FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Return of Tech at Night: Net Neutrality, Internet Kill Switch
I’m back. CPAC week came and went. Then another week came and went after the horrible cold I got at CPAC. But now I’m healthy again and it’s time to start catching up. Though there’s no way I’m going to post on every tidbit I’ve run across in the last two weeks, I can try to hit the highlights.
And let’s start with the fact that the Internet Kill Switch is back under a new name. Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman have reintroduced the bill under a new name. They think if they put freedom in the name that we’ll ignore the problems inherent in giving the President emergency powers to wage economic war on America. The Internet Kill Switch is a broken idea. We don’t let the President close supermarkets nationwide if one butcher in one city has an e. coli outbreak. We can’t apply the same overreaction online.
Also while I’ve been out of it, House Republicans have been busy. As I understand it, we’ve not only grilled the administration on the “Stimulus” spending on communications, but we’ve also passed an amendment to the continuing resolution in order to defund Net Neutrality. I love it. Our Energy and Commerce leadership in the House has so much going on, including Obamacare, but they seem to relish the opportunity to strike back so much and so hard at the administration’s illegal overreaching. From the cheap seats, Greg Walden, Fred Upton, and others are doing a great job.
Fun fact: when the House debated Net Neutrality defunding, the Democrats very strangely started making arguments that government should leave the Internet alone. Anna Eshoo said “I would not fool around with an open, accessible Internet.” Hey, for once we agree.
By the way, fun fact: Net Neutrality is so terrible for innovation and customer service that ISPs turned down ARRA money to try to stay away from it. Yes, they turned down free money from the government because regulation is just that costly.
Further, the Net Neutrality coalition continues to crumble. Collin Petersen, Democrat of Minnesota, flipped sides by voting for defunding NN after voting for NN last Congress. Perhaps he noticed the total wipeout in 2010 of PCCC candidates pledged to support Net Neutrality. Every single Democrat who signed the PCCC Net Neutrality pledge went on to lose in November.
Meanwhile, Julius Genachowski and the FCC still don’t get the message. He thinks he’s entitled to debate the Congress instead of taking orders. Greg Walden announced plans to pressure him on transparency, which should help teach him who’s boss, you’d think.
Though we have to give Genachowski credit on one thing: He admits the Netflix/Level 3/Comcast issue is not a violation of Net Neutrality.
Michael Copps, pet commissioner of neo-Marxists everywhere, deserves no credit though. He’s now pushing for more speech controls in the name of “disclosure.” It’s about control and gathering power in Washington.
The FCC still needs lots of oversight, though, as conflicts of interest continue to crop up, this time with an FCC official having PBS as an employer.
I have more to write on in the coming days on Google and Copyright, especially the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) which threatens to continue the criminalization of copyright law in America and expands government online in the name of protecting a few big companies. Watch this space.