FCC Power Grab

Susan Crawford found some very interesting wording in a legal brief filed by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) as part of a lawsuit brought by a number of advocacy groups over the Broadcast Flag (a mandate that by mid-2005 all devices capable of receiving a digital signal have to obey a flag settable by the networks to prevent copying).

Now this is bad in itself as it limits our rights to record a program for viewing at a later date but it gets worse: in the brief the FCC claims that they have regulatory power over “all instrumentalities, facilities, and apparatus associated with the overall circuit of messages sent and received via all interstate radio and wire communication.”

So, if a Gadget (PC, Tivo, home distributed wiring control panel, wireless router, networked hard drive) is capable of receiving and/or transmitting on any digital file the FCC thinks they can regulate it and force manufacturers to support the broadcast flag.

Now the FCC is on a morality crusade at the moment, starting with Janet Jackson at the Superbowl and leading to 20 ABC affiliates refusing to air “Saving Private Ryan” on Veterans day because they were afraid of FCC fines over the violence and the F word, I don’t want an organization like that trying to regulate my pc, my home network, and my internet use.

(Does the White House know? at Susan Crawford blog)