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Verizon Files Appeal Against FCC, Says Net Neutrality Violates the Carrier’s Free Speech

Net Neutrality has far reaching implications considering that the internet has an influence on almost every gadget released these days. The deal is far from being settled, it’s going to be a few years before we get an understanding of what can be censored on the web and what can’t, but right now, Verizon thinks the Federal Communication Commissions rules on the subject are infringing upon their first amendment right of free speech.

Ever since the FCC has adopted the new rules in 2010, companies have been filing grievances if they feel that the rules aren’t made for them. The latest to do this is Verizon who says the regulation over their network infringes upon their right to free speech. They liken their network to a newspaper and seek to have the same editorial discretion that a newspaper does to prioritize its content or its partners over others. Verizon feels the FCC is overstepping their bounds with these rules:

The Commission points to a hodgepodge of provisions to support its claim of ‘broad authority, since 2006, at least 11 pieces of ‘net neutrality’ legislation were introduced and debated in Congress. None were enacted.

Verizon goes on to say that the FCC is also infringing upon fifth amendment rights that promise no turning over of property without just compensation. Verizon argues that these new rules allow parties to ”physically invade broadband networks with their electronic signals and permanently occupy portions of network capacity,” and they say that the FCC doesn’t offer any compensation for this invasion of their private network.

Verizon’s base argument is that Congress hasn’t given the FCC power to do anything that they are planning on doing. Either Congress can indeed give those powers to the FCC, or if the courts agree with Verizon, things get a little more complicated. While some of their arguments might come off as legally sound, it all feels a bit shady to the average person. Anytime a large company comes out and seems like transparency is the last thing on their mind is certainly not putting their customers mind’s at ease.

Via: arstechnica

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VLFVQIWGAYK7HO4GOD255AJEDQ kenny hendrick

    I had a political server that apparently verizon did not care for. The site was taken down numerous times and toward the end of our relationship with verizon was not able to be kept up for one complete day (our site is now forwarded over to question911.com until further notice). At first we thought it was a hacker and began to check our logs. We use unix-based operating systems and were able to track down to verizon as the derivation. More than 50 (and that’s a low-ball figure folks) calls were made to verizon requesting they cease and desist. Numerous times they sent tech support agents out to inspect our connection and still the problem would persist. I don’t have time to go into detail but will suffice to say, this type of unconstitutional behavior is expected when the monopoly board holds too few players.

  • Manthas

    Yet another reason why corporations should not be allowed to be treated as individuals under the law.

  • http://twitter.com/dan_v_carvajal Dan Carvajal

    If you’re licensing public airwaves, you’re not at all like a newspaper.

  • TheDrunkenClam

    I don’t get it

  • sonicyoof

    It’s true, it violates their right to be assholes. A right that they hold on to dearly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoshuaBanks Joshua Banks

    Companies don’t get free speech… Companies are not protected by the constitution.

    • CoryDobak

      Yes, they do, and yes, they are.

      Citizens United, go research it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Marshall/1393515108 Chris Marshall

    It seems like Verizon wants to take full control of their towers and kick others off. If this be the case… the only two companies left would be Verizon and AT&T considering that the rest of the companies out there share the towers with these two companies. This could get very ugly very fast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Marshall/1393515108 Chris Marshall

    Now verizon how about you bring back your unlimited plan for people who only have internet in the boonies of MI through your MiFi hotspot!

  • Neera

    I actually interpreted it more like Verizon being concerned about not getting paid:
    “Verizon argues that these new rules allow parties to ”physically invade broadband networks with their electronic signals and permanently occupy portions of network capacity,” and they say that the FCC doesn’t offer any compensation for this invasion of their private network.”

  • Javis Sullivan

    Correct me if i’m wrong but corporation do not get amendment rights. Correct?

    • CoryDobak

      Corporations are people, so yes, they do.

      • Javis Sullivan

        No. People work for Corporations, but the corporation itself is not a person. Ergo it is not entitled to the amendment rights preserved for citizens.

        • CoryDobak

          Yes. Corporations are literally people as defined by Citizens United Vs. the FCC, decided by a 5-4 party line vote.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

          Challenged in court recently, and again upheld by courts that corporations are people by the court case:

          http://www.npr.org/2012/06/25/155704776/high-court-says-citizens-united-applies-to-states

          Several states are trying to get a amendent passed to overturn the ruling, but as it stands, again, corporations ARE people (in the eyes of the court), are protected by the same exact rights we are.

          It’s terrible, and it should be overturned as soon as possible, but until then, feel comfy in knowing that Republicans in the SCOTUS pretty much allowed the purchasing of elections by companies that can as much as they want in campaign spending.

          • Javis Sullivan

            Nicely put sir. That is valid. However, I am weary about letting court cases decide even though I know they are there to interpret the law. It is very apparent that they are moving away from what our founding fathers wanted.

  • Immolate

    Do you really think that giving the right to make law that impacts your life to an agency that is unelected and unaccountable is a good idea? Those who trade freedom for safety deserve what they get, which is neither.

    Government rocks at managing things!

  • Atst88

    Never thought I would say this, but, GO VERIZON!

    • CoryDobak

      Wait, what?

      Why, exactly?

      • Atst88

        This “LAW” now called “REGULATION” that never passed by the Congress of the United States of America and that is a violation of privacy and business choice should never have existed. I HATE VERIZON and everything they stand for currently, but at least they have the balls to “call this spade a spade.”

  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

    I guess charging their customers more is “free speech”. {{o_0}}

  • http://profiles.google.com/zkolev Zack Kolev

    I am eligible for an upgrade through Verizon but am reluctant to use it because I don’t want to be potentially stuck with a douche of a company that Verizon seems to be turning into. I never thought I’d would be hoping for Sprint or AT&T to have good networks. sigh….

  • Droidzilla

    I don’t trust Verizon to act in the best interests of free speech and fundamental rights, but neither do I trust Congress to do the same with “Net Neutrality.” After all, these are the same jokers that thought up SOPA.

    • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

      Exactamundo!

    • DeathfireD

      The FCC’s proposal for Net Neutrality, at least for cable internet, is to keep everything as is with no filtering based on site or protocol. In essence it kills ISP’s ability to create “packages” to access things such as streaming content or download files using programs such as Bittorrent or FTP. I’m not sure if the proposal for mobile networks is the same but I’d assume so since all the mobile carriers are getting pissed at the FCC.

      • anon

        This is where Verizon is scared. Try accessing domestic IRC servers through their services. Cant, all blocked. Data services are severely shaped and controlled more so than Land line internet services. Funny how everyone gets riled up on a news article when you lost a lot of freedoms years ago.
        If net Neutrality comes into play they would have to remove all these blocks within their service.

  • Trueblue711

    I’m confused… is this VZW or Verizon? I thought Verizon was promoting net neutrality. I’ve never read anything regarding FiOS or any of their other services attempting to limit broadband.

    • https://plus.google.com/110773438514346746273/ tjhrulz

      VZW is short for Verizon. They have never supported Net Neutrality, they hate it so much that if memory serves me right they threatened to sue the FCC several years back if they imposed it.

      • RAZR_FANN

        He was asking whether or not it was specifically the wireless division of Verizon (Verizon Wireless) or Verizon Communications. I’m not sure which is being referred to in the article though.

      • Trueblue711

        Many don’t know, but Verizon Wireless is run like almost a completely different company than its parent, Verizon. It’s a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone. VZW is known to have very anti-consumer actions, whereas Verizon is usually more reasonable (FiOS, DSL, etc.)

    • cphilano

      This article is referring to Verizon Broadband and not wireless. Verizon Wireless doesn’t have the same problems of net neutrality as Verizon Broadband does because Congress sold us out on that aspect years ago.

  • amathophobia

    Is intertwined into the population’s daily lives? Check. Is it a bastion of free speech and communication? Check. Are the government and corporations going to try and limit and tax the hell out it? Check. Welcome to america. The home of stepping on its citizens toes to further someone else’s interests.

    • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

      Finally some common sense in this discussion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryanmounce Bryan

    I guess that since corporations are people too, they also have a right to free speech. Ugh. How ridiculous.

    • counsel dew

      Nit people-they can’t vote… See what I did there?

      • CoryDobak

        Ohh, but legally, they can, and they do. Just with money, not a ballot box.

  • Greyhame

    Verizon needs to realize and accept the fact that they are a dumb pipe!!

    • Greyhame

      I see VZW brought out the Thumbs Down Police.

    • Matt

      I’m not a huge fan of VZW myself but let’s be honest. I work for a rural ISP and we are fighting a similar fight with the FCC. People who say we are a “dumb pipe” are simply ignorant. Who do think invested the money into the network? Who do you think employs people to maintain it? Why should they not be allowed to be compensated for it? Think of it this way: You own a convenience store which sells products from various vendors. People come in, take what they want off the shelves, and then leave without paying. Would you be happy about that? No, you would want compensated. You personally would not be providing the “content” of the store but that does not mean you shouldn’t be compensated for it. If you think this is the way it should be, not too many companies would be left in your country.

      • Greyhame

        Please explain how ISPs like VZW and the company you work for are not compensated. Hell, I know I feel it every month from both my home ISP and VZW!! I feel it to the tune of over $2400/yr.

        …Not compensated, hah!

      • Michael Quinlan

        You’re not making a valid comparison. Yes, people can steal from a convenience store, causing the store owner to suffer a loss. But people can’t just “walk” in and steal bandwidth from Verizon.

        Bandwidth usage on Verizon’s network requires something – a Verizon customer on at least one end of the transmission. Verizon’s customers are already paying for every byte that travels to/from their devices.

        A more valid comparison is: I, as a resident of my town, county, state and country, pay taxes. These taxes are used (in part) to pay for roads, bridges, etc. When I order something from Amazon, it arrives via UPS. UPS doesn’t pay taxes in my town. Does that mean they are stealing from my town when they use the local roads? No. They’re providing a service to me, someone who has already paid for the road.

  • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

    Most of you people obviously have no clue what the heck you are talking about, and you know nothing about net neutrality. “Net neutrality” is anything but. It is government censorship and control. And the FCC enacting these rules without the consent of Congress is unconstitutional and liberals should be just as concerned about it as conservatives are, if they truly value their freedom.

    Just another day in 0bamaland

    • Greyhame

      Huh??

      • allansm

        Grey, don’t mind the village idiot. He also subscribes to the notion that Obama isn’t American and that there’s a worldwide conspiracy among the scientific community regarding man’s effects on weather. No joke.

        • Greyhame

          Ahh, I see. Thanks for the heads up.

        • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

          I’ve never doubted his citizenship or taken any personal issue with him. I disagree with his policies, that is all.

          No worldwide conspiracy, there are still large segments of the scientific community that dispute Global Warming Theory (it is still a theory) and that disagree with the dogmatic alarmism of leftists who are using it to gain control. It is a political movement aimed at redistributing wealth, restricting freedom and liberty, and increasing government control over the private free-market economy. It is also being used by government rent-seekers and crony capitalists who stand to profit from green “investments” of taxpayer dollars. Hello GE? Solyndra? Fisker Karma? T.Boone Pickens?

          BTW…I work in the “green energy” industry. One of the few that actually work and are economically viable without government subsidies or edicts.

          • SolipsisticPsychologist

            I’m liking Jeff, he uses the brain that God gave him, bravo.

          • CoryDobak

            Ohh dear god, you’re being serious. There is so much ignorance in your post, let’s poke at it a bit…

            “it is a political movement aimed at redistributing wealth” Only if Science was a political party? I wish!
            “the private free-market economy” There is no such thing, ANYWHERE. Seriously, point one out, please.

            Also, since you claimed it, prove it. Where are these large swaths of Scientific Community that don’t believe in the Theory of Climate Change?

  • RufusX

    The “bandwidth” they claim to have freedom of speech over is actually owned by the American people and leased to them through our good hearts. FU Verizon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=759910421 Luiz Mattos

    The FCC is violating Verizon’s free speech by trying to stop Verizon from violating their customers’ free speech. Sense is made.

  • http://twitter.com/omen_87 David Harrall

    This makes me sad to have Verizon service.

    • moelsen8

      oh i’m sure one thing all the carriers have in common is that they hate when the government gets in the way of bending their customers over. at&t won’t be far behind.

  • moelsen8

    whoa what balls:
    “Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners
    [e.g. Verizon] engage in First Amendment speech”

  • http://twitter.com/Defenestratus Defenestratus

    Thanks Verizon – for standing in the way of the government getting its foot in the door of internet control.

    • TheWenger

      I don’t know who’d be worse controlling the Internet, VZW or the government.

      • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

        VZW isn’t controlling the internet, they are controlling their own network. If you don’t like what they do, there are other providers.

        The government controlling the internet would great! Because they have done so well with everything else…right? [/sarc]

        • CoryDobak

          Psst…Their own network was built up with Tax Payers money, but don’t worry, being a reactionary twat is all the rage now a days.

          Also, if you happen to have one bone in your body capable of thinking and researching, you’d see that Net Neutrality is just that, it makes all networks dumb pipes. No regulation, no throttling, no traffic priority over other traffic (neutrality), etc etc

          Network Neutrality IS NOT the government regulating the government.

          • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

            There is far more to the ultimate goals of net neutrality. It opens the door to censorship by the government.

          • CoryDobak

            Do you have actual proof of this other then paranoia and hyperbole?

          • anon

            Yeah tonnes of reactionary reed past the lines blogs by anon on the internets!
            Seriously, it is not a perfect but should you accept a corporation built on the fundamentals of exploitation for profit or a government that sorta is controlled by the people no matter how stupid they can be?

            We can already see how a company would handle things. Data shaping, port blocking, packet priority, BW caps, usage caps, 3rd party fees, content fees, etc, so on. These are all forms of censorship. already being used NOW.

          • CoryDobak

            …what? I’m against Verizon doing this, so yea anon, I agree with you…

            Don’t see how you thought I was with Verizon here.

          • anon

            ^ DING DING DING
            Providers should be providers NOTHING MORE.

        • cphilano

          This isn’t an argument of whether the government or Verizon controls the network. Stop coloring the issue at hand! This is an argument over government being able to regulate the business practices of Verizon and its unethical use of its network.

          • CoryDobak

            No, this is Verizon bitching and crying about the FCC trying to stop any and all service providers from trying to impose their beliefs and controls on the Internet.

            The FCC and the Government, by and large, are trying to keep the net open and free.

            I don’t see where you’re getting your disconnect from? What’s so hard to understand about this?

    • CoryDobak

      Lol, what?

  • AlexKCMO

    First of all, while I could be wrong on this, the article makes no reference to Verizon Wireless. I could be wrong, but I worked for a major phone company for a few years, and from speaking to VZW employees, VZW operates in a similar manner, where the Wireless and Wired divisions are run as separate entities under the same umbrella.

    This case sounds more like Verizon is lobbying for it’s wired ISP, not it’s wireless ISP.

    Either way, I’m really just beating semantics, of course they would like to give priority to partners to make extra dough. I hope this get’s thrown out. Calling this a violation of free speech is complete garbage and they know it. Talk about a stretch, I’d love to see Judge Richard Posner’s opinion on this.

  • Jeff Tycz

    There goes verizon trying to “Rule the Air” again

  • MekoSuka

    Net neutrality is one of the single biggest things going on with your access to the net today.

    There are some things you can do eliminate yourself as a statistics no matter which way this goes. Root + VPN + Orbot from any Android phone is a nice way of avoiding being throttled or worse, tracked.

    You also might want to invest some cash in Procera Networks. Companies like these have a big time stake in net neutrality and you could stand to make a bundle.

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

      Do you have a good/safe/reliable VPN service to recommend? I’m really seriously looking into this for both my phone and home broadband (UVerse).

      • David

        I use HMA

  • http://twitter.com/Brave_Fellow BCoch

    This is like saying being able to prohibit black people from eating at your diner is your diner’s right to free speech.

    • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

      Not free speech. Freedom of association. Men can’t go work out at Curves.

      By definition, only the government can discriminate. It was the government (more specifically Democrats) who enacted segregation laws that businesses had to comply with.

      • ERIFNOMI

        Oh here we go…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Marshall/1393515108 Chris Marshall

        Dude, save it, this is droid life not Change.org!

      • http://twitter.com/dan_v_carvajal Dan Carvajal

        I find it amazing that people don’t know that the train company in Plessy Vs. Ferguson didn’t voluntarily segregate their train cars.

        • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

          There is lots of misinformation and revisionism in the government schools. Most people think that the majority of segregationists and KKK members were Republican…or that the Dems that were switched sides during the civil rights movement and became Republicans.

          The first black politicians were Republicans, Republicans ended slavery and passed the civil rights act. So then the Dems brought out the Great Society and kept black people “on the plantation” under the guise of “helping” them.

          • Voltism

            Fool, the republican and democratic parties essentially switched, and those freedoms won under republicans switched to democrats.

          • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

            Really? Well I’m glad you know all about it and shared your infinite knowledge with me.

            Do you know who Walter Williams is? Thomas Sowell? Ever read any of their books?

          • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C
          • e30kid

            If any of what you say is true, then why do current republicans run off of the same platform that pre-civil rights era democrats did?

    • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

      For once, I applaud such a comparison. {{-_-}}

  • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

    When is Google going to get around to making a worldwide free wireless network harnessing the power of the ionosphere?

    • boot animator

      As soon as they bring back Tesla from his grave.

      • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

        If anyone could do it, it would be Google. And if Tesla were alive today, I believe he’d work for Google, or at least do independent consultant work for them.

        • counsel dew

          Why? Google uses your data too & makes a bundle doing so. The isea a profit-driven company is “good” just “becayse” isn’t, in my opinion, sound ligic. I use Android, but lets remove emotion from the discussion…

          • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

            This is a blog on the internet, why do I have to remove emotion from this discussion? Maybe that’s what discussion needs these days, less political correctness and more emotion (within reason and not into the realm of stupidity of course).

          • michael arazan

            There is now a giant Opt-Out button on the Advertising and Privacy page in Google’s Privacy Center. Along with allowing you to opt out, the page offers a detailed explanation of exactly how Google’s targeted ads work…..
            http://www.switched.com/2011/02/02/opt-out-of-google-targeted-ads/

    • Wmsco51

      if you like to make a call please listen to this 15sec..commericial? Were sorry to interupt your call but your commercial is ready!

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

    Go to hell, Verizon!

  • http://twitter.com/BoomBriggs Al Briggs

    Verizon Wireless: The Search For More Money

  • CodeToJoy

    As far as I know, corporations don’t have rights of free speech… am I wrong?

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

      You’re wrong. Corporations are legal entities, just like people. This was ruled by the courts a few years ago. Because of this ruling, corporations abuse SOO many laws, like now being able to have unlimited contributions to campaign funds (i.e. corporations buy off politicians legally now).

      This was one of the worst-ever rulings by a federal court. For those who were part of Occupy Wall Street and actually knew what they were protesting (face it, most of them didn’t have a clue), this was the primary thing that they were protesting. Because of this, corporations are treated as equals to people, but equals with much more money – hence no longer equals.

    • EricRees

      Recent legal rulings tend to be leaning in that direction. I can’t remember the exact name of the case but in the whole Campaign Finance Reform of a few years ago, it was ruled that corporations could donate money to a campaign and that would be protected under free speech.

      • King of Nynex

        It’s the Citizens United case. The New Yorker had a very good article about it. Corporations can now spend unlimited money to influence elections. Yay democracy!

        • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

          Oh you mean the left-leaning Old Media complex actually has some competition now? Yay freedom and exposing the lies of political shills hiding behind their fake journalistic integrity!!

          • CoryDobak

            What?

          • Big_EZ

            What he is saying is that mainstream media is very bias towards the left, therefore you hear mainly good about the left and mainly bad about the right. There all crooked, we just have to choose the lesser of two evils.

          • King of Nynex

            You obviously didn’t read the aforementioned article. Which is fine, but at least admit to it.

          • http://twitter.com/garagelogician Jeff C

            I’ve read it, and lots of other articles/opinion pieces that are critical of the ruling. Unlike a closed-minded leftist (I used to be one), I read all points of view, make up my own mind, and I don’t despise or disparage others who don’t share my point of view.

            I was born and raised liberal, stayed that way though my post high school indoctrination…ahem…college…and for awhile afterwards. Then I got out in the real world, experienced life and started to experience the results of liberal policies and received none of the supposed “benefits.” My perspective started to change when both my wife and I lost our jobs. We didn’t qualify for assistance (other than unemployment) because we were responsible enough to not have kids before we were financially stable. The social worker actually told us we should get pregnant so we could get assistance.

            Lots of other things opened my eyes to the abject failure of liberalism…but I won’t drone on and on about it here.

          • CoryDobak


            experienced life and started to experience the results of liberal policies and received none of the supposed “benefits.”

            Ohh how wrong you are.

  • Mapekz

    Is there a way for me to become a corporation? Being a person just isn’t worth it anymore; corps can do anything I can do except they also have more influence and money.

    • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

      No, they can do more than you. They can break the law, get caught, and get away with it with little to no consequences.

      • Mapekz

        That falls under the influence aspect I mentioned above.

        • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

          Ahh, I see, yes. They can do everything you can do, in addition to the bullcrap they get away with. I see what you mean now.