Net Neutrality Regulation of the Internet – It’s a “Good Start” Says Public Knowledge

by Mike Wendy on September 23, 2011

With the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations soon becoming operative (provided they’re not stayed by a court during their inevitable court challenge), the special interest group Public Knowledge congratulated the FCC for its prophylactic actions, and vowed also to defend them as they get hammered by those who actually care about private property, network investment, and innovation.

Interestingly, they let this line slip:

…we believe that the rules approved by the Commission are a good start making certain consumers and innovators are protected from the power of large telephone and cable companies to remake the Internet to suit favored partners. (Emphasis added)

That’s exactly the worry.  For anti-private property groups like Public Knowledge and the regulatory-class that kowtows to their lobbying, the new regulations represent a baseline upon which the FCC can then expand its governance of the Internet, “protecting” consumers from all manner of things – real, imagined, or not yet even thought of – hermetically sealing the Internet from “harm.”

Public Lands - The Internet's Utopian destination for groups like Public Knowledge

Of course, earlier this March – as the FCC was taking well-deserved heat in Congress for its ultra vires Net Neutrality regulations – it was a whole ‘nuther story from Public Knowledge’s Gigi Sohn.  Then, she sought to assuage concerns about the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations, noting:

The commission is in no way regulating the Internet. It was merely attempting to return to a modest level of traditional authority needed to safeguard the rights of Internet users.

Apparently now, it’s a good start (down that confiscatory, all controlling road) of regulating the Internet’s core.

Oh, well.  Who needs one side of the mouth when two serves you better?

Funny this from their statement, too:

We also note that the companies providing Internet access services have informally abided by a neutrality policy since the FCC acted. In that time, the Internet has not come crashing down and the government has not taken control over it.

You know, the broadband Internet has basically always been “policed” without the FCC as hardcore cop on the beat.  The evolution of technology, consumer education tools, industry best practices and peer group coordination, competition, and minimal enforcement backstops have worked without onerous regulation to ensure that consumers get what they need and want.  The FCC’s new regulations – based on conjecture, extrapolated from four specious “net neutrality” incidents – were never needed.

But here we are.

Let the lawsuits begin, hopefully taking back the Internet from the regulatory-class’ greedy hands, and ending their quest to turn the Internet – its core and edges – into “Public Lands.”

Brett Glass September 24, 2011 at 12:43 am

While Public Knowledge claims to be a “public interest” group, this boutique DC lobbying shop — which plays on the close personal relationships of its founder Gigi Sohn to regulators such as FCC chairman Julius Genachowski — in fact receives large amounts of money from Google and lobbies for its corporate agenda. In short, it’s an “astroturf” group, and its statement is no surprise. Fortunately, the FCC’s order is defective both on jurisdiction (the FCC does not have jurisdiction over ISPs) and on process (the dozens of closed-door meetings that led to the final text of the order are sufficient to render it null and void). It’s just sad that, until the courts finally quash the regulations, investors will be deterred from investing in broadband providers and the public (and the US’ place in the world) will suffer as a result.

Mike Wendy September 24, 2011 at 1:18 am

They are indeed a well-entrenched lobbying group, working not for the public interest but to advance specific corporate goals.

gator dad September 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm

See how the government regulates public lands: The Fish and Wildlife service will not allow water to run off rivers to draughted farmlands in order to protect small fish. Roads to timber for firewall protection are not built in some public parks. The EPA won’t allow floating docks to be build in Southold NY because they would endanger marsh grass. The protection “for our own good” does extend to the internet. We are being protected out of our feedoms.

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