Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

Big Brother is Moving Home by grassroothawaii
December 21, 2010, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Limited Government | Tags: ,

By Frances Nuar

Net neutrality seems to be all the rage these days. After 5 years of debating the issue, the FCC has finally managed to pass their net neutrality rules. “The three new rules, which will go into effect early next year, force ISPs to be transparent about how they handle network congestion, prohibit them from blocking traffic such as Skype on wired networks, and outlaw “unreasonable” discrimination on those networks.” Sounds good enough, but the question that I want to focus on is what that means for you and I? How will these new laws affect our lives and our ability to live freely?

To start with, internet service providers will now be able to charge for “premium services”. Consider it like a toll-road (which I was so happy to find we don’t actually have here in Hawaii.) You want faster service? To be able to download and stream more than the guy next door? Ok, pay up. I find it very interesting to note the only group happy with the new rules are the nation’s cable and telecommunications companies, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. You think? The federal government just gave them the go-ahead to charge you more for what you already have. Goodbye, internet equality.

And when I said the only group happy, I meant the only group. Both Republicans and Democrats are furious over the new rules. On the right, Robert McDowell (R commissioner of the FCC) condemned the ruling as the catalyst which would “inhibit investment, deter innovation, and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers”, while on the left, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) decried the rules as “simply inadequate to protect consumers or preserve the free and open Internet”. Too much and not enough, it seems.

Because back to the rules. What is “unreasonable” discrimination? Now there’s a fun one for interpretation. As the federal government has shown, give them an inch of freedom, and forget you had any. Problem is, the FCC doesn’t actually have the authority to regulate the internet, but welcome to yet another case of taking authority first, and justifying it second. (TSA anyone?)

So yes, that’s the main issue here it seems–Big Brother is moving into your home. And when he moves in, he never moves out. (Let’s not forget China also moved into the area of internet regulation…)


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