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Freedom of Speech

FreePress: The Gutter's Beacon

Unfortunately FreePress long ago chose to be the gutter's beacon of low-road politics and not a shining beacon of high-road politics to emulate.

FreePress was unfortunately disingenuous in its Hill op-ed today, in saying "When is comes to Internet freedom, the United States of America can be a beacon to the rest of the world. But we must start at home."

If FreePress was genuine in believing that it is truly important to have a shining beacon of positive example for others to follow... why does FreePress not lead by example itself, and let its behavior and tactics in public discourse be a positive beacon for everyone else to follow?

It is tragic and ironic that right after FreePress said its high-minded rhetoric of being "a beacon to the world," FreePress immediately dove into the gutter and proceeded to try and assasinate the character of an honorable thoughtful professional, Andrew Keen, exercising his free speech rights that FreePress claims to support, and demonize companies that also are standing up for their own consitutional rights of free speech and freedom from seizure of their property without just compensation. (Andrew Keen's book "Cult of the Amateur" is an Internet classic and a must-read, and was a strong precursor of the Internet's dark side way before anyone else connected the dots.)   

Must-read Op-ed by Andrew Keen "Internet Freedoms and Internet Radicals

Please don't miss Andrew Keen's outstanding and dead-on-point op-ed in The Hill: "Internet Freedoms and Internet Radicals.

Mr. Keen brilliantly proves how radical and out of the mainstream FreePress' and Public Knowledge's views are in calling for radical, preemptive, and draconian regulation of competitive broadband companies that have long supported, and operate under, the high-consensus voluntary principles of net neutrality. 

FreePress has one  trick, demonization. Like anything else that is overused, abused, and not true -- it loses credibility and only reflects badly on those practicing it. 

Read May's Great Op-ed: "Voiding the Constitution"

Kudos to Randy May of the Free State Foundation for his outstanding op-ed in the Washington Times today: "Voiding the Constitution: FCC rules could counter free speech."

  • Randy's must read piece explains why net neutrality rules would perversely accomplish the exact opposite of what net neutrality proponents claim.

At core net neutrality proponents are trying to advance the preposterous notion that competitive broadband companies, the biggest enablers of free speech in the country, are somehow more of a threat to Americans' free speech than the Federal Government, which, unlike broadband companies, has extensive potential coercive power to limit free speech, if not for the constraint of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.    

 

 

 

 

 

First Amendment 2.0 Ratified by 3 FCC Commissioners? The Principle-less-ness of Net Neutrality

The foundation of American Democracy for over 200 years has been respect for the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. The advent of the mainstream Internet in the 1990's created a new and exceptional medium for free expression, much as telephone, radio, movies, TV, faxes, dial-up, email, texting, etc. have created new technological mediums for free expression.

  • The argument that the Government must regulate broadband providers in order to preserve 200 year-old First Amendment rights is disingenuous, duplicitous, and dystopian.  

Current justifications for new net neutrality regulations to implement a "21st Century First Amendment" via three votes by un-elected FCC commissioners as net neutrality proponents like Marvin Ammori advocate, could not be a more radical assault on America's real institutions of democracy. 

 If net neutrality supporters really cared about   advancing American Constitutional Democracy, they would respect that the U.S. Constitution is designed to prevent Government tyranny of the people by creating powerful institutional checks and balances, a Bill of Rights, and definitive processes to change laws or amend the Constitution.

PFF's Esbin debunks net neutrality assertions

I strongly recommend Barbara Esbin's excellent PFF white paper that systematically debunks many of the core assertions of net neutrality proponents. 

Barbara's clarity of thought, and her reasonable and well documented analysis proves that so many assertions of supposed "fact" made by net neutrality proponents simply can not withstand close scrutiny.

  

 

 

 

 

More evidence Google's not neutral... and seeks to be the supreme arbiter of "truth" on the Internet

Google again has blocked search advertising that promotes political views that Google does not share.

  • On the morning of the FCC's net neutrality vote last week, Bret Glass of ExtremeTech.com tried to advertise his white paper, that advocated a light regulatory touch, on Google Adwords only to find that Google blocked his ad as not meeting their "guidelines." (See Mr. Glass' full recounting of this non-neutral content blocking incident at the end of this post.) 
    • This is not the first time Google has blocked content that did not comport with Google's political/policy agenda. For example, Google blocked anti-Moveon.org ads proposed by a U.S. Senator's campaign.

The "relevance" of this evidence of net neutrality violations by Google, to the FCC's just-proposed net neutrality regulations, is that the FCC's clearly stated purposes are: to prevent companies with market power from infringing on free speech and to ensure that those with market power are transparent about their market practices that affect the free flow of information. 

Why FCC proposed net neutrality regs are unconstitutional -- See my NPR Online op-ed

My NPR Online op-ed: "Net Neutrality Regulations Compromise Freedoms" makes the case why the FCC Chairman's proposed net neutrality regulations are likely unconstitutional in multiple dimensions. 

If you like the op-ed please click on the "Recommend" check button above the title or at the end of the piece, that is in the link below, because that will keep the op-ed posted longer than otherwise.

My proposed title, which was supplanted for space concerns, was: "Taking Freedom From Some Takes Freedom From All."

  • Below is the text of my NPR Online op-ed.

 

"Net Neutrality Regulations Compromise Freedoms

September 29, 2009

Does collective intelligence have limits?

A tip of the hat to Andrew Orlowski of the Register for connecting some important dots others did not in his piece "Google cranks up the consensus machine."

  • Andrew noted the exceptionally important precursor that Google's Marissa Meyer indicated in a Techcrunch interview that, going forward, Google would cross it's neutral search line and begin editing search results produced by its currently human-intervention-free algorithm.

This is a big deal because Google has long preached that much of the value and relevance of Google's searches is that the search algorithm is fully automated and thus objective and not biased by human input.

Andrew is wise to ask what standards Google will employ in deciding which search results to effectively censor and which search results to vault to the top of the first page? And will they share them with us or will they be opaque like the advertising Quality variable? 

  • It is important to know what the standards will be because this is a very slippery slope with far reaching implications.

It will also be interesting to see if the guardians of free speech on the Internet also connect the dots that the heretofore "neutral" barrier is being breached for the Internet's dominant gateway to the world's information.

Lots to think about -- if this is indeed a paradigm shift for the Web 2.0 movement.

PFF's Thierer debunks net neutrality as "First Amendment"

Kudos to Adam Thierer of PFF for his outstanding post which brilliantly deconstructs the fatal flaws in SavetheInternet's (and others) characterization of Net Neutrality as the "First Amendment of the Internet" to protect freedom of speech. 

The whole post is an excellent and illuminating read; I strongly recommend it. Here's the gist of why I liked it so much:

  • "Indeed, when Net neutrality supporters like the “Save the Internet Coalition” make statements like “Network neutrality is the Internet’s First Amendment,” I sometimes wonder if they are reading the same Constitution that I am. After all, the language of the First Amendment could not be more clear when it says, “Congress shall make no law…” It doesn’t contain any caveats or footnotes. And the First Amendment most certainly was not intended as a tool for government to control the editorial discretion of private individuals or institutions. It was about restricting the power of the government to curtail speech and expression."

Adam does a great job of showing how this argument in favor of net neutrality runs counter to any plain reading of the U.S. Constitution.

 

The Neutral Doctrine? The Fairness Doctrine for the Net

FCC Commissioner McDowell recently warned bloggers at the Heritage Foundation to look out for the Net neutrality issue to become intertwined with a possible push for the return of the Fairness Doctrine. He's right to lay down that marker.  

  • See a great piece by Jeff Poor of the Business and Media Institute on the subject: "FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine could control web content."

The Fairness Doctrine was an FCC regulation that required broadcasters to "fairly" present both sides of controversial topics -- or be subject to FCC investigations and fines.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths