Scholars Urge FCC's Genachowski To Close Net Neutrality Loopholes

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In the latest salvo over net neutrality, some of the nations' leading tech minds have sent a letter to FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, urging him to take on loopholes in the FCC's Net Neutrality "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" (NPRM), passed by that organization two weeks ago. As the Washington Post's Cecelia Kang describes:

Now, a group of law professors and public interest groups are telling the Federal Communications Commission that its proposed rules don't sufficiently define what that word means for Internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon as they management traffic on their networks. In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski sent this morning, the legal scholars -- all long-time proponents of net neutrality -- are asking the agency to clear up ambiguity on "reasonable network management" practices in a draft of rules.

"We trust Genachowski," said Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University and chairman of public interest group Free Press . Wu co-wrote the letter. "But this is a historic rule and this letter was in the spirit of looking at other FCCs and creating a stronger rule that sets a policy that lasts longer as opposed to something that is highly dependent on the whims of a commission in power."

As the proposed rules are written, they say, Internet service providers can work around loose interpretations of reasonable network management. There aren't clear standards in the draft rules for what is considered reasonable. This could allow ISPs to act as gatekeepers of the Web, giving greater priority to their own services over competitors, they say.

It was the first time net neutrality supporters have expressed skepticism of Genachowski's net neutrality push.

You can read the letter in its entirety, here.

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