee On The People". I think there won't be a video of that, either.

  5. Garymrrsn

    I wonder if some of the information ISPs can derive from internet communications would fall under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations. For instance, would the timing and frequency of communications between a patient and doctor or pharmacist be covered by the regulations? I can see where such information would be useful to advertisers.

    The point is that ISP data collection may expose information the ISP is legally prohibited from accessing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Congress will just pass an exemption act. Heck, the way they're going now, we could be going back to the days before 1985 when people could be turned away at the Emergency Room door and the return of charity hospitals. I sometimes wonder if the Republicans secretly harbor a wish to reduce the American life expectancy back to 62, the way it was before Social Security was adopted.

      1. Garymrrsn

        "reduce the American life expectancy"

        They wouldn't want to do anything that would cause a population reduction. That would cause an upward pressure on wages.

        Remember: More workers = Lower wages

        That's why they are against sex education and universal access to birth control. More teen pregnancies equal more cheap labor.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "reduce the American life expectancy"

          But there's a delicate balance. TOO MANY and you end up with dead-enders, and dead-enders, desperate for bread on the table, turn to crime. That means you need more police presence, which cost money you can't squeeze from the unemployed. Plus police may get honest streaks and turn on you. If you don't increase police presence, you're likely to get more riots and the attendant damages. Not to mention reputation problems if the crime gets more organized. Gang issues are already rampant in parts of the country; no one feels like a return to the Roarin' 20's. And then there's the whole welfare issue. That's why I mentioned Social Security.

  6. quxinot Silver badge

    Could US appeals court save us all from 10 years of net neutrality yelling?

    No.

    Sadly.

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