The Technical Exorcist

January 27th, 2007

The Perils of Net Neutrality Legislation

Posted by exorcist in Mail

This letter was not specifically addressed to me, but to a newsgroup that Brer Licky reads.

I’ve just become aware of the Net Neutrality debate going on. I’m
wondering what you all know about and think about this issue as users
of the internet. I can’t explain the issue as well the people who are
behind the movement to preserve Net Neutrality. There is information
about it at (at least regarding USA) and (regarding Europe).

I’m really curious to find out if you have heard about this and what
you think about it.

~Ed Provencher

First off, I should point out that the links Ed provided are simple propaganda sites, and don’t even make an effort to be unbiased. A far better starting point for someone who is new to the Net Neutrality debate would be this article on the Washington Post. Jeffrey Birnbaum doesn’t take a stance on what the government should rule on this matter, but he does a pretty decent job explaining the issues, and why neither side is in the right.

But as Mr. Birnbaum also pointed out, the government must take a stance one way or the other—either allowing the cable companies to carry out their plans, or stepping in to preserve Net Neutrality. So what should be done?

My take is that as long as they aren’t violating any consumer rights, the thing to do is let capitalism take it’s course. If they provide inferior service, people will switch to a better one. If they do create a monopoly and start to abuse people, the courts can break it up.

If people want the Internet to remain free and open to new ideas, they need to let companies experiment with ideas like this. All the laws that are necessary to protect competition are already in place. Allowing the government to make laws how it’s citizens charge for and carry out their data transfer services will only result in more trouble later as the technology changes and the laws become outdated.

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