Net Neutrality

Live Debate: Nick Gillespie Argues Net Neutrality at Intelligence Squared!

In Chicago, Reason editor at large squares off against former FCC head Tom Wheeler in Oxford-style debate.


At 7:30 P.M. ET/6:30 P.M. CT, I'll be debating former FCC head Tom Wheeler and Mozilla's Mitchell Baker about Net Neutrality in an Intelligence Squared program live from Chicago. My partner on the anti-Net Neutrality side is Michael Katz, a former FCC economist.

Watch live at the bottom of this post. Or go to Reason's Facebook. It's an Oxford-style debate, so the audience, including online viewers, get to vote before and after the arguments. The winning side is the one that moved more people to its position.

Here's Intelligence Squared's writeup:

What if a single policy could impact American democracy, culture, and competitiveness? What if that policy might either empower citizens and consumers, or burden them? And what if the decision on that policy sparked a frenzy of legislative proposals, judicial challenges, and citizen outrage, all across the country?

The Federal Communications Commission's decision to end net neutrality regulations has fueled a national debate about the future of the internet. Adopted in 2015, net neutrality promised to preserve the democratic spirit of the web by ensuring that all data would be treated equally, regardless of where it originated. Under these regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, the corporate giants who deliver the internet into our homes, could supply web infrastructure, but could not preference how data passed through it. Denying them that power, supporters argue, remains critical to ensuring that users and content-creators can discover ideas and information without censorship, or charges, from these prospective gatekeepers. After all, no person should have to pay for every video streamed on YouTube; no startup should be hobbled against established companies who buy faster access to consumers; and no minority voice should have its ideas throttled by wealthier interests.

On the other hand, net neutrality opponents argue that the genius of the Internet has been its individually driven, organic development, free from the heavy hand of so-called net neutrality. These burdensome regulations constitute dangerous governmental overreach, stifle innovation, and spike costs for both consumers and providers. The result, they maintain, will be a less interesting, less democratic, less innovative web. Moreover, Americans will enjoy uninterrupted access to their favorite sites – without net neutrality – because ISPs make more money from an open, rather than closed, internet. Consequently, the backlash against the FCC's decision is overblown, and ending net neutrality is the right policy for the future of America's internet.

NEXT: Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas Clash Over Due Process and Immigration Law

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  1. I’d love to watch this, but Trump is powerless to force my ISP to let me.


    Are we therefore to infer that all information is created equal, all knowledge is created equal, and all wisdom is created equal?

    1. All comments are equal!

      Suck my nuts!

  3. Totally OT, but worth it:

    “CIA Director Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend”
    “CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Donald Trump to meet with that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trip….”
    (or your fave WaPo reseller)

    I’ll believe Kim’ll give up the nukes when I see it, but maybe he’s getting tired of the smell of dead bodies.

  4. And I wonder if Steyer like crow in a red or white sauce?

    “The billionaire wants to overthrow Trump for bringing the US to the brink of nuclear war”
    “He (Donald Trump) has brought us to the brink of nuclear war,” said the tycoon.
    Steyer criticized the current government of Trump and Congress. “People there know that Trump is a clear danger, which is mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons, and they are doing nothing,” Steyer said.”

    Perhaps there’s more than one unstable billionaire.

    1. One of them is envious.

      1. Pretty sure one of them isn’t even conscious of what’s happening yet.
        He prolly loved Dylan but:
        “Because something is happening here
        But you don’t know what it is
        Do you, Mister Jones ?”

  5. Allowing the FCC to enforce net neutrality is like inviting a cougar into your house because you thought you saw a mouse.

    1. Go on…

  6. Wow that dude is old.

  7. hmm. interesting, in a dry policy way. Good job Nick.

  8. Well this was not great.
    – Nick, it’s megabits not megabytes. Simple, but damning mistake in a tech discussion.
    – 5g will end this debate (multiple ISPs competing for your $$) Michael mentioned this but didn’t follow through.
    – Wheeler came across as a jerk.
    – Nick, how did you not jump out of your chair when Michael said we need to stamp out hate speech. 🙂

    1. Nebulous, I totes agree on all those points, ESPECIALLY the last! Holy SHIT! I was listening thinking that Katz was making some good technical points, spoke more fluidly than Nick and brought a really good historical perspective to the development of the internet, and then he mentions that we “have a problem with hate speech” and I about flipped my shit!!!!

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