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Regulation

Google’s Internet Association Hypocritically Begs Digital Protectionism

The juxtaposition of Google tacitly accusing the EU with “digital protectionism” and “discrimination” as the EU’s Digital Chief, Günther Oettinger, visits D.C. and Silicon Valley, while the Google-created Internet Association this week asks for U.S. protection from ISP “discrimination” in an appeals court brief in support of the FCC’s Open Internet order – exposes exceptional hypocrisy.

Antitrust and privacy regulators around the world weren’t born yesterday. They know Google and its online platform allies want it both ways – manipulating policy to advantage them and disadvantage their potential competitors.

The FCC’s Reasonable Unreasonableness? – A Satire

The FCC’s 218 page “brief” defending its Open Internet Order begs a big question.

How many times is it “reasonable” for any agency to assert that their core legal arguments are “reasonable” before they sound unreasonable? A few? Several? A dozen?

Of the 19 core statutory arguments in the summary defense of the FCC’s Open Internet order, TWELVE defend the order by declaring the FCC’s legal judgment was “reasonable.”

When arguing in court that the FCC has the statutory authority to common-carrier-regulate the Internet for the first time, shouldn’t the FCC be able to declare at least once in their summary defense: “the law says,” “precedent supports,” or at least “Congress intended?”  

Google as Global Government

Google, the Internet’s lone  superpower, increasingly governs its borderless virtual geography like a supranational virtual state, with the power to increasingly arbitrage actual nations’ sovereignty.

The FCC Built its Net Neutrality House on Legal Sand

The FCC’s latest legal brief defending its Open Internet Order, will represent the FCC’s “strongest possible” legal arguments for its Title II net neutrality case – a vainglorious legal fortress.

In reality, the FCC’s legal case is closer to a magnificent beach sandcastle.

Its downfall will be that its case is sand, on top of a sand foundation -- that won’t be able to weather the elements intact.

Consider some of the elements the FCC’s sandcastle legal case must withstand.

The term “net neutrality,” or direct Congressional authority to mandate the FCC’s concept of “net neutrality,” is not found in law.

Unlicensed Spectrum Needs No New FCC Regulation

Everyone should have the freedom to innovate and compete in America, the land of opportunity.

There should be no innovation or competition double standard where government politically picks winners and losers by rigging competition via denying some companies the freedom to innovate and compete spectrally while granting it to their competitors.

With radio spectrum, America has created different but symbiotic spectrum models. One is licensed spectrum where spectrum for exclusive use is auctioned to the highest bidder. The other is unlicensed spectrum where anyone is free to share the same spectrum if they play nice and do not interfere with other spectrum sharers’ use. These models have never been either/or; they have always been free and open to use separately or together to maximize innovative, commercial, and competitive opportunity.    

The Market’s Ignoring Google’s Many New FCC Common Carrier Liabilities

I.  Summary

Google’s market capitalization has approached a half trillion dollars as its stock hit an all time high, because of a positive quarterly profit surprise and because Google’s new CFO signaled that “Google cost discipline” may no longer be an investment oxymoron.

The market appears to be ignoring that Google’s legal status as a corporation changed in 2Q15 to an FCC Title II regulated common carrier that is subject to very strict and preemptive behavioral non-discrimination requirements to mitigate potential abuse of market power on Google’s network -- per the FCC’s new Open Internet Order which reclassified Internet infrastructure as Title II common carriage regulated to enforce strict net neutrality.

This analysis of Google’s many new common carrier liabilities has four parts: I) the investment and regulatory relevance of Google being a common carrier; II) the evidence of Google being a major Internet access player via the surprising size of its Internet infrastructure, communications, traffic carriage, and market power; III) a listing and explanation of Google’s many new FCC common carrier liabilities, including nine potential net neutrality violations, three privacy, and three transparency; and IV) a conclusion about what this could mean for Google and its valuation going forward.

For Now… Netflix Has Mastered Regulatory Arbitrage

Imagine if one company out of the Fortune 500, #474 with ~$6b in revenues, and 2,000 employees, representing about .03% of U.S. GDP, and .06% of the population, comprised 36% of all the vehicle traffic going in one direction on our interstate highway system on any given day.

Now imagine that one company’s lobbying was instrumental in convincing the government to grant that company’s business model the right to commercially use the highway system forever for free, by not ever having to pay a standard gas tax or private highway tolls, like other businesses or people do to pay for the relative wear and tear that their usage causes on the highway systems.

Imagine further that the government justified this special one-way highway traffic treatment, by saying it would be better and fairer for everyone if the companies that use and profit most from using the most one direction of the highway system never had to pay for that delivery benefit – that consumers should subsidize their commercial use and profits in “perpetuity.”

The company’s situation you just imagined is Netflix’. The government agency is the FCC. And the perverse government arrangement is the FCC’s mandate of a permanent zero price for all Internet downstream traffic.  

How FCC Hurt Its Title II Anti-Stay Case

The FCC’s latest legal brief opposing a stay of its Open Internet Order, hurt its legal case more than it helped.

The FCC brief unwittingly: exposed a glaring internal inconsistency with the FCC’s Open Internet Order; spotlighted its arbitrary and capricious decision-making; and exposed a big mistake in its legal strategy.    

If the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rules on the legal merits of the industry’s petition, it remains very likely they will grant a partial stay of the Title II reclassification part of the FCC’s Open Internet Order.

The FCC’s De-Americanization of the Internet – My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please don’t miss my latest Daily Caller op-ed “The FCC’s De-Americanization of the Internet.”

It explains how the FCC’s expected U-turn on Title II affects digital free trade by contrasting the very different Clinton-Net and Obama-Net visions for the Internet.  

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FCC Open Internet Order Series 

Part 1: The Many Vulnerabilities of an Open Internet [9-24-09]

FCC Title II Internet Regulation: “Believe it or not!”

With due credit toRipley's Believe it or Not!, so much odd and bizarre is happening in Washington in the "name" of “Title II utility regulation of the Internet ” that the topic calls for its own collection of: Believe it or Not!®oddities.

In seeking comment for what is the best FCC legal authority to enforce net neutrality, Section 706, Title II, etc., the FCC has completely ignored the most obvious solution – asking Congress -- the source of all its existing authority -- for the new authority the FCC believes it needs!

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths