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First POST: Commercially Reasonable Highway Robbery

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, April 25 2014

Commercially Reasonable Highway Robbery

  • Tim Wu, who coined the term "net neutrality," says that the FCC's new rule is "net discrimination" and reminds New Yorker readers that what the agency is proposing is something a presidential candidate named Barack Obama specifically campaigned against.

  • Techdirt's Mike Masnick says that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's "first foray into net neutrality is a joke," because the new "commercially reasonable" rule will allow Internet service providers to create fast and slow lanes for service, allowing bigger players to effectively "double charge big companies, who will now have to pay for both their own bandwidth and a portion of your bandwidth" and eventually leading to higher costs for consumers.

  • Dan Gillmor writes in The Guardian that the best response to the FCC's new rules on broadband is to "push for community broadband networks" and tell Members of Congress to treat Internet access as a public utility.

  • Gautham Nagesh profiles FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's "unapologetic style" for the Wall Street Journal.

  • The Sunlight Foundation's Peter Olsen-Phillips tallies up how back when he was an industry lobbyist, Wheeler bundled as much as a million dollars for President Obama's presidential campaigns, putting him into the top ranks of Obama fundraisers. He writes, "unfortunately, as there is no law on the books mandating bundling disclosure," it is impossible to tell how many of the firms Wheeler may have tapped for that cash now stand to benefit from Wheeler's choices as FCC chair.

  • On his Facebook page, Texans for Public Justice's Craig Holman, who helped expose Rep. Tom DeLay's corruption, explains why this critical detail is missing:

    In 2007, following the Abramoff scandals, Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA). I was trying to get a provision included that would ban lobbyists from campaign fundraising activity, but it was watered down to a simple disclosure requirement of campaign fundraising by lobbyists (known as "bundling"). But the Federal Election Commission poked a gaping hole in the disclosure requirement, allowing several lobbyists to participate in the same bundling event and thus each single lobbyist could remain under the dollar disclosure threshold. The result: the bundling disclosure law is not working well.

  • A new petition on the White House's "We the People" page demanding the protection of "true net neutrality" is gaining signatures at the rate of more than 1000 per hour.

  • Speaking at a media forum Thursday, Vladimir Putin said the Internet was originally a "CIA project" and "is still developing as such," reports Nataliya Vasilyeva for the Associated Press.

  • Federal magistrates, who sit at the lowest rung of the federal judicial system, are rejecting law enforcement requests for the electronic records of defendants, report Ann Marimow and Craig Timberg for the Washington Post.

  • “We’re hearing from an increasing number of magistrates that they’re uncomfortable with the requests they’re getting from the FBI and the Justice Department for surveillance,” Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Post.

  • Verizon Wireless has quietly begun an "enhanced" version of its Relevant Mobile Advertising program, using cookies to track its customers online browsing habits to better target ads to them on their mobile phones. A company spokeswoman, speaking to reporter David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times, couldn't explain how a "anonymous, unique identifier" that is created when a user checks in, say, at myverizon.com, can then deliver targeted ads to a known user's mobile number.

  • Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel are settling the "no-poaching" class action anti-trust case, The New York Times's David Streitfeld reports.

  • In Mother Jones, Simon Rogers says that real data journalists "make their work and raw data available for you to download and explore yourself as a matter of routine." Does Vox, FiveThirtyEight and the Upshot meet that standard for transparency?

  • State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has, inadvertently, created her own meme with this tweet: "The world stands #UnitedforUkraine. Let's hope that the #Kremlin & @mfa_russia will live by the promise of hashtag."

  • Related: How the #MustSeeIran hashtag got co-opted by human rights activists, by our Jessica McKenzie.

  • Sounding like New York State's own Vladimir Putin, Gov. Andrew Cuomo explains to Crain's New York's editorial board why he can't be accused of "interfering" with the work of the Moreland Commission investigating state corruption, which he recently disbanded (prompting the US district attorney to scoop up its files, saying its work wasn't done): “It’s not a legal question. The Moreland Commission was my commission. It’s my commission. My subpoena power, my Moreland Commission. I can appoint it, I can disband it. I appoint you, I can un-appoint you tomorrow. So, interference? It’s my commission. I can’t 'interfere' with it, because it is mine. It is controlled by me.”

  • Democratic uber-blogger Markos Moulitsas responds, "The Moreland Commission scandal has already killed Cuomo's national ambitions. This response is just icing on the cake."

  • Revolution Messaging has just launched a new tool for mobile rapid response, Revere.

  • Bev Godwin, director of the GSA's Federal Citizen Information Center and a key behind-the-scenes player in the federal government's efforts to embrace the Internet, is retiring, NextGov's Frank Konkel reports. We wish her the best.

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