tv The Communicators Tom Wheeler CSPAN June 11, 2018 8:00pm-8:32pm EDT
chair tom wheeler talks about the end of his net neutrality rules on this week's episode of the communicators. we revisit the oral argument leading up to the supreme court decision today upholding ohio's process of identifying and removing inactive voters. and washington journal looks at the 15-year effort to stabilize afghanistan. >> here's what's live for tuesday: the house is back at noon eastern following member speeches. they debate a number of bills related to opioid addiction and treatment programs. that's on c-span. on c-span 2 republican house majority whip steve scalise sits down with politico to talk about his party's policy priorities. after that the senate continues work on a 716 billion dollars defense programs measure for 2019. on c-span 3 health and human services secretary testifies on the administration's prescription drug pricing plan before the senate health
education labor and pensions committee. that starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern. >>. . >> at this time with tom wheeler. he's our guest this week on the communicat communicator. chairman wheeler, let's go back to 2015. why was it important to you that net neutrality or communications be under the act? >> well, as you know, peter, we looked at a bunch of different alternativ alternatives. and through that process, it became clear that the only way that you could have a standard that had been tested by time, and everybody knew what it was
that had just a reasonable standard to judge the activities of internet service providers. the only way you can get to that is with title two. and that made isps internet service providers common carriers. my a-ha moment was going back to the days when of the ceo of the industry association. we went to congress and asked to be made common carriers because of the certainty that came with that. and i was hearing arguments from the industry saying, oh, you can't possibly do that. and i thought, wait a minute, we want to be common carriers bringing certainty. after that, there was like
$300 billion in investments made in wireless. and i said, look, that's the kind of approach that we have to bring to this new technology of the internet. >> were you on board with the title 2 common carrier idea from the start on this issue? >> i was always on board, but there had toe some regulatory model for net neutrality. my original proposal was that we use what's called section 706. in the notice i said he well, what about title 2? and i learned over the process and talking with consumers and particularly innovators who were worried about their ability to get -- to deliver their product if they were discriminated against. and that's the key issue here in net neutrality is
discrimination. and so i -- you know, my position evolved. you know, i think one of the problems -- and i was criticized for it. and i think one of the problems with washington is that people don't evolve. people say this is my position and i'm never going to leave it. there's a learning process that goes on. and i certainly went through that in the process. >> host: very quickly before we get david involved in our conversation, november 10th, 2014, the president put out a video. you got protested at your house. what was that day like? [ laughing ] guest: well, it was a day you won't forget. i mean, i literally had people from around the world sending me e-mails saying, hey, i just saw you on cnn. sorry. they don't have c-span over there. and, you know, this is what freedom of expression is all about. and what's really funny about
it, though, is that i'm a very early riser. and the demonstrators were at my house at like about 6:00 a.m. as i was pulling out of my driveway, they raced up. and i just said, you know, if i had spent two minutes less in the shower, i would have missed the whole thing entirely. >> host: what about the president's video have to do with your decision guest: so the president came out and said -- at this point we were wrestling with the idea. what's really significant with president obama as compared, for instance, to president trump is that what president obama was doing was talking about a finding that his administration had made at the fcc saying this was the way he was doing it. he was following administrative
procedure. and not tweeting or picking up the phone or anything like that. but out in the open how do we talk about these issues and how do i put the administration's position on the table in front of the commissioner. >> host: well, to help us move this story forward, david mccabe who covers technology for that publication. >> thanks for having had me. the conversation on net neutrality has shifted to legislation or at least there's some on the hill that would like it to shift to legislation. do you think it's possible to legislate this issue? >> well, david, it's fascinating that the republican position all along during my term was this is something congress ought to decide. and now when congress has an opportunity to decide with the congressional review act that's passed the senate in a bipartisan way and is now be pending in the house that the republicans in the house and the industry will say, oh, no, no, congress should move aside. look, if the chairman of the fcc
has the courage of his conviction that what he has done is write for america and will stand up to a vote in the congress, he ought to pick up thephone,al speaker ryan and say schedule it for a street in the house and let's see what the representatives, the american people say about this. >> chairman should call senator ryan and say put my proposal --. >> if he really believes -- if he really believes that his position is the right position and that, as they've been saying all along, that congress should be the one to decide this. okay. there's the position. there's a vote. it's already been voted by the senate. let the house vote. call the speaker and tell the that you think he ought to have a vote. >> have you done any advocates in favor of the cri? have you made any calls? >> i haven't made any calls.
>> i know a big topic on the hill right now is the providers. do you share the concerns that some on the hill have that they may pose or a lot of the american views that technology may impose a threat. do you agreeh wit that? >> yes. i think that we have to make sure that our networks are secure. david, as you know, one of the things that i was really hot on during my chairmanship was the cyber security of our networks. and we put in place a process that is now pretty much been gutted. and what i found to behoin was that the republicans on the commission today say the fcc has no jurisdiction over cyber, which is why they're not following through on the cyber things that we did. the cyber protection that we put
in. but at the same point in time, they turn around and say, oh, well, we have to do this. i mean, one of the interesting things, as you know, is that there's a lot of talk about 5g. this generation wireless. during our term, we were the first country in the world to make spectrum available for 5g. and as a part of that decision, we said that 5g -- 5g standard would have to include cyber security protection. that for the first time we would have a telecom standard that saw cyber security as a forethought rather than an afterthought. and we started a notice of inquiry saying just what should those tests be. and the minute that the trump fcc came in, they withdrew that. and they said, no, that's not going to be a requirement for
5g. and i don't see how tt meshes with the kind of issues that you've raised. we nee to have safe and secure networks. networks have always been attack sectors. i don't care whether they were roads or sea lane. they've always been attack vectors. >> and does that allow technology in the marketplace open up one of those vectors or new vectors for ta tack, do you think? >> i think what needs to be done is to have a holistic program to deal with security of the networks, rather than have some wel do this to affect rural carriers and not others. and but there is an absence of an erall cyber program. the trump fcc. and that's a mistake. >> what do you think of this new eruption and the debate which is the facebook was sharing data
with some other chinese device manufacturers and some kind over on the hill? >> oh, yeah. but the reality is that we're existing in a situation where the impulse into silicon valley has been, hey, can you build? or let's say if we can fill in the blank. and the goal has been more to think about what can be built rather than what the consequences of that are. and so you shouldn't be surprised when you see consequences of sucking in as much data as possible. and then that that data has been used in ways that either weren't imagined or weren't discussed. >> uh-huh.
>> and they're taking on a life of their own. >> tom wheeler, are the chinese, in your view,hreat within cyber security? >> so i think that we need to have cyber security protections for everyone. so i don't care whether it's the chinese or the iranians or the north koreans or the russians or the little sisters. the fact of the matter that we need to have safe and secure networks. and that the fcc -- the trump fcc has said that's not our job. and it seems to me that the agency responsible for america's networks needs to also show leadership in the security of those networks. >> who are the counter parts that you worked with in china? was there an fcc in china? >> that's a really interesting
-- i don't recall working with anybody in china during my tenure. >> do you think our technology should be protected as all common and some of those chip makers? >> clearly the president did when he said we shouldn't do the broad com call com decision or merger. you know, i think that we are all competing in an interconnected market. the unitestates heretofore has had the home field advantage on the internet. we invented it here. we've been the cutting edge of it. and i think that we need to do everything possible to maintain that home fie advantage. because we know that the chinese and everybody else will be trying to do the same thing. and that's what happens in an open and competitive environment. >> a federal judge is expected next week to decide the fate essentially of the at&t time
warner deal. $85 billion deal. the contents with the video and broadband network that at&t already has. i'm wondering what at at&t win, which is where analysts think we're headed, would mean for the media and marketplace? >> well, since you put that together with the repeal of open internet that we started talking about here at the top of the show and you look at what at&t is doing, they're moving into content. they're saying with this acquisition we don't want to just have the transmission. we want to have the content that goes over that transmission. and you look at comcast saying we want to get more content. they're talking about, you know, buying 21st century fox. and what the essence of the open internet rule does is to make that even more attractive. becae it says to the party who controls the network that
delivers the content, normally in a monopoly, a local monopoly situation, that they can discriminate and savor their content. and so i can understand why everybody is saying let's go up and gobble up as much content as we can. but i look forward to the judge's decision on tuesday as much as you do. >> do you have a prediction? >> no. the windex on my crystal ball has run out. >> tom, really, you talked about monopolies. google was just fined a rather large sum of money for being a so-called monopoly in europe. is google a monopoly here in the u.s., and should they be regulated as well like the isp? >> so i am a proponent of openness, non-discrimination and privacy in all venues. >> okay. >> it just happened that while i was at the fcc, we only had
jurisdiction over networks. and but there is -- there comes a time when we have to say, wait a minute, what are the rules that are going to govern this new environment? and most important, peter, who is going to make those rules? right now, whether you are platform companies like google, facebook, or whether you are networks like at&t and comcast, you make the rules. and i think that this is more important to the american economy, to the future competition, to our ability to be able to communicate -- to compete internationally that there ought to be oversight by the people's representatives so that the people's representatives make the rules,
not just those that would benefit from what those rules are. >> what do you think about the gdpr out of europe and their privacy rule? >> i think the gdpr was a fabulous step forward. there's a couple things about the gdpr. one is what it is will be more defined in court cases and regulations that follow. so it's hard to zero in on this provision and that provision. but what's important and troubling is that the european union has put a flag in the ground and said here are principles that say that privacy comes first. that it's kind of like what i was talking with david about about the building things and not worrying about the consequences. no, when you build something, you have to build in an
expectation of privacy. that's what gdpr has said. and it's a shame that we in the united states of america who invented the internet have allowed the leadership on policy to be assumed by the european union. >> what should privacy or neutrality and discrimination regime for web platforms look like? how would you do it? >> well, as you know, we did it for networks with our privacy rules that were based on a very simple concept that it is the consumer's information, not the property of the company that collects the information. and if the consumer has the
right to decide whether or not that information is going to be collected. and the consumer has the right to know how that information is being used. we put that in place for networks. it's, by the way, the same kind of rule that has existed for telephone networks for decades. and republican congress came in 69 days into the trump administration and passed their congressional review act repealing this and denying consumers the kind of privacy poe protections that we had put in place. so i think, again, there's a common set -- a common set of concepts for privacy protection. build it in from the start. it's the consumer's information. it out to be their choice and they ought to understand wt's being done with it. >> so would you support the so-called browser act which purports to allow the internet
companies as well? >> so i have to be honest and say i haven't read the browser act. >> switching gears a little bit, just yesterday gizmoto published atory that says the current fcc misled reporters in terms for a time and misled reporters about these alleged denial of service packs, both in 2017 and in 2014 when you were chairman. and this former i.t. official david grey says that your direction in 2014, the agency had suffered ddos attack and it took the comment system do you and on your direction the agency ded not to say it was not a ddos attack to avoid copycats. is that true? >> david, i'm really going to answer that question. when i was in agreement to coming in here, i got an e-mail from david bray who said i never
said that you told us not to talk about this and to cover up, which was the term that got used. ich, of course, is logical. because as the gizmoto article that you referenced pointed out, a, the fcc officials who were there at the time said it didn't happen. b, the independent i.t. contractors that were hired said it didn't happen. and so if it didn't happen, it's hard to have a cover up for something that didn't happen. >> well, so, a couple things. so gizmoto pshed an e-mail in which they seemed to suggest that you had made this decision. do you dispute gizmoto's characterization of that e-mail? >> so i go with the e-mails that i literally just received from david bray saying i didn't say
it. >> uh-huh. >> you know, i -- i'm not going to get into the -- here is what happened here, david. so there was an attack, as you know, in 2017 during the trump fcc's proceeding -- i'm sorry. there wasn't an attack. there was a crash during the trump fcc's open internet proceeding. and the defense aartly came became, well, this happened under wheeler's tenure as well. and, again, i go back. folks who were there say it didn't happen. the i.t. consultan say it didn't happen. the independent verification didn't happen. next topic. >> i'm sorry. one more. why do you think it is chairman commission seems to imply that it had happened? why do you think that is? >> i am the last person in the world to interpret the decision making of the trump fcc. >> jeffery starks, it looks like he's going to be nominated to be
the next democrat on the fcc. do you know him? what do you think? >> don't know him. he worked in the enforcement bureau while i was there. ever had the opportunity to meet him because we ran the enforcement bureau as a -- as a legal enforcement activity. not a policy activity. and my belief is that the way government ought to do that kind of policing activity is free of the interference of the political types, which is a debate that we're having in other sectors of this town right now. >> david brought up at&t. a couple other mergers i want to get your thought on. sprint t-mobile. potential there. >> so i was opposed to that going from four to three when it was surfaced during my term.
my position hasn't changed on that. there have been huge benefits that have come to american consumers as a result of the decrease -- as a result of the competition driving decreases in prices and increases in service. and i question why the department of justice or the fcc would want to turn around and say to american consumers we're going to decrease competition knowing full well that that means increases in prices and slow down in innovation. >> sinclair tribune. >> so the thing that's interesting about this creating the largest broadcast -- it's supposed to be local broadcast organization in the country is the way the trump fcc has gone through and systematically eliminated the rules that would
have kept this from happening. the concept forever has been that broadcast licenses are given free for the purpose of providing local news and information. so-called local. and that and the decision has been that local news is enhanced by competition in the market. so you have a diversity of voices. and by a limit on the reach of any one broadcaster. because it's supposed to be a local service. the trump fcc came in and immediately started eating away at the rule. there was a rule called the uha discount that said that they repealed -- or that they were put back in place that said a uhf station which now most
stations are really what counts as half against the national limit of 39% that congress put in place. there was a thing called the joint service agreement rule which i put in place which said that these kind of side car agreements where i'll make a deal with you, peter, i'm going to tell the fcc that i don't own the license because you own the license. i'll do a deal with you. but you do a contract with me that says that i get all of the revenue. i make all of the management decisions. i make all of the programming decisions and we'll kind of wink at what the rule is. i said that doesn't make sense. boom, the trump fcc said, oh, sure, you can go ahead and do that. and now there's a bunch of spinoffs required for the department of justice where that exactly is going to happen. and the ultimate in this is if you are going to provide local news and information on
television, i don't imagine you would have a local studio to produce that. so the fcc for as long as anyone can remember has said if you have a local broadcast license, you have to have a local studio because that's how you provide the local information. the trump fcc comes in and those that local studioule out. what does that lead you to believe? that leads you to believe, particularly as you're going through the process of allowing vast ownership which would allow somebody to come in and have a new network with the information produced in maryland rather than produced in columbus. >> we have time for one more question from you, david. >> okay. a lot of time has been spent on reversing things you were going to do or things you did do. >> uh-huh. >> and i'm just wondering what is it like to watch that from a far? how does it feel to see that happen? >> it's painful.
you know, we have different approaches to what the job of the fcc is supposed to be. i said in my confirmation hearing in the senate that i thought my job was to represent american consumers. and i think that that's what we tried to follow. german pie tends to view things at what's best for consumers is what's best for the company. what's good for america is good for general motors. and we have a difference of opinion. and, you know, we had that difference of opinion when we were both sitting on the commission together. and today he is the chairman. and the commission is reflecting his views. >> so monday, june 11th, what's
the impact? >> well, peter, when the net neutrality rules disappear, as they will monday the 11th, birds will still fly and chickens will still lay eggs. but major local monopolies will be told it is fair to discriminate. and we should not be surprised if n over night but over time we begin to see the internet services discriminate in a way that benefits their bottom line rather than the diversity of choices available to consumer and the opportunities available for innovators. >> tom wheeler with chair of the federal communications commission from 2013 to 2017.
he is now at harvard and at the institution here in washington. he's been our guest on t commun carrots this week, along with david mccabe.wcommun carrog with david mccabe.commun carrot with david mccabe.kcommun carrog with david mccabe.commun carrot with david me.icators this week with david mccabe. here is what is live for tuesday. the house is back. they debate a number of bills related to opioid addiction and treatment programs. that's on c-span. on c-span 2 republican house majority steve scalise sits do with politico. after that, the senate continues work on a $716 billion defense program measure for 2019. on c-span 3, health and human services secretary alex hazar testifies on the drug pricing plan before the labor and pensions committee. that starts at 10:00 a.m.
eastern. ♪ music . >> c-span washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning we'll bring you the latest from the u.s. north korea summit in singapore. and more analysis on the u.s. north korea summit, former white house coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction. also daryle kimball of the arms control association on north korea's nuclear capability. be sure to watch c-span washington journal live on tuesday morning. join the discussion. ♪ music . >> this morning, the supreme court ruled 5-4 that ohio's process of identifying and removing inactive voters from its registration rules doesn't violate federal laws. the case husted va philip
randolph institute challenged the state rule that removed voters from registration roles if they failed to respond to an address confirmation request and remained inactive for the following four years. next we'll bring you the oral argument which took place back in january. >> so your argument this morning in case 16980 husted versus the a philip randolph institute. mr. murphy. >> mr. chief justice and may it please the court, congress passed the nvra to serve competing goals. increasing the number of eligible registered voters but decreasing the number of in eligible ones. and this congressional compromise is evident in the statute's conflicting mandates. it both requires states to undertake general programs to remove in eligible individuals, but at the same time places limits on those federally