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Should Unelected D.C. Bureaucrats Turn the Internet into a Government-Regulated Public Utility?
Townhall.com ^ | February 10, 2015 | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted on 02/10/2015 11:08:33 AM PST by Kaslin

I suspect that most Americans, if asked to list the biggest economic success story in the United States over the past few decades, would list high tech and the Internet.

And that would be a good answer. For those of us with a good bit of gray hair, it’s sometimes remarkable to think how much different the world is today with laptops, tablets, smart phones, and all sorts of other gadgets.

Gadgets with huge value, by the way. Ask yourself the question in this video. How much money would you need to give up the Internet for the rest of your life?

But if every dark cloud has a silver lining, then I guess silver clouds must have dark linings. And you won’t be surprised to learn that the dark lining for the Internet and high tech is big government.

More specifically, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to use a law from the 1930s as an excuse to seize authority to micro-manage this (at least so far) vibrant sector of our economy.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Crovitz writes about this regulatory power grab in Washington that could stifle the “permissionless innovation” of the Internet.

Last week Washington abandoned open innovation when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission yielded to President Obama ’s demands and moved to regulate the freewheeling Internet under the same laws that applied to the Ma Bell monopoly.

So what does that mean?

Until now, anyone could launch new websites, apps and mobile devices without having to lobby a regulator for permission. That was thanks to a Clinton-era bipartisan consensus that the Internet shouldn’t be treated as a public utility. Congress and the White House under both parties kept the FCC from applying the hoary regulations that micromanaged the phone system, which would have frozen innovation online. Last week’s announcement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects 20 years of open innovation by submitting the Internet to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Once Mr. Wheeler and the commission’s Democratic majority vote this month to apply Title II, the regulations will give them staggering control. Any Internet “charges” and “practices” that the bureaucrats find “unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.”

And it will open the door to cronyism as already-established companies and well-connected insiders work the system for their own advantage.

This is an open invitation to entrenched companies challenged by new technologies. The Internet has been a source of creative destruction, upending industries from music, movies and newspapers to retail, travel and banking. History teaches that companies threatened by competition will hire as many lawyers as necessary to get regulators to protect them.

And when I wrote the door will be open, it will be wide open.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court warned that if the FCC treated the Internet as a telecommunications service, it “would subject to mandatory common carrier regulation all information service providers that use telecommunications as an input to provide information service to the public”—in other words, almost all websites and apps would be subject to regulation. …once regulators get power, they use it. And if there is any forbearance, there will be litigation from companies seeking to burden their competitors with regulation.

Here are some videos that help put the debate in context.

Let’s start with this Reason TV interview.

The Fallacy of Net Neutrality: Thomas Hazlett on the FCC & Consumer Protectionp>Next we have a humorous portrayal of Internet usage in a bureaucrat-governed world.

Department of the Internet: Installation

Sort of reminds me of this Obamacare OB/GYN video.

Last but not least, here’s a dry but very informative explanation of the “net neutrality” issue.

Network economics and 'net neutrality' regulation by Adam Thierer

But perhaps all you need is this cartoon, which is from a bigger collection that can be enjoyed here.

Think about the big picture. Is there a sector of the economy that has become more efficient and inexpensive because of government?

Health care? Nope.

Higher education? Nope.

Banking? Nope.

Charity? Nope.

Manufacturing? Nope.

I could continue, but you get the idea.

P.S. If you want more bad news, the Obama White House wants to cede some authority over the Internet to the Keystone Cops at the United Nations.

P.P.S. And since we’re sharing bad news about the Internet, don’t forget that some politicians want a government-empowering, privacy-destroying scheme to let state politicians impose taxes on online sales that take place outside their borders.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 02/10/2015 11:08:33 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Hell no!!


2 posted on 02/10/2015 11:11:04 AM PST by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
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To: Kaslin

The question is: How did these bureaucrats get such a power? Where in the Constitution is such a power derived?


3 posted on 02/10/2015 11:11:22 AM PST by GeronL
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To: Kaslin

Ask drunkin Boner & McConnell.

On second thought, don’t bother.


4 posted on 02/10/2015 11:12:10 AM PST by stephenjohnbanker (My Batting Average( 1,000) (GOPe is that easy to read))
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To: Kaslin

NOOOOOOOO! I read about this in the WSJ today.

How can this be done by a regulatory agency? Who can step in and help us? This is insane.

BTW, it will not only stop Internet freedom of expression, but even commerce.

Why aren’t companies out there contacting their legislators?


5 posted on 02/10/2015 11:13:34 AM PST by livius
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To: GeronL

If you let 4 armed thugs rob a bank, and you help them, or turn the other way, how long do you think it will take them to rob another bank ?


6 posted on 02/10/2015 11:14:00 AM PST by stephenjohnbanker (My Batting Average( 1,000) (GOPe is that easy to read))
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To: Kaslin

This MUST be STOPPED!

Let you Congresscritter know that NO authority can be granted.

ANY “authority” will be abused.

Shut it down NOW!


7 posted on 02/10/2015 11:17:42 AM PST by G Larry (Obama may not be "THE" Antichrist, but he is certainly America's Antichrist.)
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To: stephenjohnbanker

very true


8 posted on 02/10/2015 11:20:54 AM PST by GeronL
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To: Kaslin

NO!


9 posted on 02/10/2015 11:45:25 AM PST by AFreeBird
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To: Kaslin

As Castro said, American radio violate international norms... calling for airwave and net neutrality


10 posted on 02/10/2015 11:58:34 AM PST by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: GeronL

Bureaucrats do not use authority any more but are dependents, and thus now they say they not only have the authority but the right to deny you health care, free speech and justice.

The proletaria nomenclatura, it is


11 posted on 02/10/2015 12:00:39 PM PST by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: Kaslin
The main goal of "net neutrality" is to shut the internet down with excessive streaming video. The internet in most places does not have sufficient bandwidth to support everyone streaming different content. Another simple fact is that 99% of streaming video is drivel. The point of filling up the internet with drivel is that there won't be room for anything else. I have that problem already with 3G on two different networks. At least 3G is competitive and I can choose my providers. But Obama's plan would prohibit them from throttling streaming video and I will get zero bandwidth. Not reduced, not spotty, zero. It simply takes someone with a slightly stronger radio.

It is funny, there used to be a few useful idiots here arguing for "neutrality". They claimed that providers could throttle low bandwidth content like this web site. That is completely false. Providers can only throttle traffic by type, which really means the streaming video that is clogging their network. They could censor sites or content, but the Iranians, Chinese, etc already try that and fail miserably day after day. Those countries just end up cutting off access.

Those same useful idiots were actually promoting free streaming video for everyone (mainly themselves). They claim they pay for bandwidth for streaming (they don't) and that it was greedy cable companies that won't build out their network (not worthy of a response). Thus we have people who want drivel / soft core porn / sports and other circuses against the rest of us who just want internet and thus, anything they want apart from free unlimited streaming video.

We are left with the ludicrous argument that the cable company will charge more to let FreeRepublic through their pipes. As if that were not crazy enough, these same idiots argue that the government would not do that if they had the chance.

12 posted on 02/10/2015 12:01:21 PM PST by palmer (Free is when you don't have to pay for nothing. Or do nothing. We want Obamanet.)
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To: stephenjohnbanker

That is the whole point indeed... forever they can steal, as in not government but FOREVERMENT!

The greedy sheeple thinks it is going to make little savings...


13 posted on 02/10/2015 12:02:25 PM PST by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: Kaslin

As a kid I experienced a serious lack of privilege as my parents didn,t provide me with an internet connected computer in my bedroom.


14 posted on 02/10/2015 12:10:44 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Kaslin

With no internet it will give us more time to reload ammo and visit the range. See you just have to look on the sunny side of things.


15 posted on 02/10/2015 1:31:01 PM PST by lostboy61 (Lock and Load and stand your ground!.)
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To: Kaslin

Just the fear of censorship is enough. But the power these clowns would hold to tax is even greater. Imagine, a tax issued on EVERY email both from and to. A tax on each time a search engine was used. Double tax on the freebie tax the ISP charges monthly. An unlimited scheme for a wide variety of taxes over and above what the vultures steal already.


16 posted on 02/10/2015 3:18:45 PM PST by V K Lee
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