Network Neutrality Should Not be a "Clever Hack"

Sometimes it takes a brave observer to say the “emperor has no clothes.” You might say some witty British technology observers have done so.

“Almost 20 years ago Congress decided that its regulators couldn't apply old Bell-style phone rules to Internet services,” says Andrew Orlowski, a writer for The Register. “The judicial system is getting fed up with being asked to throw out this distinction: it's not the courts' job to make new laws, or repeal old ones.”

While a couple of times the lawfulness of common carrier regulation of Internet access has been challenged--successfully--in court, some continue to advocate that the Federal Communications Commission do something many argue it has no authority from Congress to do.

“The FCC is the creature of Congress, not its master,” notes Orlowski. There are some other avenues network neutrality supporters could support, that would come under jurisdiction courts have suggested already exist (promoting broadband adoption).

But that is not the remedy some now propose.

Orlowski points out what might be obvious. Zeal for some ends now seems to justify nearly any ends.

Disparaging what he characterizes as an effort to pull off a “clever hack,” Orlowski points out the larger problem of which efforts by some are only an example.

“Why not bypass it (democracy) wherever and whenever you encounter something you don't like?” he rhetorically asks.

The matter is not good intentions or ideas about good policy. Most network neutrality supporters honestly and sincerely believe Internet freedom is served by those policies. 

Perhaps all who oppose net neutrality object only to a very few specific notions about network neutrality. 

Even oppoinents of net neutrality agree that end users have the right to use any lawful application, They agree that no Internet service provider should be able to block or degrade the performance of any lawful application.

The single salient objection is that voluntary or optional use of content delivery networks by end user customers, and the ability of an ISP to offer such services, should be lawful, not unlawful as network neutrality supporters propose.
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