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Originally published February 28 2015

Unelected federal bureaucrats approve government takeover of the Internet

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) The Obama Administration could not build a functional health insurance exchange website despite spending a mind-boggling $2.1 billion of taxpayer money, but now feels it is capable of essentially managing the entire Internet.

On February 26, a small group of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats -- three, to be exact -- voted to give the federal government the instant authority to reclassify the Internet from a free, uninhibited mode of communication and commerce into a "public utility" the same as your old phone company, so it can now be "better regulated" -- and all under the phony guise of making everything more "fair." Now, when Comcast or Verizon provide services to your home, they will have to do so "in the public interest," whatever that means.

In a partisan move, the Federal Communications Commission's two Democrat members and its Democrat chairman voted to approve the new reclassification and associated rules over the objections of the panel's two Republican members. As Fox News and other media reported, the rules remained secret right up to the vote, though one member, Republican Ajit Pai, tried to sound the alarm about the bogus nature of the plan -- and against FCC panel rules -- in the days before the vote.

Nothing is broken

In an interview with Reason magazine online, Pai called the so-called "Net Neutrality" rules a "solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist."

"Nowhere in the 332-page document that I've received will anyone find the FCC detailing any kind of systemic harm to consumers, and it seems to me that should be the predicate for certainly any kind of preemptive regulation--some kind of systemic problem that requires an industry-wide solution," Pai said. "That simply isn't here."

A report by Investor's Business Daily noted that the FCC has been down this road before, and has been slapped by the federal court which hears regulatory cases:

Neutrality rules have barred ISPs from blocking or purposely slowing down Internet traffic. But a Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals ruling in January 2014 gutted much of the FCC's authority.

It's not clear how the court would view the new rules, but what is certain is that the big telecoms are sure to challenge them.

Still, the public remains largely unaware of the scope of the new rules and just what Net Neutrality is. As some media have reported, grassroots support is high, but that's odd because, as Ars Technica pointed out, with the exception of the FCC commissioners, no one knows what the rules actually say.

"The full net neutrality order has not been published yet," the website noted.

"A solution that won't work"

There is also substantial criticism over the issue of President Obama interfering with the function of what is supposed to be an independent commission.

"Let me start by issuing apologies. First, I am just sick about what Chairman Wheeler was forced to go through during this process. It was disgraceful to have the Administration overtake the commission's rulemaking process and dictate an outcome for pure political purposes," wrote Republican Commissioner Michael O'Rielly, in a dissent.

"It is so disturbing to know that those efforts were about illegitimately pushing a larger political cause mostly unrelated to technology. This administration went so far beyond what has ever been attempted, and its inappropriate interference in the commission's activities will forever change this institution," O'Rielly added.

Both of the Republican commissioners have predicted that the new Net Neutrality rules, which are scheduled to take effect in 60 days barring a legal challenge, will fail to accomplish what the administration and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler say they will do.

"What doesn't make sense, and has never made sense, is to take a regulatory framework developed for Ma Bell in the 1930s and make her great grandchildren, with technologies and options undreamed of eighty years ago, live under it," Jim Cicconi, AT&T's senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, told USA Today in a statement.


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