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Feb
11

Internet Neutrality is Dead Long Live Net Neutrality

From: Liberty Voice

Editorial by Eric Anderson

According to the homepage of Save the Internet, the current level of health enjoyed by the long debated issue of “net neutrality” is: deceased. That is not good, right? Well, this clinical assessment is in reference to the ruling by the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, on Jan. 14 2014 that sections the  Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) “Open Internet Order” rules were not within their regulatory jurisdiction. The court’s objection to the specific rules in question has to do with a FCC distinction left over from the ‘70s which does not classify computer services as subject to “common carrier” obligations, which is to say they are not public resources which must indiscriminately serve anyone willing to pay a one-price-fits-all fee.

This ruling, according to Craig Aaron of Free Press, means that, “internet users will be pitted against the biggest phone and cable companies – and in the absence of any oversight, these companies can now block and discriminate against their customers’ communications at will.” Well, it was a good run internet, so sorry to watch the digital powerhouse manhandled- no, corporation-handled- until it is indistinguishable from cable television, but there is nothing to be done because the FCC is a toothless lapdog locked in cage wearing a shock collar.

Wait. According to the text of this very same ruling, the FCC does have the power “to promulgate rules governing broadband providers,”naturally meaning their handling of internet traffic and their “justification for the specific rules at issue here…is reasonable and supported by substantial evidence.” In essence: the FCC can regulate broadband providers to insure the fair flow of the internet, but not by imposing the legal obligations of common carriers which the FCC itself decided should not apply. How very dull. Maybe too dull to consider it the murder weapon of the ideals of net neutrality?

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