Feeds

US lawmaker injects ISP throttle into Obama rescue package

'Network management' meets child porn

The Power of One Infographic

US Senator Dianne Feinstein hopes to update President Barack Obama's $838bn economic stimulus package so that American ISPs can deter child pornography, copyright infringement, and other unlawful activity by way of "reasonable network management."

Clearly, a lobbyist whispering in Feinstein's ear has taken Comcast's now famous euphemism even further into the realm of nonsense.

According to Public Knowledge, Feinstein's network management amendment did not find a home in the stimulus bill that landed on the Senate floor. But lobbyists speaking with the Washington DC-based internet watchdog said that California's senior Senator is now hoping to insert this language via conference committee - a House-Senate pow-wow were bill disputes are resolved.

"This is the most backdoor of all the backdoor ways of doing things," Public Knowledge's Art Brodsky told The Reg. "Conference committees are notorious for being the most opaque of all legislative processes."

Obama's stimulus bill sets aside between $6bn and $9bn for expanding American broadband into rural areas, and Senator Feinstein hopes to (PDF) augment this Broadband Technology Opportunities Program so that it "allows for reasonable network management practices such as deterring unlawful activity, including child pornography and copyright infringement."

On one level, Obama's bill is an effort to boost the American economy. On another, it's an opportunity for lobbyists to make a mockery American government.

According to Public Knowledge, the Motion Picture Association of America is behind Feinstein's language. The MPAA doesn't like copyright infringement. And you can bet the child pornography bit was tossed in for added effect.

But the "network management" bit sounds like ISP speak.

As Art Brodsky and his colleagues pointed out, network management is used to manage networks - not filter content. Content filters are used to filter content. But American ISPs - particularly cable ISPs - will take any excuse they can find to throttle certain traffic.

And if they're using copyright infringement and child porn as excuses, they'll have to start sniffing packets. So, Feinstein's amendment would also destroy net privacy - if there's any out there.

Word from Public Knowledge is that Congressman Henry Waxman will back Feinstein's amendment when it turns up in conference committee. Representing a district near Hollywood, Waxman has long backed the MPAA and the Recording Ass. of America in their efforts to crack down on P2P file sharing. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.