FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Tech at Night: Free Press, FCC, Google, LTE, RIM, Amazon, California
Tonight, we start with a longer note that requires some setup, so bear with me as I break from the usual format for a moment.
The FCC’s attempt to reclassify broadband as if it were a telephone service had already encountered opposition from a strong, bipartisan majority of Congress – not to mention usually Democratic allies like the AFL-CIO, CWA, IBEW, LULAC, MMTC, NAACP, Urban League and Sierra Club.
It is increasingly becoming a question of whether the FCC really wants to pick a Title II fight in the Courts, another with Democratic coalition members and yet another with Congress. That kind of path has the potential to be lose-lose-lose for the FCC and for Democrats.
But another story that emerged last week may be the most interesting fight of all.
Last week, Ben Chandler (D-KY) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) announced their opposition to the FCC’s Title II reclassification. Grayson’s opposition is interesting. Consider…
- Grayson is a “darling of the online left“, which has fetishized net neutrality
- In fact, he is so aggressively left wing that he hired progressive blogger-bombthrower Matt Stoller as his Senior Policy Advisor
- Matt Stoller was formerly a consultant for the main net neutrality advocacy group, Free Press, and a leader in organizing the online left to support net neutrality
- Now, the man who hired Matt Stoller to advise him on policy has decided that Title II reclassification is bad policy.
In fact, as Seton Motley pointed out at Big Government, Matt Stoller was such a vocal, aggressive net neutrality activist that he was once “physically removed from a meeting at the AFL-CIO for making a scene over the refusal of the Communication Workers of America to support net neutrality.”
One of two things is happening here. Either this is a signal that the progressives have finally realized they went too far and alienated a lot of their coalition that realizes how radical their net neutrality regulation is. Or the progressives don’t realize this and, as Seton pondered at Big Government, Matt Stoller is now trying to decide whether he wants to be physically removed from Grayson’s office, too.
Either way is good for America.
Oh, and just another reminder: despite what Free Press does say in its neo-Marxists missives, we truly don’t need Net Neutrality regulation. LTE is coming nearer to Verizon customers and combined with WiMAX from Sprint and others, the two technologies from a number of wireless providers will provide tremendous competition in the world of high-speed Internet access, and give unprecedented freedom for Internet users from the world of highly regulated wired Internet access. Adding the same stifling regulation to the new technologies can only hinder that.
Especially regulation from an FCC that has a loose grasp on the concept of ethics. Daily Caller reports on Kevin Werbach who works by day for a group called Supernova, funded by industry groups, and moonlights as an advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Werbach’s efforts are funded in part by the firms the FCC regulates or plans to regulate. He claims that because he gets money from both sides of certain issues, such as Net Neutrality, that there’s no problem. Yeah, he would think that.
Of course, there are regulators other than the FCC that are problematic as well. In California, the the Fair Political Practices Commission may be gunning for the Internet and attempt to regulate sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Free speech just threatens those with power.
So does privacy, which is why per a Forbes Magazine report I was emailed and thus have no link for, Indonesia is joining the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in attempting to shut down the use of RIM‘s encrypted Blackberry services, because RIM will not play favorites and give select governments special treatment. Privacy aids free speech, and the two are a threat to anyone who seeks to gather and maintain power over people.
The State Department has expressed “disappointment” about the Blackberry announcements (which the UAE in turn called disappointing), which surprises me as RIM is a Canadian firm, plus it’s not as though the US hasn’t passed laws requiring firms to aid in government wiretaps of telecommunications. That law is called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. Is the administration disappointed with the US, too? If so, what action is being taken to rectify that? Nothing, of course. It’s all talk.
The Justice Department is pretty worthless, too, claiming that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits colleges from shifting to digital textbooks from their paper equivalents. They claim that the requirement to use Amazon‘s Kindle hurts the blind… except that the blind can’t read a non-braille textbook anyway. Your taxes at work, folks. I couldn’t make this up.
And to cap off the night, here’s something to think about on a dark, quiet night: data gathering and database searching firm Google is developing a relationship with the CIA. Chew on that.