The FCC's Democrat majority voted on Thursday to fix something that ain't broken by approving new regulations for the Internet. Republicans are dissenting, darkly suggesting that the new rules in government hands are a threat.
The commission's chairman, Tom Wheeler, said the new rules will ensure net neutrality by barring Internet service providers like Comcast from charging companies like Netflix for priority data transmission. Considering that ISPs don't do this, and currently treat all data transmission equally, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, accused the FCC of trying to "fix something that is far from broken."
Here are 7 reasons why the FCC's new net neutrality rules could be a threat to your freedom.
1. The FCC's new rules are a heavy-handed government takeover of the Internet.
Under the new rules, broadband Internet is classified as a public utility for the first time ever. This gives the government wide control of private companies like Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable, reducing their incentives to invest in their respective networks. Without this investment, broadband technology will develop more slowly, and prices will be higher for consumers.
2. Net neutrality subsidizes large companies like Netflix and Facebook who don't need it.
In November, it was widely reported that Netflix alone accounts for over 35 percent of all Internet traffic in the US. If broadband providers were able to charge Netflix a small fee for the high volume of data they send, they could pass that money onto consumers in the form of lower monthly bills.
3. The new rules subvert democracy and the will of the people.
CBS News reported
that two in three Americans are opposed to the idea of government regulating the Internet. Other polls show that opposition to net neutrality is even higher.
4. The new regulations will stifle free speech.
Lee E. Goodman, former chairman and a current commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, told Newsmax TV
that a government takeover of the Internet will chill political speech.
"The government will regulate the content — and specifically the political content — that the American people can both post online to express their own political opinions, and the political content and information that people can access from the Internet," said Goodman, who was appointed to the FEC in 2013 by President Obama.
5. The rule-making process was corrupted by the White House.
President Obama and White House staffers used backchannel meetings to pressure chairman Wheeler into creating the strongest possible net neutrality rules over the more moderate approach he originally intended. In this way, the White House operated "like a parallel version of the FCC itself," The Wall Street Journal reported
6. The commission's vote wasn't transparent.
The new set of rules ushered in by Thursday's 3-2 vote were not provided to the public for comment. Ahead of the vote, one of the agency's five commissioners, Ajit Pai, tweeted a picture of the 317-page plan that he was barred from showing the public. Even after the vote, the rules will not be published publicly for many days.
7. The new rules will hurt the right to privacy, and further empower the federal government to spy on its citizens.
After Edward Snowden leaked the NSA's secret PRISM surveillance program in 2013, it became clear that the federal government is interested in snooping around in the private affairs of its citizens. Now that the federal government controls the web, its ability to spy will only increase.
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