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America’s Citizen’s rights are specifically enumerated in the Constitution, The Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments to the Constitution. In addition, there are those rights deemed unalienable as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. We as citizens are eternally grateful that the founders of America had the foresight to construct these documents in the manner they did. Furthermore it is incumbent upon each of us to insure the longevity of not only the documents as written, but to keep the spirit in which they were written alive.
The elected representatives we place in office are charged first to uphold their oaths and allegiance to The Constitution of The United States and second to legislate in good faith for their constituents. While each legislator is not always the perfect policymaker, our system of governance allows the best means of monitoring their actions and the ability to remove and replace those with who we are dissatisfied.
One current topic of debate in the current congress is whether or not, or to what to what degree should or will congress write a law covering various aspects of the internet. The common name for the question on the table is Open Internet or “Net Neutrality”. Without writing a few thousand words to describe the intricacies of the pending bill suffice it to say the current regulations covering the internet are the basically the same as the ones which the FCC uses to govern the telecom industry. The communications technology of today is vastly different from that when those regulations were adopted in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. Technology and the way business and consumers communicate are drastically different and have rendered many of those laws and regulations mute or insufficient.
The quandary congress faces and we also as consumers, is to insure the industry can continue to advance and improve while not repeating the mistakes of the past vis-a-vie the monopoly of “big telephone” of yesteryear. Price controls and restrictive regulations is the pathway to repetition. A challenge, certainly, but one which can be resolved when clear heads prevail throughout the process. To see an example of the task facing the regulators, watch the hearing of the House subcommittee of January 21, 2015, which has jurisdiction over this matter. http://www.c-span.org/video/?323888-1/hearing-open-internet
The full video is just over three hours but the segment which invited my attention begins at 48mins, 49seconds – 57mins, 07seconds. One of the panelists, Nicole Turner-Lee, gives her opening statement to the committee. It is for whom she advocates which concerns me. Call me cynical or attribute my skepticism to the current practices of politicians and lobbyists, but I believe there is more to her agenda than untangling the bureaucracy of communications technology. Listen carefully to her words and the context she uses to make her case.
Returning to the enumerated rights, I must ask if I missed the ones which afford the benefit of a consumer good provided by the government. One must ponder the rationale of those who profess to advocate for the common man. They insist that their educational background, positions in the workplace and personal contacts authorize them to not only speak for others, but ignore the foundational principles which stipulate the boundaries of their authority. The appeal for fairness not only applies to this demand for free internet service for all. This is among the latest and certainly not the last. Each of their “causes” is wrapped in the blanket of government issuance of civil rights, but that overlay is only sheer gauze from which the lifeblood of freedom will surely ooze.
There are attempts to alter the structural functionality of America. The firewall which protects our most sensitive data has been breached and the effort to rewrite the program of the national operating system is in progress. Achieving net neutrality as defined by politicians and interest groups will benefit not the end user of the service, but those who decide in their opinion what is best for the end user. It is time to back-up the system and re-install the required safety upgrade and surround that wall with the sentinel of individual liberty.