Net Neutrality: Obamacare for the Internet
By Victor Thorn —
Do United States citizens want an Internet czar or a new federal agency that oversees cyberspace?
America’s Internet, one of the most astounding innovations in history, isn’t broken, yet the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) insists that it needs fixing under a vague notion called “Net Neutrality.”
Net Neutrality refers to the general concept that all content on the Internet should be treated equally when it comes to the speed at which the content loads onto a person’s computer. In practice, though, it would give government broad new powers to police and censor the world wide web and target controversial websites, like this one, under ridiculous concepts like hate speech.
Claiming that they simply want to reclassify Internet Service Providers (ISPs), FCC officials are being less than transparent in refusing to publicly release their 332-page Net Neutrality plan until after the FCC has announced new regulations. Many are reminded of Representative Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) infamous quote about Obamacare: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”
Some people are not concerned by the lack of detail, though they should be. On February 17, Evan Greer, campaign manager for the pro-Net Neutrality group Fight for the Future, told this reporter, “The FCC wants to reclassify the Internet to prevent cable companies from discriminating between web traffic.”
What that could mean, he said, is that billion-dollar companies would be able to cause controversial websites like the one maintained by this newspaper to load up on computers more slowly and speed up websites that are pro-government or big business.
As to whether this is a problem now, during another February 17 AFP interview, Jeremy Gillula of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated, “We don’t know of any ISPs right now that are interfering with customer web speed.”
Although EFF has recently changed its position on Net Neutrality, Gillula admitted: “It’s certainly possible that a future FCC could take over the Internet. If we see them leaning in that direction, we’ll certainly pounce.”
The real question is: Why not leave the Internet working the way it has been for the past two decades? Considering how vastly the scope and breadth of government has grown over the last half-century, do Americans really want that behemoth controlling what we can see on the World Wide Web?
What Net Neutrality proponents fail to disclose is that, if passed, the FCC would be granted much greater power in future Internet lawsuits. Imagine how frustrating it is to deal with your local cable company. Now magnify that by adding an immense governmental leviathan to the equation.
On February 17, billionaire businessman Mark Cuban offered a much simpler solution. Rather than surrendering Internet oversight to a group of FCC political appointees who won’t divulge the intricacies of their 332-page report, why can’t Congress merely pass a bill that outlaws ISPs from blocking or discriminating against online traffic? Problem solved.
While Net Neutrality advocates complain about corporate interests like Comcast, in a May 14, 2014 column entitled “Am I The Only Techie Against Net Neutrality?,” entrepreneur Joshua Steimle retorted:
“If monopolies are bad, why should we trust the U.S. government, the largest, most powerful monopoly in the world? Government regulations are written by large corporate interests which collude with officials in government. If Net Neutrality comes to pass, how can we trust it will not be written in a way that makes it harder for new companies to offer Internet services? If anything, we’re likely to end up even more beholden to the large telecoms than before.”
Steimle also exposed this dirty secret, revealed in Glenn Greenwald’s new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. “The U.S. government tampers with Internet routers during the manufacturing process to aid it’s spying programs. Don’t be surprised if that means the government says it needs to be able to install its own hardware and software at critical points to monitor Internet traffic.”
Then, of course, there are security and surveillance fears like those posed by snooping National Security Agency officials. Writing about outspoken free speech champion Greenwald, political philosophy scholar Grant Babcock stated on November 12, 2014, “The federal government is attempting to use the Internet to build a global Panopticon capable of accessing everyone’s personal information at any time for any reason.” Worse, the government and military can’t even protect the privacy of their own social media accounts. Why should we trust them to protect our most intimate details?
Net Neutrality has nothing to do with Internet freedom. Rather, it all boils down to personal sovereignty and who controls the flow of information. The government seeks to limit gun rights. At political events like Bilderberg meetings, they corral protesters into sequestered “free speech” zones far away from the actual event. These ideas segue perfectly into how big government partisans like Hillary Clinton want to distinguish between “real” journalists (i.e., those parroting the party line, like their lapdogs in the mainstream media) and so-called “citizen” journalists. Imagine how the Clintons and their dirty tricks operators could tap an FCC stooge on the back and tell them to limit the speed of a website like AMERICAN FREE PRESS. Don’t think that could happen? Well, gaze backward a year or so ago at how Barack Hussein Obama’s inner circle in the White House urged Internal Revenue Service agents to target tea party organizations.
In all, a patriot group named Campaign for Liberty summed it up best in their warning about turning over the Internet to a “dangerous brew of wealthy, international NGOs, progressive do-gooders, corporate cronies and sympathetic political elites” who bandy about terms like “openness” and “freedom.” In actuality, Campaign for Liberty identified their real aims. “They are masters at hijacking the language of freedom and liberty to disingenuously push for more centralized control. ‘Net Neutrality’ means government acting as arbiter and enforcer of what it deems to be ‘neutral.’”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 50 books.