Isn’t it odd that the very companies which championed “free speech” via Net Neutrality – you know, Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Silicon Valley oligarchs – are now knee deep in expunging their properties (and users) of speech they don’t approve of in light of recent events in Charlottesville, etc?

This on top of last year’s fake news hysteria, which had the Valley working to curate “better” news choices for users; efforts to end online “hate” and bullying; and establishment of Orwellian “trust and safety councils,” among other work, from some of the aforementioned companies to prune “undesirable voices” (many of whom were conservatives) from their virtual real estate.

Their actions say they own the issue, and they’re working in overdrive to make their brand better, safer, or something.

For whom?

For their shareholders. Not free speech.

I’m alright with this, however. That is their wont, legal and otherwise.

But, they can keep their free speech preaching, especially as it pertains to Net Neutrality – a law they wrote with President Obama and his FCC designed to stop the “evil” ISPs from…

…blocking free speech.

Google et al are now using a piece of the law – the ’96 Telecom Act’s Section 230 – to extricate the “hateful” weeds from their platforms, blocking speech that doesn’t suit their brand image. The weird thing here is that ISPs, too, can avail themselves of that same piece of the law to block harassing or otherwise objectionable speech if they want to…

…but have chosen not to. All speech may traffic across their networks, unlike those of “free speech” Silicon Valley.

Anyway, this latest Silicon Valley hypocrisy seems to be the straw breaking the camel’s back. There are growing calls by some in the tech community, even right-leaning libertarians, that perhaps companies like Google, Facebook and others have too much power to regulate our speech, commerce and privacy, and thus must somehow be brought to heal.

People are seeing the lie that Net Neutrality always was – which is that the law was only ever crafted to protect and subsidize Silicon Valley billionaires, and nothing more.

Consequently, I believe it’s just a matter of time before policymakers feel that the kitchen is too hot and work to punish / regulate the Valley oligarchs.

Net Neutrality was premised in large measure on preventing the ISPs from blocking content…Turns out it’s the edge companies like Google doing it instead.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for this. But, how long did Silicon Valley think it could hoodwink Americans into thinking their “don’t be evil” ethos was the real deal? It ain’t (especially in regard to conservatives). The gig is up for the real censors and exploiters.

To this end, here’s my quick prediction:

I think Google, Facebook and others in Silicon Valley will want to inoculate themselves from this ongoing mess. And the vehicle they will choose is a legislative version of Net Neutrality – one which at a minimum “clarifies” the FCC’s expansive powers to police the “open Internet”; and allows reasonable business practices like paid priority and use of end-user data, subject to clear FTC jurisdiction, applied equally across the entire Internet ecosystem.

Reports have it that they’re already sitting down to discuss Net Neutrality with a broad cross-section of policymakers, “public interest” groups and industry reps. The events of the past couple of weeks – not to mention Europe’s increasing glare at some of the Valley’s behemoths – will hasten the search for a grand, comprehensive, “pro-consumer” compromise.

Do we need regulatory / legislative Net Neutrality? No. I hate the idea. However, if the current agency ping-pong game can be stopped and with it the (in-apt, FDR-era) Title II Net Neutrality concept legislatively narrowed in a significant way, then that would deserve some serious consideration by all.

The pressure on Silicon Valley is only mounting for it to prove it isn’t evil. Working with others in the ecosystem to end the Net Neutrality game would go a long way toward showing that.

Preaching free speech and then allowing it – even the “undesirable” voices – over their networks wouldn’t be such a bad thing, either.

{ 0 comments }

Help Detroit, Help America

by Mike Wendy on August 17, 2017

Abandoned retail store – a common sight in beleaguered Detroit

I visited Detroit for the first time this past weekend to see relatives. What I saw there shocked me – not my relatives, but the decay of the city itself. What was once a proud and world-class city had fallen prey to forces too numerous to list here.

Yes, Motown still has a lot to offer, but it remains a shell of what it was in its heyday. Perhaps the city will once again become the “Silicon Valley” it was, especially with the development of autonomous cars and IoT. But right now, that revitalization seems far off.

I’m not a big believer in big government programs to solve seemingly intractable challenges like those facing Detroit (and elsewhere in America). That said, I see some modest communications policy ideas that, in my mind, are worth a good try to help move Detroit (and us) in the direction of renewed economic growth and prosperity.

General Motors – the “Silicon Valley” of the past century…and, maybe, someday in the near future?

Simply, they are:

  • Release more spectrum so that the wireless revolution can grow further, enabling the spread of life-bettering, productivity-enhancing wireless tools, which can be affordably accessed by all Americans.
  • Reduce federal, state and local barriers to the expansion of broadband – such as enacting reasonable processes surrounding rights-of-way / one touch and cell tower citing matters – so that broadband infrastructure, like fiber and 5G, can more rapidly make it out to where it needs to go.
  • Reform taxes so businesses can more quickly expense capital items; American companies aren’t at disadvantage in the global marketplace; small companies aren’t penalized just for being small; and more money remains in the pockets of hard-working Americans – all of which can incentivize the roll out and adoption of powerful new information and communications technology offerings for use in the marketplace.
  • And, repeal Title II Net Neutrality so that ISPs and “edge providers” can both more freely supply innovative, consumer-friendly services that consumers truly need and desire, and deploy more broadband infrastructure to connect all Americans to the Internet.

No doubt more could be done to get Detroit – and America – productive and prosperous again. That noted, Uncle Sam and his counterparts in the states and municipalities would do well to follow these modest policies to prime that pump.

{ 0 comments }

In arguing for the rejection of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune broadcast merger, “media reform” group Freepress made this astoundingly ironic (and anti-American) statement:

…Sinclair is notorious for slipping right-wing views and Republican talking points into its newscasts. The company overrides the objections of local journalists and forces its stations to run conservative commentaries and slanted stories on the local news…

Let’s cut to the chase.  What Freepress advocates for is censorship, pure and simple.

It’s fine if a private company wants to present a “slanted view” of matters on their private communications platforms. That is their Right (even Freepress’, though I don’t agree with their point of view). However, it ain’t cool – or Constitutional – if Uncle Sam determines what must be communicated by private actors via threat of penalty or other state action.

Of course, that’s what Freepress wants – a government stamp of disapproval (e.g., rejection of the Sinclair-Trib merger) to defeat the “airing [of] politically slanted content” on Sinclair-Trib stations. It’s not enough that virtually all of the media is run by Progressive activists.  “Right-wing views” deserve no quarter; they must be stamped out.

Like other of their “media reform” brethren, they want private actors out of the communications business…

…So we get more “diverse,” etc. viewpoints. So, elites like them can decide the digital broccoli that we must all eat.

Think this spiel is isolated to just the broadcast realm? Think again. The current Net Neutrality rule – which Freepress helped author with the Obama Administration – comes from the same mold. In Robert McChesney’s (Freepress’ founder) words:

“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

Freepress = “media reform” = censorship of non-Progressive voices.  That doesn’t strike me as being about a free press, comrades.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee:

“Yes, one of the great tenets of the Bill of Rights – the freedom of speech. Do you stand with me? Are you ready to resist? Are you ready to defend Net Neutrality? Are you ready to wear that banner? I am a fighter for the First Amendment. I am a fighter for freedom. Net Neutrality – that is freedom; that is the First Amendment. And, that is America. I yield back.” (Emphasis added)

I always find it interesting that when Progressives talk about free speech and the First Amendment for their cause, they never actually bring up the 45 words that comprise that First Right.

They are:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And that means, government stay out! It’s not a collective right, but the individual’s…against government action to regulate speech.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai talked about this while introducing the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom NPRM in late April. There, he noted:

…[S]ome will argue that government control [via Title II] is the key to the ability to speak your mind on the Internet. Most Americans should recognize this absurdity for what it is. For government regulation is no friend to free speech, but its enemy. After all, the First Amendment doesn’t give the government power to regulate. It denies the government that power. And anyone who thinks otherwise should remember the wise words of President Gerald Ford: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

Net Neutrality represents the opposite of free speech and the First Amendment. It’s three unelected government bureaucrats making law (itself a Constitutional matter) to “heal,” make more “fair and diverse,” and “protect” free speech for the “open” Internet.

No matter what Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee and her resisting Progressives say, We did not give the government the power to do this.

Net Neutrality is not the American way or Freedom – it is anything but.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Net Neutrality – It’s About the “Small Companies,” Says Google, er, Senator Ed Markey

July 18, 2017

Senator Ed Markey was shoveling out the Net Neutrality bullslop in overdrive during last week’s “day of action” Hill event. According to the Senator, Net Neutrality is about protecting “small companies.” Exclaimed Markey (from the video above): “…And I think that this is going to be well understood by every American, and in Washington, DC, […]

Read the full article →

MediaFreedom to FCC > Can We Get Rid of the Pernicious OIO / Net Neutrality Rules Already?

July 18, 2017

Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington, D.C. 20554 COMMENTS OF MEDIAFREEDOM MediaFreedom commends the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom NPRM, which we hope leads to the elimination of the Open Internet Order’s (“OIO”) regulatory overreach, especially as it pertains to the re-classification of ISPs as common carriers. We hope also that the resulting rules axe in […]

Read the full article →

Net Neutrality Conflatus – Senator Al Franken

July 14, 2017

Wednesday was the so-called Day of Action – a fake news event staged by professional community activists to raise awareness about the “importance” of government-regulated Net Neutrality. At one such event on Capitol Hill, Senator Al Franken addressed adoring millennials, harping on industry contentions that Title II Net Neutrality could tamp down investment and innovation. […]

Read the full article →

Srinivasan-Tatel Provide ISPs with Net Neutrality “Get out of Jail Card”?

July 10, 2017

You may know that earlier in May an en banc panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejected an appeal challenging the Open Internet / Net Neutrality Order, letting the Order stand for the time being. Interestingly, in that ruling, Judges Srinivasan and Tatel issued an illuminating concurring statement, revealing, in […]

Read the full article →

FOIA’d E-mails Show Wheeler FCC Rolled Red Carpet Out for Last “Day of Action” Organizers, Not So Much for Others

June 7, 2017

On Sept. 10, 2014, Fight for the Future (Holmes Wilson), Demand Progress (David Segal), and Google-funded activist Marvin Ammori organized a “day of action” / Internet Slowdown to show the world what life would be like without Net Neutrality. The event was also designed to generate large numbers of comments into the FCC, supporting the […]

Read the full article →

Media Reformer: “We Have to Take Away Certain People’s Rights to Build a Society”

June 1, 2017

This clip was shot at an FCC rally for Net Neutrality on May 18th.  It tells you all you need to know about the anti-free speech Left and its “media reform” agenda, which it hopes can be realized on the Internet via Title II Net Neutrality. Transcript: Me: I think we all agree on the […]

Read the full article →