John McCain’s attempt to privatize the Internet

October 23, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

I’ve often written about net neutrality.  See this post on the meaning of net neutrality and this post on the recently introduced “Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.”

Today, Senator John McCain made it clear that he is not in favor of a free and open Internet.  He believes that access to the Internet should be entrusted to the telecoms.

Image by Granckito at Dreamstime (with permission)

Image by Granckito at Dreamstime (with permission)

As reported by PC World,

McCain’s bill, the Internet Freedom Act, seeks to do the opposite of what its name implies by ensuring that broadband and wireless providers can discriminate and throttle certain traffic while giving preferential treatment to other traffic. Basically, those in power or those who pay more will have better access. Apparently we have different definitions of ‘freedom’.

What is McCain’s rationale for this terrible bill?  It’s yet more free market fundamentalism:

“Today I’m pleased to introduce the Internet Freedom Act of 2009 that will keep the Internet free from government control and regulation,” McCain said. “It will allow for continued innovation that will in turn create more high-paying jobs for the millions of Americans who are out of work or seeking new employment. Keeping businesses free from oppressive regulations is the best stimulus for the current economy.”

Here’s a bit more background on McCain’s mindset, which consists of a war of misinformation (keep in mind that during the presidential campaign, McCain admitted that he didn’t even know how to use a computer):

McCain was on the opposite side of the Net neutrality debate from President Barack Obama during last year’s presidential campaign. During his White House campaign, President Barack Obama came out strongly in favor of Net neutrality, which is backed by companies such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, eBay and consumer advocacy groups, but opposed by telecommunications, wireless and cable companies.

In short, since U.S. citizens have retained such immense control over the television and radio airwaves (this is sarcasm and here’s Exhibit A), we’ll hand the Internet over to private corporations too.   The solution to McCain’s attempt to hand control of the Internet to big profit-hungry corporations is to require McCain to subject himself to cross-examination in real-time by someone like  Lawrence Lessig, or any other rational person who is knowledgable about net neutrality.   McCain would be one or two simple questions from being exposed as either naive or corrupt.


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Category: Communication, Community, Internet, Law

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Art Brodsky details how dirty the net neutrality fight has gotten. He warns that we shouldn't be misled about what is at stake. The FCC decision that is pro-net neutrality is NOT an attempt to regulate the Internet:

    That talking point is important to take down immediately. No one is talking about the regulation of the Internet. The talk is about regulating those companies that provide access to the Internet (that paragraph 101 notwithstanding) and which have been regulated for most of their existence. It's understandable that they don't want to be re-regulated, but they shouldn't confuse the identities of the parties here. Big Telecom is not the Internet.

    Read more at:

  2. JC says:

    This is a perfect example of how well the free market works so well (for those with corporate interests.)

    I live too far from the ATT CO to get DSL. so my only option is TW Cable or to pay for ATT to run a T1 line to me. But if TW decides to throttle I'm completely free (as in market) to move to a different house where I have other options.

    Thanks guys! Get rid of anti-trust for them and then let them do as they please This has worked so well in other sectors! /sarcasm

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Think Progress reports:

    AT&T chief lobbyist James Cicconi has "asked" his employees to "use their personal e-mail accounts to warn the FCC that Net Neutrality would 'halt private investment in broadband infrastructure'" and requested that they flood FCC's Open Internet site with anti net-neutrality comments. The FCC has also been receiving fishy letters that appear to be templates from unknown organizations purporting to be against net neutrality. The telecoms have now enlisted McCain, one of their longest-standing allies on Capitol Hill, to fight their fight. McCain argues that killing regulations preserving net neutrality is key to "innovation and job growth," pointing to the success of Google and Yahoo (even though both companies support an open Internet). The Arizona senator was the top recipient of campaign contributions from this industry over the past two years, taking in $894,379.

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