Feeds

Mozilla asks FCC to unleash the nuclear option on net neutrality

Wants internet services placed under Title II to ensure equality of access for all

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Mozilla has filed a formal request to the US Federal Communications Commission asking it to reclassify internet-provision and content-provider's traffic under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which would ensure the net remains neutral.

The Firefox firm's proposal is twofold. First, it petitions the FCC to reclassify internet traffic as a telecommunications service, meaning it must be provided to all without offering graduated service. Second, Mozilla wants similar protections for relationships between content creators and ISPs, suggesting that this be called remote delivery services and granted the same protections.

"The path we propose is grounded in a modern understanding of technology and markets, and drawn from the perspective of Silicon Valley, where so many of the Internet's inventions have originated," said Mozilla's senior policy engineer Chris Riley in a blog post. "Mozilla's proposal would help ensure that the Internet continues to be an innovative and open platform, central to our individual growth and our collective future."

Internet traffic was designated an information service, rather than a telecommunications service, back in 2002 by the then–FCC head Michael Powell – a man with no direct industry experience, but who happened to be the son of General Colin Powell.

It had been hoped, based on campaign statements, that when President Obama took over the presidency his first pick as FCC boss, Julius Genachowski, would reclassify the internet as a telecommunications service under Title II. But Genachowski bottled it, and instead tried to make net neutrality principles enforceable using the FCC's other regulatory mandates.

This strategy has fallen down in the courts, most notably in January in the case of Verizon verses FCC. The mobile carrier's court win opened the door to throttling, and companies like Netflix have now been forced to enter into pay-for-play deals with ISPs.

The current FCC head Tom Wheeler said last month that he's fine with this, and said that on May 15 the FCC will vote to put in place new rules allowing ISPs and content providers to strike deals so that the latter can pay to make sure their content gets priority over those who can't afford the charges involved.

Wheeler, a former industry lobbyist who is an inductee to the Hall of Fame of both the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, says that the FCC will protect consumers by ensuring that there is not "unfair discrimination" by ISPs, and has threatened Title II reclassification if ISPs don't play ball.

This has reassured virtually no one so far, and internet advocacy bodies are trying to organize a campaign to get internet services reclassified under Title II, as Mozilla is now requesting. The NoSlowLane.com petition set up on the issue has over 50,000 signatures, and it's likely there is some high-pressure lobbying going on from Google and others.

On November 17, 2007, the then-Senator Obama took a trip to Mountain View for a chat with Chocolate Factory employees as part of the company's regular @Google chinwag sessions.

Back then Obama was the underdog in the Democratic primaries to challenge for the presidency, well behind front-runner Hillary Clinton in the opinion polls. He'd been invited to Google campus as part of the company's Candidates@Google talks, and he was very clear on certain issues.

"We have to ensure free and full exchange of information and that starts with an open internet," he told the audience, which rewarded him with hearty applause.

"I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality, because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose. The internet is perhaps the most open network in history, and we have to keep it that way."

It remains to be seen if he can make that promise a reality. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
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.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.