After last month's depressing loss concerning FISA and the validity of the Fourth Amendment in our Constitution, it was nice to get some good news on the 'electronic rights' front. Yesterday, the Federal Communications Committee ruled not for the big corporation, but the average, everyday Internet user.
From C|Net News:
The Federal Communications Commission handed Comcast a cease-and-desist order and required the company to disclose to subscribers in the future how it plans to manage traffic. Comcast had said that its measures to slow BitTorrent transfers, which it voluntarily ended in March, were necessary to prevent its network from being overrun.
"We need to protect consumers' access, said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican. "While Comcast has said it would stop the arbitrary blocking, consumers deserve to know that the commitment is backed up by legal enforcement."
The vote was not unexpected. Martin said recently that he planned to side with the commission's two Democrats on the request submitted in November by Free Press and its political allies, including some Yale, Harvard, and Stanford University law school faculty. That led to a backlash against Martin this week from economic conservatives, including the Bush administration and House Republican Leader John Boehner.
The party leaders within the GOP might have gotten upset with Martin for siding with those that challenge the dominance of corporate America, but there isn't much fear in their voice. Comcast will be appealing the decision and many doubt that the FCC has the strength to enforce their rulings. That could take an act of Congress to enable and Congress hasn't been ready to step up to the plate for the enforcers of Net Neutrality.
Perhaps with indicted Senator Ted "Internet Tubes" Stevens on his way out, we can make legislation come out of committee and onto the floor for a vote under President Obama, so the free-flow of information is not abated by a few internet providers such as Comcast.