Despite public outrage and Congressional pressure, Chairman Ajit Pai succeeded in his repeal of vital net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission’s last open meeting of 2017. This attack on the open internet also rolled back Title II classification of broadband and abdicated the FCC’s regulatory authority over the internet to the Federal Trade Commission.
In my last post, took the four most famous net neutrality violations to see how they would come out under the current rules adopted in 2015 v. how they would come out under the regulatory framework following the Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal net neutrality rules, based on the draft Order. To condense the approximately 5500-word analysis: all four incidents are addressable under the 2015 rules. None of the incidents are addressable under the combined Federal Trade Commission and antitrust regime that remains after the vote to repeal the rules, with the exception of Comcast’s deliberate deception about their blocking peer-2-peer protocols in 2007-08.
After years of failed negotiations, the European Union now appears close to reaching a trade agreement with the South American political and economic bloc, Mercosur. This was confirmed by the European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström during a press conference last month. The announcement came a day after the European Union Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, met in Buenos Aires with the Argentinian President, Mauricio Macri, to work on unspecified “difficult issues” still pending.
A very problematic trend in copyright law has emerged during a series of cases these last few years. Courts have held that creating a copy of website code in a browser’s cache constitutes a copyright violation. The issue here is that copying site code into a browser is the only way you can browse the internet. This leaves us with an absurd outcome: The current legal scheme essentially makes browsing the web a copyright violation.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission voted to modernize the Lifeline program for the digital age to help low-income families, veterans, and children gain access to the internet. This week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is poised to initiate steps to drastically roll back the program, ultimately leaving millions of Lifeline subscribers and eligible families without a service provider.