Why do some folks think Internet freedom is a great concept, except when it helps the little guy?
Yesterday the Commonwealth’s AG announced that he would lead a national charge against “net neutrality” rules as passed by the FCC. His position is apparently that the government has no right to tell the private market or the states how to regulate this industry. (Funny how we didn’t hear this argument back when Congress prohibited state sales tax on Internet purchases.)
From its inception with the Department of Defense, the Internet platform has been a favored creature, nurtured by the Federal government and protected from outside interference. Obstacles to its progress have been continually struck down by courts and by Congress.
It was a brilliant decision. The resulting explosive growth created tens of thousands of jobs and billions in growth in Fairfax County alone. It has created a “wired” universe, which we could not begin to comprehend even twenty years ago.
The beauty of the Internet is that anyone — around the globe — can access it at any time and have equal means of obtaining information. All users are treated equally. That means that the smallest business can compete on-line with the largest conglomerate, if it has content that people want to see.
(Side note: this became an issue in the 2011 GA when certain telecoms asked to be excused from required wireline service subject to the FCC neutrality rulees).
Made simple, the FCC rules seek to preserve that open status. The AG of Virginia seeks to destroy it. If it destroyed, there is no telling who will monopolize the Internet, or how it will effect our commerce (or even our personal lives).
The Internet is a democratic (small “d”) institution. It enables the free flow of ideas, the free exchange of productions and the fragmentation of political power.
An AG for the people should be fighting to keep it free. Not seeking to bottle it back up.