Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality: Don't Let the Nipplegate People (FCC) Regulate the Internet!


When the Federal Communications Commission released its proposal last week about net neutrality, the conversation was largely between people defending the right of the agency that brought us Nipplegate to increase its regulation of the Internet and people calling for the FCC to totally regulate the business operations of Internet service providers (ISPs). That's not a debate: It's a clusterfuck that in the name of preserving all that is good and holy about the Internet would give federal bureaucrats a huge amount of say-so in the one place it hasn't been able to totally screw up.

My latest Daily Beast column argues to keep the FCC as far away from the Internet as possible. Snippets:

Reports of the imminent death of the Internet's freewheeling ways and utopian possibilities are more wildly exaggerated and full of spam than those emails from Mrs. Mobotu Sese-Seko.

In fact, the real problem isn't that the FCC hasn't shown the cyber-cojones to regulate ISPs like an old-school telephone company or "common carrier," but that it's trying to increase its regulatory control of the Internet in the first place.

Under the proposal currently in play, the FCC assumes an increased ability to review ISP offerings on a "case-by-case basis" and kill any plan it doesn't believe is "commercially reasonable." Goodbye fast-moving innovation and adjustment to changing technology on the part of companies, hello regulatory morass and long, drawn-out bureaucratic hassles….

I don't trust the good intentions or dedication to high principle of my local cable company any more than I trust my local congressman with the same. But I trust the FCC even less, especially given the proposed rules' reliance on vague terms such as commercially reasonable and the promise to adjudicate interventions on a case-by-case basis. At best, it's a slow-moving government agency with a proven record of clamping down on free expression, attempting to expand its power, and trying to stymie technological innovation. The less power it has to cover the Internet like it tried to cover Janet Jackson's right breast, the better off we will all be.

Read the whole thing.

Reason on Net Neutrality.

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  1. I’ll take it one step further – farther – further. Don’t let anyone try to regulate the internet.

    1. I agree with that, but what’s happening is the ISPs themselves are seeking to regulate it through the use of “fast lanes” for websites and by imposing data caps on users.

  2. So, do you trust the government, or the government created cartels?

    Not much of a choice.

    1. What does trust have to do with it?

      1. Apparently, nothing, since most people do not have a choice. I am stuck choosing between Verizon and Comcast; two government created monopolies.

        But, I would prefer to do business with a “trustworthy” organization or individual. Business relationships are built on trust, just like personal relationships. It’s much easier, and more efficient to, maybe spend a couple extra dollars, and do business with Company A, which I have built a relationship with, and has earned my trust, than to have to fuck around with Company B that I know nothing about, and have to worry about getting ripped off and end up having to sue for breech of contract. It’s usually better to avoid lawsuits.

        Your business is only as good as its reputation, unless your clients have little or no choice but to do business with you. Reputation is built on trust.

        All I have in this world is these two balls and my word. i don’t break either of them for nobody.

        -Tony Montana

        1. Verizon and Comcast; two government created monopolies.

          If there are two of them then how are they monopolies?

          1. They are not in their role as an ISP, but in their currently regulated fields of landline telephone and cable TV, they are.

  3. Net Neutrality: Don’t Let the Nipplegate People (FCC) Regulate the Internet!

    The more you tighten your grip, the more IP addresses will slip through your fingers!

  4. And next time, show the tittie, please.

  5. Nick Gillespie: “I don’t trust the good intentions or dedication to high principle of my local cable company any more than I trust my local congressman with the same.”

    You should change cable providers, then, if you really feel that way.

    Because a private supplier does and has to follow the most important principle lest he risks losing market-share, and that is: satisfy your customer.

    Leaving that aside, I am surprised that you would make such a quip about a vendor that YOU CHOSE for your business. You can’t really choose your local congressman but you can choose to whom you give your own money. I am left wondering why would you say such a thing. My best guess is that you’re simply trying to get on the good side of the regular Daily Beast reader, but then you’re assuming they’re not smart enough to understand the difference between a private company that has to satisfy your needs or die, and a congressman or a bureaucratic organization that couldn’t care less about you.

    Which brings me to a more important question: If you cannot bring yourself to respect the intelligence of your readers, then why contribute to the Daily Beast at all? Unless, of course, you’re NO libertarian, just skeptical of everybody.

    1. I am surprised that you would make such a quip about a vendor that YOU CHOSE for your business

      You mean that my local government handed a monopoly to without my consent. There are no other providers available.

      1. Yep, franchising is the name of the game. Even if they don’t explicitly carve out sections of the city for telecoms, huge incentives for the one chosen effectively amount to the same.

        I remember talking to a Verizon rep who told me they couldn’t go to my neighborhood because that “belonged” to AT&T.

      2. Re: UnCivilServant,

        You mean that my local government handed a monopoly to without my consent.

        Are you thus mandated by law to use it? I don’t think so.

        There are no other providers available.

        That would be a completely different story if true; however, I find that extremely unlikely considering the popularity and availability of satellite cable and satellite internet.

        1. You still need an entry point and “last mile”.

        2. If you think satellite internet is an option, then you either barely use the internet, or have never used satellite internet. It’s about like saying carrier pigeons are an option.

  6. regulerate?

    You don’t get it, Nick. Unlike all of their meddling failures of the past in price controls, it will be completely different this time. Because Internets.

  7. What is this a false dichotomy? Fuck both net neutrality AND the people who brought us nipplegate. I mean on a physical/terrestrial level, i’m not against all telecom regulations like ones similar to energy regulations proposed by the Cato Institute, where providers all have equal access to the infrastructure but they must be the ones who pay to maintain it, not the government. Otherwise ISPs and energy merchants will be allowed to do as they please so long as they don’t violate local pollution laws and there are no barriers to entry, but do we need the FCC for that? No.

  8. If verizon was really in an evil Machiavellian plot to screw the consumer you would think they would have a profit margin greater than 1% on their wireline services.

  9. Nipplegate was one of the most ridiculous things I had ever experienced. I saw the incident live and barely noticed it (it lasted, what, a whole 2 seconds?); yet, it turned into weeks of “THINK OF THE CHILDREN” drama.

    Freaking Puritans; your precious snowflakes probably figured out how to work the Intertubes to find WAY BETTER stuff way before they saw JJ’s (tassled) boob.

  10. We don’t need nebulous rules. We only need one rule: ISP must not sell content. This removes the conflicts of interest which make the ISP want to do things other than be a great ISP.

  11. Checked out the full piece on the “Daily Beast” – and just for amusement, looked at the comments. Wow. Talked about the tragically uninformed, the easily fooled, or the dogmatically religious. Haha. If you’re into head-shakingly dark humor of the Vonnegut variety, check them out.

    1. Damn you!

      Actually, damn me. I should have known better than to read the comments.

  12. The DB does seem to have a herd of lefty derpmeisters. They are so fucking stupid that anyone with a brain can see it, kind of like Tony or cork crack.

    So keep spreading the word,Nick, if even a few derpsters get educated it’s a worthy effort.

  13. What Net Neutrality supporters want is not regulation of content on the Web. I don’t think anyone with good sense wants that. What we want is to prevent ISPs from being able to artificially throttle websites that can’t or won’t pay for “fast lane” access to reach people’s homes. ISPs have a duty to provide equal access to all websites and all users, not to act as gatekeepers by deciding who gets to transmit at full speed and who gets throttled.

  14. So if a consumer electronics company is willing to pay your electricity provider an extra fee is it okay for them to provide more power to that companies brand of light-bulbs, television sets, and computers while providing less power to the products of their competitors who don’t pay?

    After all it could potentially allow the companies that get the “extra” power to produce new and different consumer goods since they wouldn’t be limited like the companies who don’t pay.

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