The FCC has released its formal decision (PDF) against Comcast, ordering it to stop throttling BitTorrent traffic.
As Wired's David Kravets views it, it's an open invitation for ISPs to censor content – so long as they're protocol-agnostic about it. Calling the decision "vitriolic," Kravets says:
[FCC Chairman Kevin] Martin said when the commission decides whether an internet carrier violated net neutrality rules, it "considers whether the network management practice is intended to distinguish between legal and illegal activity. The Commission’s network principles only recognize and protect user’s access to legal content. The sharing of illegal content, such as child pornography or content that does not have the appropriate copyright, is not protected by our principles. Similarly, applications that are intended to harm the network are not protected."Ars Technica says the order contains a "radical proposal":
"We invite Free Press [a complainant in the case] and other members of the public to keep a watchful eye on Comcast as it carries out this relief," the Commission concludes. "Using the information provided by Comcast, pursuant to this Order, as well as information submitted by the public, we will closely monitor the company's network management practices."
On the legal side of things, the FCC explicitly asserted it has authority to issue this order based on the Supreme Court's Brand X decision.
The Commission notes that while the Supreme Court's Brand X decision classified cable ISPs as "information services" rather than "telecommunications services," it added that the FCC "has jurisdiction to impose additional regulatory obligations" on ISPs via its interstate commerce powers.