Contact FreedomWorks

400 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 765
Washington, DC 20001

  • Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
  • Local 202.783.3870

Blog

The Internet: 5 People to Decide Its Future!

02/12/2015

Personal Freedom and Prosperity 110: The Rule of Law

A government with moral and legal authority promulgates written rules and universally, impartially and uniformly enforces the rules, which provides a predictable and stable legal order on which to base economic and personal decisions. The law prevails, not the proclamation or arbitrary decision of a ruler, government bureaucrat, the enforcer (e.g., policeman) or judge.

The Internet: 5 People to Decide It's Future!

Our Constitution delegates to Congress the power to make the laws. Our President has the power to veto a law passed by the Senate and the House. Once a law is enacted, it is the duty of the President and his administration to faithfully implement the law. For years, the big debate has been over what laws should govern the Internet. What laws would control companies like Google, Verizon, Facebook, Comcast as well as individual users...if any?

Appointed by President Obama, Tom Wheeler is the chair of the Federal Communications Commission, and is one of the five, FCC voting members. In November, Mr. Obama publicly prodded the FCC to declare the Internet a public utility and to impose regulations. In accord with the President’s request, Mr. Wheeler reversed his previous decision to not regulate the Internet. Presently, Wheeler and two other members of the FCC intend to make rules impacting every American.

“.. almost all websites and apps would be subject to regulation,”

opines L. Gordon Crovitz of the Wall Street Journal after reviewing previous Supreme Court decisions dealing with public utilities.

Absolutely un-American! Violating the legislative process of the Constitution, the proposed FCC rules will be voted on before they are fully revealed to the American people, which is typical for this administration. Mr. Wheeler arrogantly told The Verge, "You'll notice that I have not addressed any of the specifics." Wheeler continued to temper his remarks by saying, "You have to wait until February to see the specifics."

The FCC is leaking some of provisions, however. According to the Washington Post, these are some of the gigantic power grabs of the FCC:

• Broadband providers would be explicitly banned from blocking content or creating fast lanes for Web services that can pay for preferential treatment into American homes.

• In addition to covering fixed broadband providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the draft rules would cover wireless providers such as T-Mobile and Sprint.

• The rules would also make speeding up or slowing down Web traffic — a tactic known as prioritization — illegal. And it would ban the blocking of Web traffic outright.

• The draft rules seek to impose a modified version of Title II, which was originally written to regulate telephone companies. It will waive a number of provisions, including parts of the law that empower the FCC to set retail prices — something Internet providers fear above all.

• … the draft rules will also keep other parts of Title II that allow the FCC to enforce consumer privacy rules, extract funds from Internet providers to help subsidize services for rural Americans, educators and the poor.

• … make sure services such as Google Fiber can build new broadband pipes more easily, according to people familiar with the plan.

• Internet providers won't be asked to contribute to the subsidy fund, known as Universal Service, right away. The draft rules merely open the door to that obligation down the road should the FCC determine that step is necessary.

These enormous and complicated decisions are for Congress - not three political appointees. Americans must be made aware of the issues and the potential consequences of three people's decisions. It is crucial we have an open debate, which allows our citizens to communicate with their Senators and Members of Congress. Three, politically selected members of the FCC should never replace the due process of the Constitution.

Less than a year ago, Wheeler claimed the FCC did not have the authority from Congress to make these decisions. Then, President Obama asked him to change his mind. Thus, on February 26, without revealing the proposed rules, five members will say yay or nay to very important, complex and competing issues concerning the Internet. If a majority vote in favor of the proposed rules happens, years of court battles will follow as will uncertainty – ala ObamaCare. This would be a terrible violation of our constitutional delegation of powers and the Rule of Law.