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Big Day for Net Neutrality, Cold War Metaphors

0923 blackburn
The Federal Register today published the Federal Communication Commission's much agonized-over net neutrality rules, signaling that the new regulations will go into effect Nov. 20. At last, our long national nightmare is over.

But don't pop the cork on the Champagne just yet, net neutrality fans. The new rules—which would, effectively, prevent broadband service providers from discriminating against particular types of content—face a slew of potential challenges from opponents in Congress and the business community (if you can really call a collection of telecommunication behemoths a “community”). Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who has been the reigning champ of FCC verbal smackdown ever since she called the new rules “vampiric” late last year, today stepped up her game even further, claiming that the FCC "is in essence building an Internet Iron Curtain that will restrict more of our freedom." Blackburn urged Congress to pass her “Internet Freedom Act,” which would strip the FCC of its power to regulate the Web.

Verizon did not use Cold War language to denounce the regulations today, but it did announce that it would challenge them via lawsuit. Verizon and Metro PCS unsuccessfully sued in January to have the rules overturned, but that lawsuit was tossed in April by a federal judge who said that the rules had to be published before a suit can proceed. Well, now the rules are published, and observers are already predicting that, as the blog Ars Technica put it, “the plan will likely be derailed by lawsuits.”

In the wake of the publication, no announcements of congratulations or condemnation streamed from the entertainment unions, who have been somewhat divided on this issue. In the past, Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists chose to use the neutrality debate as an opportunity to discuss a more favored subject, content piracy. The unions were joined by the Directors Guild of America and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees in insisting that any neutrality regulations expressly give providers the power to shut down access to sites distributing pirated content. The Writers Guilds of America East and West, meanwhile, have offered more full-throated and unqualified support for the rules.

“Writers who create content for film, television, and new media are especially concerned about a future Internet in which access is either tiered or controlled by conglomerates that would have inordinate power over consumers and frightening influence on freedom of expression,” the WGAW said in a statement back in December. “An open and vibrant Internet is critical to protecting our democracy and competition in the marketplace.”

Now that the rules have been published—and are stirring up controversy— it will be interesting to see whether they will choose to stay out of what will obviously be a pretty big fray this fall.

Pictured: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Photo: Getty Images)

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Comments

Why does Marsha Want Congress to Regulate the Internet? Why not just say NO FEDERAL branch (the FCC and congress and the federal courts included) has any authority to decide or rule on any aspect concerning the Internet?

BUT Marsha Blackburn did Vote FOR: Patriot Act Reauthorization, Electronic Surveillance, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening, Patriot Act extension; and only NOW she is worried about free speech, privacy, and government take over of the internet?

Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
See her “blatantly unconstitutional” votes at :
http://mickeywhite.blogspot.com/2009/09/tn-congressman-marsha-blackburn-votes.html
Mickey

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