So-called “net neutrality” is an issue that I probably haven’t followed as closely as I should have. Reading the Associated Press on the issue, it’s difficult to understand why it’s a contentious issue at all:
The 3-2 vote ushered in a new era of government oversight for an industry that has seen relatively little. It represents the biggest regulatory shake-up to telecommunications providers in almost two decades.
The new rules require that any company providing a broadband connection to your home or phone must act in the “public interest” and refrain from using “unjust or unreasonable” business practices. The goal is to prevent providers from striking deals with content providers like Google, Netflix or Twitter to move their data faster.
Oddly, the article doesn’t mention that this simple-sounding move comes with over 300 pages of regulations, or that nobody except government and technology insiders has seen the actual rules. Nothing says well-intentioned government involvement in the Internet like a complete lack of transparency!
As John Fund points out, this has been a cause from the well-funded far left, assisted with heavy pushing by the Obama administration, some of whom have the explicit goal of making the Internet a more friendly environment for a particular point of view:
In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values. “To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production,” says Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation.
In a world in which the IRS is a political activist agency creating obstacles for the president’s opponents, it would be foolish not to be suspicious of non-transparent action by a bureaucratic agency effectively enacting legislation with a vote of five unaccountable people.