Statement On FCC’s Partial Stay of Broadband ‘Privacy’ Rules

Posted by | Privacy | No Comments

Washington, DC, February 24, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding news that Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai will stay the agency’s broadband privacy rules to the extent they are inconsistent with the economy-wide privacy rules enforced by the Federal Trade Commission:

“This is a critical first step in protecting consumer privacy online while promoting internet competition. The existing FCC rules are an unjust deception that must be stopped now, before the damage to consumer privacy and competition is already done.

Staying only the rules that are inconsistent with the FTC’s privacy framework doesn’t mean that there will be no enforcement mechanism in place. It only means that broadband ISPs will be subject to the same rules that apply to every other company in the United States. That’s the type of fairness that justice in this country has always required. There simply is no pro-consumer justification for the previous FCC’s decision to take a discriminatory and anticompetitive approach to this issue while dismissing the judgment of the FTC.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Statement On Democratic Senators’ Press Conference Supporting the FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Net Neutrality Series 2.0 | No Comments

Washington, DC, February 7, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding today’s press conference in which Democratic senators campaigned for the Federal Communications Commission’s open internet regulations:

“Obama’s FCC didn’t settle the issue of internet regulation. The FCC opposed bright-line net neutrality rules during the Bush Administration, adopted them during the Obama Administration, and is expected to change course again.

Without new Congressional legislation, the FCC’s net neutrality rules will keep swinging like a pendulum with every presidential election. A lasting approach to net neutrality must come from the democratic process in Congress, not executive fiat.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Statement on Petition to Stay FCC Privacy Rules

Posted by | Privacy | No Comments

Washington, DC, January 30, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding a petition to stay the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy restrictions that was filed by a group of internet associations.

“The previous FCC’s decision to adopt a discriminatory approach to broadband privacy was driven by its desire to protect particular industry players, not consumers. The agency’s biased rules inhibit the ability of ISPs to compete with edge providers in the internet data market without providing any meaningful privacy protection.

If the rules were stayed, ISPs would abide by the same privacy protections as all other companies under the Federal Trade Commission’s established legal framework, which protects consumer privacy while promoting competition in the data market. Consistent privacy rules and additional competition would be a win-win for broadband consumers.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

FCC’s Proposed Cybersecurity Regulation Fatally Flawed

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Cybersecurity, Public Safety | No Comments

For most people, the hardest part of their last few days on the job is finding the motivation to tie up loose ends before they leave. This should have been easy for the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, who left the agency upon President Trump’s inauguration. After Trump’s election victory, congressional leadership advised Wheeler to focus his staff’s energies on consensus and administrative matters and to avoid complex or controversial issues.

Wheeler didn’t take their advice. Just two days before Trump’s inauguration, Wheeler’s FCC issued a white paper asserting that the agency (1) has jurisdiction to comprehensively regulate cybersecurity for commercial communications networks and (2) should regulate the cybersecurity practices of broadband internet service providers (ISPs) and other sectors of the communications industry.

The FCC’s report is not only complex and controversial, its key conclusions are wrong. Like the analysis in so many other items the Wheeler FCC issued, the report just presumes the agency has authority to do whatever it likes with regard to cybersecurity. It doesn’t. Congress has determined that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the appropriate forum for addressing cybersecurity, not the FCC.

The FCC’s view of the cybersecurity marketplace is also based on something other than reality. Compelling evidence shows that market forces are in fact incentivizing substantial investment in the deployment of cybersecurity protections without the FCC’s interference. Read More

Statement On Ajit Pai’s Designation as FCC Chairman

Posted by | Regulatory State, Statement | No Comments

Washington, DC, January 23, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding the designation of Ajit Pai as the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission:

“There is no one more qualified to guide the FCC for the next four years. Chairman Pai’s intelligence, experience, and humility will serve the American people well. The future of communications regulation could not be any brighter.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Lame Duck FCC Claims Free Data Harms Consumers?

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Video, Wireless | No Comments

Free data plans like T-Mobile’s Binge On let consumers stream internet video without counting their data usage toward monthly caps. The Federal Communications Commission has recognized these plans can benefit consumers and competition. What’s not to like about free data?

According to the lame duck FCC, the answer depends on who’s offering it. The FCC’s outgoing chairman said T-Mobile’s Binge On service is pro-competitive and pro-innovation. According to a recent FCC letter, however, it’s “anticompetitive” when AT&T gives free data to its mobile customers who subscribe to DirecTV’s streaming video service. That’s par for the course with the current FCC, which is more interested in picking industry’s winners and losers than protecting consumers.

That appears to be what the FCC is doing in this case. The agency’s letter acknowledges that AT&T offers the same payment terms to all companies that want to take advantage of free data services. AT&T doesn’t treat DirecTV any differently than it treats Netflix, Hulu, or any other video streaming provider. Read More

Tech Knowledge Statement: Trump Victory A New Hope For FCC

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

Haymarket, VA, November 9, 2016 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States:

“Trump’s victory offers new hope that the Federal Communications Commission will renew its faith in the dynamism of private enterprise and the competitive spirit. The agency’s pre-Obama policy of relying primarily on competitive market forces to drive investment and innovation in communications networks and services enabled the dynamic internet economy that we know and love. The Obama Administration’s love for top-down government mandates threatened to destroy that economy, but it’s not too late. The Trump Administration has a prime opportunity to level the playing field at the FCC and work with Congress on legislation that will benefit all Americans.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Tech Knowledge Statement on FCC’s Business Data Services Proposal

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

Haymarket, VA, October 7, 2016 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding the FCC’s proposal to impose new price regulations and classify packet-based business data services as a common carrier service:

“The FCC’s proposal to subject packet-based business data connections to its Title II jurisdiction reveals the terrible truth about Wheeler’s approach to net neutrality — the alleged need to protect edge providers using Title II was merely an excuse for the FCC to regulate the internet from end-to-end just like it once regulated the plain old telephone network.

There is no edge provider justification for the FCC to dictate terms in commercial disputes involving data connections for big businesses. The proposal is nothing more than 1930’s style government intervention for the sake of helping businesses the current administration favors at the expense of those it doesn’t. The other commissioners should reject Wheeler’s latest attempt at government economic planning 2.0 and let all carriers compete on an equal footing.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Tech Knowledge Statement On FCC Removing Set-Top Box Vote From September Open Meeting Agenda

Posted by | Video | No Comments

Haymarket, VA, September 29, 2016 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding the decision of the Federal Communications Commission to remove its planned vote on a set-top box order from today’s open meeting agenda:

“Over the last several weeks, it has become increasingly clear that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s most recent iteration of his revised proposal to regulate set-top boxes looks nothing like the proposal the agency released for public comment earlier this year. Especially in light of the obvious lack of consensus among the agency’s commissioners, the public interest would be best served by providing the public with notice of how the revised plan is expected to work and a reasonable opportunity to comment on it.

A decision that could determine the future of television shouldn’t be cloaked in secrecy. It should be decided through a transparent and open process that reflects the complexity and importance of this proceeding.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

How The Obama Administration Is Rewriting Competition Law At The FCC

Posted by | Antitrust, Broadband Internet, Internet Analogies, Net Neutrality Series 2.0 | No Comments

In his first presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama said “antitrust is the American way to make capitalism work for consumers,” because, “unlike some forms of government regulation, it ensures that firms can reap the rewards of doing a better job” and “insists that customers … are the judges of what best serves their needs.” Obama vowed to “reinvigorate antitrust enforcement” and work with other jurisdictions to “curb the growth of international cartels” so that “all Americans benefit from a growing and healthy competitive free-market economy.”

Regrettably, the Obama presidency’s competition policies have not matched his campaign rhetoric. According to Daniel Crane, a law professor at the University of Michigan, Obama has not reinvigorated antitrust enforcement: “With only a few exceptions, current enforcement looks much like enforcement under the Bush Administration.”

Obama has instead shown a strong preference for relying on other forms of government competition regulation — the kind that prevents firms from reaping the rewards of their investments in American infrastructure and limits what customers can demand — while complaining about the antitrust enforcement efforts of other jurisdictions that might affect U.S corporate interests. In the process, the Obama Administration has slowly been rewriting U.S. competition law in unprecedented ways.

This process has been especially apparent in communications regulation at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Though it was once seen as a “sleepy backwater,” the FCC has radically transformed its approach to competition law during the Obama Administration. The FCC’s new approach to competitive analyses runs the risks of spillover to interpretation of antitrust laws and speculation regarding the limits of government intervention in business transactions throughout the economy. Read More