Image from the FCC by way of Ars Technica
Stop using “net neutrality” to refer to government regulation of the internet.
That’s not what net neutrality is, and it’s certainly not what the government regulations promulgated by the FCC today are, in this case “Common Carrier” Rules.
People who don’t know any better are celebrating todays faux “net neutrality” FCC action as a victory for freedom and free speech on the internet, when in fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
I’ve written extensively about net neutrality and this is very much NOT it.
All the FCC has done today, is impose common carrier regulation on every ISP (oh and by the way, lots of other organizations as well who “provide internet access”. No-one has any idea how the regulations are going to be finalized, what the language will mean, who will be impacted and how… except everyone knows it’s going to cost a lot), instead of just the telephone companies it was already imposed on. Verizon for example, who was already one of the worst violators of net neutrality, even with common carrier regulation already in place for them.
Thus it makes competition and breaking of existing monopolies even harder, while not actually doing a damn thing to secure or improve neutrality… oh and it gives the FCC more control over the internet.
Absolutely none of those are good things.
Common carrier regulation is a big part of what made the current near monopolies on Internet access happen in the first place, because small independent companies, and even large regionals, couldn’t compete with the giant telcom conglomerates under those regulations. So, they all got swallowed up.
I’ve been working with telecommunications companies, and common carrier regulations, for more than 20 years. I’m an expert in governance and regulatory compliance, and I can tell you right now, NOBODY understands these regulations, because they are not capable of being understood.
These regulations and the rulings and case law associated with them go back to 1930s… and in some particulars all the way back to the 1870s. And of course, rather than replace them with something clear when they wanted to make new regulations, congress and the FCC just amended and added on and countermanded and…
I’ve flowcharted them before to try to see what applied how and where and when… the only thing I could come up with was “nobody knows for sure, it all depends what a regulator or judge says at the time”.
This wasn’t a blow for freedom and free speech… This was a giveaway to big corporate donors in the telecommunications industry.
The big telcos have been trying to get their primary competition, non-telco ISPs, burdened with the same regulatory load they labor under, for DECADES. Now, in one stroke, the FCC at the personal direction of the president, has given it to them.
Oh and guess what else common carrier regulation includes… SURVEILLANCE.
All common carriers are required to provide the government and law enforcement “reasonable access” for surveillance, as well as to give up records, usage details, and other subscriber and user data, WITHOUT A WARRANT.
What does “reasonable access” mean? Whatever the government says it means… and if you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not. I’ve dealt with the FBI on this issue, and that’s a direct quote.
Yes, this is not only a massive corporate crony handout, it’s also a huge gimme to the FBI and the NSA, who have wanted all ISPs stuck under common carrier for years as well.
Stop calling government regulation of the internet “net neutrality”. Letting the liars control the language helps them lie to you.
Net neutrality is not government regulation, and these regulations are certainly not net neutrality, nor anything like it. Don’t be taken in by fraud, cronyism, and statism, masquerading as freedom.