Verizon: it's our Constitutional right to make your Internet suck

Every once in a while corporations say things that just make you ask yourself, 'WTF?' That couldn't be more true than with some statements Verizon decided to make today. Namely, the part about net neutrality violating their free speech rights.

In a legal brief filed with the US Court of Appeals, Verizon claims the FCC's attempts to restrict their right to throttle their user's Internet connections exceeds the FCC's authority. We've all heard that before, but this time Verizon decided to take things a step further by claiming that any attempts to regulate their networks is unconstitutional. Ahem, if we may quote (you can check out the whole brief by clicking 'Verizon vs FCC' at the bottom of this article):

Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech... Just as a newspaper is entitled to decide which content to publish and where, broadband providers may feature some content over others.

Now, we're not legal scholars here at Neowin, but that just sounds insanely stupid. But we're not judging. Verizon also says that the FCC's attempts at regulation violate their Fifth Amendment rights to private property by forcing them to allow unrestricted access to their network without just compensation for its use by already paying customers.

Still, Verizon's whole interpretation of how 'free speech' and 'the Internet' interact is radically different from how most netizens tend think; rather than users employing the Internet to transmit their own free speech protected content, Verizon thinks that the interaction occurs when they decide to throttle their annoying user's connection, slowing them to a crawl.

Verizon is basically interpreting any interaction that occurs over their network as 'belonging' to them. That means that it's their right to pick and choose what goes through, how fast it goes through, and anything else involving their network. Consequently, Verizon is in charge, just like a newspaper is in charge of what gets published and what doesn't.

The fact is, there's nothing to compare the Internet to. We're treading on fresh ground, and the decisions that get made now will have huge ramifications for future generations: either Verizon gets their way and their ludicrous interpretation of the law reigns supreme, or we get to hang on to a free and open Internet that doesn't pretend to be a newspaper, or anything else.

Via: Yahoo
Source: Ars Technica | Verizon vs FCC

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38 Comments

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ISP's should be treated like public utilities. Last time I checked, the electric company wouldn't throttle me down to 65 volts if I was using too much electricity.

Verizon are within their rights to throttle the service to ensure that the service is accessible for ALL their clients and usable as part of their Service Level Agreement. the company has to balance all request to ensure each device gets access.
A lot Mobile Networks do throttle and regulate the bandwidth to ensure both data and ,as its a telecoms network, voice traffic can get through.

Mobile networks need to ensure that they can allow BOTH VOICE AND DATA to be sent through there systems limited space, if they don't manage all this data there would be loss of service. Its not an infinite spectrum to be able to have unlimited speeds and unlimited calls.

The FCC are in the wrong by telling Verizon that they cant throttle connections, because if they allow all devices to try and access the network at higher speeds Verizon will have to drop connections on a lot of devices.
If this happened this will cause more of an issue as clients will then complain they cant access the internet and blame Verizon when it would be doing what the FCC ask.

If you are using a cellular internet as your main connection, you should expect to get throttled as its not intended to be used as the main home connection for downloading gigabytes of data.

If people want high speed mobile access either setup their own mobile network or get a satellite phone ... otherwise quit complaining as the companies are still allowing you access to the internet.

The FCC are in the wrong by telling Verizon that they cant throttle connections, because if they allow all devices to try and access the network at higher speeds Verizon will have to drop connections on a lot of devices.
If this happened this will cause more of an issue as clients will then complain they cant access the internet and blame Verizon when it would be doing what the FCC ask.

If Verizon cannot maintain network service at the speeds they advertise they shouldn't be offering them, period.

If they advertise you can download as much as you want at 100mb/s, they better stick to it. If it causes their network to suck giant **** then don't advertise unlimited downloads at 100mb/s, make it a 20mb/s connection or w/e. Throttling is just an excuse for them to charge you for speeds you can only get sometimes.

Um, perhaps spend some of the billions of $ on making the network bigger to support all their users.

And like Razor said..

"expect to get throttled"? Really? I'd think not. Just as excuse to sell their products to the maximum amount of users as possible.

Stop over selling maybe? Over-selling should be illegal.

Over-selling is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place. If you can't support all your users then you should not be allowed to continue to sell a service (adding even more users) until the proper infrastructure is in place.

That's the bottom line. Creed, creed, creed!

@ bjoswald sometimes it's not so much the time needed to read it but the legal knowledge needed to understand what half the garbage is in the EULA's these days where legal obfuscation is rife

It's funny how people always bitch about losing their rights, and then make some kind of half-assed boycott when they neglect to read the EULA. If we only knew how much of our freedoms we sign away, we wouldn't have half the **** we put up with now. Only when we take time out of our busy* lives will we remember what freedom is.


*A common excuse is "I'm too busy to read it".

bjoswald said,
It's funny how people always bitch about losing their rights, and then make some kind of half-assed boycott when they neglect to read the EULA. If we only knew how much of our freedoms we sign away, we wouldn't have half the **** we put up with now. Only when we take time out of our busy* lives will we remember what freedom is.

Verizon signed their own EULA when they took subsidies to put down fiber and entered into agreements with municipalities for exclusivity. They do not have the right to do whatever they want.

I'd have to side on Verizon on this.
Its their business and they can run it how they want..
Just like how Neowin here can run this site how they want.
If neowin decides they don't like your face and they ban you
then what constitutional right do have to force them to allow me to be here ?

As much as i hate throttling and have experienced it myself while file sharing
i don't see any reason they shouldn't be allowed to do it, UNLESS
it violates a contract you made with them, for example you payed for unlimites service
and they throttle you, then hell yeah sue them hard !

I am Not PCyr said,
I'd have to side on Verizon on this.
Its their business and they can run it how they want..
Just like how Neowin here can run this site how they want.
If neowin decides they don't like your face and they ban you
then what constitutional right do have to force them to allow me to be here ?

Neowin = Blog
Verizon = ISP

Big difference

I am Not PCyr said,
I'd have to side on Verizon on this.
Its their business and they can run it how they want..

ISPs use public land and are given massive tax subsidies to lay their data lines. They lost the right to **** us over when they agreed to those things. They are subject to rules that serve the people.

I am Not PCyr said,
I'd have to side on Verizon on this.
Its their business and they can run it how they want..
Just like how Neowin here can run this site how they want.
If neowin decides they don't like your face and they ban you
then what constitutional right do have to force them to allow me to be here ?

As much as i hate throttling and have experienced it myself while file sharing
i don't see any reason they shouldn't be allowed to do it, UNLESS
it violates a contract you made with them, for example you payed for unlimites service
and they throttle you, then hell yeah sue them hard !

this is 100% spot on.. especially the last paragraph. thank you for having common sense in a world where its not so common any more..

if you dont like verizon go elsewhere.. pretty simple..

netsendjoe said,
What if a person had to choose between Verizon FIOS and Comcast Internet?

I have comcast internet and I'd still switch in a heartbeat if this was an option to go to FIOS!!!! Comcast blows way harder than Verizon no matter what they just said.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Do businesses have the same constitutional rights as individuals in the US? It seems like an incredibly dubious interpretation.

In certain cases Corporations are treated as Individuals but that's not the case all the time. They don't have all the same rights.

I say if they 'own' what they are claiming to own then shouldn't they take all the heat from the MPAA and RIAA?

Tempus said,
I say if they 'own' what they are claiming to own then shouldn't they take all the heat from the MPAA and RIAA?

Yup. I absolutely agree. If you claim ownership then you are responsible for anything and everything that happens on it. There is a bit about private networks that if you leave your network open or allow others on it you are directly responsible for their actions both legal and illegal. The same can apply to Verizon if they pull this card. It leaves the gates open for both the MPAA and the RIAA to sue verizon directly for their users actions. If I was Verizon I'd watch what I say more closely.

Sadly the change in Supreme Court rulings from Citizens United to the recent cases last month make this possible.

Here is a tip...

Stop supporting corporatists that have replaced the conservative party in the USA. If you vote Republican, you are agreeing with Verizon being a 'person' and having the same rights as an individual.

Constitutional Myth #5: Corporations Have the Same Free-Speech Rights as Individuals
http://www.theatlantic.com/nat...ghts-as-individuals/240874/

http://www.prwatch.org/news/20...preference-corporate-rights


Until we get a Constitutional Amendment saying specifically that GOVERNMENT created CORPORATE entities are NOT PEOPLE, stop supporting the companies taking advantage of these rulings.

thenetavenger said,
Sadly the change in Supreme Court rulings from Citizens United to the recent cases last month make this possible.

Here is a tip...

Stop supporting corporatists that have replaced the conservative party in the USA. If you vote Republican, you are agreeing with Verizon being a 'person' and having the same rights as an individual.

Constitutional Myth #5: Corporations Have the Same Free-Speech Rights as Individuals
http://www.theatlantic.com/nat...ghts-as-individuals/240874/

http://www.prwatch.org/news/20...preference-corporate-rights


Until we get a Constitutional Amendment saying specifically that GOVERNMENT created CORPORATE entities are NOT PEOPLE, stop supporting the companies taking advantage of these rulings.

The status quo Democrats aren't any better. If voting changed something then it wouldn't be legal.

That's because lobbying is such a big thing in the US. It's pretty much just flat out bribery, "Here I'll donate 10 million to your campaign fund and if you get elected you pass laws that make me richer / benefit me"

Yeah, when I heard Verizon was against net neutrality I immediately jumped ship to AT&T. And I'm not saying that AT&T is for the righteous but it feels better knowing their not actively trying to destroy the internet.

It is also their contitutional right to go out of business due to incredibly stupid decisions. I think it is referred to as being 'hoisted on your own petard'

I love Holman's tone in his articles, make it feel more relatable!

"Every once in a while corporations say things that just make you ask yourself, 'WTF?"

Given the current state of the government and the rulings that have been made recently, I can see this going badly... Lol

M_Lyons10 said,
Given the current state of the government and the rulings that have been made recently, I can see this going badly... Lol

Which rulings?

M_Lyons10 said,
Given the current state of the government and the rulings that have been made recently, I can see this going badly... Lol

For Customers? or Verizon?

Just as a newspaper is entitled to decide which content to publish and where, broadband providers may feature some content over others.
The difference being that a newspaper's content is theirs, while ISPs' content is not.

Dr_Asik said,
The difference being that a newspaper's content is theirs, while ISPs' content is not.

Yeah, their best argument is the claim of access to private property... But it clearly doesn't matter what the constitution actually says anymore...

Dr_Asik said,
The difference being that a newspaper's content is theirs, while ISPs' content is not.

Not all of it is theres. Some news papers have a "letters to the editor" section which includes what you'd call "user generated content"

Stoffel said,
Don't you pay for their service?
Aren't they supposed to guarantee some minimum speeds?

Don't their networks run on public property? What about user's rights?

dagamer34 said,

Don't their networks run on public property? What about user's rights?

Mostly, Verizon and AT&T are terrible with actually identifying the public right of way and/or ignoring it. A large amount of their equipment (cables and cabinets) are actually on someone's property (illegally). This is especially the case with older cross-connect boxes.