Last week, we mentioned Senator Ted Cruz's nutty tweet
comparing net neutrality to "Obamacare." It was widely mocked -- even by many Republicans -- as it showed Cruz's ignorance of the subject at hand. In fact, one report detailed a number of comments on Ted Cruz's Facebook page from Republican/conservative engineers disagreeing with Cruz
and pointing out that he's uninformed about net neutrality. Here's a sampling:
There's a lot more like that, but it highlights what we've seen before -- that while Congress likes to pretend that Republicans are against net neutrality while Democrats are for it, the reality is that net neutrality is a non-partisan issue with voters of both parties
overwhelmingly supporting net neutrality.
Rather than recognize this fact, Cruz has decided to double down on it with a rambling and misguided opinion piece in the Washington Post
that repeats the "Obamacare for the internet" line, and lumps in a variety of other tech issues in a confusing (and often self-contradictory) jumble. He warns against taxing internet access (good), but then joins in the total overreaction
to the Commerce Department's decision to officially relinquish its (barely existent) control over ICANN, falsely claiming that this will allow the Russians, Chinese and the Iranians to control the internet. This is not true. In fact, by giving up the Commerce Department's link to ICANN, it helps cut off
the path the Russians, Chinese and Iranians are trying to use to do an end run around ICANN, by giving more power to the ITU. In other words, Senator Cruz (once again) seems to not understand this policy issue at all
, and is recommending a policy that is more likely
to lead to the world he fears.
Then he gets back around to net neutrality, once again showing he doesn't understand it:
In short, net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet. It would put the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices.
Not a single part of that is accurate. Under the proposed plan, the government would not
be in charge of determining any of those. Rather, it would make it so that no one
(including the internet access providers) could block what types of products and services can be delivered. It takes a special kind of wrongness to look at a plan that is focused on making sure that no one
can be blocked and argue that it means the government gets to pick what services can be delivered.
Even more bizarre, Cruz's final point is to celebrate
the victory over SOPA and PIPA as a great example of protecting free speech online, ignoring the fact that it's the very same people
who made the victory possible who are now fighting for
In 2012, those who care about Internet freedom were shocked as bills such as the Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP acts, which would regulate speech on the Internet under the guise of protecting property rights, started gaining popularity in Washington. Thankfully, online activists were quick to mobilize to protect their free-speech rights. But we must remain vigilant. Intellectual property must be defended, but any threat to quell speech on the Internet must be treated seriously and subsequently defeated.
Yes, and it's the very same online activists now trying to "protect free speech rights" by making sure that the internet stays open via net neutrality rules. And, yes, it is a free speech issue, because letting internet access providers block or discriminate against certain companies, individuals, services or types of content (such as encrypted content) will stifle free speech.
So, Cruz claims to support online activists and their push to guarantee free speech online... but at the same time opposes those very same activists and their push to protect free speech online by calling it "Obamacare for the internet"? I don't know who Ted Cruz's tech staffers are, but they might want to educate themselves a bit -- and not from the lobbyists at AT&T and Verizon.