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FCC chief Wheeler signals support of Obama’s stance favoring net neutrality

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The top U.S. communications regulator on Wednesday endorsed the regulatory standard applied to telephone companies in remarks seen as the strongest indication yet that he planned to side with President Barack Obama on strict “net neutrality” rules.

Comments by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas appeared to show he leaned toward regulating Internet service providers (ISPs) more strictly under Title II of the U.S. communications law, as Obama has suggested.

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The FCC has been working for nearly a year on new rules governing how ISPs manage Web traffic on their networks, and Wheeler said he will share his latest proposal with fellow commissioners on Feb. 5 and hold the vote on final regulations on Feb. 26.

At stake is whether and how ISPs should be banned from blocking or slowing down websites and applications and from charging content companies for “prioritized” downloads.

“We’re going to propose rules that say that no blocking (is allowed), no throttling, no paid prioritization,” Wheeler said.

He said companies’ behavior should be measured against a yardstick of whether it is “just and reasonable,” referring to a standard often applied to public utility companies to make sure they do not hurt consumers or competition.

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The FCC last year received some 4 million comments after Wheeler’s original proposal left the door open to “commercially reasonable” discrimination.

Obama in November gave net neutrality advocates a boost, calling for strictest rules possible and suggesting the FCC reclassify ISPs as more heavily regulated “telecommunications services,” instead of the current “information services.”

Net neutrality advocates welcomed Wheeler’s new plan. “All afternoon in fact I’ve received emails and calls from entrepreneurs across the country encouraged by the chairman’s remarks, willing to work with him,” said Marvin Ammori, a lawyer who represents technology companies.

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ISPs say they do not object to parts of Obama’s plan but staunchly oppose reclassification, which they say will present a regulatory burden and impede investments and innovation. They are expected to mount a court challenge, and Republicans are expected to counter new rules with legislation.

“The implications of the just and reasonable standard will be years of litigation just as we’ve seen since 1934, when those words were written by Congress for the Ma Bell monopoly,” said former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh and Malathi Nayak; Editing by Andre Grenon and Cynthia Osterman)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Boris Johnson ‘tremendously humiliated’ Donald Trump on a global scale at G-7 meeting: CNN analyst

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United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of President Donald Trump's favorite people to take over for Theresa May when she resigned this summer. But Johnson also mocked the U.S. president and humiliated him on a global scale, said New Yorker reporter Olivia Nuzzi.

During a panel discussion on CNN Sunday, CNN's Ryan Lizza opened by saying that Johnson is in a tight spot as he's trying to negotiate Brexit while serving as an international leader to the G-7. Johnson also needs to negotiate a trade deal with Trump, but he clearly is going about it in the worst possible way.

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Trump allies acquiring ‘dirt’ on journalists to take them down during the 2020 election

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President Donald Trump's war against the media has taken a next step. According to The New York Times, Trump's allies have been compiling information on reporters at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times to strike back because the president believes they "aggressively investigated" him.

The information was revealed Sunday using information disclosed by associates of conservative Arthur Schwartz, who is spearheading the project. Schwartz is an adviser to Donald Trump Jr. and previously worked with Steve Bannon.

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Black MSNBC host schools Joe Walsh on N-word tweets being racist: ‘Hard to put the toothpaste back in’

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Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) is like a lighter version of President Donald Trump, said Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton. But MSNBC host Kendis Gibson couldn't help but ask Walsh about his history of racism.

In an interview after Walsh's announcement, Gibson asked hard questions about Walsh's history of racism. Walsh profusely apologized to former President Barack Obama, who Walsh waged war against during his tenure in the White House. While Wash was not a supporter of the racist birther campaign that Trump perpetuated, Wash does have a history of using racist terms on Twitter.

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