If Senators Aren't Going To Understand Tech, Can They At Least Be Consistent?
from the this-is-a-surprise? dept
This one has been all over the internet since the weekend, but since it was submitted by more people than have ever submitted a story to Techdirt, we might as well post it for the three or four of you who might have missed it. In defending his vote against network neutrality legislation, Senator Ted Stevens (the same man who once wanted to blame file sharing networks for porn) gave an amusing layman’s definition of how the internet works, and why net neutrality is bad: “I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially… They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.
It’s a series of tubes.
And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.”
Of course, you can sort of understand what he’s trying to say. In fact, as you read his explanation, you can probably back into what someone told him, and how his brain reinterpreted it into what he said. So, despite the folks using this as additional evidence that Congress doesn’t get it, that’s somewhat pointless. We already know that many members of Congress have no clue what they’re talking about when it comes to technology. Instead, why not just use the good Senator’s own actions and statements against himself. In that link above, he talks about why government regulation of the internet is a bad thing: “The regulatory approach is wrong,” are his exact words. If that’s the case, why was the exact same Senator so damn eager to regulate all aspects of cable TV last year, saying that the FCC needs to crack down on cable indecency — even though the law is pretty clear that the FCC has no jurisdiction over privately built cable lines? Once again, it seems we’ve caught Senator Ted Stevens contradicting himself. It’s one thing not to understand the basic technology that you’re trying to regulate (or not). But, is it so much to ask that the good Senator try to be internally consistent on whether or not regulating these networks is good or bad?