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Power-hungry Congress and selfish Old/New Media joining forces to threaten potential for unprecedented free speech in future of news 5/10/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Copyright, Free speech, Net Neutrality.

In the history of Man, technology has not been kind to free speech. When the printing press was invented, governments recognized it as an unprecedented opportunity to control anti-government speech, and soon introduced prior restraint, licensing, and censorship. When broadcasting was invented, governments saw another opportunity to limit anti-government speech, and soon seized control of the electromagnetic spectrum, licensed frequencies, and made license renewals contingent upon meeting politically-driven criteria for “responsible programming.” So now we have the Internet – currently a bastion of free speech that not coincidentally remains blissfully outside the control of government. Who can we count on to fight to keep it that way – to avoid the past print/broadcast mistake of allowing the government to regulate free speech? Not Congress, which is itching to add the Internet as another plaything they can regulate. Not Old Media, which is demanding that the federal courts come to their rescue on copyright issues. Not New Media, not even the self-proclaimed, “do no evil” Google, which is selfishly inviting in government to regulate the pricing of the Internet under the nice-sounding, but dangerously-misguided Net Neutrality legislation. Citizens need a heroic advocate to defend their free speech. Someone who will fight to keep the government away from the Internet, preventing that first baby step of regulation in the name of “good government” that will undoubtedly lead to many more. Sadly, that someone is nowhere in sight.


1. Larry - 5/11/07

don’t even talk to me about GOOGLE after they caved into the Chinese.

But as to your central point, I will be watching for two things:

1. Will CONGRESS finally tax internet sales…something they are waiting to do once they get the go-ahead from the Bureaucrates (sp.) that there is a collection system in place.

2. Will there be a EU-style Brussels ‘government’ – i.e., multinational, cross-nations cooperative to try to ‘regulate’ the internet with ‘suggestions’ that turn into regulations.

Dare I say UN? Nope…I think it might form through existing free-trade agreements, or worse through cooperative efforts new developing to battle the global war on terrorism.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for security cooperation, but at some point those contacts and inter-country agreements may lead to internet control.

2. Steve Boriss - 5/11/07

Larry, The UN has already been trying to take over governance of the Internet, and they will not stop. At a summit in Tunisia in November 2005, they were thwarted by the US and a few other nations. The Clinton and Bush administrations both supported keeping the government’s hands off the Internet. Today, generally speaking, there is a modest amount of interest in government control among Democrats (although former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry continues to rally against it), and fairly weak opposition to government control by Republicans. So, no matter who wins the White House, the Internet is at risk.

3. Anonymous - 1/12/09

Please read http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/30/AR2005113002109_pf.html . It should help you understand the situation.

Network Neutrality is not a made-up cause to allow the government access to the Internet, and it wouldn’t have the support of the major Internet-based companies if it was.

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