A panel of judges ruled today to uphold the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules—which prohibit blocking legal content or throttling based on type, as well as disallowing the so-called “fast lanes” for preferred content. Although the rules do not include mobile services that do not include streaming that does not count against a user’s data cap, they nonetheless protect the basic concept of an Internet that “plays fair”, allowing users free choice of the legal content they choose without artificial, marketing-based restrictions. Score one for us! (and keep watching in case we need to defend this further)
I got an e-mail from Fight for the Future an hour or two ago (they were still answering the phone when I called), asking for a quick phone call to tell the Congressional Rules Committee, which will be voting on FISA amendments, to take another step toward restoring the privacy that we once had.
Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/2ffltx; Decide the Future gives the phone number to call, asking that we let the committee know that we support the Massie-Lofgren Amendment to defund mass surveillance under Section 702 of FISA. The group that created this blog have been asking the president, Congress, anyone who will listen to “GetFISARight” for almost a decade now—through President Obama’s full 8-year administration (we grew out of a My Barack Obama group opposed to the then-senator’s support for warrantless wiretapping in July 2008), so don’t stop now! Pick up the phone, make the call, and Tweet the link!
Back when this page was first started, NSLs—national security letters—were a big topic of conversation. Secret, without accountability, they were a large part of what we saw as wrong with FISA and its implementation. They are an integral part of the PATRIOT Act, which was passed hurridly in a time of fear, and we have called the repeal, or at least reform, of that misnamed legislation from the beginning.
Well, it seems as though others share our concerns, and thanks to Yahoo! for their publication of three of these after the wildly inappropriate gag orders were lifted. Here is the story, from ActivistPost:
The story quotes a Yahoo! representative as follows: “The release of these documents and information regarding NSLs today is consistent with our commitment to share as much information as we legally can regarding government data requests. We believe there is value in making these documents available to the public to promote an informed discussion about the legal authorities available to law enforcement.
“Each NSL included a nondisclosure provision that prevented Yahoo from previously notifying its users or the public of their existence,” the company ominously stated.
And these NSLs are not uncommon; again quoting from the above article, “as of 2013, the Obama administration admitted an average of 60 per day were being issued. Alarmingly, in its latest transparency report, Apple claimed the number of “national security orders” — including NSLs — had doubled in just six months.”
I am not sure that I have any solutions to suggest—keep pushing for transparency, of course, and maybe check into the People’s Convention in Philadelphia before the Democratic Convention; they are developing a People’s Platform; some sort of reform might be a good suggestion. Here is their Web site (full disclosure: I will be attending the convention and have worked with organizers before on this and other projects): https://thepeoplesrevolution.org/