Wednesday, September 16, 2015

ISP's don't have the right to edit information

On September 14, 2015, The FCC stated that they did not violate the First Amendment when it implemented net neutrality rules.  While broadband provides sued saying that they had the right to filter out information on the internet, the FCC came back saying

"ISPs are conduits for the speech of others; they are not delivering their own messages when they connect their customers to the Internet...Rules against blocking and throttling Internet content thus do not violate the ISPs’ constitutional rights" (arstechnica)

All of this comes after the FCC's decision to classify Broadband providers as Common Carriers. With this new classification, they are stripped of their First Amendment rights that news companies and websites have. The only exception that was given was that Broadband providers were allowed to edit and "Practice" their First Amendment rights on their own websites.

During this whole ordeal, Broadband providers did make the claim that they are in a similar position to Cable TV providers and because of that they should have the right to “exercise the same editorial discretion as cable television operators in deciding which speech to transmit.”

Yet the FCC countered back saying:

"that cable TV is different from Internet access because cable TV systems have limited capacity on which to carry channels. ISPs, by contract, face no technological obstacles preventing them from providing access to all lawful Internet content" (arstechnica)

So what do you think?

Do you think that ISP's should have the right to filter information they find to be objectionable (e.g. Illegal Content, Torrents for pirated software, etc...)

Do you think people have too much freedom to do what they want or say on the internet?

Arstechnica [Link]
Court case [Link]
Another court case [Link]

1 comment:

Emily Shen said...

The FCC wants to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act passed in 1934, which will give the organization the regulatory power to make net neutrality possible. In its legal defense, it uses the Chevron test, which held that in most cases, courts should respect the authority of agencies and defer to their interpretations of statutes.

The thing is, reclassifying broadband under Title II gives the FCC a hell of a lot more regulatory power. The FCC already has the power to regulate television and radio, and can fine organizations and censor content if they can make a convincing argument that it is indecent. I don't know what it would be like if had the same amount of regulatory power with the Internet.

We can have an Internet that is free of excessive governmental regulation, or we can have an Internet that is free of the enterprising, opportunistic nature of the companies that currently control its speed. I don't know if we can have both. I think the question we need to ask ourselves is which one would use its power the least corruptly.