Obama FCC to attempt government takeover of the Internet

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again — and with a more “diplomatic” approach. That’s the strategy the Federal Communications Commission, which detailed its plans to regulate the Internet via a “third way.”

The FCC’s new, ostensibly softer approach comes on the heels of a U.S. Court of Appeals decision earlier this month, which ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to directly regulate internet providers nor require them to offer equal treatment to all Web traffic. Comcast sued the FCC, arguing that the commission could not force the company to be “net neutral” in regards to the file-sharing program BitTorrent, which Comcast at one point was filtering on its system.

In response, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced the “third way” which consists of simply removing ISPs from their current classification in order to “have enough of a legal footing in place to make sure the agency can protect consumers and achieve goals presented in the National Broadband Plan.”

Currently, the FCC categorizes Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as Title 1 “information service.” The classification meant that the FCC lacked the direct authority to regulate these providers. The FCC’s other option, however was to classify ISPs as Title II “telecommunications service,” which internet providers say would bring with it regulatory madness and  the same red tape that wireline phone agencies find themselves in.

Genachowski’s “third way” then will be an attempt to run between the two classifications:

The chairman will seek to restore the status quo as it existed prior to the court decision in order to fulfill the previously stated agenda of extending broadband to all Americans, protecting consumers, ensuring fair competition, and preserving a free and open Internet,” the official said.

The confirmation from the FCC comes only hours after two senior Democratic politicians sent a letter to Genachowski saying that imposing Net neutrality regulations on broadband providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon is “essential.” And Free Press, the liberal lobby group that’s led the fight to hand the FCC more Internet regulatory authority, hastily convened a conference call to warn that Genachowski would be leaving President Obama’s Net neutrality promises unfulfilled.

Net neutrality proponents have bemoaned the recent Appeals Court decision and wish to see a “free and open internet.”  But those opposed to interference from the FCC have argued that regulation will only suffocate business and innovation in an area that has thrived without government interference.

Yesterday, one FCC official said Genacoswki was trying to have it both ways, hoping:

to balance “a weak Title I and a needlessly burdensome Title II approach.” Title I refers to lightly regulated information services; Title II refers to heavily regulated telecommunications services, such as legacy telephone networks.

The balancing act between what the FCC has been told it cannot do and what it wants to do, has caused the committee to run over itself more than once. As BetaNews reports:

“The Third Way,” as the FCC now calls it, is a clear effort to defer to US Supreme Court decisions that suggested the FCC has the authority to declare what it does not regulate. As a model for deciding what’s in and what’s out, Schlick refers to the classic dissent of Justice Antonin Scalia in the 2005 Brand X decision. There, Justice Scalia argued that since it doesn’t make much difference to the customer whether he receives service through one route or another, it shouldn’t make much difference to the law, either.

Dancing lightly over the fact that Scalia’s argument was a dissent from the decision, and not actual law, Schlick suggested this morning that the FCC should now embrace an approach that it had vehemently rejected just weeks earlier.

Currently, the “third way” contains only six provisions from Title II regulations, although “the FCC could decide it needs more or less as this process wears on,” according to Engadget.com.

Republicans in Washington rejected the “third way” characterization and accused the Obama Administration of once again seeking to expand the power of government over the private sector.  House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said, “Under this job- killing big government scheme, the Obama administration is seeking to expand the power of the federal government.”

Republican FCC Commissioners Rob McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker issued a joint statement, saying: “This dramatic step to regulate the Internet is unnecessary.”

“It is a stark departure from the long-established bipartisan framework,” they said.

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  • doncicciofitipaldi

    Another scandalous headline from the Daily Caler that has nothing to do with what is being proposed. I guess they just had to use the key words “government takeover” to once again scare and alarm the troglodytes.

    • picooke

      and tell me, your comment is supposed to ‘help’ me change my mind and see the error of my ways? Calling me a troglodyte shakes me out of my conservative stupor only to help me see the blinding light coming from progressivism? Why don’t you go whine about the conservative tide rising through this country over at the Daily Kos or the Huffington Post. You are a troll trying to stir up trouble over here. You aren’t commenting on the article, you are trashing those who have a thoughtful comment about the article. Why don’t you find better use of your time? Go volunteer at a homeless shelter instead of being a progressive trouble maker on conservative web sites, or don’t you want to get dressed and out of your momma’s basement? You are wasting your time and come to think of it, mine for bothering to reply to you.

  • jazzee

    RAINMAKER: I agree 100% with you…what they are attempting to do is so well you know. If they are allowed to control media this country is done..bad enough all the other garbage they have dumped on us…and NO ONE cares about the middle class..they cater to the rich and hand out to the poor…us law abiding middle class folks just get buried. We cannot never ALLOW them to control media………………….

  • rainmaker1145

    The reality is that liberalism has failed. We have tried to make it work for 45 years and the social welfare state is crashing here – just as it is everywhere else it has been tried and now we must disguise the truth in order to continue its sick perpetuation.

    Controlling the Internet is crucial to this central goal of liberalism. Until the advent of cable television and the Internet, the control of information was left to government and its liberal media allies. When the government lost control of the information monopoly, the disguise covering the failures of liberal social welfare policies and the so-called “economic policies” of the liberal-progressive movement were laid bare for all to see.

    The Democratic Party knows all of this; their leaders rarely talk of anything else that is substantive as they know they are facing extinction. If they fail to gain control of the information continuum then their ability to control power and perpetuate this fraud will come to an end. When that ends, the accountability for the conspiracy will exact a terrible penalty and that means they will do anything to stop this from happening.

    If they don’t get control of the Internet the consequences will be too harsh to even contemplate. They have to do this and we have to make sure America knows exactly what’s going on. The $350 billion “investment” in broadband is really giant chunks of wealth being transferred to allied causes to sustain the message and curry favor of sufficient magnitude to continue the game at our expense.

    This has to stop and it has to stop now. The age of the freeloading liberal social welfare state has to end and we have to put an end to all of those who support it; no matter what the cost would be. It all has to stop.

    • doncicciofitipaldi

      What a funny post. “Liberalism has failed” so liberals must control the Internet so they can hide that “fact”, only this has nothing to do with “controlling” the internet. Then the Democrats somehow are facing extinction if they do not “control” the Internet. So you came up with this big conspiracy, that’s not even a conspiracy. And then you tie it all together with the welfare state. I mean….you couldn’t make this stuff up if you were trying to write a paranoid-skitzophrenic character in a Harry Potter movie.

      The way you biuld your arguments also craks me up. It’s like you’re trying to build the tower of Babel on a foundation of swiss cheese.