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Senator John McCain has introduced Internet Freedom Act of 2009 as alternative to FCC regulations

Net neutrality is one of the top technology topics that President Obama has focused on for his first term and was one of his big topics while campaigning. Obama feels that the neutrality of the internet must be maintained, as does the FCC.

The FCC voted to begin drafting rules yesterday that would require ISPs to treat all web traffic the same. The proposed rules would prevent ISPs from blocking or slowing the bandwidth available to high demand traffic like streaming video or other applications that can strain networks. The proposed rules would allow ISPs to block illegal material like child pornography and spam.

Republican Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would block the FCCs proposal for regulating the neutrality of the Internet. The AFP reports that McCain said, "the Internet Freedom Act of 2009 [will keep the internet] free from government control and regulation."

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said, "reasonable and enforceable rules of the road [are needed] to preserve a free and open internet." Genachowski points out that these rules are needed because of "some significant situations where broadband providers have degraded the data streams of popular lawful services and blocked consumer access to lawful applications."

Naturally, companies that make their money from the internet are supporting the FCC's proposal. These companies include Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and several other internet firms. McCain calls the FCC's proposal "onerous federal regulation" and calls the proposed rules a "government takeover" of the internet.

ComptuerWorld also reports that McCain does not support including wireless broadband providers in the net neutrality rules saying, "[The wireless industry] exploded over the past 20 years due to limited government regulation."

McCain said of his Internet Freedom Act of 2009, "Today I'm pleased to introduce the Internet Freedom Act of 2009 that will keep the Internet free from government control and regulation. It will allow for continued innovation that will in turn create more high-paying jobs for the millions of Americans who are out of work or seeking new employment. Keeping businesses free from oppressive regulations is the best stimulus for the current economy."



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RE: What about us?
By munky on 10/24/2009 5:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
Did you miss the part where the Net Neutrality Act includes provisions to block certain content? No govt agency should have that ability.


RE: What about us?
By foolsgambit11 on 10/24/2009 8:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
First off, it's the ISPs who block the content. They are obliged to block certain illegal activities that happen on their watch. As an analogy, if your store is turned into a place where people openly deal drugs, the government would probably nab you for aiding and abetting. And if, like an ISP, you actually passed the drugs from the seller to the buyer, you'd be in way more trouble with the law.

I'm not saying there aren't logistical issues with implementation, etc., but the principle of the government not allowing a business to be associated with illegal activity is certainly sound, yes?

More on topic...

The problem is, while there's a strong argument that the free market would provide the best internet for the best value for consumers, McCain's bill doesn't ensure that there's actually a free market for internet providers. The free market works only when consumers have the ability to assert their interests in the marketplace, and with the local monopolies prevalent in many parts of the country, that just isn't possible. There are two solutions - the FCC's was to assert the consumers' interest by law. The opposite position would be to open up the local markets to consumer choice. Unfortunately, McCain's bill doesn't do that - it just maintains the status quo, and (to quote NPH) "the status is not quo." If the government isn't going to fight for the consumers' interests, it should at least stop fighting for business' interests.

Of course, breaking up local monopolies would require government action and corporate regulations - anathema to the Republican Party - as well. Probably something like the breakup of Ma Bell. So we won't be seeing any suggestions for that from McCain.

To broaden the scope, why can't the Republicans come up with a better platform than, "Things are working great, let's not change anything"? Because that seems to be their policy on most everything. Heaven forbid they proffer a complete, well thought out solution to the problems of everyday Americans to counter the Democrats in a meaningful and positive way.


RE: What about us?
By alphadog on 10/24/2009 11:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
While I appreciate the backup here, I think the regional monopoly issue is orthogonal to the higher-level concept that it would be to enshrine "freedom of internet" as a version of "freedom of speech".

We could create an environment that favors the breakup of regional monopolies, yet still have the same neutrality issue in that my ISP can slow or prevent YouTube for me, whereas it favors its own version of YouTube.


RE: What about us?
By alphadog on 10/24/2009 11:48:13 PM , Rating: 2
Precisely what kind of lawful content would be blocked and by which provisions?


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