The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan to repeal net neutrality rules. A vote is scheduled for December 14 on a plan that has been in place for over a year.
Alina Selyukh at Nevada Public Radio reports that the plan will “undo the landmark 2015 rules that had placed Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon under the strictest-ever regulatory oversight.” She says that the “vote is expected to repeal so-called net neutrality rules, which prevent broadband companies from slowing down or blocking any sites or apps, or otherwise deciding what content gets to users faster.”
Selyukh quotes FCC Chairman Ajit Pai as saying that the proposed repeal would “stop micromanaging the Internet” and put responsibility on Internet providers to be open with what they are doing. The repeal would also give “enforcement of net neutrality to the Federal Trade Commission, which polices violators rather than pre-empts the violations in the first place.”
Carlos Green at The Blaze reports that two Hollywood celebrities, Alyssa Milano and Mark Ruffalo, are pushing a conspiracy theory that “Russian agents were tipping the debate on net neutrality by using `bots’ to influence the FCC comment system.” They apparently are concerned about a “study found that millions of emails that were received by the comment system were under dubious circumstances. Another 444,938 came from Russian email addresses – it was unclear if those were authentic emails messages or from `bots.’”
According to Green, FCC Chairman Pai confirms that there were “444,938 comments reported from Russia,” but “they were in support of net neutrality, not against, as the celebrities were assuming.” FCC spokesman Brian Hart supported his boss when he said that the “most suspicious activity has been by those supporting internet regulation.”
Even though the idea of net neutrality sounds good, it causes more problems than it solves. The regulation of the internet implemented by the Obama Administration was intended “to prevent Internet Service Providers from charging different clients different rates for their use of the internet.” This sounds good to people who clamor for everything to be “fair” and “equal.” However, critics say that it stifles “innovation and doesn’t really protect consumers.” It sounds like just another attempt by liberals to control Americans.