Net Neutrality Isn’t Neutral, and Its Bad For the Economy

[Guest editorial by Seton Motley]large_net_neutrality

The Barack Obama Administration is back at it – yet another Big Government power grab is in the works.

 The Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is yet again resurrecting Network Neutrality – an all-encompassing Internet usurpation twice unanimously killed by court as an illegal overreach.

Court Backs Comcast Over FCC on ‘Net Neutrality
Verizon Wins Net Neutrality Court Ruling Against FCC

 Net Neutrality III does in fact acknowledge and allow for a basic economic precept:

If you use more, you pay more.

 It will allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge bandwidth hogs like Netflix and Google (owner of YouTube) for the Web-exploding bandwidth they use. 

Netflix and YouTube Make Up Majority of US Internet Traffic
Netflix Now The Largest Single Source of Internet Traffic In North America
Video Viewing on Netflix Accounts for Up to 30 Percent of Online Traffic

Rather than make all of us – including non-Netflix and non-YouTube users – subsidize their massive profit-models.  Which of course upsets them.

Google And Netflix Are Considering An All-Out PR Blitz Against The FCC’s Net Neutrality Plan


This nod to economic Reality also has the Left rending garments and gnashing teeth in overwrought, overdramatic fashion.

Barack Macbeth’s ‘Murder’ of Net Neutrality
So This is How Net Neutrality Dies, Under a Democratic President
Thanks to the FCC Net Neutrality is Dead
Stop the FCC from Breaking the Internet

If these Leftist bad actors had their way, the government would mandate that gas stations charge the same price for empty Escalades and Escorts.

Their reaction is part knee-jerk response to anything less than total government command-and-control – and part political theater.  Their screeching – combined with our reasonable objection to this third attempt at massive government overreach – allows FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to say:

See – both sides are angry with me.  My proposal must be reasonable.

Hardly.  The Chairman has circulated amongst the Commission his Net Neutrality Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) – the first step in a process that so often ends in really bad policy.  I spoke – on condition of anonymity – with someone inside the Beast.  And the first draft ain’t good.

A caveat: This is a first draft.  The final version – once the four Commissioners weigh in – may end up looking dramatically different.  But this is Chairman Wheeler left to his own devices – and it ain’t good.

The proposal possesses two over-arching characteristics. 

1.     A preemptive Mother-May-I approach to Internet innovation.  Anytime the marketplace develops a new way of doing just about anything – the innovators must first check with the government to see if they can implement it. 

Fairly command-and-control, is it not?  Not exactly a great way to run a constantly-evolving, endlessly-faceted World Wide Web.

2.     A nebulousness to exactly just how far the government’s regulatory reach is.  Just what nook or cranny of the private Web – if any – lies beyond the Leviathan’s tentacles?

The order’s lynchpin is how the government will now define “high speed broadband.”  It appears to mandate that everyone must be able to simultaneously download multiple movies – all while dual-online playing Game of Thrones and Call of Duty with everyone from their graduating class.

And if that ridiculously huge bandwidth demand slows you down ever so slightly – the government won’t consider it “high speed.”

See, the actual law – which the FCC is ignoring by imposing Net Neutrality – allows the government to stick it’s enormous proboscis even further into the Web if there is “market failure.”  So the government will absurdly define market “success” – and then claim it’s failing.  And start ratcheting up further the regulations.

Remember ObamaCare’s nutritional information disclosure requirements?

ObamaCare Requires 34 Million Pizza Nutrition Signs 

The new Net Neutrality order dramatically ramps up the disclosure requirements for ISPs.  How?  In what forms and fashions?  Again, it’s nebulous – and open-ended.  The precedent likes of ObamaCare’s multi-million menu aren’t good.

What are the punishments for violating these absurd new regulations?  Again – nebulous.  And, again – the government’s omni-directional precedents aren’t good.

Seton Motley is the founder and president of Less Government.  Please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@SetonMotley) and Facebook.  It’s his kind of stalking


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Heartbleed Bug – What to Do

I’ve been advising people to use 1Password for years now. Turns out that continues to be good advise. 1Password is immune to the latest security problem that’s affecting some 70% of all Internet sites.

Password Advise

While your data is safe within 1Password itself, there is a good chance websites you used were vulnerable and did not protect your username and password.

The knee jerk reaction to this news is to change all your passwords immediately. While I will be recommending you change your passwords, not all websites have been updated yet to protect against this vulnerability.

The best advice I can give you is to change your most important website passwords immediately, including your email, bank accounts, and other high value targets. This will provide your best defense against previous attacks.

After a few weeks, websites will have been upgraded with new SSL certificates, and you will be able to trust SSL again. At this point you should change all of your passwords again.

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Is WiFi Dangerous to Your Health? Live on America Now With Andy Dean at 8:35

I’ll be on America Now at 8:35 tonight talking about WiFi and other wireless safety. Looks like as many as 4% of the population may be sensitive to the radio waves emitted by our cell phones, WiFi, Smart Meters and even our cars.

‘I used to be sick all the time': Dozens of Americans who claim to be allergic to electromagnetic signals settle in small West Virginia town where WiFi is banned

Read more:


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Apple’s Ability to Innovate is On The Way Out – Insider

Yukari Iwatani Kane has published so many Apple (AAPL) scoops in the Wall Street Journal, including the 2009 story about Steve Jobs‘ secret liver transplant, that her new book due March 18th is likely to carry some serious clout.  And she’s not reporting much good news this time, either.

She’s written a book about Apple’s prospects without Jobs at the helm. When she started, she thought that if any company had a chance to survive the death of its powerful co-founder, Apple did. She doesn’t think that anymore, as her piece in the current New Yorker illustrates:

When Jobs was ousted in 1985, the impact of his absence on Apple’s business was not immediately obvious. After a slow start, Macintosh sales began rising. Two years after Jobs left, Apple’s annual sales had almost doubled compared to three years earlier, and its gross profit margin was an astonishing fifty-one per cent. Outside appearances suggested that Apple hadn’t missed a beat.

Inside Apple, employees knew differently. Something had changed. “I was let down when Steve left,” Steve Scheier, a marketing manager at Apple from 1982 to 1991, recalled. “The middle managers, the directors, and the vice presidents kept the spirit alive for a long time without his infusion, but eventually you start hiring people you shouldn’t hire. You start making mistakes you shouldn’t have made.” Scheier told me that he eventually grew tired and left. The company had “become more of a business and less of a crusade.”…

So what about now? Apple’s supporters point to the company’s billions of dollars in quarterly profit and its tens of billions in revenue as proof that it continues to thrive. But Apple’s employees again know differently, despite the executive team’s best efforts to preserve Jobs’s legacy. People who shouldn’t be hired are being hired (like Apple’s former retail chief, John Browett, who tried to incorporate big-box-retailer sensibilities into Apple’s refined store experience). People who shouldn’t leave are leaving, or, in the case of the mobile-software executive Scott Forstall, being fired.

Mistakes, in turn, are being made: Apple Maps was a fiasco, and ads, like the company’s short-lived Genius ads and last summer’s self-absorbed manifesto ad, have been mediocre. Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, looks pretty but is full of bugs and flaws. As for innovation, the last time Apple created something that was truly great was the original iPad, when Jobs was still alive. Although the company’s C.E.O., Tim Cook, insists otherwise, Apple seems more eager to talk about the past than about the future. Even when it refers to the future, it is more intent on showing consumers how it hasn’t changed rather than how it is evolving. The thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh—and the “1984” ad—is not just commemorative. It is a reminder of what Apple has stopped being.

Pretty devastating piece. We’ll see how things go.  With a new CEO at Microsoft’s helm and an un-battle tested CEO at Apple’s helm we’re in for another showdown.

Yukari Iwatani Kane’s book is titled Haunted Empire: Apple after Steve Jobs and is due March 18.  It’s available by pre-order from Amazon and Apple’s iBookstore (irony?)


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