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New America MacKinnon's Ridiculous Net Neutrality Revisionism -- Radical Fringe Series Part II

The latest strategic demonization of private enterprise by the radical information commons movement to promote net neutrality comes from Ms. Rebecca Mackinnon of the New America Foundation, who recently charged that private corporations have too much power over the Internet and effectively should be regulated as common carriers, when she previewed her upcoming book "The Consent of the Governed" at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, which was covered by the New York Times.

Ms. MacKinnon in her talk, employed a ridiculously bad and outrageous analogy that Internet users should fight against Internet companies' Internet tyranny like the barons in England fought King John's tyranny in 1215 by writing the Magna Carta.

  • Ms. MacKinnon charged: "The sovereigns [corporations]of the Internet are acting like they have a divine right to govern."
  • Obviously desperate to associate with, and legitimize her radical cause with the historical spark and bedrock event of today's freedom and democracy, the Magna Carta, Ms. MacKinnon trivializes the grand importance and relevance of the Magna Carta by misleading her audience that today's situation is somehow analogous -- when her analogy could not be further than the truth.

Consider how the 1215 Magna Carta baseline could not be less analogous with today's Internet baseline.

New Evidence Administration Support of Net Neutrality Fading

Media reports apparently missed the subtle, but important and telling political weakening since April of the Administration's official position in defense of the FCC's beleaguered Open Internet Order.

  • This relative official softening of the Administration's opposition to efforts to overturn the FCC's controversial net neutrality regulations means that it is more likely on the margin that:
    • This fall the Senate will pass a Resolution of Disapproval of the unpopular, and small-constituency-supported, FCC Open Internet Order, and
    • The President in the end, will not veto a bipartisan, bicameral rejection of unnecessary regulation of the Internet, which threatens the economic growth and job creation, and which has miniscule voter support.

Bottom-line the Administration officially signaled, albeit cryptically, that it would not veto the House appropriation bill that funds the FCC, among other agencies, specifically over the Congressional prohibition of the FCC spending money on implementing the FCC Open Internet Order.

My Forbes Op-ed: "Google's Deceptive Practices Harm Consumers"

To see the first free-market legal argument explaining how Google's market behavior systematically harms consumers under antitrust law, read my Forbes op-ed: "Google's Deceptive Practices Harm Consumers."

  • This is important because Google and its defenders believe the benefits Google provides consumers are the bedrock of a winning antitrust defense.

Few have grasped the huge significance that it is the FTC (with its unique supplemental Section 5 authority) and not the DOJ, that is investigating Google for antitrust.

Most also have missed how vulnerable Google is to the charge that many of its marketing practices are illegal deceptive misrepresentations of its business.

My Forbes op-ed link is here.

Pro-regulation FreePress' Fact-Challenged Opposition to AT&T/T-Mobile

FreePress' radical anti-business, anti-capitalism politics lead it to make up or contort facts and analogies in order to promote its world view of a publicly-owned and regulated Internet commons.

In FreePress' latest opposition to the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, FreePress continues to nonsensically analogize this merger with the Ma Bell monopoly.

 

Announcing My New Book: Search & Destroy Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

I've long thought there was a big untold story about Google, essentially a book all about Google, but told from a user's perspective, rather than the well-worn path of Google books told largely from Google's own paternal perspective.

 

 

 

Given that Google is the most ubiquitous, powerful and disruptive company in the world, it seemed logical to me that users, and people affected by Google, had a lot of important and fundamental questions about Google that no book had ever tried to answer in a straightforward and well-defended manner.

The Net Neutrality Accountability Gauntlet

The House's rejection of the FCC's December Open Internet order 240-179 is just the latest in an ongoing high-profile accountability gauntlet for the FCC's unauthorized, unwarranted and unjustified net neutrality rules.

 

  • While the wheels of democracy, public accountability, and the rule of law can turn slowly, they do turn steadily.
  • And from what we have seen so far, the FCC's out-of-the-mainstream, over-reach effort to regulate the Internet for the first time, has been pummeled in our Government's accountability process gauntlet to date, and it can be expected to continue to be pummeled going forward.

 

The Net Neutrality Accountability Gauntlet:

     

     

    First, the President's January Executive Order, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review" to seek the "least burdensome" regulations, was a big post-mid-term election political pivot by the Administration to be more sensitive to business, economic growth and job creation concerns.

     

    • Through the new lens of the President's Executive Order, the FCC's pre-mid-term-election-mindset net neutrality rule making has been viewed as badly out-of-focus with the renewed bipartisan interest in economic growth and job creation.

     

    FCC's Net Regs in Conflict with President's Pledges

    The FCC's Open Internet order should be ripe for review and "fixing" given President Obama's pledge in his SOTU speech last night:

    • "To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on business, we will fix them."

    Clearly the FCC's preemptive bans, restrictions and economic/price regulation of competitive broadband providers based on scant and weak evidence of any real problem to solve, obviously place "an unnecessary burden on business" and the Administration should "fix them."

    As I explained in my previous detailed post: "Why FCC's Net Regs Need Administration/Congressional Regulatory Review," the FCC's Open Internet order violates the President's pledge for regulations to:

    Why FCC's Net Regs Need Administration/Congressional Regulatory Review

    To promote "America's free market," President Obama today ordered a government-wide review of regulations that "make our economy less competitive," in order to take us "toward a 21st century regulatory system."

    Here is the case for why the FCC's December Open Internet order deserves to be atop of the Administration's regulations to review for abolition.

     

     

    First, the FCC's new Internet regulations violate the President's goal of a "21st century regulatory system" by applying "outdated" 19th century common carrier regulatory thinking and approaches to the previously un-regulated, and flourishing 21st century Internet. (Para 68)

    Second, the FCC rules violate the President's goal of avoiding "excessive, inconsistent, and redundant regulation."

     

    10 Questions for Google's Tax Dodge

    Top Ten: 

    We learned today that Google has the lowest foreign tax rate of the top five U.S. tech companies, an eyebrow-raising 2.4%, and that Google "cut its taxes by $3.1b in the last three years using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda," per an outstanding investigative expose by Jesse Drucker of Bloomberg.

    This exceptional tax dodging feat, while reportedly technically legal, nonetheless raises some important questions that no one has yet asked Google.

     

    Google Price Index: Insider Trading & Market Failure?

    Google announced it is working on an economy-wide Google Price Index, but has not decided whether to make it public, per Google Chief Economist, Hal Varian, who spoke at the National Association of Business Economists conference this week.

     

    • This development has under-appreciated implications for insider trading and also spotlights how Google's online dominance of market-relevant information suggests market failure and a new potential systemic vulnerability to the integrity of global capital markets.

     

    I.  Insider Trading

    In March, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: "One day we had a conversation where we figured out we could just try and predict the stock market... and then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."

    Now any hedge fund (or market regulator not born yesterday) understands that if Google is actively working on a Google Price Index, Google has not stopped trying to use its uniquely comprehensive and timely, repository of sensitive market information to predict information highly useful to predicting the stock market.

     

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    Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths