The Federal Communications Commission today approved rules discouraging internet access providers from charging websites for favorable treatment. That might sound like a good thing, but it's actually a terrible surrender to big business, or alternatively a communist plot.

The ACLU said "the FCC has failed to protect free speech" while a Republican FCC commissioner called the vote one of the "darkest days in recent FCC history" and an act of vigilantism. What actually happened is that the commission forbade internet service providers from blocking content; required them to disclose how they filter traffic, for example by slowing down BitTorrent connections; and forbade them from "unreasonable" discrimination against websites, for example by giving some sites more bandwidth. Wireless service providers are exempt from the discrimination ban, however.

So it's a messy compromise with various loopholes. In case you don't want to read the decision — or wait for the text to finally be made public, which for some reason hasn't happened yet — you can just read how the worst company in America, evil ISP Comcast, describes it: "A workable balance." Scary.

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