Saturday, October 24, 2009

A solution searching for a problem?

U.S. communications regulators voted unanimously Thursday to support an open Internet rule that would prevent telecom network operators from barring or blocking content based on the revenue it generates.

The proposed rule now goes to the public for comment until Jan. 14, after which the Federal Communications Commissions will review the feedback and possibly seek more comment. A final rule is not expected until the spring of next year.

"I am pleased that there is broad agreement inside the commission that we should move forward with a healthy and transparent process on an open Internet," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

The vote came despite a flurry of lobbying against the net neutrality rule by telecommunications service providers like AT&T Inc (T.N), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and Qwest Communications International Inc (Q.N), which say it would strip them of the ability to manage their networks effectively and would stifle innovation and competition.

Rest of the article can be found here.

As we read through it, the recurring question became: why?

Why is this needed? Is there currently a problem with the internet that needs fixing? Yeah, it’s extremely slow sometimes but how is FCC involvement going to help with that? Like mobilizing the National Guard to fix roadside flat tires.

So to rephrase the original question, how exactly is it that FCC regulation will make the internet better?

Hey, what’s this?
The rule would prevent operators from discriminating against any legal content a third party wants to deliver to consumers on their networks, though it allows for "reasonable" network management to unclog congestion, clear viruses and spam, and block unlawful content like child pornography or the transfer of pirated content.

(italics, ours)

Why does the federal government feel it needs to get into the business of saying what can and cannot be permitted on the internet that is not otherwise covered by other laws such as child pornography laws?

“Discrimination” has become a dirty word but we “discriminate” every day of our lives from choices involving what we eat, to the music we choose to listen, to the car we choose to purchase, to the very jobs at which we work.

Why should not private entities be allowed to practice “discrimination” regarding internet content?

A little over a year ago, this little blog of ours was shut down for about 24 hrs. There were several other conservative-leaning blogs that experienced a similar fate and there was a rumor going around that lefty trolls were “flagging” these blogs for offensive content and that Google was acting on these flags without performing due diligence or worse, was complicit in getting right-wing blogs shut down in the run-up to the presidential election.

We were ambivalent about the situation. We were angered that we were shut down because a) the internet is the epitome of free and open communication at an individual level and b) it just seemed petty and mean-spirited. However, we knew we were blogging on Google’s dime. We had this cool little toy here completely free of charge and if Google, for whatever reason they saw fit, decided to give us the bum’s rush, then we believed they were completely in their right to do so.

This is the way it is and the way it should remain.


Teresa said...

The internet should remain a place for free speech. I wasn't blogging at the time that the incident ocurred where you were shut down by google but I think what they did was wrong. I think that we must make so many comments against this FCC internet power grab that the FCC rethinks its position. JOhn MCain is trying to nip this in the bud to protect our free speech.

B-Daddy said...

Ironically Google is behind much of the net neutrality talk, but they don't necessarily want platform or application neutrality. This is a golden opportunity to let the free market work out a solution, so you know the Obama appointees will screw it up.