GN Docket 12-52
Public Knowledge, Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontrier Foundation, Benton Foundation, Center for Media Justice, Free Press, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Open Technology Institute
May 31, 2012
The above captioned commenters remain concerned that codifying wireless interruption policies will result in serious infringement of users’ First Amendment rights, while inviting increased usage (and potential abuse) of interruptions and increasing uncertainty for consumers, carriers, and authorities alike. The clearly disparate judgments of when interruption is appropriate suggest that leaving such policies to multiple state and local authorities will only result in uncertainty. The Commission should therefore exercise its preemptive powers to provide certainty to users, carriers, and authorities.The Commission should be wary of attempts to “balance” speculative harms to public safety against ever--‐present fundamental rights. While law and public policy are involved in a constant process of reconciling different public interests (such as safety and the First Amendment), it would be a mistake to attempt to assign all such interests equal value. Not just because some may be more fundamental than others, but because wireless service interruptions disproportionately do far more harm to free speech than they could ever benefit public safety. In fact, in this instance, the values of free speech and public safety are consonant. Wireless service interruptions not only threaten the speech rights of targeted and non--‐targeted speakers, they also risk dire consequences for public safety as well, since wireless interruptions will limit the ability of emergency services personnel to obtain and transmit vital information. In the interest of both free speech and public safety, the Commission should implement strong rules and policies to prevent interruptions and ensure that an overlapping network of interruption policies and technologies do not threaten the critical public interest, convenience, and necessity in accessing wireless communications.The full reply comments are available for download as a PDF.
Reply Comments on Wireless Service Interruptions