Tags: Net Neutrality | FEC | proposal | regulate | Internet | online | political

FEC Drops Proposal to Regulate Online Political Content

By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 06:08 PM

The Federal Election Commission has dropped a proposal that contained discussion about regulating political chatter and activity on the Internet.

According to the Washington Examiner, Democrats on the FEC said public demands — 5,000 of them — to keep the commission out of the Internet forced them to drop the proposal and instead issue a plan that would make it illegal for the FEC to get involved with the Internet.

"I wanted to make clear that I was listening to what people are saying out there and I think we should allay those concerns if people are concerned that we are about to do that," said Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, reports the Examiner. "I further move that the commission direct [counsel] to exclude from the rulemaking any proposal affecting political activity on the Internet."

Republican members of the commission were worried the proposal would target conservative-leaning websites like the Drudge Report.

"Two strong messages that came in," Weintraub said. "There was a strong message that we not regulate the Internet and there was an even stronger message in terms of number of people who bother to comment, who said do something about disclosure."

The vote on Weintraub's proposal to keep the FEC's hands off the Internet got snarled in a 3-3 tie, but Democrats, according to the Examiner, seemed resolved to end their attempt at controlling what goes online.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Ajit Pai said earlier this month that he could see the government eventually regulating political content online.

"It is conceivable to me to see the government saying, 'We think the Drudge Report is having a disproportionate effect on our political discourse. He doesn't have to file anything with the FEC. The FCC doesn't have the ability to regulate anything he says, and we want to start tamping down on websites like that,'" Pai said.

In February, the FCC took the first step in controlling the Internet by approving net neutrality. Under the new rules, the FCC reclassified Internet service as a Title II telecommunications service, which legally puts it in the same bucket as a utility.

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The Federal Election Commission has dropped a proposal that contained discussion about regulating political chatter and activity on the Internet.
FEC, proposal, regulate, Internet, online, political, content, dropped
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2015-08-21
Thursday, 21 May 2015 06:08 PM
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