What Is the FCC Internet Take Over Really About?
You may have heard about Net Neutrality in the news or seen the term floating around online but you may not really understand what it’s really about. Net neutrality is basically where the main Internet Service Providers such as, Windstream Communications, Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T have to treat data coming over the internet the same. It doesn’t matter where the data came from, where it’s going, or what is does. For example, if pay a monthly fee for a 1Mb per second data connection, then that’s exactly what I should get. Regardless of whether I’m using that 1Mb connection to watch Netflix or do research for work or school.
For the last couple of years the ISP’s have been operating under a ruling from the SEC that said that they cannot block lawful content, and they can’t discriminate against unlawful content. What that basically means is that if you’re doing something on the internet that is legal, they can’t throttle your bandwidth/slow down your connection speed. They can’t block the website you’re trying to go to. Basically, they CANNOT interfere with your FREE SPEECH on the internet. However, if you are doing something illegal like using the Pirate bay website, file sharing services like bit torrent, or any other kind of illegal activity, they can lower your connection speed and even suspend your account.
On the other hand, can they do that if you’re just watching Netflix, doing research on a religion, or checking out a legitimate website such as a competitor of Verizon? The answer is no, they absolutely cannot do that. So that leads to the question of what changed, and why I’m ticked off. Well, on February 26th of 2015 the Federal Communications Commission approved a new set regulations that are 332 pages long. These new regulations have fundamentally transformed how the entire world wide web operates. Most people are completely clueless as to what the central issue of net neutrality is even about. Advocates assert that this will protect net neutrality by forcing Internet Service Providers to treat all web traffic equally. However, this is not even an issue anymore. When it was an issue Netflix, Verizon, and Comcast got together and made a deal and it was resolved. Resolved in a way as it normally happens in what we call the “free market”.
After all, how could it even benefit an ISP to provide crappy service to their customers by slowing down bandwidth speeds to their favorite web sites???? Theirs competition in a capitalist system that forces companies that want to stay in business to do things that will keep their customers at least half satisfied. So why is the SEC moving in complete secrecy to fix a problem that doesn’t exist anymore? Good question, this bill has reclassified the Internet as a utility under Title 2 of the Telecommunications Act. This is the Trojan horse for Internet censorship that the Obama administration has tried and failed to implement via cyber-security. Now we have what is being called the White House’s Department of the Internet. So what could this reclassification under Title 2 mean for free speech on the web?
Well it could mean that website owners are forced to get a government license to operate on the Internet. It could mean that you may need State’s approval for you to exercise free speech on the web. It could mean the end anonymity, government decreed decency standards. A fairness doctrine for the web, all decided upon by unelected bureaucrats at the behest at the white house. In 1998 after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Hillary Clinton called for the government to have the power to the “gate-keeping function to review content before appears on the web”. So guess whose enthusiastically thrown her support behind net neutrality?!?! The Internet is going to run at the speed government. It will run slow and painfully under this new regulatory system.
The very reason the US has better internet speeds than Europe is because it has a light touch when it comes to regulation. More regulation under net neutrality equals less investment, less innovation, and slower speeds. Aside from all these arguments, no matter which side you support. Why is the SEC 332 page plan still completely secret, why can’t we even see what it it?!?! FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has seen what’s inside, and he say’s it quite well a monumental shift towards government control of the Internet. It gives the SEC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the internet works. It also opens door for billions in new taxes on ISP’s which will be passed on to consumers. President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is hidden from public view. In fact, the American public is not going to be able to see it until the FCC actually adopts it in three weeks.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that this gives the government “boundless authority to regulate the Internet for whatever it sees fit”. Why aren’t the millions of young people who derailed SOPA and PIPA screaming bloody murder over this???? In fact, the vast majority of them seems to be happily supporting it. Why isn’t this part of the huge national conversation???? The power to control, regulate, and censor the Internet in the United States is greasing the skids for Chinese style web oppression. Sadly, hardly anyone is talking about it.
So I hope you will share this post by clicking on the buttons to the left. Make as many people as possible aware of how the last great thing we have going for us(a free and open internet), is being taken away from us.