Fighting New Media Abusers

Staying abreast of technological issues with repercussions in the areas of media consumer rights, privacy rights and corporate censorship, Free Press (10/28/08) is calling for

the Federal Communications Commission to require all broadband providers to disclose any practice that monitors or interferes with their customers’ Internet use. In addition to transparent “network management” practices, according to a new filing with the agency, Free Press wants the FCC to require Internet service providers to publicly disclose the minimum broadband speed guaranteed–not just the maximum potential speed offered.

Two recent high-profile cases of abuse highlight the urgent need for tougher disclosure requirements. Online marketer NebuAd partnered with several broadband providers to secretly monitor and reroute user information into private servers–until a congressional inquiry exposed the dubious practice. Comcast, the country’s largest cable company, secretly blocked users’ access to online applications for more than a year before an FCC investigation forced the company to admit to the illegal practice.

Read the Free Press filing “urging the FCC to immediately propose rules that would ensure consumers know what speeds they’re actually getting and how their online communications are being handled or mishandled by their broadband providers.”