25 October 2009

The Internet Freedom Act of 2009.

The issue is net neutrality, which essentially means that a ISP must be reasonably neutral in the content it provides to its customers. That is to say, it can't select what content it will serve, or decide to serve disfavored content at a slower speed than content it favors.
To understand it functionally, imagine you have Verizon DSL. Absent net neutrality, Verizon might choose to increase its competitive advantage by blocking your ability to search for a competitor's ISP or telephone services. Say you have TimeWarner broadband. They might choose to deliver Warner Brothers films at regular speed, but cripple or block your ability to download Universal Pictures films. Those ISPs might also choose to require you to pay a premium to have unfettered to the internet.
Unsurprisingly, ISPs don't want net neutrality because it prospectively shuts down another way to squeeze more revenue out of customers. Also unsurprisingly, the majority of the public favors net neutrality. The FCC already favors it and has some guidelines in place. Now they want to make rules and regulations to enforce it. This is a reasonable and appropriate use of FCC's regulatory powers.
Senator John "I'm computer illiterate" McCain (R-AT&T) doesn't agree, so he introduced the Internet Freedom Act intended to strip the FCC's power to regulate broadband internet providers entirely.
Yes. I said entirely.
Absolute deregulation, so corporations can do whatever they like, because y'know, that's worked out so goddam well so far. I can remember back all the way to the 1990s, when Senator McCain also favored broad deregulation of the financial industry. Last year, as Candidate McCain, he watched his largely deregulated financial industry melt down and take the world economy with it. Only then did he notice Wall Street's "reckless conduct, corruption, and unbridled greed."
Candidate McCain hastily recast himself as a noble champion of regulation, saying at a Tampa rally: "Government has a clear responsibility to act in defense of the public interest, and that's exactly what I intend to do!"
Well, maybe not exactly.
Not one to be shamed into learning a hard lesson, McDumbass now apparently cannot conceive of the possibility of any recklessness, corruption or greed in the internet service industry that might be ameliorated by effective governmental oversight in the public interest.
His "internet freedom" doublespeak doesn't merely provoke George Orwell to rise from the grave to kick him squarely in the balls, it also a legislative expression of his empirically false beliefs that net neutrality enforcement is "onerous federal regulation" and constitutes a "government takeover" of the internet.
The Internet Corporate Profiteering Act of 2009 lacks subtlety, but it does demonstrate who McCain's real constituents are. And citizen, it ain't you.

1 chimed in:

Nuke said...

Let me set aside the debate of Net Neutrality. I don't think it is as clear cut as you make it sound, and am still conflicted as to my own opinion.

But as for total deregulation of the internet, I have to strongly agree. A broad deregulation of internet service could spill over into other facets of the communication infrastructure. All of our other freedoms don't mean much if we don't have access to information to make our own choices.