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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday December 09 2014, @01:17PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the good-for-you-good-for-me dept.

Edward Wyatt reports at the NYT that the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition have sent representatives, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, to tell Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, that they think Obama’s call to regulate broadband Internet service as a utility would harm minority communities by stifling investment in underserved areas and entrenching already dominant Internet companies. Jackson "was unequivocal in voicing his opposition to Title II because of its effects on investment in broadband and because of the ultimate impact on minority communities and job creation," says Berin Szoka, another participant in the meeting with Wheeler who has also argued for Section 706. "We got a lot of poor folks who don't have broadband," said Jackson. "If you create something where, for the poor, the lane is slower and the cost is more, you can't survive." “I think we’re all on board with the values embedded in what President Obama said, things like accelerating broadband deployment and adoption,” says Nicol Turner-Lee, vice president of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and a member of the group including Mr. Jackson that met with the F.C.C. chairman. “The question is, will we be able to solve these issues by going so far with stringent regulation?”

Some of the groups that oppose Title II designation, like the Urban League and the League of United Latin American Citizens, have received contributions from organizations affiliated with Internet service providers, like the Comcast Foundation, the charitable organization endowed by Comcast. But those organizations say that the donations or sponsorships do not influence their positions. “We get support from people on all sides of the issue, including Google and Facebook,” says Brent A. Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “We don’t let any of them influence our position.” For it's part, the NAACP says its formal policy position is that the NAACP neither endorses, nor opposes the formally defined concept of net neutrality but supports the need to particularly focus on under-served racial and ethnic minority and poor communities, while highlighting the importance of protecting an open internet.

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:12PM (#124165)

    Just say no to niggers and kikes trying to impose communism on this country. Impeach the nigger-in-chief as well.

    - Ethanol-fueled

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:21PM (#124172)

      Nigga pleeez.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:14PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:14PM (#124167)

    But those organizations say that the donations or sponsorships do not influence their positions.

    I've served on the boards of some non-profit organizations, and can assure you that the claim that big donors don't have a significant say in organizational policy is simply ludicrous. Directors of non-profits are usually judged primarily by how much cash they can bring in, and are not likely to oppose anybody who's making a donation larger than about $10,000 (and, depending on the size of the organization, may defer to gifts much smaller than that). In most cases, it's not that these directors are selling out for personal gain, it's that they see big money donations as a way of expanding their program to help more people.

    To give you an idea of how much of a difference it makes, some large donations by the coal industry led to several prominent environmentalist groups ending their previously vocal opposition to coal power.

    --
    The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:39PM (#124176)

      When substantial percentages of politicians' payrolls comes from lobbyists, the arguments made by the pols start sounding remarkably like those of the lobbyists.

      They don't make much sense in this case. Minorities tend to be clustered in the big cities; that's the first place a broadband operator would want to upgrade because that's where the profits are, and where you're likely to see competition. And you can't tell the mayor you're going to upgrade the northern side of Chicago but not the south side, for example. It won't get approved.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kaszz on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:20PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:20PM (#124171) Journal

    Those that choose preferential treatment over neutrality deserve neither and will end up with a balkanized network.

    The "free lunch" is imaginary. Once you start to chase it the side effects will bite you big time.

  • (Score: 2) by Geotti on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:23PM

    by Geotti (1146) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:23PM (#124173) Journal

    While it's obvious that there should be just one dumb pipe (as we're all used to) as opposed to fast and slow lanes, I'm curious as to whether changing "the Internet" to a utility could be a backdoor to heavier regulation in the form of censorship, etc.

    If the government gets more control over ISPs after they're classified as utilities, isn't all this debate actually just a big farce pushing the public opinion to believe that there are only two choices, either make it a utility (with governmental censorship) or have premium traffic (with corporate censorship)?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by karmawhore on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:03PM

      by karmawhore (1635) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:03PM (#124187)
      We should approach this with some skepticism, for sure, but also keep in mind that the anti-NN crowd is manipulating the debate by deliberately confusing regulation with censorship. In the case of net neutrality, they are (ideally) opposites.
      --
      =kw= lurkin' to please
    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:09PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:09PM (#124188)

      I'm not sure it would matter who owns the pipe. If it mattered then the US wouldn't currently be a surveillance state. If the government can install surveillance equipment then they could certainly censor as well. But i doubt it will ever really happen. They get away with it in gray areas such as gambling and illegal activities. But blocking wikileaks for example would be a shitstorm. Most censorship laws that actually passed were struck down as unconstitutional. The only ones that remain in effect are for organizations that are actively taking federal money (schools and libraries).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:10PM

      by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:10PM (#124189)

      isn't all this debate actually just a big farce pushing the public opinion to believe that there are only two choices, either make it a utility (with governmental censorship) or have premium traffic (with corporate censorship)?

      +1, Insightful. The whole neutrality debate has been giving me a very Ghostbusters feel, where the public is being tasked to choose the form of the internet's destructor. We need a third choice option which is the equivalent of keeping our minds blank.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by romlok on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:11PM

      by romlok (1241) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:11PM (#124191)

      If the government gets more control over ISPs after they're classified as utilities, isn't all this debate actually just a big farce pushing the public opinion to believe that there are only two choices, either make it a utility (with governmental censorship) or have premium traffic (with corporate censorship)?

      Except censorship is probably *less* likely under stricter government control/regulation, since there is this little thing called The Constitution of the United States (which does still have some sway, even today), which protects speech from government interference. There is no such protection from commercial interference, however; excepting any regulations the government might impose.

      • (Score: 2) by everdred on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:42PM

        by everdred (110) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:42PM (#124287) Homepage Journal

        Yes, this.

      • (Score: 1) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:42AM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:42AM (#124460)

        It's not more or less likely. The government constantly ignores the constitution, especially when it comes to things like copyright enforcement and surveillance.

        But they can do all that right now, since the corporations listen to the government and vice versa.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:10PM (#124219)

      > I'm curious as to whether changing "the Internet" to a utility could be a backdoor to heavier regulation in the form of censorship, etc.

      Title II classification (which ISPs had up until 2005 [wikipedia.org] when the FCC changed it to Title I) includes common-carrier status which means no censorship - remember all the dirty nasty 900-number sex chat services? Those were protected by Title II common-carrier status despite every busy-body prude dying to shut them down.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:13PM

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:13PM (#124348) Journal

    In what universe are utilities less available than 'data services?'
    "We got a lot of poor folks who don't have broadband,"

    Are they also doing without water, sewer and electricity? 'Cause if they have those things then the Utilities are doing a provably better job.