Washington, D.C., February 4, 2015 – Fred Campbell, Director of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, released the following statement with respect to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality plan:
“Today the FCC proposed net neutrality for some, and not for others. There is no evidence that public utility regulation is necessary to protect Internet consumers and the Chairman’s claim that it won’t harm investment or innovation is baseless. If the FCC nevertheless insists on going down the ‘Title II’ path, justice requires that it apply the law to all players in the Internet ecosystem in a fair and equitable manner. Sadly, however, the Chairman’s plan does nothing of the sort.
Chairman Wheeler’s description of his plan in Wired is disingenuous. His proposal will not ‘ensure the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.’ Some of the biggest gatekeepers on the mobile Internet today are using their power over mobile operating systems to deny access to application developers, yet these behemoths are exempted from the FCC proposal. The fact is, application developers will still have to ask someone for permission before they can access the mobile Internet.
The Chairman’s plan is also discriminatory. He is proposing to apply privacy limitations on Internet service providers through ‘Section 222’ while exempting Internet ‘edge’ companies whose fundamental business model is to profit from collecting and selling personal information about consumers. The Chairman’s discriminatory decision to exempt the Internet’s biggest data collectors from this privacy provision appears designed to protect the Administration’s political allies in Silicon Valley, not consumer privacy. As staff at the Federal Trade Commission reported last month, a fair federal rule governing Internet privacy would protect consumer data ‘regardless of who is asking for it.’
This is an unprecedented power grab by a formerly independent agency that has become captive to Presidential prerogative. There is nothing more dangerous to a free society than Executive Branch control of our mass media communications networks. Congress should restore the Constitutional balance of power and reassert its control over the FCC and our communications laws. It should make FCC reform a priority this year.”
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