Net Neutrality, the notion that internet service providers ought to be neutral to the information their consumers receive, may still be regarded as the most important free speech issue of our time. But back in 2010 the word around Hollywood, California, was that the federal Orwellian double-speak crafted, Net Neutrality Regulations, promoted anything but neutrality.
Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski appears to have done a terrific job shining the shoes of the largest multinational corporations and financial trading companies by sending the "Net Neutrality" order, which he drafted for them in the first place, back and forth for review and change to their liking.
In other words, before making the new internet regulations law, the FCC had to make extra sure they were exactly what their corporate buddies required. And what the would-be masters of the universe appear to have required is legislation favoring just the opposite of Net Neutrality.
Regardless of the hype, the political rhetoric and the black and white language purporting to limit discrimination, the overall in-between-the-lines result of the regulations appear to have limited meaningful internet information to the middle class, denied it almost altogether to the poor, and dished it up first class to the centers of power, the multinational corporations, the enormous monopoly banks, and anyone else who falls within the top one percent of the world's monied elite.
There already exists an ongoing cover-up of the cyber war in which people, groups, regions, and even countries, are targeted to receive selected information, and/or gracefully blocked and/or diverted from receiving legitimate information, and channeled along the invisible roadways of least resistance, and the so called Net Neutrality regulations, while purporting to do the opposite, made that kind of social engineering easier.
But that wasn’t good enough for Verizon, and in a lawsuit built upon the perverse kind of logic that fostered the fallacious Citizen’s United decision, their lawyers complained that the notion of Net Neutrality violated the public’s free speech privileges under the First Amendment, essentially because corporations are people you know, who have the right of editorial discretion.
As Senator Al Franken said, “Imagine if Comcast customers couldn't watch Netflix, but were limited only to Comcast's Video On Demand service. Imagine if a cable news network could get its website to load faster on your computer than your favorite local political blog. Imagine if big corporations with their own agenda could decide who wins or loses online. The Internet as we know it would cease to exist. That's why net neutrality is the most important free speech issue of our time.”
Well, this past Tuesday the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia appears to have overruled the last salient vestige of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations, ruling that the FCC simply cannot require internet service providers to treat all traffic equally at all.
"…Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order,” they ruled. But they did in effect mention in the interest of Democracy that when service providers vertically integrate, expedite or block certain traffic they at least ought to disclose it.
After the ruling, the new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made a wonderful announcement. He said, “…I’m committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment. We will consider all available options, including those for appeal, to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression, and operate in the interest of all Americans."
All Americans… That sounds so good. Almost as good as the speeches of politicians and bureaucrats who repeatedly make reference to “…the American people”.