by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 13th 2008 3:15pm
As I've made clear in the past, while I believe that a neutral internet is important to encourage growth and innovation, I worry that any legislation passed to require net neutrality will backfire. It will be gamed by lobbyists and there will be loopholes and unintended consequences that will cause a lot more problems than expected. Also, getting Congress into the business of regulating the internet is quite dangerous. So, with that in mind, I should probably be more supportive of Rep. Markey's newly introduced net neutrality legislation because it's barely regulatory at all. There's no mandate and no punishment. It simply states that neutrality is an important principle, and empowers the FCC to look into allegations of anyone violating this principle. However, if that's the case, why bother at all? After all, the FCC already looks into these allegations. Effectively, the only thing this really does is force the FCC to move back to former chair Michael Powell's principles concerning the internet, rather than Kevin Martin's more telco-friendly policies. While I agree that Powell's principles were more reasonable, it's difficult to see why Congress needs to get involved at all at this point -- especially to put up legislation that doesn't do anything other than say what it hopes internet providers will do.
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