Love this oft-repeated argument from Free Press. In responding to Speaker Boehner’s recent assertion that Net Neutrality rules represent a creeping regulation of the Internet, Free Press president, Josh Silver, notes:
“There’s no government takeover, there’s no censorship, and there’s no gatekeeper when there’s Net Neutrality — that’s the whole point,” Silver said. “The government doesn’t decide what’s available, and neither does your Internet service provider…”
Here’s the problem with that.
For you and me – we can lock the doors to our houses and keep people we don’t want on our property off of it. The government can’t force that gate open. It can’t tell me who to invite, or who’s allowed to sit at my table. Further, it can’t tell me that I need to host said undesirable people on my property so that they can use it as a forum to speak.
It’s my property and my bundle of rights, not the government’s.
But, if you’re in the unfortunate position of being a network provider – that private property (which is no less private than my house) has lesser rights per the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations. Through those regulations the government says network providers must keep their doors open 24 / 7 / 365 to all who come. Now, anti-property groups like Free Press may like this stand, seeing in network providers indentured servants. But, the government has forced that gate open, stripping from network providers their rights to decide who can come on to their private property, and who can speak (or not) from it. Moreover, it forbids network providers from pricing such forced access in a way that they think makes economic sense.
If that’s not a takeover (infringing upon network providers’ ability to control their private property as they see fit); censorship (compelling network providers to broadcast all voices whether wanted or not); or gatekeeping (forcing open network providers’ lines to all traffic, devices, services and content), then I don’t know what is.
Compelling such service is more than simply regulating the Internet – it’s striking at the fundamentals of liberty by belittling the ownership of private property.