Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Ajit Pai has made public his opposition to the federal government takeover of the internet dubbed “Net Neutrality.” Pai stated that in the foreseeable future, federal regulators “will seek to regulate websites based on political content, using the powers of the FCC or the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Pai spoke on a panel at this past weekend’s annual “Right Online” conference in Washington, DC where he revealed his opposition to these new “regulations” had resulted in personal harassment and threats to his family and himself.
According to Pai, his home address, wife’s name, kid’s names, as well as birthdays and his phone number have been “leaked” resulting in numerous threats that have come online.
The new FCC “rules” passed by the agency in February are slated to take effect on June 12 of this year. These new “rules” reclassify the internet provider as a utility and “command them not to block or ‘throttle’ online traffic.” It’s only the beginning, according to Pai. He predicted these new rules could “migrate” to directing content, not just the “road over which the traffic flows, but the traffic itself.”
Pai stated, “It is conceivable to me to see the government saying, ‘We think the Drudge Report is having a disproportionate effect on our political discourse. He doesn’t have to file anything with the FEC. The FCC doesn’t have the ability to regulate anything he says, and we want to start tamping down on websites like that.'”
Many individuals, who are strong proponents of the First Amendment, saw the “takeover” by the government regarding the internet as a roundabout way to silence political dissonance in the future by restricting access to content on alternative media sites. With all the other freedoms the government has been stepping on and the executive orders giving the “president” control over every conceivable resource in America, the silencing of political speech and airing of the corruption in DC would be the final step in “herding” the citizenry to go along with the government by only allowing citizens to partake of the propaganda through the “government” main stream media. The internet is a marvelous tool for the free exchange of ideas, networking in all areas, and the ability to receive and send information and news quickly. This is a danger to a government that is bent toward despotism and tyranny.
Pai, along with former FEC chairman Lee Goodman, co-authored an editorial that warned of agencies that would seek to regulate online content. Their opinion boiled down to this – “Internet regulation isn’t the solution to a problem. Internet regulation is the problem.” In their editorial, Pai and Goodman pointed to a case that came before the FEC involving videos post to YouTube.
The group, Checks and Balances for Economic Growth, posted two videos during the 2012 election cycle; one focused on the presidential race and the other the Ohio Senate race. A complaint was filed by the group CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) against Check and Balances for failing to disclose the production costs of the two videos. FEC rules adopted in May of 2006 exempted such communication on the internet from federal oversight. However, the FEC’s three Democratic members voted to disregard the commission rules by trying to take action involving the internet in certain cases, particularly this one.
Pai stated at the conference:
Is it unthinkable that some government agency would say the marketplace of ideas is too fraught with dissonance? That everything from the Drudge Report to Fox News … is playing unfairly in the online political speech sandbox? I don’t think so.
The First Amendment means not just the cold parchment that’s in the Constitution. It’s an ongoing cultural commitment and I sense that among a substantial number of Americans and a disturbing number of regulators here in Washington that online speech is [considered] a dangerous brave new world that needs to be regulated.
Many would agree with Pai’s sentiments. Some in Washington would love to shut down certain YouTube channels, online political websites, certain Facebook pages, and regulate the content of publications, such as this one, under regulations of “net neutrality” without calling it infringement on freedom of speech. It’s a way of controlling the people through manipulation, allowing them only to see what is “acceptable” by government. It is reminiscent of the Soviet propaganda machine.
It is also a way to silence political dissidents through sanctions, fines or imprisonment for violation of regulations. It works; ask anyone who lived in the old Soviet Union. How many political prisoners did they send off to the dreaded Siberia or even killed for their political opposing opinions?
Let’s not forget the money either. With the classification of internet providers as “utilities,” the FCC can assess a Universal Service Fund “tax” to everyone’s internet bill thereby generating more revenue. In fact, Pai stated the USF has grown exponentially over the years and now stands at $12 billion annually. It is so large that the FCC has requested to transfer $25 million of that money to its own budget in order to “administer” the fund. According to Pai, the USF tax “is 67 percent higher than it was in 2009.”
Congress has proposed limiting the cap of the USF to $9 billion; however, proposals to expand certain programs funded by the USF could cause that number to be insufficient. USF currently funds the “Obama phone” program called Lifeline and the E-rate program that subsidizes broadband internet access for schools and libraries. Lifeline is a program riddled with massive fraud with individuals selling their phones for other items, like purses. Schools and libraries should be funding their own broadband internet access instead of using government subsidies.
Pai stated that the FCC should do more with less. He stated the FCC is less busy now that it was in 1996, but wants more money. He contended that the FCC could operate with the money they have now, probably less. However, the FCC will need those additional funds to become the “online Gestapo” for the political ruling class.
Have citizens of this nation not been witness to the limiting of speech as certain types of speech supposedly “incite violence?” It’s normally called “hate” speech. It was not that long ago the government thugs visited a town in Tennessee to inform the residents there that negative speech against Islam is prohibited. Are we so naive to believe that responsibility for violence rests in speech and not with the person choosing to perpetrate violence?
In this day and age, when lies are held as truth and truth as lies, it isn’t a far stretch to imagine the federal government “limiting” truth in favor of lies through its agency that has gained control of the internet. One has to recognize that Ajit Pai is on the right track or he would not be receiving threats and being harassed. The way this administration operates, it would not be surprising to find out that the threats are coming from some individuals in government.
Despite all the outcries against “net neutrality,” the government has now obtained authority over the internet. It’s done. What comes next is the ever encroaching crack down on content unless this tyrannical, despotic government no longer masquerading as a constitutional republic, can be thwarted and freedoms restored.
Remember that Lay’s potato chip commercial – “No one can eat just one”? Well, that’s the US federal government when it comes to taking away freedom and liberty as it exists today. Once they were able to encroach on one freedom, they became addicted and now can’t stop.