FCC, FTC announce partnership to police internet after net neutrality repeal

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Today, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission announced an agreement to coordinate consumer protections following the FCC's December 14 vote to roll back the agency's net neutrality rules.

"The agreement announced today between the FCC and FTC is a confusing, lacklustre, reactionary afterthought: an attempt to paper over weaknesses in the chairman's draft proposal repealing the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules", said Clyburn, speaking to Ars Technica.

"The Memorandum of Understanding will be a critical benefit for online consumers because it outlines the robust process by which the FCC and FTC will safeguard the public interest", said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Over the last 15 years, both Republican and Democratic FCC chairs have supported and enforced the principles of net neutrality, believing it to be important for protecting open markets on the internet.

However, as long as ISPs inform customers of what they are doing it, they will have free reign to do it.

Tim Berners-Lee and Vinton Cerf, the founding fathers of the Internet, have written to the US Congress to save the Internet from the disastrous consequences of a proposed repeal of a Barack Obama era law on net neutrality that ensured level playing field for all content and every sort of data by ensuring stiff regulations for the Internet service providers (ISPs). The five-seat body is now controlled by a Republican majority, and Pai's plans are expected to be approved with few issues.

The FCC now classifies internet providers as utilities - meaning that they are not allowed to artificially limit the speeds of certain web traffic or to charge certain companies more than others to allow customers to access them.

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The FCC's pledge reads that internet providers must be transparent in providing "information concerning an ISP's practices with respect to blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and congestion management".

Now Ajit Pai, son of Indian immigrants and a Republican, who was made the FCC chief by US President Donald Trump in January 2017, is bringing a repeal proposal to that landmark law which is scheduled for voting on December 14.

Jody Rose, executive director of the New England Venture Capital Association, said that although companies are built on "the foundation of equal access to the internet", net neutrality is "more than just an economic issue".

Democrats and net neutrality advocates plan a series of protests ahead of Thursday's vote.

Internet giants Netflix, Facebook and Alphabet, as well as smaller companies AirBnb, Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy and Twitter, had also urged the FCC to scrap the plan.

Conversely, telcos welcomed the news, saying that the decision will put the reins of innovation back in the hands of private investors without being hampered by excessive government oversight. Or, your own content could be blocked from public view.

In a move created to allay fears of foul play, the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday announced new coordination to clamp down on unfair behaviour from telecoms companies.


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