Drudge, Fox News could be censored under new federal rules, experts warn

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    A Washington, D.C., appeals court is set to hear arguments later this year on new net neutrality rules, which critics say could lead to government regulators censoring websites such as the Drudge Report and Fox News.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments against the Federal Communications Commission's rules on Dec. 4. A panoply of amicus briefs filed with the court last week offer a preview of the arguments.

    In its February vote on net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission stated that broadband providers do not have a right to free speech. "Broadband providers are conduits, not speakers … the rules we adopt today are tailored to the important government interest in maintaining an open Internet as a platform for expression," the majority held in its 3-2 vote.

    The rules, which went into effect in June, require that broadband providers — such as Verizon or Comcast — offer access to all legal online content. It did not place such a requirement on "edge providers," such as Netflix and Google. The FCC defines edge providers as "any individual or entity that provides any content, application, or service over the Internet, and any individual or entity that provides a device used for accessing any content, application, or service over the Internet."


    Writing in separate briefs, former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth and the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology argues that the rules violate the First Amendment right of Internet providers to display the speech they choose.

    "If rules such as these are not reviewed under the most rigorous scrutiny possible, government favoritism and censorship masquerading as 'neutrality' will soon cascade to other forms of mass communication," the center argues.


    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/drudge-fox-news-could-be-censored-under-new-rules/article/2570147
     
  2. Don

    Don
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    I'm confused. How is requiring internet providers to display all legal content going to keep Drudge or Fox from being available?

    Whereas, if internet providers are allowed to display the speech they choose, what's to keep them from choosing not to make Drudge and Fox available?
     
  3. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Further in the article it was said:


    ""If the court upholds the FCC's rules, the agency's authority over the Internet would extend from one end to the other," Fred Campbell, president of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, told the Washington Examiner. "Because the same theories the FCC relied on to impose its new regulations on Internet service providers are also applicable to companies like Apple and Netflix, the FCC could extend its regulatory reach much further in the future."



    Specifically, Campbell said, the FCC will likely try to control political speech.

    "This possibility raises the risk that Congress or the FCC could impose restrictions on Internet video and other services that have traditionally been imposed on over the air broadcasting and cable television, including the fairness doctrine that once put the government in charge of determining whether broadcasters were fairly representing both sides of an issue," he explained.

    FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who voted against the net neutrality rules, has said such restrictions may be coming if net neutrality is allowed to stand, warning in March that online political content like the Drudge Report could face greater regulation."
     
  4. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Recent congressional hearings held in the wake of the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) net neutrality ruling provide a glimpse into what is so deeply wrong with this regulation, and why so many activist groups were behind it.

    It's an aspect of this matter of which you were perhaps unaware while the FCC was considering its regulatory strategy. Perhaps you thought net neutrality meant what was said of it: that it was intended to prevent the blocking or throttling of websites, or of "paid prioritization."
    Silly you. Actually, those were the interests of those companies — like Google and Netflix — that saw in governmental sway over the Internet commercial benefits for themselves. But what about those groups and individuals who had political or ideological interests, and who played such outsized roles in the deal?

    You know, groups like Free Press, Media Matters, Public Knowledge and New America's Open Technology Institute? Or what about the large grant-giving foundations, like Ford, MacArthur, Knight and George Soros's Open Society Institute that, in addition to munificently funding third-party net neutrality activists, directly lobbied the FCC themselves?

    It should now be clear, even to those who weren't paying attention earlier, that the primary interest these groups had, and have, in net neutrality is their desire to insinuate government in the regulation of speech on the Internet.

    Consider, for instance, the comments of the policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute, as made in a piece published by The Hill just after the conclusion of House Judiciary Committee hearings on March 25:

    Net neutrality is a pro-competition ideal, but competition alone cannot fully protect the values of Internet openness and freedom. A net neutrality regime that relies solely on antitrust analysis would be narrowly focused on pricing harms, such as those found in cartels and monopolies. Such a legal theory may prevent some paid prioritization schemes, but it cannot address the non-economic goals of net neutrality such as free speech, political participation and viewpoint diversity. [Emphasis added.]

    Similarly, and as reported in an article in National Journal, "Rep. John Conyers [Mich.], the panel's top Democrat, argued that antitrust laws fail to address the 'non-economic goals of net neutrality, including the promotion of innovation and the protection of free speech and political debate.'"

    Never mind for a minute that the FCC has no such mandate, and that were it to attempt to assert one (as it inevitably will), it would run headlong into First Amendment challenges based on the widely understood notion that government may not play such a role




    http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology/238042-is-this-what-net-neutrality-is-really-about
     

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