Government Regulation of the Internet

first-amendment

This Friday is a very big day for free speech.  It is the day in which the Federal Elections Commission once again addresses regulation of political content on the internet.  The Washington Examiner tells us:

Claiming that thousands of public comments condemning “dark money” in politics can’t be ignored, the Democrat-chaired Federal Election Commission on Wednesday appeared ready to open the door to new regulations on donors, bloggers and others who use the Internet to influence policy and campaigns.

During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet

It was a close vote, 3-3, back in October.  The Washington Times reminds us of Democrat Ann Ravel’s plans to govern political content on the internet, including blogging and other forms of expression:

While all three GOP-backed members voted against restrictions, they were opposed by the three Democratic-backed members, including FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel, who said she will lead a push next year to try to come up with new rules governing political speech on the Internet.

It would mark a major reversal for the commission, which for nearly a decade has protected the ability of individuals and interest groups to take to engage in a robust political conversation on the Internet without having to worry about registering with the government or keeping and reporting records of their expenses.

One should be most alarmed at handing ANY administration or entity of government the kind of power being considered here.  To consider giving such power to THIS administration is akin to willfully loading the Bill of Rights into a shredder.  Republican Chairman Lee Goodman summed up perfectly the impact of such an intrusion by the Federal Government back in October:

FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman said what Ms. Ravel is proposing would require a massive bureaucracy digging into the corners of the web to police what’s posted about politics.

“I cannot imagine a regulatory regime that would put government censors on the Internet daily, culling YouTube video posts for violations of law — nothing short of a Chinese censorship board,” Mr. Goodman said.

One can wager that the objectivity of such government censorship will be on par with that of the IRS in deciding tax status of PACs, the EPA in approving or denying construction of nuclear plants, and the Justice Department in dealing with cases involving black perpetrators.

If you really believe that the push to designate broadband wireless networks as a Public Utility under Title II is really about “net neutrality” and is unrelated to the clearly-stated desire by Democrats for regulation (read: censorship) of Constitutionally-protected free speech by political opponents, you can drive to Brooklyn and walk around on the bridge you just bought.    Or you can recite a thousand times:

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12 thoughts on “Government Regulation of the Internet”

  1. The title II reclass does have a lot to do with Net Neutrality. I’m a network engineer. Dealing with this crap is what I do for a living. The big providers are trying to screw business that compete with them as well as screw end users. It needs to be regulated. To be honest the big providers, ATT, Verizon, Level 3, Comcast and the rest really need to be investigated for colluding and monopoly abuse as competition is not there and when competition tries to happen they buy out local politicians to block competition and put unreasonable restrictions on new competitors. It’s happening daily.

    That being said, the FEC needs to stay the hell away from regulating speech. I have no problem requiring people to declare what financing they get if any. It makes for better transparency and curbs astroturfing.

    1. My heartburn is primarily the FCC deciding on its own that it shall have the authority to regulate, when that’s properly Congress’ role to pass legislation authorizing it. Congress, having failed more than once to pass such, can reasonably be seen as having not granted FCC the needed authority.

    2. The Title II reclassification is nothing more than a premise to allow the Federal Government very broad regulatory powers. Pursuant to regulation of content. Just like the “Affordable Care Act” had little to do with health care, and much to do with wealth redistribution using health INSURANCE as the vehicle. Whether neutrality rules would even be affected is anyone’s guess.

    3. If your local politicians are for sale you have more important problems than internet competition. And I have a choice of Verizon, AOL, and others. There seems to be competition chez moi.

  2. You’re being f*cking lied to and it needs nuance FFS : Democrats revived a bill that would ban companies from charging more for faster Internet access. Get your head out of Breitbart’s ass

    1. You buy what this Administration says without question, and you think I am being lied to? Obama and his minions haven’t told the truth about a single thing the Federal Government has done or wants to do, except for the occasional blurts of truth by people like Ann Ravel, and you think WE are being lied to? And I only think Obama is a far-left statist communist because of Breitbart? Wow. That is some kind of cognitive dissonance.

    2. Using more of a product will cost more? Wow. What a novel (and evil of course) concept. I hope my telephone or electricity company of choice doesn’t hear about that.

  3. xbradtc – I don’t disagree with that. The issue is that congress, both houses and both parties are bought and paid for. To give you an idea just how bad the situation is the FCC head used to be the paid mouthpiece for lobbying organization and he is the one saying that the cable companies and big providers need to be regulated. Think about that, the guy used to be the chief lobbyist, one of the ultimate insiders, for them, realizes how screwed up the situation is and is trying to do what he can to fix it. I’d really prefer congress to fix it but that will never happen unfortunately. Doing what’s right for the people of this country isn’t what congress does anymore.

    1. Or…. the former head lobbyist/current head of FCC is calling for regulation knowing that the major players in the industry are better suited to cope with regulation, whereas startups and smaller companies will be crushed. Regulatory capture is real. Who do you think drew up the regulations (that we’re not allowed to see or comment on yet?)

    2. Bingo, XBRAD. These same large companies are the ones who acquiesced to government surveillance of highly questionable legality under PRISM, as well.

      As for “doing what’s right for the people”, no such subjective language exists in Article I.

      “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

      I don’t want any President, especially not this one, deciding to bypass Congress in that process. The voters “alter or abolish” as THEY see fit, not as some Chief Executive-cum dictator wanna be decides.

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