November 19, 2009
The FCC is effectively declaring “open season” on well-established Internet freedoms. The FCC, in proposing to change the definition of an “open Internet” from competition-driven to government-driven is setting a very dangerous precedent; that it is acceptable for countries to preemptively regulate the Internet for what might happen in the future, even if they lack the legitimacy of constitutional or legal authority to do so, or even if there is thinnest of justification or evidence to support it.
How can we ever hope to influence China, Iran and other undemocratic regimes to provide more Internet access and freedom to their citizens and businesses when our FCC is proposing a radical take back of existing Internet freedoms without legitimate authority or justification?
The grave mistake the FCC is making in the broader international context is claiming that private companies are the primary threat to Internet freedom and free speech, and not governments. History and common sense tell us only Governments have the effective coercive power to dictate real censorship.
The FCC is effectively declaring “open season” on well-established Internet freedoms.
It is perversely providing legitimacy, justification and political cover for undemocratic countries like China and Iran to hunt down dissidents online and censor free speech while using the Orwellian doublespeak of regulating to “preserve an open Internet.” Undemocratic regimes are always looking for “openings” and excuses to further crack down on their people’s freedom of speech and assembly. Surely, the FCC must appreciate that internationally, actions speak louder than words.
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