Net Neutrality Hating, SOPA-Loving Marsha Blackburn Pegged To Chair Key Technology & Telecom Subcommittee

from the rise-to-the-level-of-your-incompetence dept

If you were to sit down and consciously select a politician that best represents the stranglehold giant telecom companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have over the legislative process, you probably couldn’t find a better candidate than Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn. From her endless assault on net neutrality, to her defense of awful state protectionist laws written by ISP lobbyists, there has never been a moment when Ms. Blackburn hasn’t prioritized the rights of giant incumbent duopolists over the public she professes to serve.

Blackburn has been fairly awful on technology policy in general, from her breathless support of SOPA to her claim that fair use is just a “buzzword” obscuring our desperate need for tougher copyright laws. As such, there should be little surprise that Blackburn has been selected to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The subcommittee tackles most of the pressing internet-related issues, with Blackburn replacing Oregon Representative Greg Walden.

Blackburn joins a growing chorus of GOP insiders who have made it a core mission to dismantle net neutrality protections, despite the fact that they have broad, bipartisan appeal among consumers. At least Blackburn has been consistent; she spearheaded the “Internet Freedom Act,” which attempted to kill net neutrality by effectively codifying non-net neutrality into law and hamstringing any regulator that tried to protect it. According to Blackburn, this wasn’t just because AT&T and Comcast are among her biggest campaign contributors, but because she really, truly adores “innovators”:

“Once the federal government establishes a foothold into managing how Internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all. My legislation will put the brakes on this FCC overreach and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations.”

Blackburn has also gone out of her way to defend AT&T and Comcast’s efforts to pass state-level protectionist laws. These laws, passed in more than nineteen states, prevent towns and cities from improving local broadband infrastructure — even in instances where incumbent ISPs have refused to upgrade. According to Blackburn, these competition-killing laws — which serve solely to protect duopoly revenues — are somehow necessary to protect “free market competition”:

“After witnessing how some local governments wasted taxpayer dollars and accumulated millions in debt through poor decision making, the legislatures of states like North Carolina and Tennessee passed commonsense, bipartisan laws that protect hardworking taxpayers and maintain the fairness of free-market competition.”

Needless to say, Blackburn’s home state of Tennessee consistently ranks as one of the least connected states in the nation as a direct result of her hard work. More recently, Blackburn went so far as to suggest that ISPs should be forced to remove “fake news” from the internet:

“If anyone is putting fake news out there, the ISPs have the obligation to, in some way, get that off the web. And maybe it’s time for these information systems to look to have some type of news editor doing some vetting on that. Whether it’s the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians or whomever. You do not want that out there because it’s… because it’s fake news!”

In other words, Blackburn doesn’t believe in protecting a healthy and open internet, thinks letting incumbent ISPs write competition-killing protectionist law is somehow good for broadband competition, consistently complains about government overreach, and yet wants the government to force ISPs to dictate what is or isn’t acceptable news, while dramatically expanding draconion and unnecessary copyright law. Clearly she’s the perfect choice to lead tech policy toward the twenty-second century — provided you like living in something akin to a poorly-written dystopian novel.

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Comments on “Net Neutrality Hating, SOPA-Loving Marsha Blackburn Pegged To Chair Key Technology & Telecom Subcommittee”

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ECA (profile) says:

Ma Bell

So we have a business ideal that there HAS TO BE competition..
AS with MA BELL, we break up the BIG GUYS and help the smaller companies..

NOW we want 1 Corp to OWN it all??
There has to be Favoritism here..
AS IN, How much free cable/net/phone service does this person get?? BET she is not in a Sub-line of the service she is on…

IF you ever had to setup Internet for more then a FEW hardware devices ALL to run at the same time, With Kids an adults. YOU WILL FIND the many problems the internet has..

IF’ each ISP company had to pay ACCESS fees to any connection to Another ISP…this would go NUTS.. How many services do you THINK you hit, on the internet??
EVERY HOP can be another ISP system..

wshuff (profile) says:

When it comes to the Internet, clearly the FCC shouldn’t be deciding which content goes first, which goes second, third, or not at all. That decision should be left solely to AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

At this rate, I expect Andrew Wakefield to be appointed head of the CDC. And maybe there’s a spot on some science committee for Ken Hamm.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

When we talk about abuses of net neutrality we imagine what you are describing. Some web sites get more bandwidth and others get throttled.

But imagine a new innovative approach to internet service. A fresh new pricing model without slowing down any web sites.

Basic service lets you access:
* Reedit
* Bing
* Yahoo
* eBay
* PayPal
Only $9.95 per month. All web sites un-throttled at full 100 Mbps access.

Standard service adds additional sites:
* Wikipedia
* Twitter
* Instagram
* Tumblr
* Hulu
* Microsoft
* Apple
Only $29.95 per month.

Extended service adds additional sites:
* Google
* Facebook
* Blogspot
* YouTube
* Netflix

* Showtime

* FOX News
Only $49.95 per month.

Professional service adds additional sites:
* Linked In
* Amazon
* DropBox
* Pornhub
Only $129.95 per month.

Unlimited service adds all sites for only $299.95 per month!

** note some web sites may require additional fees beyond the ISP fee to access them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

we must make sure that type of “new innovative approach to internet service” never happens, most are against that type of model, but there never any ISP who has done that before and its unknown if they would do that, it will likely lead to outrage if they did

we must fight to keep net neutrality, it will never be Trump Intarwebs

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

Every time I have come up with some paranoid, insane, or outlandish idea for how bad things could become, it turns out that either things are already worse, or things will soon get this bad.

Every time.

Insane? Yes. Could it happen? Almost guaranteed. Greed knows absolutely no bounds. Once you have a government system rigged with corruption, this is inevitable. It’s because our government no longer functions. And we’re individually powerless to stop the collective greed of the few.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The FUTURE of the Trump Intarwebs !!!

“but there never any ISP who has done that before and its unknown if they would do that”

That particular line of satire originated from a graphic that displayed the WWW as if it were a cable TV channel subscription pricing card. See the second image here:

The ISPs ARE the cable companies. They HAVE done that before. And ISPs like AOL have done it before. And Telcos like France’s Minitel system.

Jano Szabo says:

Licensed Communications

The picture’s been misframed.

The nation state first enforces the nationalization of language, speech, money, commerce, culture, etc. on its subjects and then demands that its nationalized “communications” be regulated so its licensed corporate beneficiaries won’t monopolize the unnaturally overscaled crony system it created in the first place.

Federal Communications is like licensed teaching. It institutionalizes – and often requires – participation in state controlled information networks, then advertises the default control as “free”, “open”, or “neutral.”

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