Dec. 22 News Round-Up: FCC Net Neutrality Vote Analyzed

Decision-making at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may seem an unlikely venue for a discussion pertaining to free speech because every commissioner would uphold such rights in theory. But historic issues of freedom of communications are arising in the "net neutrality" proceeding, which resulted in a 3-2 party-line vote Dec. 21 pushed by Chairman Julius Genachowski, left. The compromise regulatory approach fell short of President Obama's campaign rhetoric from potential content restrictions and price-gouging by Internet companies.  But it still antagonized Republicans who dissented.

Bruce Gottlieb, general counsel of the non-partisan National Journal, published an expert view of how the commission functions in this and similarly important proceedings. He is a former FCC chief counsel, among other posts. For current official views, click here for the statements of Genachowski and the two most senior commissioners, Democrat Michael Copps, at right, and Republican Robert McDowell, at left below.

National Journal, Ex-Regulator’s View: FCC Will Pass Net Neutrality, Bruce Gottlieb, Dec. 20, 2010. [Julius] Genachowski has proposed specific “net neutrality” rules that would govern how residential broadband providers may—and may not—prioritize particular Internet traffic. However, his fellow Democrats believe that his proposal doesn’t go far enough, and they are threatening to walk away with nothing rather than accept what’s on the table.  Other news included developments in transportation security, WikiLeaks and the ongoing conflicts at the Washington Post regarding its income stream from its Kaplan education services subsidiary, which generates 62% of the paper's income compared to just 4% from newspaper circulation.

Editor's Note: Below is a selection of other significant blogs and news articles on legal reform and related political, security and media news. The articles contain a sample of news, with the full article viewable by clicking the link.

Personal Freedoms/Security
Washington Post, Metro bag inspections cause minor customer annoyances, Ann Scott Tyson, Dec. 22, 2010.  Metro police began random inspections of passengers' bags and packages Tuesday morning, irritating some riders and reassuring others.

AOL News, AOL Investigation: No Proof TSA Scanners Are Safe, Andrew Schneider, Dec 20, 2010.  The Transportation Security Administration says that when working properly, the backscatter Advance Imaging Technology X-ray scanners emit an infinitesimal, virtually harmless amount of radiation.

Washington Post, CIA launches task force to assess impact of U.S. cables' exposure by WikiLeaks, Greg Miller, Dec. 22, 2010. The CIA has launched a task force to assess the impact of the exposure of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and military files by WikiLeaks.

The Week Magazine, Is Karl Rove helping persecute Julian Assange? Dec. 20, 2010.

FireDogLake, Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group, Kirk James Murphy, M.D., Dec. 4, 2010. Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden has a significant history of work with anti-Castro groups, at least one of which is US funded and openly supported by a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up.

Washington Post, EEOC Sues Kaplan, Zachary Goldfarb, Dec. 22, 2010. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday sued The Washington Post Co.'s Kaplan Higher Education unit, alleging that it discriminated against black job applicants by refusing to hire people based on their credit histories. The federal lawsuit alleges that Kaplan needlessly evaluated the credit histories of potential hires in a way that had a disparate negative impact on black job applicants. The commission said the practice has been in place since at least January 2008.

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