By Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – Today marks the first public hearing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the directorship of Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by the Trump administration. A coalition of organizations that fought to win net neutrality through reclassification as a common carrier gathered outside the FCC beforehand to deliver 200,000 ‘love letters’ to the chair calling for the protection of net neutrality. They also brought large valentines. 32690768260_a61db7d763_zUpon their approach to the FCC door, the net neutrality protectors were met by the aggressive and angry head of FCC security backed up by several Department of Homeland Security SUVs filled with agents. The head of security demanded to see the contents of the red-wrapped boxes carrying the petitions and instructed the group to take their valentines off the premises. The net neutrality protectors complied after delivering the petitions and moved to an adjacent open grassy area.
By Marguerite Reardon for CNET. Pai often goes out of his way to be nice. He’s the kind of person who remembers co-workers’ birthdays or your kids’ first names. It doesn’t matter if you’re a congressman from California or the parking attendant at the lot near the FCC’s headquarters, Pai offers a folksy and sincere greeting to all. He always has a kind word for colleagues, even when they stand on the opposite side of the aisles. “He made the chairman’s life miserable,” said Gigi Sohn, a former adviser to the previous head, Tom Wheeler, in reference to their constant ideological clashes. “But I like him. Everyone likes him.” This nice guy is no pushover, though. The 44-year-old chairman has already introduced a number of programs and steered the FCC in a different direction from his predecessor. And he’s still gearing up for his biggest move: the takedown of many of the regulations that protect net neutrality, the concept that all internet traffic must be treated as equal.
By Troy Wolverton for The Mercury News – Net neutrality is in the crosshairs again. Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has made it clear that he’s no fan. He’s already halted a net neutrality-related investigation launched by his predecessor and recently reaffirmed his belief that, one way or another, the “days are numbered” for the Open Internet rules. Pai was not available for comment, but advocates on both sides of the net neutrality debate believe it’s only a matter of time before he tries to undo the rules. If the courts or Congress don’t overturn them, Pai will, said Berin Szoka, president of Tech Freedom, a group that advocates against regulations affecting the technology and telecom industries, at a forum in Menlo Park on net neutrality on Tuesday.
By Jon Brodkin for US Senate Democrats today vowed that they won’t let net neutrality rules be eliminated without a fight, and they urged citizens to make their voices heard by lawmakers and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. “Remember that two years ago, nearly 4 million Americans offered comments on the Open Internet Order,” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said at a press conference this morning (video). “That’s by far, by a factor of at least two, more than any comments on any rule before the FCC in history.” But if Congress and the FCC try to eliminate net neutrality rules, there will be a “political firestorm that will make the 4 million who communicated several years ago look like a minuscule number,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said.
By Shane Burley for Waging Nonviolence – For many on the left, the string of appointments that have made up the president’s new administration have been discussed as a horror show. While many have been sent reeling by major appointments like Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon, they are eclipsing others that could have significant policy effects. Trump’s selection of Mark Jamison, a former lobbyist for the telecomm giant Sprint, and Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant for Verizon, to the Federal Communications Commission has made many advocates of “net neutrality” nervous. The fear is that they may represent the interests of telecommunications companies, which have a vested interest in going after the “open Internet.”
By Jason Abbruzzese for Mashable – The battle for the future of a free and equal internet is flaring up again, and looks set to take a dramatic turn. The momentous win that net neutrality advocates celebrated in 2015 is on track to be reversed during Donald Trump’s presidency. On Monday, the president-elect named two high-profile opponents of net neutrality to oversee the transition of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which handles federal regulations of companies providing internet access to consumers.
By Aaron Pressman for Fortune – President-elect Donald Trump formally named two staunch opponents of net neutrality to oversee his policies for the agency that created the rules to prevent discrimination against Internet sites and online services. Jeff Eisenach, an economist who has been on Verizon’s payroll, and Mark Jamison, who formerly worked on Sprint’s lobbying team and now heads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center, on Monday were named to Trump’s “agency landing team” for the Federal Communications Commission.
By Rachita Taneja And Mark Tseng Putterman for Wired – FACEBOOK IS WORKING to bring its controversial Free Basics program, which promises to get more low-income users onto the internet by providing free access to a curated and limited set of online resources, to the US. In October, the Washington Post reported that Facebook has been courting White House favor for CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pet project in hopes of avoiding the public furor that led regulators in India and Egypt to ban the platform over concerns it violated principles of an open, equal internet.
By Candace Clement for Free Press – AT&T is an enormous media, telecom and internet gatekeeper with a horrible track record of overcharging you, limiting your choices and spying on you. It’s still fighting Net Neutrality. It helps the government spy on people by turning over its customer records to the NSA. It tries to stop communities from building their own broadband networks.
By Lauren McCauley for Commondreams. Though Republican lawmakers have painted this moment in Internet history as ‘doomsday,’ and rallied a last ditch-effort to block it, at midnight on Saturday the U.S. government cede control of the web’s core naming directory to a multi-stakeholder nonprofit. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based group of international stakeholders will now control the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which includes the database that translates website names into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The handover, hailed as “the most significant change in the Internet’s functioning for a generation” by the U.K.-based technology site The Register, was long fought for by open Internet advocates.
By Staff of Access Now – Brussels, Belgium – This afternoon, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) released the final version of its implementation guidelines for the Telecoms Single Market Regulation (TSM). The TSM, a law with provisions for Net Neutrality in the European Union, was adopted last October, but BEREC was charged with clarifying how it should be implemented and closing loopholes that could be exploited to harm internet users.
By Brian Fung for The Washington Post – Internet providers who oppose the government’s net-neutrality rules will once again take the issue to court this week as they ask more than a dozen federal judges to throw out the regulations. A Washington trade group representing cellular carriers, CTIA, will be requesting a rehearing of the case by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, according to a person familiar with the matter. Likely joining the group will be AT&T, the trade association USTelecom and a number of others, according to another person familiar with the issue. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss pending legal proceedings.
By Timothy Karr for The Seattle Times – NET neutrality advocates can add last week’s court decision to a recent string of victories on behalf of everyday internet users. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the latest broadband-industry bid to kill the open internet — a legal challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 “net neutrality” decision. The FCC rules protect your right to connect with everyone else online without your cable or phone provider blocking websites or carving the internet into fast and slow lanes.
By Michael Copps for Moyers and Company – “For the reasons set forth is this opinion, we deny the petitions for review.” Those were the sweetest words I’ve heard in a long while, as the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit turned down the ridiculous efforts of the big telecom companies to derail the Federal Communications Commission’s open-internet — or “net-neutrality” — rules. The decision capped years of struggle between open-internet advocates and the cable and telecom conglomerates.
By Craig Aaron for Freepress – In a tremendous victory for Internet freedom the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that the FCC was within its statutory power to put in place net neutrality rules. The rules ensure equal access to the Internet as well as equal service and upholds the principle that broadband providers must treat all Internet traffic the same regardless of source. The key to the decision was that the FCC reclassified the Internet under Title II of the Federal Telecommunications Act as a common carrier.