The modest few “open internet” rules FCC Chairman Genachowski has suggested are so trivial that, like all good policy compromises, they have angered both the left and the right. The far more important issue is the legal framework under which the Commission will support net neutrality regulation.
The highly polarized debate over so-called net neutrality at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exposes serious philosophical differences about the appropriate role of government in managing technological change. Neither side is unfortunately free either from hyperbole or fear-mongering. And neither side is completely right.
In the aftermath of a devastating appellate loss for the FCC on network neutrality, the agency and Congress face a dizzying array of alternatives and options.
Western democracies are not immune from the Net regulation trend. In the name of the fight against child pornography or the theft of intellectual property, laws and decrees have been adopted, or are being deliberated, notably in Australia, France, Italy and Great Britain.
Friday’s decision by the Federal Communications Commission to cite Comcast for unlawful violation of “network neutrality” principles raises the serious question whether a government agency should be allowed to issue what it expressly terms a set of non-binding “principles” and then make an official finding of illegality when a company fails to follow those principles.