I believe the arguments for net neutrality to be a Trojan horse that masks serious threats to the freedom of press and speech. By focusing on issues regarding access to the internet and calling for this very ambiguous “right of net neutrality,” the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations will move the internet from a vast arena of freedom of publication and expression into a regulatory world that will judge net publications as “just and reasonable,” “hate speech,” or “in kind political donations.”[i]
I have worked as a software developer in the area of artificial intelligence for over 40 years in several companies including startups. If anyone doubts that the Internet is prospering due to freedom instead of government regulation, remember how the Internet was ten or twenty years ago vs. today. Compare the Internet innovations led by the US vs. the European internet with its omnipresent government telecom regulation burden.[ii]
The arguments for net neutrality are a distraction to justify the new regulations that will now consider the internet not in terms of freedom of press and expression but in ways similar to the licensing of broadcasting stations.[iii] Many argue that the internet cannot be bottled up because of its worldwide reach and flexibility and that these regulations are no cause for concern.
However, the issue is not where in the world you are publishing from or where in the world your site is hosted from. With extensive oversight authority now over the internet and individual web sites, breeches of behavior standards established by government regulators can result in control over or shutting down web sites that are deemed offensive, biased or politically incorrect. The new regulations give “FCC regulators the power to decide what content on the Internet [is] ‘just and reasonable.’” How is that for an ambiguous phrase ready to tie up the courts in lawsuits and stifle innovation and investment?
Please read David Asman’s article entitled “Save the Internet: FCC Net Neutrality rules worst example of government intervention … ever.”[iv]
[i] Pictures: For representation of internet: J. Robinson Group, Vision. retrieved 3/2/2015.
Trojan horse: “Poesy plus Polemics, Homer,” retrieved 3/2/2015.
[ii] Eli Sugarman, “How Brazil and the EU Are Breaking the Internet,” Forbes.com, May 19, 2014.
“The Internet is a global and borderless network with nearly 3 billion users, but individual governments are undermining the Net’s foundation by extending the reach of their local laws to Internet companies worldwide. Europe’s highest court shocked the technology industry last week by ruling that Internet search engines must self-censor search results in certain circumstances to comply with the EU’s data privacy law. And last month, Brazil foisted different data privacy rules on any Internet company with one or more Brazilian users (regardless of the company’s geographic location). This ever-growing thicket of Internet regulations threatens the free and open Internet as we know it.”
[iii] Dominic Rushe, “Republicans strike back: FCC member invokes Star Wars in net neutrality fight,” The Guardian, February 27, 2015.
“Republicans invoked Star Wars’s evil galactic emperor in their attacks on new broadband regulations on Friday, warning that the public and Silicon Valley were in for an unpleasant surprise. Quoting Emperor Palpatine, Republican Ajit Pai, a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), said: ‘Young fool … Only now, at the end, do you understand.’”
[iv] David Asman, “Save the Internet: FCC net neutrality rules worst example of government intervention … ever,” Fox News, February 28, 2015.
“Of all the government interventions by the Obama administration, the plan released Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet is the worst.
“Yes, ObamaCare is massive and is clogging one-sixth of the economy. But even before ObamaCare, government had a huge imprint on the health care industry with Medicaid and Medicare. Also, regulations on pharmaceutical and insurance industries led to their energies being focused as much on pleasing government bureaucracies as curing illnesses.
“But the Internet is young, fresh, alive and untainted. The FCC’s plan to muddy the pure waters of the Internet pollutes the one free flow of information on the planet. And what hurts as much as witnessing the pollution of the Internet with bureaucratic interference? With the exception of the Republican FCC commissioners, most are being blasé about the whole thing.”
“Make no mistake. The greatest tool for freedom of expression to come along in our lifetime is in danger. One cannot have genuine freedom of expression with a government monitor, an overseer, a censor prepared to immediately shut down any ‘threats’ to the state.”