The Federal Communications Commission, Washington DC
Currently, and since the beginning of the internet, the way we access content on the internet is ‘net neutral’ meaning the company that provides your internet connection, otherwise known as ‘service providers’ (cable, AT&T,) does not favor (deliver faster or more complete) one or a few content providers over others. The public gets equal access to all content and all who publish to the internet have the same chance of reaching the web-surfing public. In addition, the service provider cannot charge the public for accessing any one site.
In January 2014, FCC lost an important court case against Verizon that said the FCC couldn’t bar Verizon from charging fees to “edge providers” like Netflix and YouTube if customers wanted to watch the video services. (National Constitution Center)
On Thursday 5/15, the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) approved a plan that would:
- Allow the FCC to consider allowing “paid prioritization” –where content providers (Netflix, Hulu) can, for a price paid to the service provider, get a ‘fast lane to get their content to consumers. Critics contend that the cost will be passed on to consumers somehow, the rule will affect the chance of start-ups getting traction and promote monopolies in the information business.
- Allow the “FCC to pursue reclassifying broadband services as a public utility” according to the National Constitution Center. The FCC can regulate public utilities and make them provide equal service to all customers, including those providing content.
Neither provision changes any rules, just allows the FCC to consider such plans. Now is the time when people and institutions can comment on the proposed plans. The FCC will receive comments until Sept. 10, 2014.
Some issues and examples:
- Bloggers, manufacturers or filmmakers not affiliated with a large corporation, large content provider or service provider might not be able to get their view to the public.
- Can service providers discriminate against content providers that compete against their own content.
- Should a service provider have to provide enough bandwidth for all, equally, without charge even though video streaming services take up a greater portion of that bandwidth?
Some helpful links:
On April 14th, a militant group kidnapped around 200 girls from a school in Nigeria. The group, Boko Harem, said they planned to sell the girls.
In early May, a social media campaign, #bringbackourgirls, brought the plight of the girls to international attention. Up to that time, Nigerian military and government agencies had not been able to locate the girls.
Many countries, including the US , the UK and Israel , have offered their help.
Boko Harem, which means “Western education is forbidden,” does not believe the girls should be in school but should instead be married. They have since offered to return the girls in exchange for the release of imprisoned militants.
Here is a timeline of events.
Here are some news reports:
From the BBC
From the NY Times
The most recent video
Ahmed Abu Khatalla from a facebook page
Ahmed Abu Khatalla, the suspected mastermind of the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi Libya that killed four people, was brought to Washington DC for trial on June 28th.
The militia leader was captured in Libya by American Special Operations Forces two weeks earlier and had been on the Navy warship USS New York where he was interrogated by intelligence officers.
The September 11, 2012 attack killed US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, former Navy Seal Glen Doherty, Information Manager Sean Smith and Security Guard Tyrone Woods.
Abu Khatalla is being charged with one count of killing a person during in the course of an attack on a federal facility and another for supplying material support to terrorists. Witnesses have put Abu Khatalla at the scene of the attack directing the mob.