Nearly nine out of ten Americans distrust our government. That is according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, which shows 89% of Americans not trusting government to do the right thing.
So, why are American citizens handing it control of the Internet? Very strange, considering polls have shown Americans largely oppose government regulation of the Internet.
Actually, Americans have not handed over the Internet. The government has simply taken control. It’s one of the few campaign promises on which Senator Barack Obama has actually delivered as President Obama. Per his wishes, the FCC approved net neutrality rules, which basically prevents powerful large companies from gaining too much control over online speeds and bandwidth.
Gigi Sohn, president and co-founder of the advocacy group Public Knowledge, was quoted in a CBN article, praising net neutrality, arguing, “When there’s no corporate gatekeeper, deciding who gets to send what message to whom and who gets it faster or slower, that can allow amazing things to happen.”
Seton Motley, with Less Government, retorts in the same article, “You’re telling the hospital that’s trying to download somebody’s MRI while they’re dying, ‘You don’t get anymore bandwidth than the guy next door who’s downloading the panda sneezes video from YouTube. This is an even worse power grab than Obamacare because at least the House and the Senate voted on it — on Obamacare — and passed it and the president signed it.”
Therein lies the problem. It does reek of a power grab since Congress and the courts have told the FCC it does not have the right to regulate the Internet.
The ACLU has come out in support of net neutrality and has expressed some solid concerns over big companies’ control over access to content and the potential for user blacklists. However, Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute offered a very powerful rebuttal, shooting holes in many of the ACLU’s claims of net neutrality violations. His article on Cato-at-Liberty.org is well worth reading.
Tedd Webb, who has spent nearly fifty years in Tampa, Florida as a radio broadcaster, has long claimed that government deregulation killed the radio industry. However, even Tedd is reluctant to hand over control of the Internet to the government. The 970-WFLA talk show host told me, “The government controlling the Internet gives me jitters. Who will determine what is acceptable? It’s a slippery slope we cannot afford to walk down. The government loves control; they relish it. The less control the better when it comes to the Internet.”
The Protect IP Act is especially troubling. A popular YouTube video spells out very simply and effectively just why it would be a dangerous law.
In the wake of the 10th anniversary of the unpatriotic Patriot Act, it is not difficult to imagine our government passing laws which are intended more to shut down truth seekers such as WikiLeaks, rather than their stated purposes.
Harry Browne, the late Libertarian Party presidential candidate warned, “Government regulation of anything is a disaster. But it’s particularly disastrous to let the government decide what we’re allowed to see and hear on television and radio, because government control can keep us from learning the truth.”
One can be certain he would have felt the same about the Internet.