By Brendan Sasso. The U.S. government’s plan to enact strong net neutrality regulations could embolden authoritarian regimes like China and Russia to seize more power over the Internet through the United Nations, a key Senate Republican warned Wednesday.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune of South Dakota argued that by claiming more authority over Internet access for net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission will undermine the ability of the U.S. to push back against international plots to control the Internet and censor content.
Countries like Russia already have made it clear that they want the International Telecommunications Union or another United Nations body to have more power over the Internet, Thune said.
“It seems like reclassifying broadband, as the administration is doing, is losing a valuable argument,” Thune said at his panel’s hearing on Internet governance. “How do you prevent ITU involvement when you’re pushing to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and is everyone aware of that inherent contradiction?”
On Thursday, the FCC is set to vote on net neutrality regulations that would declare Internet access a “telecommunications service” under Title II. Advocates, including President Obama, argue that the move is the only way the FCC can enact rules that will hold up to legal challenges in court. The rules aim to prevent Internet providers from acting as “gatekeepers” and controlling what content users can access online. (Read more about the net neutrality plan HERE)
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a “Solution That Won’t Work to a Problem That Doesn’t Exist”
By Nick Gillespie & Todd Krainin. Net Neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist,” says Ajit Pai, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Pai is an oustpoken opponent of expanding government control of the internet, including FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under the same Title II rules that are used to govern telephone-service providers as public utilities. Under current FCC regulations, ISPs are considered providers of “information services” and subject to essentially no federal regulation.
He is also sharply critical of President Barack Obama’s very public push to influence policy at the FCC, which is technically an independent agency. Last year, it was widely believed that Wheeler, a former head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, would not push for Title II. Pai calls the president’s actions—which included “creating a YouTube video of with very specific prescriptions as to what this agency should do”—unprecedented in his experience. Coupled with the fact that “the agency suddenly chang[ed]course from where it was to mimic the president’s plan,” says Pai, “suggests that the independence of the agency has been compromised to some extent.”
The FCC is scheduled to vote Thursday, February 26 on Wheeler’s plan. (Read more from this story HERE)
Soros, Ford shovel $196 million to ‘net neutrality’ groups, staff to White House
By Paul Bedard. Liberal philanthropist George Soros and the Ford Foundation have lavished groups supporting the administration’s “net neutrality” agenda, donating $196 million and landing proponents on the White House staff, according to a new report.
And now, as the Federal Communications Commission nears approving a type of government control over the Internet, the groups are poised to declare victory in the years-long fight, according to the report from MRC Business, an arm of the conservative media watchdog, the Media Research Center.
“The Ford Foundation, which claims to be the second-largest private foundation in the U.S., and Open Society Foundations, founded by far-left billionaire George Soros, have given more than $196 million to pro-net neutrality groups between 2000 and 2013,” said the report, authored by Media Research Center’s Joseph Rossell, and provided to Secrets.
These left-wing groups not only impacted the public debate and funded top liberal think tanks from the Center for American Progress to Free Press. They also have direct ties to the White House and regulatory agencies. At least five individuals from these groups have ascended to key positions at the White House and FCC,” said the report which included funding details to pro-net neutrality advocates. (Read more from this story HERE)