Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thune Opposes FCC Ensuring Net Neutrality And User Privacy On The Internet.

Thune At The American Enterprise Institute
He's With AT&T, Other Big ISPs Against FCC Enforcing Net Neutrality
(photo from www.aei.org)
   When the Federal Communications Commission last Thursday ruled that it could regulate  the internet, our Senator John Thune's reaction was exceptionally defiant and angry.  He called the decision "partisan," a "power grab," "regulatory overreach," adding it inflicted "damage and uncertainty" on the Internet.  Apparently, the notion that "net neutrality," meaning keeping the lines of the internet open and available to all comers on a level playing field by using the FCC's enforcement powers to do so, strikes Thune as an overexcercise of federal power and oversight.
     That's a ludicrous reaction by our Senator Thune, way out of step with the history of federal regulation of commerce and communications in this country, but not particularly surprising, considering where so much of Thune's financial support has been coming from in recent years.  I see from opensecrets.org(which draws its information from Federal Election Commission sources) that between 2009 and 2014, AT&T and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association were two of his 14 top donors.  Joining that stellar group was Koch Industries, the financial force behind Americans For Prosperity.  The three entities were strongly and vocally against the FCC's decision, with AFP declaring that there isn't even a problem that requires a solution.  With some relief, I note that Thune himself last month perceived a problem when he issued a list of "bipartisan rules for the internet age." Thune's broad outline is okay, but it stops short of being a document that is anything more than a set of principles.  The FCC's intent is to act now, before the big ISPs like AT&T and the members of NCTA get a chance to move forward on
methods of providing different levels of internet service based on who can pay for what.
     The FCC's decision, sure to be tested in the courts in coming years, is not only a way of cementing net neutrality into the modern age, but something more far reaching.  And I wonder if this second aspect isn't what the ISPs and their Congressional allies like Senator Thune aren't really
The FCC Can Keep Some Of This Stuff In Check
Why Are Thune And Others Opposed?
(photo from www.occupy.com)
up in arms against. Section 222 of the Communications Act of 1934, which will be the controlling authority for the FCC's powers of enforcement, forbids internet servers from obtaining information about its users and selling it.  The L.A. Times looked at this yesterday and called it a possible "game changer for Internet privacy." In the language of Section 222, internet service providers will have "the duty to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information of . . . customers . . . and shall not use such information for its own marketing efforts." I know from my own internet marketing efforts, meager as they are, that customer information is the substance of the business.  It is an extraordinarily valuable commodity.  

    The FCC's own fact sheet on this notes that Section 222 would be enforced.  The fact sheet dedicates a separate line to that notation.  My question to Senator Thune is why on earth is he fighting so hard keep an agency from protecting the privacy of us South Dakotans who use the internet?  

*Top Thune contributors ('09-'14), from opensecrets.org:
1American Bankers Assn$30,000$0$30,000
1AT&T Inc$30,000$0$30,000
1BNSF Railway$30,000$0$30,000
1California Dairies Inc$30,000$0$30,000
1FedEx Express$30,000$0$30,000
1Home Depot$30,000$0$30,000
1Koch Industries$30,000$0$30,000
1United Parcel Service$30,000$0$30,000
9National Amusements Inc$29,750$10,250$19,500
10Indep Insurance Agents & Brokers/America$28,000$0$28,000
11Lockheed Martin$27,500$0$27,500
11Wal-Mart Stores$27,500$0$27,500
13General Electric$27,000$0$27,000
14National Cable & Telecommunications Assn$25,750$250$25,500


"This table lists the top donors to this candidate in 2009-2014. The organizations themselves did not donaterather the money came from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates."   From opensecrets.org      

5 comments:

  1. Unless I'm mistaken, the FCC's new regulations have not yet been released. Until they are officially released and we can read them, it's difficult to speculate about who benefits the most from the new regulations. Like so many Government regulations, I would be shocked if consumers came out on the winning side. Only time will tell, but I think FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said it best when he described the regulations as "a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist" (http://reason.com/archives/2015/02/25/fccs-ajit-pai-on-net-neutrality-a-soluti/).

    Also, I think it's worth mentioning that there was plenty of money pushing from the other side of the 'net neutrality' debate.

    "Soros, Ford Foundation shovel $196 million to 'net neutrality' groups, staff to White House"
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/soros-ford-shovel-196-million-to-net-neutrality-groups-staff-to-white-house/article/2560702

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  2. It is obvious that Thune has sold his South Dakota soul to the likes of the Koch Bros, ALEC and those campaign money providers! So disheartening to see a rep of 800 thousand plus people to sell out and 'carry water' for these dollar hungry entities that never really care about the other 90 some percent of people that enable their riches. Very problematic. The FCC ruling was the right way to insure that all of us--shoppers, entertainment seekers, small and large business providers and PEOPLE-not CORPORATE ENTITIES that want to be classified as 'people' a;; have a fair shake at access to the internet. Thank you, the three Democratic votes on the FCC. No matter what this President does, the Republican Party power is against it instantly it seems.

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  3. So if Google supported Title II designation, does that mean they think they are exempt from Section 222. Who is the biggest collector of user data on the internet? Gee I never have heard any issues with privacy and Android operating systems.

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  4. I have never yet sent Mr. Thune a letter about anything where I have not received the same form letter that I am sure Mitch McConnell sends out to all his constituents. It's not that Mr. Thune is so conservative that bothers me as much as that he has never yet shown one independent thought. He toes the party line 110%.

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  5. I just got a form letter response from him in response to an online petition I signed saying that he basically doesn't care about my opinion or my vote and he is proud of his 100% stay-of-the-same-opinion-no-matter-what-information-is-presented voting record. Pretty scary stuff.

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