The phrase Net Neutrality hardly sounds threatening. The theme, or undertone, behind the name branding of this potential law is ‘fairness’. But, as we’ve seen in the past, lawmakers sure know how to title a bill… take the Affordable Care Act or the Patriot Act as examples.
This story begins with an Appeals Court decision, January 2014, in favour of Verizon Communications, Inc. finding that FCC internet rules requiring equal treatment for all users was an overreach on the part of the government.
A three judge panel said that barring broadband providers from slowing or blocking web traffic was an overreach by the government. They went on to say that the FCC had the power to regulate broadband companies like Verizon, but that they used the wrong legal framework for its open internet regulations.
On December 23, 2010, the Commission released the Open Internet Order, FCC10-201, which established high-level rules requiring transparency and prohibiting blocking and unreasonable discrimination. A statement from the FCC describes their action as follows:
“I. PRESERVING THE FREE AND OPEN INTERNET
1. Today the Commission takes an important step to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation, investment, job creation, economic growth, competition, and free expression. To provide greater clarity and certainty regarding the continued freedom and openness of the Internet, we adopt three basic rules that are grounded in broadly accepted Internet norms, as well as our own prior decisions:
i. Transparency. Fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services;
ii. No blocking. Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services; and
iii. No unreasonable discrimination. Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.”
Verizon Sues FCC & CFPB Sues Sprint
September 30, 2011, Cecilia Kang of the Washington Post reported “Verizon Communications on Friday sued the Federal Communications Commission to overturn controversial net neutrality rules, saying the regulations are too stringent and go beyond the agency’s authority…..”
In a related event last year, The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued to stop Sprint from “Cramming”, the practice of adding third party charges to user phone bills. The FCC was considering a $105 million dollar fine against Sprint for the so-called Cramming.
National Journal’s Brendan Sasso reported October 3, 2014, “Verizon took the the [sic] federal government to court over net neutrality and won, but the company’s industry peers are privately peeved that it chose to pick the fight at all.
That’s because now that the old net-neutrality regime is gone, the Federal Communications Commission is considering a new set of Internet regulations—and the new rules could well be stronger than the ones that came before….”
In summary, we had open-internet rules prior to the January court decision and soon we likely won’t. I say this because despite its innocent name, Net Neutrality is a creation of the government, and when was the last time a new regulation gave people more freedom? Therefore, I urge, the FCC should rewrite the regulations in conformity with the court finding.
What Does Obama Think of this Net Neutrality Idea?
President Barack Obama expressed the opinion that the FCC should proceed with new “Net Neutrality” rules which would require that everyone receive the same service and priority status, but that it is up to the FCC to make this happen.
In point of fact, the principle is as old as the telegraph when it was required that, “…messages received from any individual, company, or corporation, or from any telegraph lines connecting with this line at either of its termini, shall be impartially transmitted in order of their reception, excepting that the dispatches of the government shall have priority.” – An act to facilitate communication between the Atlantic and Pacific states by electric telegraph June 16, 1860.
Applied to the internet, Net Neutrality would mandate that all transmitters of messages be given the same broadband facilities without discrimination, and that all messages be sent in the order they are received.
Sounds fair enough… but wait!
Fox business reporter, Steve Tobak, offered a cautionary thought in regard to so-called Net Neutrality: “Perhaps I can offer a simple explanation that clarifies what’s really going on here. The Internet does not operate the way everyone thinks it does. Netflix, for example, now accounts for as much as a third of peak Internet traffic in North America. In the past, that created some bottlenecks for Verizon, Comcast and other service providers.”
Tobak cotinued “Netflix ultimately and reluctantly agreed to share the cost of network equipment upgrades. This is nothing new. Google, Facebook and other big content providers have long paid for so-called fast lanes to improve broadband service to end-customers. Besides, there have always been tiers of service for Internet bandwidth.”
So Why The Rush to Change the Internet Rules?
Some examples of “what ifs” by proponents of FCC action:
• Verizon gives priority to their data over, say, that of UC Berkley – making Verizon’s data more desirable to the end user because of its speed.
• Network providers bar content providers from high speed networks if their information is in conflict.
• Network providers degrade service of competitors.
These are all events that have yet to occur and, quite likely, never will. But paranoia and secret agendas are likely at play here with this Net Neutrality nonsense.
Prudence dictates that the government would better be able to offer remedial steps after evaluating abuses that have happened. After all, there is a strong likelihood that should Verizon, or any other ISP, give preferential treatment to one at the expense of another, it would provide an inviting opportunity for new players. That’s how the free market works. That’s capitalism. And the system we have with the open internet right now provides service providers built-in incentives to appeal to as many people as possible.
Recent Reminders of Regulations Gone Bad
The Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank are recent reminders of what can happen when federal bureaucrats are turned loose with their regulatory pens. Who knows what Net Neutrality could become. The fact of the matter is that it hasn’t been fully revealed to the American people, and the rest of the world. It smells fishy to me.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago when we learned of all the privacy abuses by the NSA, a government organization who decided to troll the internet and our personal communications with family and friends in the name of national security. We can thank the Patriot Act for that.
Relinquishing Control of the Internet
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for two-tiered internet service to accommodate different needs saying that, “These can only develop when predictable quality standards are available”, adding that they could be worked out in Brussels.
Germany? Brussels? Internet? Is there something else going on here? It would appear so.
In March of 2014, the U.S. government announced that it was giving up control of ICANN when its contract expires in September 2015. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization responsible for organizing the internet Domain Name System. In short, it keeps order on the internet and is headquartered in Los Angeles U.S.A.
Assistant secretary of commerce for communications, Lawrence Strickling, has been pushing for international participation for years and said, “the timing is right to start the transition process.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the commerce department action stating that a “single, open, free, secure and trustworthy Internet” should be supported by all stake-holders.
Wait a second! I thought that’s what we already had with the internet?
What’s Really Going On With Net Neutrality?
Aside from determining who will be running the show and deciding who gets what grade of internet access, there is a political context here. Net Neutrality, taken with Obama administration U.S. domestic and foreign policy, begs some fundamental questions about the American constitution and specifically, the First Amendment.
In the abdication of its watch dog role, the media has become agenda-driven with dissidents like Fox News being dismissed as outliers. Media giants have exercised editorial control over what news to print or broadcast. Most events critical of this administration are buried or trashed, making unfettered access to information provided by the internet an essential component of free speech.
An excellent example is climate change, a.k.a global warming. It has questionable basis in fact. It can be argued that it is bogus science used by self-anointed elites to exercise control over the way we live.
The Dangers of Net Neutrality
Humor me for a moment so I can prove my point further… this all ties into Net Neutrality.
It is claimed that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide caused by combustion of fossil fuels will warm global temperatures enough to melt polar ice, kill polar bears and flood coastal cities. The move to eliminate fossil fuels is driven by the U.N International Protocol on Climate Change (IPCC), aided and abetted by the Obama administration, its EPA and supported by mainstream media who wouldn’t know a molecule from a molar.
The global warming focal point now is on an IPCC December 2015 meeting in Paris, where they hope to promulgate enforceable carbon emission limitations. Global warming enthusiasts insist that since we have reached 400 parts per million (ppm) carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations, we are very close (they don’t say how close) to the point of irreversible change.
The so called “consensus” on man made climate change is a very small group of scientists who have established a spot for themselves at the IPCC grant trough. A Google search will give you a list of more than a thousand names of bona-fide scientists who have expressed their belief that man-made climate change is, at the very least, questionable. Don’t believe me? Click here to get caught up. Source of these facts is the internet.
Does anyone other than me think that an internet controlled by the U.N. would present a conflict of interest dilemma?
Those Who Threaten
There have been, and always will be, those who covet their neighbour’s possessions, and are willing to use force to get them.
The United Nations’ mission is unabashedly redistribution of first world wealth to third world nations. Using the global warming questionable narrative, the objectives in Paris next December will be to extract payment from the U.S. to less developed countries to pay for its sins of emission. The Obama administration’s support and alliance for stated U.N. goals is literally a threat to the American way of life.
With the MSM (mainstream media) functioning as administration toadies, an unfettered internet is a lifeline to the information and knowledge we need to keep our freedoms.
English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used the new threat of global warming as a tactic in 1983 negotiations with the powerful coal miners’ union. Nobody gave it much thought after that, or could foresee that it would grow up to be a major drag on advanced economies like the U.S. Net Neutrality has the same, esoteric, harmless sound as global warming once did. Who is against fairness, right?
The U.N. is a master at taking innocuous and nurturing it into ominous. U.S. backing of U.N. programs with worldwide scope should give us pause, a thoughtful and long pause. Freedoms can erode in the time it takes to affix a presidential signature on an executive order. The ultimate defense against erosion of freedom of choice is free speech. As the internet stands today, there has never been a greater conduit of free speech in human civilization. So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Net Neutrality is a Trojan Horse.