June 09, 2008
Bring back "fairness"! Stop the hate! And save the children!
While it always sounds cliché-ish to say it, what needs to be said more often is that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Steve Boriss (who blogs at the Future of News) looks at the history of free speech, noting that with every technological advance in communication came another heavy-handed attempt by government to restrict free speech. First it was the printing press:
While the printing press may have been a great leap forward for the spread of information, it also represented two steps backwards for free speech. First, these large, hard-to-conceal machines now allowed governments to stifle criticism, by identifying those responsible for spreading information to the masses, and subjecting them to prior restraint, licensing, censorship, and punishment.Next came broadcast media:
The introduction of broadcasting not only eroded the number of voices, it actually reversed free speech, placing government back in control of news. European governments co-opted television and ran their own government-friendly broadcasts. In the U.S., government control of news became just as real, but it happened differently. Our government seized control of the broadcast spectrum, declaring frequencies a precious resource that must only be used by responsible corporate citizens. Accordingly, networks were required to reapply for licenses every few years, with renewals contingent upon satisfied politicians and their appointees.And now it's the government's turn to take a crack at the Internet. Once again, under the false pretense of "fairness":
In a recent editorial, the NY Times welcomed federal regulation of the Internet under the benign-sounding cause "net neutrality," warning us that Internet service providers might suppress ideas they do not like. The Times ignores the fact that the First Amendment is designed to protect us against suppression of ideas by the government, not the private sector, which has neither the power nor the motive to suppress ideas.It doesn't seem that they'll ever stop. If it isn't one pretext, it will be another. If not "fairness," then "hate speech." If not "hate," then "the children."
The optimist in my likes to think that eventually the people they want to regulate will catch on.
An FCC plan to provide free, nationwide wireless Internet has faltered on concerns about possible network inference and a stipulation that would require filtering of offensive content. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin reportedly said the commission will not vote on the proposal June 12 as originally planned, but that he still hopes to present the full plan to the commission in July.This should be watched carefully.
Especially if they delay it until after the election.
posted by Eric on 06.09.08 at 04:07 PM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood