I know it's a big day for Net Neutrality when I wake up and my Email Inbox is jammed full with links, so many basically saying the same thing: The FCC is on the move. I'm told it all goes back to a November 15 speech by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, in which he expresses an urgency for the FCC to pass a bunch of new rules quickly. It's a crisis, he says.
He then called out Google and Verizon, saying that their temerity to contribute to the debate "slowed down some other processes." You see: the whole process of talking to industry is apparently a sham, and the only speech that counts is speech that leads the FCC closer to the Obama administration's predetermined outcome.
And it's that Net Neturality outcome we may be nearing after all. That's the Red Alert.
Tech at Night's good buddy Seton Motley at Big Govenrment brings us the key story: He's now claiming that we must pass industry-crippling Net Neutrality restrictions in order to expand broadband access in America, and using that as the leverage to justify Title II reclassification. "That'll happen," he says. And further he's going to gun hard for wireless services, something that Henry Waxman's bill didn't dare do, proving once again that the FCC is far outside the mainstream of even Congressional Democrats. Here's Politico on the story, as well.
And worst of all: The plan is to launch it while Republicans are home for Thanksgiving, and then pass it two weeks before Christmas, three weeks before Republicans take control of the House. These dates and times are designed to minimize public debate on the matter as well as to minimize the impact of the 2010 elections on the process. Everything is chosen to silence and thwart popular will.
Hold on and get loud. This is crunch time.
Some more Net Neutrality? You betcha. Precursor Blog chimes in, arguing against the recent speeches by Julius Genachowski and for the need for freedom online, not government-dictated "neutrality."
House Republicans of the Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Ranking Member Joe Barton, have also written a letter to Genachowski, warning him that his plans to circumvent Republican victory are "a mistake." They know when their rightful Constitutional powers are being subverted.
Quick hits to round out the night: I'm told that the currently-in-progress SB 3804 is a dangerous bill to watch, giving the government expansive new powers online in the name of copyright protection. Copyright used to be a matter of civil law, before the MPAA convinced the feds to start doing their dirty work for them. That's why FBI notices appear on home releases of movies. Now it's increasingly criminalized, even as copyright is also increasingly extended. Copyright today would be unrecognizable to the founding fathers, who put the concept into the Constitution with the express warning that copyright be limited in duration.
Having gotten tired of serving up waffles to the FCC, Free Press radicals are now writing bad poetry for Net Neutrality. It's theater. It's not debate.
Oh, and I hate to end on a downer, but the White House CTO says the administration will step up tech efforts next year. Whoever we have head the House committee, whether Barton or someone else, had best be ready to fight back.