Is Internet Censorship Coming?

I remember a seeing  a film in school a long, long time ago about government regulation. In the film—obviously fictional—someone decides people are cutting down too many trees, so they decide there needs to be a regulation on how many trees any given forester can cut down in one day, in one month, and in one year. As soon as this regulation is in place, the department in charge of counting trees determines the best way to measure the number of trees taken from the forest is to monitor all the exits to the forest, and count the trees taken out by each person.

Soon enough, the inspectors complain about the quality of the roads they work on, so the department takes to setting regulations for the roads into and out of the forest. Since all the roads lead to the forest in one way or another, they eventually claim control of all the roads. And then, one year, the river is really low, making it hard to count the logs being floated out of the forest. Here again, the department starts setting regulations on how much water anyone can take out of the river, in order to make certain the river never gets too low in the future.

I don’t know if the film was designed to be serious, or a form of “look how these people make government look ridiculous” indoctrination, but either way it shows just how governments tend to work. A slowly increasing scope of power, each step apparently reasonable in its own time. The end result, however, is always far from reasonable.

It appears the US Government is going starting down the path of regulating the Internet at large, primarily the information being placed on the Internet. When the new rules on ‘net neutrality first came out, I didn’t think much of them. In general, these new rules simply say that the wires, the physical circuits, owned by any given service provider, would be regulated so that everyone, and every service, has equal access. Benign, right?

But then I read this little gem.

What we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility. … At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control. –Socialist Project

Okay, so the major media is leftist, so what’s wrong with “divesting” the major players in the Internet space, and forcing them to turn the network infrastructure over to a “public utility?” Well, let me ask this: Why isn’t the left concerned about the New York Times, for instance, or ABC? Maybe because the only place they want more control is where they can’t currently control the message.

Are U.S. citizens aware of the extent to which the U.S. state has always played a direct and indirect role in facilitating and legitimizing the corporate media system? … They certainly would be if they were forced to read everything I’ve written. –Socialist Project

Isn’t that sweet? But isn’t this just some left wing nut spouting off? Who in the government really wants to control what people read?

The “˜24/7 media environment,’ he told the students, “˜bombards us with all kinds of comments and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter.’

Obviously if the problem is too much media, and too much of it untruthful, the right solution is to get the government to control what’s said to ensure it’s “true.” And who was this? Only Mr. Obama. I’m certain you know who he is. Or what about this?

Oh, only one of Mr. Obama’s “Czars.” And then there’s Mr. Obama’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has expended a great deal of intellectual energy searching for a rationalization that would preserve freedom of speech for viewpoints she likes while imposing government controls on speech she does not like. –Patriot Post

Be careful with “simple” government regulations. They can always grow into something else—and when those words, “this is the first step” are used, you can be assured they will grow into something else. In this case, a number of signs are all pointing in the same direction at the same time—I think this is something to be concerned about. Is censorship on the Internet coming in the name of “fairness?” It’s starting to look like it.

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