The “Battle for the Net” day of action was yesterday. A lot of non ISP internet-centric companies, personalities and organisations campaigned hard to get the average user to take action. Forms got filled in, members of the government were called, emailed, spoken to, all in an attempt to avoid the FCC reclassifying the Internet from the ‘utility’ descriptor, and all the associated legalities of being declared a ‘Title II common carrier’. I don’t think that this was a good thing.
I know that I’ve just alienated at least three quarters, if not all, of people that actually read this thing, and enraged a good portion of said alienated people. But what I ask is that you hear me out.
Title II is part of the Communications Act of 1934, and the relevant areas of the act state that, by default, no discrimination can be bought, sought or brought upon services provided by ISPs, when they can be distributed to all people connected to that network.
I would like to begin my explanation by simply stating this: Using an Act that was brought into law, with the same initial provisions, in 1934 is not reflective of the way that the Internet was developed, or exists today, let alone in five, ten or fifty years as part of best efforts of futureproofing. Furthermore, this Act doesn’t have ‘relevant’ or ‘applicable’ protections. They all apply. The same that apply to your phone, electricity provider, gas provider and water provider. In addition to that, your sewage provider is also protected. Also, roller coasters were, for half a decade, declared common carriers in certain states. There are countless ‘common carriers’, that do not have the nuance of the Internet, because the Act, that bears repeating, was written in 1934. The Act is outdated for the protections it is being used to offer.