Diary

Regulating the Internet: Herding Cats

Politicians often deride comments and opinions they don’t like as “laughable,” but in the case of Free Press’ “Net Neutral-i-Kitty” campaign to promote Net Neutrality through Title II regulation, “laughable” is indeed the appropriate term.

Videos of costumed Free Press demonstrators at the FCC this morning are a sad reminder of just how comically terrible Title II is. They may have had 400 cat pictures, but only a handful of people showed up – a pathetic display given that they claim to represent “millions of Internet users.” Surely, a guy running around in a cat costume on behalf of the masses is just the thing the FCC needs to see to make a reasoned, informed decision about the future of the Internet.

Cat memes may seem pretty harmless, but the policy behind these silly lolcats is anything but laughable. If the Net Neutral-i-Kitty gets its way, we will see a new level of government control in the digital space, forcing a “neutrality” on Internet users that restricts us to the lowest common denominator and slows our technological progress.

Net Neutrality as a concept is dangerous in itself, but achieving it through regulation under Title II of an 80-year-old Communications Act would be overtly harmful to both our innovation and our future. New government fees would raise broadband costs for consumers, and providers would lose some of their incentive to develop and provide cutting-edge technologies.

One of the cat memes directed at broadband providers reads, “You picked teh wrong Internet to mess around wit.” How about we turn that statement around and point it at the FCC?