06 April, 2010

Net Neutrality Struck Down

The entire debate about the FCC's decision to impose Net Neutrality on the Internet has become so convoluted that I am reminded of Charles Dickens description from Bleak House of the infamous lawsuit Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, to wit:

Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises.
-- Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Chapter One

Not even Internet Free Speech advocates can decide if Net Neutrality is an over reach of government power, nor what effect it might have on free speech -- and often use the exact same arguments against one another to justify their positions.

Well, for the moment, the argument about government overreach has won, but not in the way it had been expected; A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that the FCC cannot impose Net Neutrality restrictions... for the simple reason that it has failed to prove that there is any law on the books that says it has that authority. In other words, the courts have ruled that the FCC was attempting to impose regulation on something for which no law has ever been passed giving it permission to do so.

We'll see how long that lasts. But for the moment, its back to square one for Net Neutrality advocates.

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