Today the Federal Communications Commission is set to pass on a partisan 3-2 vote (Democrats vs Republicans) a comprehensive set of rules to control the Internet, commonly called the "Net Neutrality" rules.
Although the FCC Commissioners are public servants, they have permitted very few members of the public to actually see what these rules are. That should be a red flag for everyone. Another red flag is the fact that the FCC Chairman has refused to testify before Congress when invited to do so.
If the FCC is hiding what they are doing until after they make a decision, you can be sure that what they are doing is contrary to the interests of the public, otherwise, "Why the secrecy?"
A former FCC Associate General Counsel raises the question "Is the FCC lawless?" suggesting the specter that "administrative law" is being used in a way to avoid the balance of powers crafted in the US Constitution. Longtime readers of this blog will remember the warning of the threat to our freedoms posed by administrative agencies, "The Ominous 4th Branch of Government."
An alleged "need" for these rules is the practice of certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge a premium to certain content providers that ensures a "fast lane" on their networks -- e.g. certain streaming services that use a lot of bandwidth. The new rules would supposedly (assuming no waivers are given to the politically connected) prohibit the practice.
But why should the companies who paid for and constructed their very expensive networks not be able to control how their networks are used? If they cannot control their own property to ensure a return on investment, then private investment in networks will be discouraged.
Lack of investment in networks will result in deterioration of service as traffic increases unless the taxpayers are made to pay for same via the government. But why should the taxpayers do this when the private sector has, to date, met everyone's needs?
So far the internet works just fine, as suggested by a Republican FCC Commissioner, Agit Pai, who calls Net Neutrality "a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist."
If there is a threat to the Internet that requires government intervention, it is the mergers of ISPs that reduce competition in the marketplace... But the government has been approving mergers left and right, perhaps because it is easier to control one or two big players than a multitude of lesser players.
It is the lack of internet regulation that makes the internet so useful -- it is freedom -- giving a voice to even the most minor of minority viewpoints.
The Internet is not broken. It does not need fixing.
Undoubtedly, with these rules, all that we have come to appreciate about the Internet will ultimately become undone. Voices will be silenced . . . And the public will be left hearing only "government approved" viewpoints.