Are There Any Politicians Who Know What PROTECT IP Is About? Senator Hutchison Thinks It's About Net Neutrality
from the worse-and-worse-and-worse dept
Okay, this is just getting ridiculous. Last week, we wrote about Mark Lemley sending a letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo about the problems of PROTECT IP, and rather responding about that, Eshoo wrote him back about immigration. Then, we had another story about Senator Kristen Gillibrand receiving a similar letter complaining about PROTECT IP… and she sent back a letter talking about the unrelated “internet kill switch” legislation. And, in the comments to that post, Paul told us about his own letter protesting PROTECT IP, which was sent to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison… and she wrote back about net neutrality:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s actions relating to the openness of the Internet. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
The Internet is a valuable tool that facilitates business, education, and recreation for millions of Americans. In 2009, an estimated 198 million Americans had access to the Internet. I am committed to ensuring that consumers continue to benefit from the Internet as an open platform for innovation and commerce.
Instrumental to the success of the Internet is the long-standing policy of keeping the Internet as free as possible from burdensome government regulations. Increased investment in upgrading and expanding America?s communications infrastructure, and, in particular, new broadband networks, will ensure that all Americans have access to affordable high-speed Internet. However, in my judgment, intensified regulation of the Internet, such as government-mandated treatment of data, would stifle competition and would decrease the incentive for network operators to invest in critical infrastructure.
The case for additional broadband regulatory authority, or ?net neutrality,? has not effectively been made. Broadband investment began to truly flourish when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a decision in 2002 to remove advanced communications technologies from the antiquated common carrier regulatory framework. However, advocates of a larger regulatory footprint have continued to call for net neutrality since 2006.
Unfortunately, the FCC chose to respond by beginning a new proceeding that would reverse the 2002 decision to treat advanced communications services with a “light touch” regulatory approach. On December 21, 2010, by a 3-2 vote, the FCC adopted new rules meant to impose a net neutrality regime on broadband services. I believe these new regulations represent an unprecedented power grab by the Commission to claim regulatory jurisdiction without Congressional authority. This FCC action threatens investment and innovation in broadband systems, places valuable American jobs at risk, and may subject communications companies to new legal liability in the management of their networks.
In response to the FCC’s heavy-handed order, I intend to explore every option available to me to keep the Internet free from such burdensome regulations, including introducing a resolution of disapproval in an effort to repeal the new rules. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC, I will continue to work to prohibit further net neutrality-based regulations.
I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator
Is it really that hard to expect that, when we write our elected officials, they at least take the time to hear what we’re saying? It seems like the staffers in these officials offices briefly skim the letters to see if there’s a keyword they can hit on (or do they have software for that?), and then send back a form letter related to what they think the letter is about, rather than taking the time to figure out what it’s actually about.
Can we actually expect any sort of informed debate and discussion on the serious problems of PROTECT IP when so many of our elected officials don’t even seem to know what it is, and most certainly don’t seem to want to hear from their own constituents about it?