Net neutrality is a crucial “part of the United States legal order. On that foundation — an open internet, with no blocking — much of our current internet ecosystem was built.”
Now, however, Trump-designated Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to change that. And, to be clear, he doesn’t merely want to weaken it — he wants to kill net neutrality outright.
On Tuesday, the F.C.C. chairman, Ajit Pai, announced plans to eliminate even the most basic net neutrality protections — including the ban on blocking — replacing them with a “transparency” regime enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. “Transparency,” of course, is a euphemism for “doing nothing.” Companies like Madison River, it seems, will soon be able to block internet calls so long as they disclose the blocking (presumably in fine print). Indeed, a broadband carrier like AT&T, if it wanted, might even practice internet censorship akin to that of the Chinese state, blocking its critics and promoting its own agenda.
Allowing such censorship is anathema to the internet’s (and America’s) founding spirit. And by going this far, the F.C.C. may also have overplayed its legal hand. So drastic is the reversal of policy (if, as expected, the commission approves Mr. Pai’s proposal next month), and so weak is the evidence to support the change, that it seems destined to be struck down in court.
Seems destined to be struck down in court, and actually struck down in court are two vastly different things. Let’s hope it turns out to be the latter.