Skip to comments.CBS’ BIG DAY - DAWN OF INTERNET REGS?
Posted on 01/03/2005 1:43:19 PM PST by FreeMarket1
CBS BIG DAY - DAWN OF INTERNET REGS?
Many thought taxation would be used to suppress the Internet; however another threat is government regulation backed by big media and political agendas. By Chris Mack, FMNN Technology and New Media Correspondent
FreeMarketNews.Com, Jan. 3, 2005 - One of Americas most treasured rights is that of free speech including liberty of the press. Yet regulatory threats to the Internet which have received little or no coverage in the mainstream media - are serious, credible and even imminent.
Recently, US Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Mike Castle (R-DE) introduced bill H. R. 4985 Stand By Your Internet Ad Act of 2004 that would force all audio and video activity on the Internet to be regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as other mass media is.
Representative Price has a formidable funding machine backing him. The University of North Carolina, GlaxoSmithKline, Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, NCSU, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America all donated to Price in order to sponsor HR 4985, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Prices backers are apparently not satisfied with the federal rationale for FEC Internet regulation that has existed since the 1990s. The Center for Technology and Democracy (CTD) explains: The FEC has found that an individual may have to report to the government in order to create a Web page expressing support for a candidate, that hyperlinks may constitute political contributions, and that providing free Web sites to all candidates is a prohibited corporate contribution.
As long ago as 1998, the FEC ruled that if Internet users were affiliated with campaigns as volunteers, then they would not be required to file with the FEC because volunteers are excluded from FEC regulation. However, if Internet users post political material by themselves with no affiliation, then they are not considered volunteers and are obligated to file with the FEC if their total cost to post their material on the Internet is more than $250 including the costs for maintaining a website.
THE FCC TOO
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is another government agency concerned with the unregulated status of the Net. According to The Internet's biggest foe by Lawrence Spiwak, FCC Chairman Michael Powell has done everything in his power to restrict American citizens' choice of information and entertainment.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened the door for free market competition saving both consumers and businesses billions of dollars, however Powell fought to dismantle the Act and impose new regulation. This led to a number of telecommunications companies such as AT&T to abandon the marketplace.
As Spiwak further explains, Powells path of destruction is now moving into the competitive telephone industry and is going to wipe out the act's market-opening provisions - in many cases within six months.
Powell has publicly promised to help small business grow; yet his actions have curtailed small business and have cost a countless number of jobs. For example his rules for high-capacity lines are cost prohibitive for any small business to provide.
Regulation is sold to the public for the benefit of the general public, however the real use of FCC regulation has been to let the Bells dictate whatever terms they want and kill their competition.
Even more worrisome is that the use of FCC regulation has started to spread into the Internet. For example SBC recently attempted to charge 4 cents a minute in order to terminate VoIP (Internet phone) calls, which is even higher than current long distance rates.
CBS BIG DAY
The coverage above has delineated governmental efforts to regulate the Internet. But on December 8, 2004, those efforts received support from a surprising quarter. A leading reporter for one of Americas most prestigious and powerful media conglomerates published an article that seemingly argued for Draconian regulation of the Internet.
David Paul Kuhn, CBSNews.com chief political writer wrote a story that began: Internet blogs are providing a new and unregulated medium for politically motivated attacks and then provided even stronger commentary such as: Like all media, blogs hold the potential for abuse. Experts point out that blogs' unregulated status makes them particularly attractive outlets for political attack.
The proximate cause of Kuhns bellwether editorial was, of courses, the outing of newscaster Dan Rather by Internet bloggers who established quickly that he had used forged documents to try to smear President George Bush as a draft dodger. But what is apparently upsetting Kuhn and his bosses is the idea that the Rather flap is not an isolated incident but the beginning of a genuine power shift.
The real power shift is from mass media to new media and the real motivation of Kuhns statements is to stir up support for defining content one way for responsible media like CBS and another way for the Internet.
Content (considered to be news by virtue of its dissemination via mass media) is exempt from FEC regulation according to Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(9)(B)). Thus the intent of CBS is obviously to regulate and suppress Internet communication, while holding their own news content immune from the same government regulation.
The 1st Amendment of the Constitution states Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Simple enough? Yet through a gifted judiciarys ability to spot assorted convenient penumbras of meaning surrounding otherwise clear statements, the United States has fairly recently been blessed with not one but three different kinds of speech: a superior, free or protected speech and two increasingly inferior kinds of speech, commercial and political.
The idea that the founding fathers intended for government to separate free speech from political speech and commercial speech is seemingly absurd. Yet that is just what occurred in the 20th century and CBS and its allies apparently hope to encourage this trend in the 21st century.
There are some positive portents as well as negative ones. The Internet Freedom Protection Act (S. 1747) was introduced by Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) in 1999 to protect the Internet by making exempt "any communication or dissemination of material through the Internet (including electronic mail, chat rooms, and message boards) by any individual" as long as it not associated with payment such as an advertisement, and doesnt solicit payment. The bill is still pending, though no action has been taken.
Support for leaving the Internet alone has also come from the Supreme Court of all places. In Reno vs ACLU the Supreme Court seemed to discourage overambitious regulation of the Internet. The court ruled the Internet is a unique form of communication distinctly different than mass media (tv, radio, print) calling it a never-ending world-wide conversation. The justices also recognized that its low cost of entry and two-way interaction is unlike mass media.
A little thing like a Supreme Court ruling wont stop an alphabet soup of regulators from trying to inoculate the American public against the viral ideologies and wrong thinking increasingly present on the Internet. And it is perfectly possible that freedom on the Internet as it exists in the West, anyway - will be nibbled away by precedent, regulation and cynically-manipulated public outrage, on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet the Internets best protection against all this is technological innovation that makes regulation increasingly hard to write and impose.
It took Gutenbergs Press 100 years to blow up the interlocking power nexuses of the Middle Ages. But once the bible could be read by more than a privileged few, it was only a matter of time. Luther nailed up his condemnations and the Church shook. Royal families throughout Europe were suddenly seen as suspect and the fiction ................. For the full article visit us @ www.FreeMarketNews.com
FMNN's Technology and New Media Correspondent, Chris Mack received a degree in economics and artificial intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University, and then worked as a software engineer and consultant to a number of different organizations ranging from startup companies to large corporations such as IBM and Lockheed Martin. Early in his career, Chris worked with Nobel laureate Herbert Simon, helping create artificial neural networks to predict time series of stock market patterns. Today, he looks for patterns and emergent properties to aid in the understanding of economics, human behavior and technology.
Mike Castle was great as Delaware's governor, but is bill is so incredibly stupid. How could he become a RINO in Congress? Is it the fault of that idiot governor Ruth Ann Minner?
This is a joke! It will be almost as effective as the "can spam" act! How are these guys going to regulate servers in Croatia, Thailand, Yemen, Sea Land, Russia or even Canada?
Wouldn't the internet fall under the same category as cable?
The FCC regulates the airwaves due to assigning space on the airwaves. It only regulates free broadcasts , stuff that is beamed.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell has done everything in his power to restrict American citizens' choice of information and entertainment.
Yes, your Washington government in action. And don't think the tax-and-spend status of Washington is going to improve -- IN FACT it is just getting worse...they just cannot keep their hands off of anything in our lives now...tax,tax,tax,tax...regulate, regulate....
The Enemy Within - incrementally taking your wealth and redistributing it -- and someone said we had a conservative administration? BS.
The Internet treats censorship as damage, and routes around it. -- John Gilmore
Castle and Price should both be hung and I'm not kidding.
Another perspective -- the free speech on the Internet, free from the leftist regulation and management of the MSM, provided many people with solid, broad-based data that shaped this last election. The TRUTH was transmitted worldwide in seconds.
Politicians, who depend on deception and managed information, in concert with the lies of the MSM, WANT THE INTERNET UNDER THEIR CONTROL SO THEY CAN NOT ONLY TAX IT, BUT MANAGE WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR ON IT.
Uh, what happened to the Constitution anyway??
Pictures and art are hung!
People are hanged!
David Price is one of the most liberal congressmen I have seen, including those on the Left Coast. I was glad when I moved out of his district. I consider him just short of a Communist.
People are hanged!
Actually, some people are well hung.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the logical next step when your president signs a monstrosity like McCain-Feingold.
Until and unless the Supreme Court reverses McCain-Feingold, we are in serious danger of losing a substantial portion of our rights of political expression. And that is not the least bit of exaggeration.
Look, I detest Kerry. But I'm no great fan of Bush, and one of the big reasons is that he started us down this path. Despite his protestations about bringing democracy to the Middle East (which I support), I don't regard him as a strong friend of freedom.
Posting an opinion on the Internet today is no different than posting a "broadsheet" on a tree in 1790. It's freedom of speech. But I'm sure Manchurian McCain and his pack of howling socialist dogs will try banning Internet speech.
These people keep it up and the revolution against them will be UGLY!
WTH are we paying FCC tax on our phone bills? To support this crap? What does FCC have to do with phones?
Time to put orange hats and march on DC?
Too many laws and too much regulation already.
OH DANG. This guy!
I hate the idea of censorship, but isn't here any way we can get control of the spam that has taken such a nice feature like e-mail, and made it into a real monstrosity to manage? Is there anything that can be done?
I've heard it said that some are "hung like a horse." Of course, I have no idea what is meant by this.
"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to your, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinkingnot needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
The constitution is in roll form at the White House and Congress.
Picky picky picky.
Tar and feather....to start...
I stand corrected. I was not thinking straight. I had blood pouring out of my eyes as I read this article.
Blah, blah, blah. It is all unconstitutional and flies in the face of the First amendment. The FCC can get involved in broadcast because there are limited frequencies. The Internet is as infinite as the population.
This whole issue is an interesting topic of discussion on a slow news day, but the constitutional violation would be overwhelming.
BTW, if it is not about free speech as protected in the constitution, why do we still have porn sites, or even porn magazines for that matter?
Speak for yourself.
Just what we need: The same goofballs trying to regulate the Internet that regulate cable and broadcast. The same people who tell us what channels we can watch. Infuriating.
Pretty much dissapeared when the courts decided the 10th amendment was meaningless. Is it any suprise that the 2nd and 1st are falling?
People are hanged!
Actually, some people are well hung.
And a Hungarian is a well-endowed gentleman from Northwestern Indiana
I never gave up the position..." Republicans have given up the pretense that their party is the party of small government." is too all encompassing to include me. Since the Libertarian Party of Indiana was the source link from the thread you referenced, I'll ignore the slight.
I don't disagree with the Libertarians at all about a smaller government, but the camel's whole head is under the tent, not just the nose. I'm more interested in making sure no more gets in.
I think the only way that's going to happen is to at least make sure no and I mean no Demonrat ever gets in again, and I'm not sure the Libertarians can run a candidate with national appeal.
Even if you do find a candidate with that much appeal, I'm afraid of a split that would allow another Bubba to slip in.
He's a pro-abort. He wouldn't win the primaries. Besides, Delaware has gone downhill since he left for Congress. Joe Biden, Ruth Ann Minner, and the rest of the DE democrats are killing the once beautiful state.
If anyone else wants to join me on this, click here.
Media Schadenfreude and Media Shenanigans PING
The 1st amendment has been rewritten by this Supreme Court. It now says "Congress may pass a law if it feels like it."
This is a Hoax. They could pass all the Laws they want but they will not be enforceable.
Of course political speech needs to be regulated but keep yo hands of my pornography!!
(sarcasm off )
Does anyone actually think this will even get out of the Republican controlled House?
A little thing called the Gore tax that was instituted illegally without congressional approval. It was designed as a way to raise money to wire all classrooms to the internet (isn't that special). In Atlanta, at least, tens of millions of dollars of that money disappeared to bogus contractors and worthless equipment that sits it warehouses. Way to go Al.