Tuesday, March 3, 2015


The FCC's new rules include a “general conduct rule” that will let the FCC take action against ISP practices that DON’T count as blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. Vague rules are a problem.

First, it suggests that the FCC believes it has broad authority to pursue any number of practices—hardly the narrow, light-touch approach they claimed we need to protect the open Internet. Second, people should worry that this rule will be extremely expensive in practice, because anyone wanting to bring a complaint will be hard-pressed to predict whether they will succeed. For example, how will the Commission determine “industry best standards and practices”? It's all subjective, you suckers!

The FCC wants to be, in Chairman Wheeler’s words, “a referee on the field” who can stop any ISP action that it thinks “hurts consumers, competition, or innovation.”

To liberals, "competition" and "innovation" (i.e: not-toeing the party line) IS what hurts consumers!

The problem with a rule this vague is that neither ISPs nor Internet users can know in advance what kinds of practices will run afoul of the rule. Only companies with significant legal staff and expertise may be able to use the rule effectively. And a vague rule gives the FCC an awful lot of discretion, potentially giving an unfair advantage to parties with insider influence.

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