Net Neutrality Narrowly Escapes Stimulus Doom

Feinstein Tries To Slip One In

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Though it had nothing do with creating jobs or stimulating the economy and had everything to do with sneaking in a pro-Entertainment industry initiative, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) almost single-handedly dealt a deadly blow to the Net Neutrality issue.

Senator Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein

In an earlier version of the Senate bill, Feinstein went against the usual Democrat stance in favor of network neutrality by slipping in an amendment to allowing “reasonable network management practices such as deterring unlawful activity, including child pornography and copyright infringement,” language that would open the door for ISPs to inspect data packets and filter content.

In effect, that would give ISPs the right to spy on their customers and report them to law enforcement. It would also allow ISPs to act as copyright police on behalf of the entertainment industry. Both allowances would be detrimental not only to net neutrality—where an ISP offers only dumb pipes for use and does not interfere with content—but also to privacy, fair use, and due process.

Fortunately the amendment was withdrawn before the Senate voted, though it is unclear why. Perhaps it was the bill’s sponsor, Dan Inouye (D-HI), an avid supporter of net neutrality, who noticed and had it pulled.

Why would Feinstein try to slip such language into the stimulus package, especially when the language reflects what has traditionally been an un-Democrat stance on net neutrality? Hard to say, but we can’t help but notice the TV/Movies/Music industry among her top campaign donors.

It’s been rightly said before that the net neutrality issue is secretly about internet television more than it is about “network management” and more about piracy and protecting copyrights than about child pornography—though that last one is often thrown in, like terrorism, as an excuse to spy.

Feinstein was harder to notice among a unanimous Senate passing tougher copyright violation penalties on behalf the industry just before the election, but when she slips in an irrelevant amendment to a stimulus package, people are bound to notice.

One wonders the point. With stiff penalties and the continuance of the previous administration’s intelligence (spying) arrangements with AT&T and other providers, it seems hardly necessary to add more legislation to that effect. Maybe it’s to make sure consumers’ rights are good and dead, and that campaign funds are good and plentiful. 


Net Neutrality Narrowly Escapes Stimulus Doom
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  • http://randomplaza.com/help.anonymous.php Anonymous

    Democrats and Republicans like to pretend they’re two different parties but both like spying on the internet, censorship, and bailouts to rich organizations.

  • Guest

    It would be stupid to let these amendments slip by as then the industry would be either be content with it, thus no more donations, or demand more unpopular moves. Those would be harder to pass through, thus making the job of a senator unnecessarily more difficult. After all, there is so much unpopular stuff one can vote in until people get pissed off at you and vote you out.

    If I were a senator, I would continue “trying” to sneak in bills and my associates would shut them down everytime. This would enable a continous cash flow from those rich bastards, keep the status quo, and have us hard working senators a bit richer at the same time :).

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