Skip to main content

Obama to Veto Legislation That Would Kill Net Neutrality

Officially joining the net neutrality debate after years of perceived dithering on the issue, President Obama has vowed to veto Senate Journal Resolution 6. That law, which petulantly states that "Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices..." is a version of a similar bill passed by the Republican-controlled House earlier this year. Lacking a credible veto threat, if passed it would overturn the weak Net Neutrality regulations approved by the FCC in December 2010 and set to take effect November 20.

The regulations under dispute were the result of a years-long back and forth between regulators, Internet service providers and the US court system. The first official rules requiring ISPs to adhere to some form of net neutrality were put in place by then-FCC head Michael Powell in 2005. They went unenforced until 2008, when the FCC ordered Comcast to stop sabotaging BitTorrent transfers. Comcast challenged the order in courts, and in 2010 the US Court of appeals for the DC Circuit struck them down, arguing that the FCC had no power to enact such rules. Thus the FCC created new regulations, which are now being challenged by Verizon in US courts. That the Democratic-controlled Senate is joining with a Republican House to assist Verizon legislatively is sad proof of the degree to which our elected representatives have been captured by interests opposed to the common good. 

Interestingly, the regulations are also being challenged by net neutralitysupporters. That's because, while they do enforce a kind of net neutrality for wired internet access, they impose few such rules on wireless services. Essentially, phone service providers cannot block alternate services like Skype from being used on their devices. Considering that wireless is quickly becoming the standard by which people access the Internet, the failure to impose net neutrality rules on providers has the appearance of a very blatant giveaway something akin to requiring strict emissions standards for passenger automobiles but exempting large SUVs. This rather massive laxity has led to charges from net neutrality supporters that the rules create a tiered Internet despite claims to the contrary, and that they all but approve of corporate censorship on wireless devices. 

However this ultimately plays out, I for one would hope Obama vetos, Verizon loses their cases, and supporters of Net Neutrality win theirs.

  • ddkshah
    Just when I stopped believing in obama he does this :)
    Reply
  • enkichild
    Obama did this before. Remember his view on marijuana before he was elected into office? Remember how it then suddenly changed?

    Go ahead, vote for Obama again, and watch his opinion change.
    Reply
  • Xatos
    This guy has done nothing but damage to this country, so it sure seems a little odd that he'd take a decent position on something right before election.
    Reply
  • singemagique
    The internet drives everything, it has to remain open. The consequences of not having net neutrality is scary. And it is truly disheartening that our politicians would try to pass this type of legislation. +1 for Obama if he vetoes this crap.
    Reply
  • chomlee
    Cable and phone companies are going to be doing everything they can in the next 10 years to slow the progress of internet comunication and entertainment down because if left to grow freely, comcast and the phone companies will be non existant, maybe even the cell phone companies.

    Once people are given more chioces for internet service providers and more and more entertainment is available via internet, the cable and satelite companies will be dropped like a brick. The only thing holding people back now is that there is not much choice for isp. Once more and more people drop cable and opt for Netflix/Hulu on their Roku/PS3/Xbox, the ISPs are going to start cutting the max bandwidth to keep people from doing this. The companies are already sending millions of dollars to special interest lobbyists to convince congressmen and senators to change laws that where already in place to protect the consumers. Several years ago, there was a law requiring the cable companies to supply unencrypted HD signals of the local channels so that customers could get local channels in HD without the use of a box. About a year and a half ago, Lobyists convinced congress to change that law and allow comcast and others to encrypt all of their channels.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    I guess even Obama can actually hit 1 in 1,000.
    Reply
  • ^ He's a politician....what do you expect? Sincerity?

    Anyway, that's a good thing to hear.
    Reply
  • singemagique
    XatosThis guy has done nothing but damage to this country, so it sure seems a little odd that he'd take a decent position on something right before election.
    How can we expect one man to make shit from shit. Saying he has done nothing but damage this country is quite myopic. Let's not forget about the Bush era tax cuts, the overstretched military, and the bursting housing bubble that all existed when Obama came into office. I for one would never wish that sort of job on anyone. In all honesty, we can't depend on one person to solve all of our problems. As a society we need to change the way we think and live if we really want to change the environment in which we live. Imagine how much money in medical costs we could save if everyone took responsibility for their bodies and exercised.
    Reply
  • wiyosaya
    enkichildObama did this before. Remember his view on marijuana before he was elected into office? Remember how it then suddenly changed?Go ahead, vote for Obama again, and watch his opinion change.This time, it sounds like we will get to see his "opinion" before we vote for him the next time.

    In my opinion, his opponents, at least those who are still in the race, would never even consider vetoing a bill like this.
    Reply
  • igot1forya
    Anyone want to setup a nationwide Darknet?
    Reply