In a power grab, non elected chairmen of the FCC recently voted to classify broadband internet as a telecommunications utility service thus putting the internet under the regulations and whims of the FCC. In a 3-2 vote the chairmen demonstrated how they did not need congress to decide on such a small issue when the decision to impose regulations on the internet was made. In reality this power grab is probably one of the largest in history, and is a very big deal as we will all see in the years to come.
The move to regulate the internet was processed, canned and sold to the masses as some sort of heroic effort by the government to preserve free speech. Terms such as “Open Internet” and “Net Neutrality” were coined to rally support of regulation on the internet,based on a purely theoretical and totally non-existent problem of broadband companies theoretically being able to maybe offer more bandwidth and faster connections to companies like netflix in the future. This is not something that has ever happened and it doesn’t make sense to say it is a reality of any kind much less a “threat to free speech”. This change which was paraded around as a cause for freedom and liberty is actually an unbelievably bold grab at control and assault on free speech.
One of the FCC commissioners who opposed this, Ajit Pai even said
Net Neutrality is a solution that won’t work to a problem that does not exist.
FCC Commissioner Pai also pointed out the only reason the other commissioners backed the new measure is “because President Obama told us to.”. Wow.
Some representatives of broadband companies made this statement.
“The FCC’s decision to impose obsolete telephone-era regulations on the high-speed Internet is one giant step backwards for America’s broadband networks and everyone who depends upon them. These ‘Title II’ rules go far beyond protecting the Open Internet, launching a costly and destructive era of government micromanagement that will discourage private investment in new networks and slow down the breakneck innovation that is the soul of the Internet today.”
How could this possibly be any more infuriating? FCC Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Ajut Pai requested the FCC “immediately release the 332 page internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it.” The request was simply denied. So it seems that most of the chairmen really had no idea what they were actually voting on, I guess we will figure it out soon enough.
Congress needs to intervene here, it is not right that our rights and due process are ignored. The way this was forced down our throats was downright insulting. Yet even the civil liberty unions are praising the imposition of regulation on the internet as a major win for civil liberties. Legislative counsel of the ACLU Gabe Rottman praised the new rules imposition saying
“This is a victory for free speech, plain and simple. Americans use the Internet not just to work and play, but to discuss politics and learn about the world around them. The FCC has a critical role to play in protecting citizens’ ability to see what they want and say what they want online, without interference. Title II provides the firmest possible foundation for such protections. We are still sifting through the full details of the new rules, but the main point is that the Internet, the primary place where Americans exercise their right to free expression, remains open to all voices and points of view.”
Yet there should be no doubt that this will certainly lead to the regulation and censoring of the internet. This plan has been in the works for years amid talk of things such as requiring licences of website operators. The ever changing free flow of information and innovation we called the internet has been castrated and will never be the same. A digital dark age is now on the horizon, get ready.