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ISPs can do what they want as long as they disclose it, under new FCC/FTC agreement

The FCC and FTC have drafted an agreement to ensure ISPs "live up to the promises they make to consumers" following the net neutrality rules repeal... and it ain't great.

Published onDecember 12, 2017

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  • The FCC and FTC have drafted a set of rules to help “protect” consumers after the net neutrality repeal on Thursday
  • The agreement is said to ensure ISPs “live up to the promises they make” to customers
  • Under the new rules, ISPs would be able to employ throttling, paid prioritization and website blocking, so long as they publicly disclose it

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to dismantle existing net neutrality rules this Thursday, the culmination of discussions from much of this year and years previous. Ahead of this, the FCC has produced a draft “memorandum of understanding,” or “MOU,” which outlines some ways in which it may attempt to “protect” consumers following the repeal.

    The agreement was produced by the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and it’s said to ensure that “internet service providers live up to the promises they make to consumers,” following the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

    Under these rules, internet service providers (ISPs) would be allowed to choose their own net neutrality standards to follow, allowing them to regulate themselves with regards to throttling, paid prioritization and website blocking. ISPs would need to publicly disclose where they take such action with respect to the aforementioned practices, and the FCC has vowed to investigate ISPs disclosures to make sure they are being adhered to.

    December 14 could be a grim day for Internet users in the US

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

    In a statement to Ars Technica, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, described the FCC and FTC’s plan as a “lackluster, reactionary afterthought,” adding that it was “a smoke-and-mirrors PR stunt.”

    I mean, it certainly seems like bad news — it’s not really the disclosure of practices that everybody has been fighting for, here…

    You can view the FCC and FTC announcement here (you’ll have to view the cached version since the live link isn’t loading for some reason — a grim reminder of what’s to come) and don’t miss our coverage on the FCC’s data “cherry picking” here.

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