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Where the Candidates Stand On Net Neutrality 420

nmpost writes "Net neutrality is one of the biggest issues with regard to the internet today. At the heart of the issues is how much control ISPs will be allowed to have over their networks. Each candidate has come out with a strong position on the matter, and whoever wins will have a drastic effect on the future of the internet. Barack Obama has been a proponent of net neutrality. Under his watch, the FCC has implemented net neutrality rules. These restrictions did not apply to wireless networks, though; a gaping loophole that will be problematic in the future, as mobile internet is exploding in popularity. Until it is addressed, Obama can only be given a barely passing grade with regard to net neutrality. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has come down on the other side of the issue. The former Massachusetts governor strongly opposes net neutrality. According to Politico, Romney believes net neutrality will restrict ISPs, and that they alone should govern their networks. The governor has stated that he wants as little regulation of the internet as possible."
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Where the Candidates Stand On Net Neutrality

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  • by The Shootist ( 324679 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:03PM (#41050505)

    I have seen no evidence that any of them do. Republican or demonrat, it makes no difference.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:15PM (#41050585)

      And those that do lie about what it means to push their agenda (eg, painting NN as a government takeover or new fairness doctrine)

      • Yep. You've got to love the Mumbo Jumbo add [youtube.com]. I assume this will degrade into pointless partisan bickering, but what's at stake is your ability to reach places slashdot.org. The anti-net-neutrality crowed would literally give ISPs like AT&T and Comcast the right to censor the web for you, to support their own agenda. It's incredible that so many of our representatives are anti-net-neutrality. On the other side, there's beneficial traffic shaping and various tricks ISPs play to improve the typical us

      • by WaywardGeek ( 1480513 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @06:35AM (#41052563) Journal

        Those who do lie about it are going further. Verizon is suing the FCC, specifically for the right to choose what content to block, and what to allow. From this article [pcworld.com]:

        This time around, Verizon is playing the First Amendment card. The challenge, essentially, is that by limiting Verizon’s ability to choose which content to block or promote, the FCC is infringing on Verizon’s right to free speech.

        Talk about twisted... requiring that users have uncensored access to the internet is a violation of corporate freedom of speech? I think I have to go shower now to get the slime I feel all over after reading that.

        • Why do we believe that people have a right to buy something that the seller doesn't want to offer?

          Everywhere I can think of a rule that someone must sell service they don't want to offer, I see a constant frustration by people who don't feel their right to buy is being met sufficiently mirrored by frustration that a seller cannot provide the service they really want to provide.

          I believe you have a right to free speech, but I don't believe you have a right to come into my home and spray paint slogans on my w

    • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:26PM (#41050653)

      Republican or demonrat, it makes no difference.

      Are you saying that they are both equally ignorant? Or that the choice between Romney and Obama would have no impact on this issue?

      I'm not sure about the first point, neither one of them has demonstrated Ted Stevens-style ignorance, but the second point is definitely wrong: even if they don't know the full impact of the promises that they make, those promises still influence policy. Legislation will result from this, on one side or the other, if only to keep up appearances of making good with campaign promises.

      • The question is whether net neutrality is an unnecessary step to further Internet regulations (like requiring ISPs to police for copyrighted materials), or whether it even matters since they are all so willing to participate with that kind of thing anyway.

      • "I believe the puppet on the left shares MY beliefs, well I believe the puppet on the right has MY interests at heart...hey wait a minute there is one guy controlling both puppets!"....Bill Hicks.

        Frankly the two figureheads can say any damned thing they want, the actual laws are written by the lobbyists of the one that has paid the most bribes...errr..I mean campaign contributions and that will be the ISPs. The figurehead will then either praise the lawmakers for their fine work or talk about what a shame it is the other side is doing this...while the puppet signs it into law. In either case if you think your puny little vote is gonna compete with the power of the big bag o' cash? I have some magic beans you might be interested in.

        Even if NN were a real possibility (which it isn't) what we need isn't some rules the ISPs will ignore, but actual opening up of the last miles to competition as we had in the days of dialup so any ISP acting like douchebags would have to worry about losing their customers. As it is now even if they passed NN the ISPs would simply fuck you by making the bandwidth caps so small for anything they didn't get a cut of they'd still be able to lead you by the nose.

        Hell considering how little the DSL providers have been keeping up with the times I wouldn't be surprised if they end up just leaving the market to the cable companies while they enjoy the much more lucrative (and as TFA pointed out with no NN rules) wireless, so we'll probably all end up with exactly one company if we want broadband at home and since they won't want competition with their TV they'll cap the living hell out of us.

        Final verdict? While the EU and Asia enjoy ever bigger pipes we in the USA thanks to our "corporation yay!" political structure will be riding on the short bus to the information superhighway.

        • That was an insightful post. My ISP, AT&T, capped my data exactly where they felt it would do the most harm to Netflix. In the meantime, there's no data cap for AT&T U-verse, or their pay-per-view. I had crappy reliability with Vonage, so now I pay AT&T for their more expensive VoIP service instead. The only difference has to be AT&T bias against Vonage packets.

          However, there's some hope. I agree with the other poster that content providers like Google will put their dollars behind net

    • I have seen no evidence that any of them do. Republican or demonrat, it makes no difference.

      Heck, plenty of slashdotters can't agree on what Net Neutrality means.

      • by WaywardGeek ( 1480513 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:38AM (#41052321) Journal

        Slashdotters include a major portion of people with mental issues, who will find reasons to disagree with anything. They couldn't agree that the sky is blue on a clear sunny day. If you're parsing that sentence and trying to figure out why you disagree with it, consider yourself at least somewhat mental.

        However, the non-mental slashdot crowd has a strong consensus on the basics of Net Neutrality. This strongly correlates to the subset of net neutrality that has been implemented as policy by the FCC. Net neutrality should not prevent ISPs from treating TCP packets like TCP packets, and UDP packets like UDP packets. It should prevent ISPs from charging content providers a fee for being fast or even accessible on their network. It should prevent them from filtering or censoring legal content. It also should prevent ISPs from purposely harming the QoS of competing services such as Vonage and Netflix. These are the sorts of policies that we generally agree on, and it's what the FCC is enforcing (poorly it seems).

        Where reasonable slashdotters often don't agree is Bittorrent. Should ISPs be allowed to purposely slow down any P2P traffic? We don't have a solid consensus. Just because we don't agree on 100% of the details doesn't mean the FCC should not move forward on issues where there is consensus. It's currently doing the right thing, and that will probably be reversed if Romney/Ryan get elected.

    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:03AM (#41051181) Journal

      Do the candidates know what Net Neutrality means?
      I have seen no evidence that any of them do.

      I just turned in a term paper on Network Neutrality issues and regulatory approaches to them.

      One thing I discovered was that Obama (or at least his relevant policy wonk and/or speechwriter) was quite aware of the issues and was coming down strongly on the side of regulating to prevent entertainment/ISP conglomerate oligopolists from using their control of the pipes to strangle their content and services competition and shaft their customers.

      Which may not be the right approach. But they did seem to be QUITE up on things.

      Relevant Obama quote, from a June 8 2006 podcast:

      The topic today is net neutrality. The Internet today is an open platform where the demand for websites and services dictates success. You've got barriers to entry that are low and equal for all comers ... I can say what I want without censorship. I don't have to pay a special charge. But the big telephone and cable companies want to change the Internet as we know it. They say they want to create high-speed lanes on the Internet and strike exclusive contractual arrangements with Internet content-providers for access to those high-speed lanes. Those of us who can't pony up the cash for these high-speed connections will be relegated to the slow lanes. So here's my view. We can't have a situation in which the corporate duopoly dictates the future of the Internet and that's why I'm supporting what is called net neutrality.

      • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @05:19AM (#41052201) Journal

        I just turned in a term paper on Network Neutrality issues and regulatory approaches to them.

        Thanks, that's confirmation of the way I see things. Being an Aussie I don't get to see all the US political maneuvering on this issue. However I did see one Fox 'report' looking at NN (at least 6 months ago). It basically came to the conclusion that (paraphrase) "Obama wants to dictate what you can and can't see on the intertubes and the brave ISP's are fighting for your rights". And it was a "news" report, not that loud idiot with a whiteboard. How anyone with the slightest inkling of what this is about can swallow that shit, or worse still repeat it as if it were fact, baffles me.

        Similarly there are a lot of posts here claiming that there's no difference between Obama and Romney on the issue. This is simply false, there's a clear distinction between the two policies that even I can see from 10,000 miles away. Claiming they're the same does nothing but imply the claimant is intellectually lazy. Such laziness in politics makes one a perfect target for propaganda presented as news.

        PS: If any Obama operatives are reading this, take my name off your fucking spam list, I do not want to "Own a piece of the Democratic convention for as little as $5", I can't vote for your guy and the metaphor of selling political access nauseates me a little.

    • Did you vote for anyone in the primaries that DID know what net neutrality meant?
    • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @08:37AM (#41053247) Homepage

      Do the candidates know what Net Neutrality means? I have seen no evidence that any of them do. Republican or demonrat, it makes no difference.

      I'm not sure what evidence you would accept, but Obama has given multiple speeches on technological issues he seems to understand the basic idea of carrier based law. For that matter Romney's comments on this issue seem intelligent though I disagree. I'd say they both more or less do.

      However what's unquestionable is that Julius Genachowski, Obama's FCC chair does. And appointing high quality people to regulate the tech sector is the difference between Obama and his predecessors. And is really what we care about. Because whether Obama doesn't or doesn't understand the internet, internet regulation is not going to be his focus. While for the FCC they can focus on that. And there is a big difference between regulations that are in the public interest like Obama's and regulations designed to support corporate America like what Romney proposes.

  • Ron Paul (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drwho ( 4190 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:07PM (#41050531) Homepage Journal

    Where does he rank? Or he even worth mentioning?

    • Re:Ron Paul (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:15PM (#41050589)

      He's anti, though he claims to be "pro freedom." In actuality all that means is that he opposes regulation.

    • by tyrione ( 134248 )

      Where does he rank? Or he even worth mentioning?

      He ranks as high as Mr. Magoo.

    • by nstlgc ( 945418 )
      Ron Paul wants "Internet Freedom", A.K.A. the right for corporations to do whatever the fuck they want on the internet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:08PM (#41050533)

    Yeh, but if you wait a week, Romney will endorse Net Neutrality as essential to a free and open internet marketplace. Then if you point out his flip-flop he'll scream 'you're trying to divide us with your hate speech!'.

    Seriously Republicans, I know the pickings were slim, but couldn't you have done better than Romney?

    • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:56PM (#41050813)

      This is what happens when you sell your soul to the crazy extremists. The Republicans embraced and encouraged the deluded fringes of society by spreading lies about "government death panels" and what not. It got them a lot of votes in 2010. But it was a Faustian bargain. The crazies have taken over the party from within, and serious candidates like Gary Johnson and Jon Huntsman don't stand a chance. Instead, we get the likes of Gingrich and Trump and Santorum.

      I'm reminded of a point in the 2008 campaigns. McCain was giving a speech, and mentioned Obama. The crowd went wild, screaming things like "Terrorist!" and "Kill Him!". McCain winced, having clearly heard and been bothered by the remarks. But did he speak up? Did he change his campaign, and drop the "terrorist sympathizer" rhetoric? No. In my mind, that marked the death of the GOP. What's left is akin to Old Yeller. Dangerous, violent, and needs to be put down for everyone's sake (figuratively -- we're talking about the party, not the people in it). Let the sane members form a new party. They're being forced out of office by teabagger primaries anyway, and I'm sure the Blue Dog Democrats would join them.

      • by englishknnigits ( 1568303 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @12:21AM (#41050963)
        I hate to defend McCain but:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llef8ZRTWQo [youtube.com]
        He did actually speak up. Could he have said more and altered tone? Sure, but he wasn't silent about it.
        As a side note, you should really stop trying to label entire groups of people based on douche bag members of that group. Every group has people that the group itself should be ashamed of but that hardly justifies tar and feathering the entire group. That's called applying stereotypes. Two examples of applying stereotypes that you may be familiar with are racism and sexism.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ATMAvatar ( 648864 )

          The Republicans would get less flak for the fringe elements of their side if the reins weren't handed over to them.

          Increasingly, you see the Republican party as a whole kowtowing to its fringe elements rather than taking the more sensible, moderate road. It has been this way for years, most notably since Obama first started campaigning, but it has been especially bad since the 2010 elections.

          I keep waiting for a responsible adult to stand up and tell the Tea Party fanatics to calm down.

        • Wow, it's actually quite frightning that people THAT ignorant and uninformed are voting in federal elections.
        • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:28AM (#41051287)
          He wasn't stereotyping. Stereotyping would be saying that all republicans are crazy extremists. He's not saying every republican is crazy, he's saying the crazies are leading it, and the sane ones aren't stopping it.

          Global warming denial, irresponsible tax breaks, partisan obstructionism, preventing homosexual marriage, going after contraceptives, etc it's good that most republicans aren't into all those things. However, if they tolerate the crazies and allow them to dictate what the party does, then yes, they are partly to blame.
        • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

          That's a separate incident from the one I referred to. Here's a (low quality) video [youtube.com] of what I was talking about. The fact that he once said Obama wasn't a Muslim does not mean that he wasn't embracing the hatred as a means to an end.

          Furthermore, I did not stereotype at all. I said there were crazy members that have taken over the Republican party from within, and that since it seems to late to save the party, the remaining sane members should abandon ship and start a new one.

    • ...couldn't you have done better than Romney?

      No, they're tossing the election. Neither side wants a super majority that could be held culpable when things get really exciting.

      rotating villain [urbandictionary.com]:
      "In American democracy, when the majority party has enough votes to pass populist legislation, party leaders designate a scapegoat who will refuse to vote with the party thereby killing the legislation. The opposition is otherwise inexplicable and typically comes from someone who is safe or not up for re-election. This

    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:18AM (#41051243) Homepage Journal

      Mitt does not do 180 degree about faces every week. Once a year, twice tops.

    • Seriously Republicans, I know the pickings were slim, but couldn't you have done better than Romney?

      Yes, they could have gone with Paul or Huntsman, but they were told neither of them had any chance of winning.

      They also could have done worse than Romney though, remember everyone else who ran for the republican nomination? Santorum. Perry. Cain. Bachmann. I mean, on net neutrality, maybe some of them would have been better. For instance, maybe Cain would have accidentally been in favor of net neutrality. The issue is more complex than geography, [thinkprogress.org] he might have vetoed a bill he meant to sign or v

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:13PM (#41050577) Homepage
    From being greedy anti-competitive asshats. That's the whole idea.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by exabrial ( 818005 )
      Exactly! Just look at how well our current regulations work in the oil, auto, loan, and investment industries to understand why intense regulation is the key to success!
      • by DarkFencer ( 260473 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:29PM (#41050677)

        Exactly! Just look at how well our current regulations work in the oil, auto, loan, and investment industries to understand why intense regulation is the key to success!

        You mention auto regulation. Not sure why. Cars are much safer than they have ever been, fuel efficiency is better than ever (and will continue to increase due to regulation). Cars have not increased at a faster pace then inflation. They properly regulated auto manufacturing industry is a perfect example of how things SHOULD be done.

        • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:49PM (#41050779) Journal

          1. If someone thinks the regulations we have are bad, the solution isn't no regulation, but good regulation

          2. The oil, loan, and investment industries are mostly self regulated, as their regulatory bodies do not have the manpower or resources to actually verify the things they do.
          Hence the constant string of disasters in finance and the dumping of unfiltered wastes by the oil/fracking and mining industries.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      Preventing businesses from being GACAHs is the first step down the slippery slope to socialism!

  • Let's make a deal. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:16PM (#41050593)

    Government should regulate the internet as little as possible? Great! Let's make a deal! You repeal copyright, completely, and invalidate all communications-related patents and we'll tolerate ISPs that want to favor their own IP TV over that of competitors.

    No? Yeah. Thought so.

    Or to put it as succinctly as possible: Romney wants as little regulation of the internet as possible? Bullshit.

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:27PM (#41050667) Homepage

    As little regulation as possible AKA no regulation for the companies, but real name policies, regulations on how we can use those connections, and everything monitored.

  • Anti-neutrality (a.k.a. anti-regulation)
    My friends / owners / suzerains already control that industry.

    Pro-neutrality (a.k.a. pro-regulation)
    My enemies control that industry, or my decision is still for sale (applies to government officials only).

  • How about a compromise that would:

    A) Preserve property rights
    B) Protect the internet
    C) Keep the internet free

    What I propose is that net neutrality be built into the requirements for ISPs to obtain federal/state/local funding. Don't want to implement net neutrality? Don't take taxpayer dollars. Want to take taxpayer dollars for your ISP? Implement net neutrality.

    Its the best of both worlds.
    • So the problem is that there's still the question of what exactly 'net neutrality' means by the time someone works it into legislation. Odds are, there will be some glaring loopholes put in my some staffer who the week after it passes gets hired by a corporation or lobbyist organization.

      For instance ... if we must pass all 'legal' traffic, what about e-mail that complies with the CAN-SPAM act? Would we be allowed to filter that out, or does it have to go through to the customer's mailboxes?

      What I'm pissed

    • Public land is heavily used by all ISPs. The ones that connect to your house they use public land to get to your house (the road system) while you could say that is not something that belongs in the discussion because it is not giving them money. I would say that public land which connects everybody together is an EXTREMELY valuable asset and the fact the public owns it is the reason we easily added infrastructure we take for granted. To allow private use of OUR land is a massive huge handout.

      Same thing

  • One more reason why I'm not voting. At this point I'm not choosing, I'm enabling.

    Obama says he supports Net Neutrality, then gives cart blanche to the well funded carriers. Landline Internet? Ha! One of my techs found out his Comcast service is capped at 200GB per month.

    At least Romney is honest about his corporate ties, which is the biggest reason not to vote for him or any Republican. The other being they are on a similar Moral Crusade just like the Democrats. Unless you buy that "only sensible/inte

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:34AM (#41051587) Journal

    It's silly season again and the proponents of each side must make fools of themselves once more. We must hear again why this one is a saint, and the other a demon - and the equivalent counter arguments while the vast majority in the middle by trying to find the least worst course split the difference in a way that seems semirandom. For once let me just lay out our folly in a nonpartisan way.

    1. We don't want one party in power because they do things. When they do things, it's always bad. That's why lately the executive and legislative branches are typically governed by different parties. When we give the executive to one party, we give the legislative to the other, and we trade them back and forth to ensure the Justice branch has balance because it's appointed by the executive, or we at least split the House and Senate. God help us should one party gain control of all three long enough to be free to press their agenda through all three branches of government. That would be the end of liberty no matter who held the reins. The "do nothing" accusation is laughable, as that is exactly what we want - and yet it's a major factor in the campaigns.

    2. In a regime change the exiting regime raids the treasury. The toll for this has grown to trillions of dollars per time. This is an executive branch thing, and the legislature is powerless to stop it. You may expect another financial crisis around election time that requires emergency action of the Federal Reserve. Some bankers and funds will make hay, but for some odd reason those responsible for managing your retirement funds will not be among them. And so that money you paid in will be worth less even than if you had stuffed it into your mattress, even with matching funds from your employer. They are stealing even the benefit of your own forethought, and forcing you into it by limiting your available choices of funds to invest in for your retirement.

    3. Federal funds are used to influence elections. Whether it's bridges to nowhere, jobs stimulating federal programs, or disaster relief that seems to be where the money goes. That seems to be the only place the money goes. Being the hand that guides this funnel seems to be the only reason to seek office any more, and it's a circular chain that's self-reinforcing. The entire federal budget is nothing but campaign money now, defense spending included. The lobbyists are past or future Representatives or Senators, or representatives of same, and it's a revolving door. It's The Worm Ouroboros, eating itself to our doom.

    4. Whoever wins is going to sell us out to those Hollywood cokeheads for campaign money again. Neither side is in favor of true network neutrality, open Internet, breaking the backs of the mobile provider and cable TV and Internet provider monopolies. What they're in favor of is campaign money to get the power that they cede to the people who gave them the money to get the power. Both sides take the Hollywood money, and after the election the bill comes due. They'll get their Justice Department appointments, or copyright re-extension, or software patents, or secret international trade agreements or whatever it is they're looking for this time because if you buy a ticket you get to ride the ride and they're smart enough to buy both tickets. The only thing legislators or executives of either party care about the rule of law is that they're exempt, and they can use it for fundraising.

    5. Neither main party has a plausible plan for balancing the budget, delivering the promises of social programs like Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Nor could they. The problem has become insoluble without radical new thinking that would be political death to propose. This will be the cause of the devaluation of the dollar, because we must print money to keep these promises, which then void the promises as the money paid becomes worth less. That's actually not as dire as you might think, but it's bad. It is, however inescapable as the public debt cannot cont

  • by denmarkw00t ( 892627 ) on Monday August 20, 2012 @09:58AM (#41054135) Homepage Journal

    What's really stopping people from forming a "Mesh Network" out in the wild? Seriously, the best thing about the Internet is that it's just content - the infrastructure is something we can replace if we really need to - and while you'll need to wait for Big Names to come over if you want them, a lot of the general community and information we share can be migrated to any network.

    I have a router, neighbor has a router, etc. We build out some infrastructure in the form of DNS servers, web hosting, etc; throw in a couple Wikipedia copies, and expand the network out into surrounding areas.

    The problem does come when expanding beyond city limits or other areas where you get miles and miles between yourself and your closest neighbor, but there are solutions to these issues (or some I'm led to believe...I do have a phone that talks to a satellite...)

    So, what would be the real hurdle here? What could we do as a community? What happens if the ISPs become so oppressive that we have no choice?

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.