FCC Approves Plan to Regulate Internet

Who knows…  watch for the reaction.

FCC Approves Plan to Regulate Internet

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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29 Responses to FCC Approves Plan to Regulate Internet

  1. Why is it necessary for the FCC to regulate the internet? It’s not as if the FCC cares about the dissemination of obscenity or pornography, if their track record for regulating radio and television is any indication. So: cui bono?

    Miss A., O.P.

  2. Bob says:

    Bear in mind the governments rarely do anything that increases or even preserves the liberties of it’s citizens. No good will come of this initially and it will become increasingly oppressive over time.

  3. TJerome says:

    The FCC is acting ultra vires. A federal court has already ruled they can’t do this. I guess the Republican House will just have to de-fund all of the FCC’s activities so they get the picture of what a Democracy truly is. Elections have consequences and I sincerely hope the American people have finally learned their lesson from 2008 about electing liberal fascists to power.

  4. CaseyinAlaska says:

    I am not in favor of this at all. The problem is, when was the last time any party repealed something the other party did? They just let it be, as they are both primarily on the same side of most issues. Just varying degrees of “power” accumulation.

  5. david andrew says:

    That’s right, foolish, idiotic Statists . . . keep tap-dancing on the mine field.

  6. Konichiwa says:

    I am not pleased. More nonsense, and we’ll be the ones to have to pay for it.

  7. ray from mn says:

    Just one more section of society that government wants to control because they know better than me.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    This is because the town hall movement and the tea party movement got their impetus from the Internet. Also, there are more conservative blogs and news sites online than in the traditional media. Surprise, surprise, that the liberals in Washington cannot tolerate truth online and criticisms of socialism and big government in general. And, it is well known that the anti-abortions groups, like Susan B. Anthony etc. use the Internet for contacting Washington, State Reps, etc . I do this all the time online.

    Instead of admitting that the vast majority of Americans do not want what Washington wants, freedom of speech, in the name of protecting children and child porn, will be pushed through an increasingly bold and out of touch government. God help us, but our children will not have the same liberties we have had if this sort of thing is not stopped now.

  9. unsilenced says:

    I guess people don’t really know what net-neutrality means. Does been conservative mean we have to be against EVERYTHING democrats do? How about reading and learning? Net-Neutrality is necessary because private companies (ISP’s ) had the ability to block what we could access online and even make it so that it would take you more time to access sites that wouldn’t pay them for increase access.

    Do you get it? So a big company, say St. Joseph’s Hospital, could pay AT&T so that when people accessed their reply to H.E. Bp. Olmsted’s decission, it would upload really fast, while the poor Diocese wouldn’t be able to do it.

    This has nothing to do with pornography, but rather our right to access all sites, as we wish.

    But this really opens the door to a larger conversation. Does been a traditional catholic mean that I have to be a Republican or an economic conservative? It seems to me that people here seem to think so.

  10. James Isabella says:

    Wot unslienced said!

    The best role the government can play in any industry is to keep the playing field level for all participants, which is what Net Neutrality is supposed to do.

    In a non-Net Neutral world, with Comcast owning NBC, Comcast could throttle or turn off their internet for customers trying to access non-NBC content. Its just an example, and I don’t think Comcast could do this, but I prefer to have an internet that doesn’t discriminate and allows all voices an equal swing at the bat. Right now, Fr. Z’s blog is as easy to find and access as Fox News’ website is….I’d hate for that to ever change.

  11. traditionalorganist says:

    Unsilenced, I don’t think people here necessarily think that being a traditional Catholic entails being Republican or economically conservative. It’s just that most of the people here ARE Republican or economically conservative.

    But what you say about net neutrality is only partially true. You leave out the part where ISP’s can charge we the users for what we access. That means, we can, in theory, be charged for accessing Fr. Z’s blog! Also, Fr. Z may have to shell out more cash to be able to remain accessible.

    As far as my opinion goes, the government shouldn’t waste the taxpayers dime “regulating” the internet. It’s not broke, so don’t fix it. When it comes to pornography, regulation of the internet is virtually impossible. Better obscenity laws need to be enacted where the servers hosting those sites are PHYSICALLY located. Good laws in the “real world” will help limit the pervasiveness of pornography on the internet.

  12. unsilenced says:

    oh and please do forgive my many grammatical mistakes. English not being (hmm… ) my first language I keep making the typical mistakes: been vs being; it annoys me that i keep forgetting when to use them.

  13. MarkJ says:

    But what if websites speaking out against abortion or homosexuality or something else are labelled as purveyors of hate speech? Don’t you think the FCC could use its internet control to regulate those websites out of existence? Don’t you think it likely that “hate speech” control is on someone’s agenda? It has happened in other western countries… a Christian television station in Canada was just shut down for this very reason… and if this happens, say goodbye to this website, to Lifesitenews, and to many other politically incorrect venues of Truth. That is the real danger of the FCC exercising control over the internet… which is why we should always opt for less political control and more individual liberty and responsibility.

  14. unsilenced says:

    @MarkJ no… that’s not the type of regulation that they have passed. I would be against something like that. I would encourage everyone to read about the issue and what was actually approved.

    Also, we should remember that the reason most European countries have deemed Christian speech to be hate speech is because they don’t have a Freedom of Expression clause as powerful as ours. So please, don’t be so quick to think that it will happen here.

    As secularized as our country has become, we still have politicians that refer to God and Jesus, we still have a lot more religion in the public sphere than most countries.

  15. ipadre says:

    If the purpose were to remove the smut, that would be one thing, but I doubt it. It’s going to be just another situation of BIG brother taking control. They may even try to stop us from proclaiming the Faith. In time we will see!

  16. TonyC says:

    Hopefully this will be one of the government agencies/activities that will be defunded by the new and improved House of Representatives. Let us hope and pray.

  17. The Astronomer says:

    The next logical step on the road to the minions of the hidden Man of Iniquity declaring that expressing orthodox Roman Catholic ideas constitutes ‘hate speech.’

    Just wait…..

  18. mike cliffson says:

    Porn is a destroyer, and a false use of “liberty” …… but babykilling liberticide authorities are to control..?
    Looks like heading to Orwell’s 1984(reread): the Dictatorship also supplied porn to the masses as pretend underground literature it was theoretically against…

  19. Microtouch says:

    The most dangerous enemy to a tyranical government is an informed citizenry.

  20. DisturbedMary says:

    So what’s left? They’ve got our information, transportation, food, schools, healthcare. They do not enforce our boundaries. They are redistributing wealth. They favor muslims over Christians and Jews. They’ve pretty much dismantled everything I thought was an American given. What’s next? I don’t know. But each of us will be tested. Big time.

  21. threej says:

    Unsilenced,

    I agree with you completely. I have been shocked, and quite frankly, somewhat offended, by the biased coverage some of the Catholic media has been giving this issue. I mean, we get all up in arms about MSM’s inability to do basic research on Catholic issues when reporting on us, and then we go and do the exact same thing by working up fearmongering on these regulations without ever actually expositing what they are.

    What is at the heart of net neutrality?
    Currently, the internet is a free for all. All content is available equally to anyone who has knowledge of how to find it. “Net Neutrality” [generally supported by democrats] aims to keep it this way under the aim of “Free Information.”

    Internet Service Providers[Read: Comcast, Verizon, Qwest, etc] , in an issue going back 5 years now, have been seeking to limit what their customers have access to, and how easily it is accessed, based on extra fees paid for by either the online services themselves, or the customers. The deregulation [generally supported by republicans] seeks to limit government involvement and further enhance the principle of “Free Market.”

    Then of course, is always the question of even if you support Net Neutrality, does the version of the regulations passed by the FCC actually implement it, or is it governmental handwaving that doesn’t actually succeed in its goal?

    I am a firm believer in Net Neutrality. Just as Fr. Z rejoiced over when the government finally banned increasing the volume on commercials, I believe it is good of the government to regulate industry from imposing upon us stupid things that none of us want. And quite frankly, I don’t want my internet provider blocking Catholic blogs due to violating company policy on hate speach.

    As to whether the proposed FCC regulations actually do this… I’ve yet to see an actual news article intelligent and fair enough to actually explain what they are, so my jury is still out.

  22. Peggy R says:

    My 2c:

    While I share the concerns about potential regulation of the Internet and freedom of speech and I also disagree with this rulemaking order today, I am not entirely convinced that THIS order is the danger to free speech that folks fear.

    I have worked in telecom regulation–state and federal–for 20 years. I have heard talk of ‘net neutrality’ for well over a decade. While it was not in my clients’ economic interests, the economic policy idea of ‘net neutrality’ is based on the policy of “equal access” in long distance voice communications services. That is, the provider of the pipeline to the end user, which has been a monopoly in voice, was to provide equal access to all long distance providers to ensure customer’s freedom of choice of LD carrier. This was sensible and reasonable economic policy to foster a competitive LD industry–and is still in effect. The same idea is being applied to Internet content here. And it may or may not be appropriate here, but I understand the goals.

    Broadband,however, is not a monopoly telecom service; nor is it a basic regulated service. The FCC has already been told it lacks legal authority to do ‘net neutrality.’ I oppose this order on those grounds.

    I have not read the order for today yet, but if it only requires some form of “equal access” to the b-band pipeline by all providers of content, I am not convinced that that on its own is the death knell of Internet freedom–though other policies could be. It depends on how far the “equal access” requirement in the rules go and to whom they will apply. This order could very well protect conservative sites, not silence them. But it is already established that this policy is beyond FCC authority, and I hope it is over-turned by the courts–AGAIN.

  23. The Cobbler says:

    I’m pretty close to being with Threej on this one; I think he nails the point to be made against assuming this is a bad thing.

    My only caveats are: 1) that under the sort of Constitutional law I support I don’t think the Feds have been delegated the authority to do this — but, it’s not necessarily high on my list of Things They Shouldn’t Try to Do, either, given the approach taken by Threej, which also does not infringe on free speech as protected in the first amendment… and 2) that I am suspicious of whether whatever actually is done could be interpreted as precedent for the Feds to meddle in free speech.

    In principle, however, a law across the whole nation forbidding private corporations from limiting free speech either… would probably be a good thing, savvy? The biggest question is whether this does that and is clear on the matter. A somewhat smaller question is whether it falls under anything that the national government ever should be doing.

    On the other hand, I don’t like the Feds stepping down on smaller government sections’ toes making them toe the line on its limitations, some of which are extreme precisely because they’re applied to the top layer of government and not to the city council you and your friends could conceivably oust in the local elections. So I’d hesitate to simply put in an amendment to the Constitution authorizing the Feds to apply their own restrictions such as not limiting free speech to private organizations or more local layers of government. This makes it a pretty good case of, well, an exception I’d have to think over in detail if I had any say in the matter, since it seems a rare case that just doesn’t fit with how I’d generally want things done.

    I think it may have something to do with the fact that the corporate power here really is beyond what individual States could handle, and that all that I’m saying could be right in principle is telling Big Business that it’s as limited as Big Government, not necessarily business in general nor small government. Whether that holds up in law school… is another matter.

  24. Laura says:

    unsilenced,

    you are right.

    I guess people here would prefer to be regulated by CORPORATIONS rather then the GOVERNMENT?
    What is the difference? At least with the gov’t you are a citizen, and you can elect new officials. You can demand documents, and have some oversight. However, you cannot do this with a corporation, unless you are a shareholder. So now we have to be big business men and consumers, not citizens, to determine who regulates the internet.

    So I presume that everyone here who speaks with this rhetoric about Big Brother does not hold this same candle to corporations?

  25. Peggy R says:

    The Cobbler:

    The FCC’s authority over broadband developed b/c network providers sought to avoid state price regulation of broadband. The FCC decided it was an “interstate” communications as opposed to intrastate, since much traffic likely transcends state boundaries. There really is case law and historical practice in telecoms to support many policies we see today.

    Laura:

    Companies v govt regulating us? I don’t know if it’s that cut and dry. Sure, the govt is prohibited from abrogating our constitutional rights, though private citizens and entities are not usually. The internet is a network of mostly privately owned networks that co-operate to have interconnection and communications among their networks. The Gov’t’s job is to ensure the cooperation and fair business practices among the network owners, toward one another and consumers. Do you want the Feds to nationalize the Internet? Wait till you see the prohibitions on free speech. If they own it, they can tell us who can ‘speak.’ With a network of private networks, we have options. The govt network would be the only show in town.

    Private entities should be able to control their own property; usually we can go to other private entities–or establish our own– to get our needs met. Some companies realize it’s bad business to offend or leave out some segments of society. It doesn’t always turn out that way, I admit. Ultimately, I am on the side of economic liberty for us all.

  26. kittenchan says:

    Sweet heavenly day. Most of the commenters on here, and it seems Republicans in general, are completely BACKWARDS as to what they think net neutrality is.

    Net neutrality is NOT censorship; rather it is the OPPOSITE. It means that internet service providers cannot discriminate when it comes to the content they provide. Just like now, you pay one price for access and you get everything.

    Without net neutrality, ISPs can give premium access to the content providers who pay them the most, and can block or seriously hamper the content providers who don’t pay them, or don’t pay them as much. Guess who can afford to pay a lot? Porn companies, Planned Parenthood, and Al Gore. Guess who can’t? Abstinence programs, National Right to Life, and Father Z. Those tiny personal blogs you like reading? Not a chance.

    Think of it in terms of a library. You pay three dollars or something for your library card and you have equal access to all the books in the library. That’s a neutral library.
    If it weren’t a neutral library, then all the giant publishers who grind out stuff like Twilight can pay the library to put their books front and center, and checking those books out will be a breeze. However, smaller publishers (like say Roman Catholic Books or TAN), who can’t afford or think it’s ridiculous to pay huge sums of money to the library for self-promotion, will have their books relegated to the dusty, difficult to find stacks, the Restricted section, or not in the library at all.

    It’s not a matter of Big Government jumping all over something and regulating the life out of it. It’s a matter of CONSERVING the working-very-well status quo.

    Unless, of course, you’re the type of person who enjoys paying out the nose to get infuriatingly substandard, wildly biased internet access.

  27. If I only read a headline proclaiming “FCC to regulate Internet” I might be strongly opposed.

    Far from being oppressive or unfair, this is exactly the opposite. There is only 1 Internet and if traffic, at any point along the path, can be manipulated for money to hurt some and help others, then freedom is seriously impacted. You can’t just quit this Internet and go to another one.

    Let’s say that atheists or Islamists bought control of major ISPs or backbone providers. Would you be alarmed if they decided to slow or block traffic to Catholic blogs such as this one? If Comcast decides to get a piece of Google’s action, would it be fair for them to interfere with your access to Google? Think this kind of thing would never happen? You would be wrong, it has.

    The truth is, the Internet is little different than “common carriers” in the classical telephony sense. It is no more acceptable for AT&T to interfere with data traffic (for monetary or philosophical reasons) than it is for them to interfere with voice traffic.

  28. Laura says:

    Yes, George, you have it right. And it isn’t effecting much now since what people access on the internet most of the time does not take up much bandwidth.

    And I believe the gov’t did invent the internet… not private businesses. There are no truly free markets. If the gov’t does not regulate them, someone else will. Sure comcast, etc. laid some cable. But they depend upon our cities to maintain the streets so the cable isn’t destroyed, etc. So it isn’t like they are shouldering the burden 100 per cent of maintaining the cable. Taxpayers are contributing a great deal to this whole program as well. As well as maintaining the roads that the people who work at comcast drive on to get to work, etc. There is rarely a truly private sector, except when it comes to profits, right?

  29. SimonDodd says:

    It would probably be helpful if people read the new regulations before getting in a tizzy. And I am almost certain that almost no one here has, because I don’t believe the text is available to the public as yet. Since I work for a company that will be directly affected by the new regulations, I was more than a little interested to see them, but none of the news coverage links to them or offers more than brief quotes, and the FCC’s own press release only covers select “highlights.” I checked today’s federal register and the FCC website—zip. So I called the FCC, and asked if the full text of the approved regulation was available. They say that it is not. That makes all the responses on the subject premature or privvy to leaked documents.