Tags: obama | net | neutrality

Ryan Radia: 'Net Neutrality' Is Obama's Power Grab

Thursday, 24 Sep 2009 02:07 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Information policy analyst Ryan Radia says the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to prohibit Internet service providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web content and applications is nothing more than a regulatory power grab.

“There is a possibility of" censorship, Radia, a development officer at Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Newsmax.TV. “What we have seen lately is [President Barack] Obama’s administration and agency officials attempt to increase their power over government networks.”

See Video: Ryan Radia discusses ‘Net Neutrality’ and the Obama administration’s power grab - Click Here Now

The FCC, which has five commissioners, will vote next month on the so-called “Network Neutrality” rules, and reports are that three of the five commissioners would support the rules.

“This means there is a good chance that it will make it through,” Radia said. “However, it is important to note that the FCC has attempted to increase its power over the last several years, but the courts have actually been willing to strike down FCC rules when they go overboard. Hopefully the courts will recognize that this is a regulatory power grab, especially because Congress has not given the FCC the authority to dictate how private companies manage their networks.”

CBS News recently reported that a cyber security bill would give Obama the emergency powers he’d need to control the Internet. Net Neutrality would apply to all Internet service providers, including wireless carriers.

“Under a Net Neutrality regime, we could see the FCC telling companies what data they can and cannot prioritize,” Radia warned.

Internet service providers track data when people use their services, including what is searched, the address, the time of day, and search key words.

“But this is voluntary tracking, so it doesn’t present any serious privacy concerns,” Radia said. “What we should be a lot more concerned about is government tracking users, which it has done in the past. If you recall, the National Security Agency was wiretapping hundreds of millions of Americans for several years earlier in the 2000s.”

Republican senators are correct when they say there is no need for an unprecedented expansion of Internet regulation, Radia said, and Obama is wrong when he says well-written regulation of the Internet will encourage investment and innovation.

“The Republicans have it right,” Radia said. “Obama says that, if the regulations are written well, that there could be more investment. But what this means is that there will be investment that goes in line with what government and the prevailing party thinks is right.”

Radia, who focuses on adapting law and public policy to the information age, said today's marketplace features a great deal of innovation and consumer choice, both in wireless and in wire line.

“The idea that we need these openness mandates — this forced openness — is something that has been pushed by a handful of so-called consumer groups that believe their preferences are not being matched in the market, and that they should use the hand of government to force these rules upon the private sector."

The problem with that, Radia said, is that there is evidence that consumers are being well-served today. “The fact that government is trying to step in and force openness on these companies at a time when consumers are embracing proprietary business models makes no sense,” he said.

See Video: Ryan Radia discusses ‘Net Neutrality’ and the Obama administration’s power grab - Click Here Now

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