Enjoying the benefits of ICT and the Information Age requires us to adopt new models of regulation that are fit for the task. For this to happen, we’ll need to stop demonizing every new invention for the sake of eyeballs, audience, and ad revenues.
The Obama FCC admitted that it could not find the sweet spot. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, former Chairman Wheeler simply claimed regulatory authority to sanction firms for behaviors he could not anticipate. Rather than creating bright line rules, Wheeler raised his voice and issued threats. Angry threats have subsequently become the preferred way to regulate not only the Internet but its regulators as well. This is not productive, but it’s the road chosen by many.
There is ample evidence that the FCC gave proper consideration to the useful and relevant legal, economic, and technical comments offered in the proceeding. The fact that John Oliver’s audience is angry isn’t relevant, and it’s not even news.
These tools enable one activist to look to the Internet like a whole crowd. It also enables activists to look like they vote in districts where they don’t live and to make phone calls to Congress that look like they come from constituents when they don’t. This is a corruption of our democracy.
Changing ISPs from their historic status to Title II is a move the FCC can’t make without Congressional authorization. This is especially true given the 1996 Telecommunications Act clearly declares ISPs to be information services. There is no clue in the ’96 Act that substituting dial-up for broadband changes the nature of ISP service.
Their problem in the long tail of pirates, scammers, and amateurs who impose costs on the platform but don’t generate revenue. That’s a business model issue that should concern Alphabet. It’s not an excuse for making artists pay for YouTube’s content-related costs out of their own pockets to support piracy.
We should never stop making the Internet better. It takes an almost religious zeal to insist that there’s anything wrong with the subtle improvement represented by this video.
And it takes a very unrealistic theory of economics to maintain that there is any rationale for placing arbitrary limits on where the payment for such enhancements comes from. It’s our Internet and we should be able to use it in any lawful way we want.