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How We Won Net Neutrality


How We Won Net Neutrality

Craig Aaron

This is what democracy looks like.

That's not something I thought I'd ever say about the bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission.

After years of cronyism, corruption and cowardice, Thursday's vote for strong Net Neutrality rules at the FCC is unexpected if not unprecedented.


Let's remember that early in his presidency, Obama frankly told his followers that they would need to push him and that he welcomed just that. Keystone XL (so far), net neutrality, and LGBT rights are moving progressively, primarily in response to such impetus.

Unfortunately, foreign matters seem to be on an almost autopilot-like status. There, he seems only to tweak policy and carefully craft messaging. The neocons are getting theirs (think Ukraine) and the neolibs theirs (think TPP). Real Power does not concern itself with social matters beyond their ability to divide and exhaust the masses.


I am not as optimistic as you are. Although Obama's veto may work as a great theatrical device, the fact that plenty of pipeline HAS been laid and that this industry is not known for taking "no" for an answer suggest that it's a delaying tactic. At present, oil prices are so low that the battle may seem too expensive to fight; or maybe the Republican slugs in Congress are waiting for a Republican President (or Oil-friendly Dem) to connect the remaining dots.

Even the open Internet seems like a Pyric victory; and this is why I suggest as much: In these times of incredibly sophisticated and pervasive surveillance, it could be that the stalling devices on this matter gave the spy agencies time to build up enough data centers to hold whatever Internet traffic they took to be "suspicious."

I don't recall the source (Edward Snowden?) who exposed the NSA's initial support of the Internet and how this open highway allowed the spies to scrutinize virtually any person and any place. Why would THEY shut down free traffic on their golden goose?


I think it's important to keep in mind that it's often at the very moment you're congratulating yourself over your victory that you're at your weakest. I also don't believe that the corrupt political machine in D.C. ever truly gets rid of its worst ideas. It simply repackages them and waits for the public memory to fade.


The Constitution was set up to restrict the actions of government, not to give us rights. In the case of Net Neutrality, it's a slick name that sounds great but, fundamentally, it's giving a right to the government to decide what is neutrality, like expecting Fox News to be fair and balanced, or the New York Times to print the news that is "fit" to print.