Tea Party Republicans sketch out Internet policy

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the son of libertarian Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, visited the conservative Heritage Foundation on Thursday to sketch out his agenda for preserving Internet freedom. In Paul’s view, this means opposing warrantless government snooping of private networks—and also opposing regulations intended to protect privacy and network neutrality.

The event follows last month’s announcement of a new “Internet freedom” initiative by the Campaign for Liberty, an activist group founded by the elder Paul. It appears that father and son see eye to eye on Internet issues, and the younger Paul used the Heritage event as an opportunity to explain his views.

Sen. Paul began by referencing Gordon Crovitz’s recent column in the Wall Street Journal, questioning whether the government launched the Internet. We’ve pointed out that Crovitz’s column was factually challenged; Paul offered a more nuanced version of the argument.

“It may not be completely simple but it’s definitely not as simple as that the government invented it,” he said. “When you say stuff like, ‘Oh, the government invented the Internet,’ it sort of demeans the process of the individuals who were involved.”

For example, “There was Vinton Cerf. There was Tim Berners-Lee. There were individuals. But it wasn’t the faceless government that invented the Internet. It was individuals. Even if some of them did work for government, the mind of the individual is what should be extolled, not some faceless bureaucracy.”

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