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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Net Neutrality and Control of the Internet: MIT Press

Net Neutrality and Control of the Internet | The MIT Press: "Net neutrality is the private censorship of our communications by our IAPs—for instance Verizon or AT&T, Comcast or T-Mobile. It is regulated by the FCC through merger conditions placed on those giant companies since 2005, and to a far lesser extent by Open Internet Orders which are continually appealed through the federal courts. In Europe, similar rules have been put in place by some countries (Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, Norway) though not for mergers, but it took until October 2015 for the European Union to pass a Regulation enforcing common rules in the 30 European Economic Area nations—partly because big nations such as Germany and the United Kingdom refused to enforce weaker 2009 rules. These nations are home to Vodafone (part-owner of Verizon Wireless until 2014) and Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile. US regulation is intimately tied into that in Europe through such corporate cross-holdings.

 Net neutrality also involves privacy intrusion—an IAP can only block your access to for instance Instant Messaging services Skype or WhatsApp if it examines your Internet traffic. Such pervasive ‘traffic management’ is highly controversial both because the IAP is trying to block your choice of rival cheaper services, and because it means the IAP is viewing your traffic, looking over your shoulder as you browse, even if you are a journalist or lawyer or elected politican. Though IAPs claim that such traffic monitoring is automatic and does not amount to direct censorship, the increased intelligence of such monitoring led us to title the net neutrality chapter ‘Smart Pipes’—whereas the Internet was once seen to be a ‘dumb pipe.’" 'via Blog this'

TeleFrieden: Preliminary Summary of Network Neutrality Decision

TeleFrieden: Preliminary Summary of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Network Neutrality Decision: "The partial dissent chided the FCC for poor economic analysis and its failure to provide adequate notice to affected parties, citing F.C.C. v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 556 U.S. 502, 515 (2009).  Additionally, the partial dissent took an activist posture suggesting that the FCC wrongly applied common carriage obligations on a market that the FCC wrongly considered to evidence monopoly characteristics. [5]

With unexpected uniformity, the court majority rejected claims that the FCC lacked legal authority to reclassify broadband internet access as a common carrier telecommunications service provided via either fixed or mobile carriers.  The court noted that, while the FCC previously had deemed broadband access an information service, it did reserve the option to revisit its classification [6] and had good reason to do so. [7]

Additionally the court did not consider it a fatal flaw that the FCC extended its telecommunications service jurisdiction to include the upstream links from so-called last mile Internet Service Providers to content providers and distributors.  The court noted that in the Supreme Court’s Brand X review of the FCC’s determination that last mile access fit within the information service classification, the case applied the Chevron Doctrine analysis and determined that the definitions of telecommunications service and information service were ambiguous and the FCC’s interpretation and policy prescriptions were reasonable.[8]" 'via Blog this'

Slow Walk to High Court Best Tactic for Net Neutrality Foes - Bloomberg Politics

Slow Walk to High Court Best Tactic for Net Neutrality Foes - Bloomberg Politics: "The court decided all major points in the FCC’s favor, leaving lawmakers less likely to act, said Matthew Schettenhelm, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

“Democrats and President Obama have little incentive to permit legislation that cuts back on the FCC’s authority,” Schettenhelm said. “The industry’s best chance now is a Donald Trump White House.”

 GOP candidate Trump has tweeted he’d seek to reverse rules. Democrat Hillary Clinton in a tweet Tuesday called the court ruling “a big win for consumers, innovation, and freedom of expression on the internet.”" 'via Blog this'

After net neutrality loss, ISPs get ready to take case to Supreme Court | Ars Technica

After net neutrality loss, ISPs get ready to take case to Supreme Court | Ars Technica: "The Supreme Court can pick and choose what cases it wants to hear, so there's no guarantee ISPs would even get in front of the justices.

Law professors interviewed by Bloomberg said chances of a high court review are so slim that ISPs would be best served by asking for an en banc review first. The fact that it was a 2-1 decision instead of 3-0 may increase the chances of an en banc review, but there's no reliable way to predict how it will turn out.

 Even if ISPs take the interim step of seeking an en banc review,  AT&T does not expect it to be the last phase of the battle. “We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal," AT&T general counsel David McAfee said." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#CRTC extends deadline for interventions on #netneutrality #zerorating #Halloween consultation

Reference : 2016-192 Ottawa, 3 June 2016 File number: 1011-NOC-2016-0192 Notice of hearing 31 October 2016 Gatineau, Quebec: Examination of differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans Revised deadline for submission of interventions: 28 June 2016:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Zero rating in the US: no news

"The Commission announced in the Order that it would allow companies to obtain an advisory
opinion concerning any “proposed conduct that may implicate the rules,” in order to “enable companies to seek guidance on the propriety of certain open Internet practices before implementing them.” 2015 Open Internet Order, 30 FCC Rcd. at 5706 ¶¶ 229–30.
The opinions will be issued by the Enforcement Bureau and “will be publicly available.” Id. at
5706–07 ¶¶ 229, 231. As a result, although the Commission did not reach a definitive resolution during the rulemaking process as to the permissibility under the General Conduct Rule of practices such as zero-rating and usage caps, see id. at 5666–67 ¶ 151, companies that seek to pursue those sorts of practices may petition for an advisory opinion and thereby avoid an inadvertent infraction. The opportunity to obtain prospective guidance thus provides regulated entities with “relief from [remaining] uncertainty.” DiCola, 77 F.3d at 509; see also Hoffman, 455 U.S. at 498."
P104 in the judgment, so it's still up to Wheeler's FCC to decide whether to impose rules in Obama's last 6 months.

DC Appeals Court Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules, AT&T Vows to Appeal

DC Appeals Court Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules, AT&T Vows to Appeal: "“We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal,” AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement.  According to the court, the challenge to the FCC’s rules came from “three separate groups of petitioners” who argued “Commission lacks statutory authority to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, that even if the Commission has such authority its decision was arbitrary and capricious, that the Commission impermissibly classified mobile broadband as a commercial mobile service, that the Commission impermissibly forbore from certain provisions of Title II, and that some of the rules violate the First Amendment.”

The court, however, said it found “extensive support in the record” to “justify the Commission’s decision to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler hailed the decision as a “victory.”" 'via Blog this'

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Equal treatment of traffic doesn't mean equal service quality for users • The Register

Net neut: Equal treatment of traffic doesn't mean equal service quality for users • The Register: "Expert in telecoms law and net neutrality regulations Diane Mullenex of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said: “The net neutrality guidelines proposed by BEREC have not proven universally popular. Net neutrality supporters, such as the Save the Internet group, are concerned about ‘paid fast-lane for big internet companies’, the amount of discretion ISPs have with regards traffic management measures and the impact zero-rating has on lowering data caps."

 "At the International Bar Association telecom and antitrust conference in Amsterdam this week regulators discussed at great lengths zero-rating issues. The Netherlands implemented net neutrality rules before the EU regime was introduced and has one of the most stringent net neutrality frameworks in the world” and the regulator has very strong views on prohibiting zero rating until a court rules otherwise," she said." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Net neutrality BBC urges Ofcom to protect iPlayer (Feb25 while I was at BEREC): Guardian

Net neutrality: BBC urges Ofcom to protect iPlayer | Media | The Guardian: "“Public sector broadcasters could be increasingly exposed to this gatekeeper power, as the incentives of ISPs – and vertically integrated, converged platform operators in particular – are unlikely to be aligned with PSB objectives,” warned the report. “Such a risk is exacerbated by a regulatory regime which is in need of modernisation.”

 The corporation also said rules guaranteeing public sector broadcasters’ prominence on linear TV guides should be extended to the web, and internet providers should not be able to charge public service broadcasters for making their content available over the internet.

 The UK’s biggest broadband provider, BT, is investing heavily in its own TV service while dominant pay-TV provider Sky is moving aggressively into broadband. James Murdoch, who returned as chairman of Sky last month, has publicly criticised the BBC, saying its size and ambitions were “chilling”.

 The growth of Netflix in the US has also raised concerns about the power of internet providers over content companies, after cable TV and broadband provider Comcast began slowing down connections to Netflix until the web TV company agreed to pay for fast access." 'via Blog this'

Monday, June 06, 2016

Regulating Net Neutrality - little or no impact?

"In the UK all the major UK providers of internet access services are thought to be largely in compliance with most of the open internet provisions of the EU Regulation, through the existing voluntary framework of the Open Internet Codes of Practice. There is little or no evidence of current traffic management practices that would breach the Regulation. It is unlikely therefore that there will be many instances where Ofcom will need to undertake specific investigations requiring a more detailed level of information from providers. However, as Ofcom have suggested and providers consulted have confirmed, this information should still be easily obtainable."

The Open Internet Access (EU Regulation) Regulations 2016 - entry into force 17 June

The Open Internet Access (EU Regulation) Regulations 2016: "Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Open Internet Access (EU Regulation) Regulations 2016 and come into force on 17th June 2016.
'via Blog this'

EU net neutrality draft guidelines split the crowd—public told to wade in | Ars Technica UK

EU net neutrality draft guidelines split the crowd—public told to wade in | Ars Technica UK: "BEREC’s advice is to take a case-by-case approach. But digital rights activist Thomas Lohninger of AK Vorrat Austria claimed the plan “reeks of compromise, and leaves everyone worse off—except perhaps litigation lawyers.”

 The watchdog added that certain practices, such as when a user reaches their data cap and all apps are blocked except zero-rated applications, were prohibited.

But BEREC said that other cases were less clear. The body has advised national regulators to ask whether the practices circumvent the general aims of the regulation and to take into account market position, and end-user rights including the freedom of expression.

Jurisdictions such as India and the Netherlands have outlawed zero-rating completely.

A potential clash with Dutch rules banning zero-rating was highlighted by BEREC vice-chair, Henk Don, who represents the country's consumer rights' regulator ACM. He said that it would continue to enforce Dutch law, but that it was for "judges to decide."

Don added: “Our minister believes it is in line with the regulation and we will enforce that law when we find infringements,” before saying that any decision was likely to face a legal appeal." 'via Blog this'

Phorm ceases trading - Business Insider. Oh dear, what a shame, never mind

Phorm ceases trading - Business Insider: "Phorm also said that its broker, Miribaud Securities, had resigned and its shares, suspended in February, will be automatically cancelled as a result.

It marks the end of a spectacular fall from grace for Phorm.

At one point in 2008 its shares were changing hands for more than £35 ($49.52) after it announced deals with BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk to install its technology on their broadband networks.

 The system aimed to intercept and analyse millions of Britons’ web browsing, building a profile of their interests that would allow Phorm to replace web advertising banners with more targeted messages. The company aimed to share the spoils with broadband providers and publishers keen for a taste of the riches being swept up by Google.

 But the plans prompted an outcry from privacy campaigners and legal experts, who claimed Phorm’s technology amounted to an unlawful wiretap. The controversy exploded when it was revealed that BT had secretly run trials on tens of thousands of customers without their consent." 'via Blog this'

Snoozing through BEREC Guidelines and some measurement metrics by FCC

Here is the PPT of the BEREC session - no news really - and on slides 38-39 of FCC March Technical Advisory Committee slides is some interesting work on CDNs and interconnection...

EU Net Neutrality Guidelines Spell Trouble For Zero-Rating Offers - Fortune

EU Net Neutrality Guidelines Spell Trouble For Zero-Rating Offers - Fortune:

"Does this clear up the zero-rating issue? Yes and no.

There’s no universal rule on the subject and regulators will need to examine each deal on a case-by-case basis.

As the quality and resources of European regulators also vary by country, there may be some inconsistency down the line—although that’s what these guidelines are supposed to help avoid.

 However, this does all very much look like bad news for operators who want to acquire more customers by offering the most popular applications without charging for the data, or hope to use low caps to strong-arm application providers." 'via Blog this'

Good work by BEREC undermined by industry lobbying - EDRi

SAVE THE INTERNET: Good work by BEREC undermined by industry lobbying - EDRi: "Based on a leaked draft of the guidelines, BEREC has done an excellent job, and the document represents a significant step  towards achieving real net neutrality. However, the guidelines should be improved with regard to three elements: zero rating, traffic management and specialised services." 'via Blog this'

EU’s forthcoming Net Neutrality rules Leaked: Here’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

EU’s forthcoming Net Neutrality rules Leaked: Here’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly | "Instead of outlawing zero-rating, they are moving towards a case-by-case approach where it is always left to the telecom regulators to decide about each zero-rating deal individually. Some would be prohibited, but others would be allowed – and these outcomes would difficult to predict.

 This is a missed opportunity. Not only because it will permit certain net neutrality violations, but also because it creates complete legal uncertainty. ISPs will be tempted to push the limits of these vague rules, while regulators will have a hard time monitoring, assessing and enforcing the rules in this grey area (which they themselves have created!).

While ISPs and regulators fight over the details, users will be pushed towards applications of the ISPs’ choosing. Content providers like start-ups will be discriminated against, because they have no chance against zero-rated competitors. " 'via Blog this'

EU regulators take tough approach to net neutrality: Reuters

EU regulators take tough approach to net neutrality | Reuters: "The guidelines seen by Reuters say operators will only be able to offer such services over dedicated network capacity if it is "objectively required" and only if it does not negatively affect the Internet.

National regulatory authorities (NRAs) will have to verify whether an application needs to be delivered separately from the rest of the Internet to guarantee a committed level of quality, or "whether they are instead set up in order to circumvent the provisions regarding traffic management", the guidelines say.

Telecoms operators had lobbied strongly against strict rules forbidding them from prioritizing some types of data over others, arguing that they need to be able to dedicate network capacity to services requiring a guaranteed level of quality, such as facilitating the exchange of medical data between patients and health professionals.

Services such as high-quality voice calling on mobile networks, live television delivered over the Internet and remote surgery will likely be allowed as specialized services, the document says.

"Given that we do not know what specialized services may emerge in the future, NRAs should assess whether a service qualifies as a specialized service on a case-by-case basis," it adds.

 One industry source said that while it was a positive sign that BEREC had not created a list of what can be considered specialized services, the fact that each new application will have to be assessed individually is a source of uncertainty for operators.

"With restrictive guidelines, you can forget 5G and connected cars," said another industry source.

 The regulators say that zero-rating - namely where one application, say, Facebook, does not count toward someone's data usage - will be allowed until they hit their data cap." 'via Blog this'

Draft BEREC Net Neutrality Guidelines published 6 June

EU Audiovisual Law: Launch of draft BEREC Net Neutrality Guidelines pu...: Launch of draft BEREC Net Neutrality Guidelines public consultation - BEREC : "On 6 June 2016, from 14.30 to 16.00, BEREC will launch t...