Dusting off old regulations won't protect free, open Internet
The Internet is and will continue to be an indispensable part of the lives of Floridians and all Americans. As we grow more dependent on it for everyday tasks, ensuring fair and open Internet access will continue to be a priority.
In the early days of the Internet, Congress and regulators intentionally left the Internet free from burdensome regulation. This bipartisan decision to keep government’s hands off the Internet has been responsible for leaps in innovation and investment – making America a global leader in broadband development. Revolutionary ways to connect with other people around the world online; billion dollar smart phone applications; near-instantaneous Internet speeds; the list of truly life-altering innovations goes on and on.
No one disagrees that the Internet should be free and open. The president’s plan just does not accomplish that goal.
We have all benefitted from a system that incentivizes broadband providers to be the fastest and most reliable consumer access to the Internet.
Over the last six years, however, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has tried to assert more control over this valuable American resource. The courts have already overturned two sets of FCC rules, but this so-called “independent agency” is poised to vote this week on its most aggressive rules yet.
At the urging of President Obama, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler submitted a proposal that included more drastic changes and regulations than ever before. This government takeover of the Internet follows the President’s position that reclassification of broadband services to Title II common carrier status – which were originally designed and implemented to protect against 1930s monopolies– is the only option.
Dusting off regulations from the Roosevelt-era will not protect a free and open Internet. They will not benefit consumers. They will not spur innovation. They will not encourage a young entrepreneur to develop a new innovative app, or a company to develop new “smart” appliances.
Consumers – yes, you, reader – will be most hurt by this proposal. A whole host of new regulations and years of uncertainty will come. Even worse, this plan opens the door to billions of dollars in new fees on your Internet service, while putting nearly $45 Billion of new investments at risk over the next five years.
Do you like streaming live sports or network TV on your computer or mobile device? The agreements that allow you to do that quickly and reliably will now be subject to new, untested regulations. This unknown regulatory landscape is likely to reduce future investments in services that many consumers rely upon.
Small businesses across the country are also put in jeopardy from these rules. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/02/26/net-neutrality-debate-dusting-off-old-regulations-wont-protect-free-open/
Latest Activity: Feb 26
Earlier this week, we wrote about how the White House was working on an executive order to act as a "stand in" for cybersecurity legislation that has so far failed to pass Congress (CISPA passed in the House, but a different effort, the Cybersecurity Act, failed in the Senate, and it would have been difficult to get the two houses aligned anyway). Last weekend Jason Miller from Federal News Radio wrote about a draft he saw... but failed to share the actual draft. We got our hands on a draft (and confirmed what it was with multiple sources) and wanted to share it, as these kinds of things deserve public scrutiny and discussion. It's embedded below. As expected, it does have elements of the Lieberman/Collins bill (to the extent that the White House actually can do things without legislation). It's also incredibly vague. The specific requirements for government agencies are left wide open to interpretation. For example, the State Dept. should engage other governments about protecting infrastructure. Well, duh. As expected, most stuff focuses on Homeland Security and its responsibilities to investigate a variety of different cybersecurity issues -- but, again, it's left pretty vague.
There is, as expected, plans concerning information sharing -- but again, they're left pretty empty on specifics. It talks about an "information exchange framework." Unfortunately, it does not appear to highlight privacy or civil liberties concerns in discussing the information sharing stuff. That seems like a pretty big problem. Homeland Security is tasked with coming up with a way to share information, pulling on some existing efforts, but nowhere do they call out how to make sure these information exchange programs don't lead to massive privacy violations, despite the President's earlier promises that any cybersecurity efforts would take into account privacy and civil liberties.