Will the Government Take Over the Internet?
By Deal Hudson
The fight over net neutrality has been dwarfed in the public square by the struggling economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the health-care debate. But if the FCC acts to hand control of the Internet over to the Obama administration, there will be one more populist explosion, which this White House and Congress don’t need.
The groups backing net neutrality, such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, are opposed to companies like Verizon creating different levels of service by charging a higher cost for faster service. Other religious groups, such as the Christian Coalition, have argued that this kind of tiered service could also lead to “discrimination” against religious content for two reasons: Verizon executives may decide to filter religious content they find objectionable, and religious organizations may not be able to afford the faster service.
Other groups are opposed to net neutrality. An assembly of religious and conservative leaders representing twelve organizations wrote a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that an Internet kept “open” by government regulation puts families at risk:
It is critically important for parents and broadband service providers to continue to have these tools available to them because despite what network neutrality proponents may say, all content on the web is not equal and should not be treated equally. Network management is not some insidious method of stifling voices on the Internet; network management is critical to stop pornographers and pedophiles from having unfettered access to consumers’ Internet connections.
Why would religious organizations, like the new version of the Christian Coalition and the USCCB, back a policy forcing broadband service providers to treat pornography the same as content welcomed by families?
Net neutrality, in addition to adding to government power and control, would mean that every decision to block pornography, or any kind of security threat, would have to be approved by the government.