The role of the federal government on a domestic front is to ensure the individual liberties of its citizenry. The Federal Communications Commission's very existence is questionable. Even though airwaves are owned by the public, the FCC has overreached its authority by trying to regulate private corporations on private networks. In no way does the government have any authority to regulate what an ISP may do with its servers, lines, and customers. Remember, the FCC can only regulate publicly owned systems, and only if the Legislative gives them permission to do so. Besides, it is wholly inconsistent with a free market system for the government to have any say in private policies. A contract between an individual and an ISP is strictly private, simply because more and more people decide to engage in a commerce, does not provide opening from which to regulate.
So far, the Internet has a been a technological utopia of information sharing, and has yet to need any government intervention. At no point, including now, was the government needed to intervene into the policy making of ISPs. The Internet has been an astounding success of marketing and expression lacking any censorship or regulation. On all levels, the Internet remains totally uncensored and untaxed. Although some content may be illegal to access, it is never filtered or restricted from that access. On the other hand, countries like North Korea and China have federal agencies dedicated to ‘protecting its citizenry’ from content it deems harmful. If the FCC continues with the dangerous precedent of asserting authority in private industries, rampant censorship and content control will be implemented. Knowing the FCC’s track record, once they have their foot in the door, any and all content deemed offensive is censored. It is only a matter of time before the FCC again overreaches its authority and starts implementing its ‘family friendly’ initiative on the Internet.
The FCC, under the executive branch of government, acted alone in imposing these regulations. This recent instance of ‘net neutrality’ is nothing short of a power grab and simply unconstitutional, as a check and balance of the government, executive power needs to be granted by the legislative. And still, the Judicial branch has been quite clear that the FCC has no authority to regulate these private industries, even with legislative approval. The Legislative has been intentionally inactive on pursuing such terrible initiatives, often recognizing that the Internet should go unregulated. But still, the FCC forced its way in, without any authority in an essential coup by liberal progressives. The FCC has tried to claim standing by saying that since the Internet is a means of communication, it may regulate. It should be noted, that the FCC is only allowed to regulate publicly owned communications, not privately owned systems. So, even if the Internet was considered a means of communication, the FCC would still lack standing. Like other initiatives of this administration though, these executive actions were falsely promoted through a necessity of government enforced ‘greater equality’.
Even more astounding is the lack of abuse, despite the large potential dramatized by the FCC. The only notable example of telecommunication abuse has been well publicized. It was when Comcast blocked the use of BitTorrent on their servers. Although this seemed unfair, especially to those who were paying for the services offered, Comcast had the right. Better yet, the free market was able to resolve this problem. What Comcast thought would be a small action to free up their servers, turned into a public relations nightmare. People had organized and reacted, without government intervention, and Comcast was so fearful of losing business, they rescinded their block. So, because of fear from losing customers, Comcast complied with the demand of a large consumer backlash, as they should have. Nowhere was the government needed to force Comcast into maintaining a freer Internet, the consumers successfully acted alone. Like any business, keeping costumers happy is a necessity. Ultimately, is the consumer that has the power anyway.
In all, the FCC is using an authority they do not have to fix a problem that does not exist, while eroding freedom, and ignoring checks and balances all at once. In this instance, progressives have dramatized a potential for abuse, pretending such problems actually exist, then using those imaginary problems, they argue the executive has a long standing right to intervene, which they do not. As if the FCC is not a symbol of oppression and fascism enough, these recent actions have taken another step down the slippery slope of regulation. If the FCC successfully defends a right to regulate the Internet, technological freedom, as we know it, will no longer exist.