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I promised earlier to write more about Net neutrality, recently signed into law by the Obama regime in the United States. It means more regulation of Internet prices and services, and almost certainly price increases as a result.

Might it mean more than that?

Yes indeed. The four million U.S. write-in votes for government regulation of the Internet were not in vain. The international telecommunications union sought a greater role for regulation and intervention but were always resisted in the past by the view that the Internet is simply an information service, period. It is delivered in a variety of ways, but it is still just information.

But in the United States, the FCC has reclassified the Internet as a telecommunications service (by a 3-2 vote), not an information service. So it is on a par with telephone service. Thus the government has regulatory authority over it.

Russia and China have been pushing for government control of the Internet for some time. That would require international control. It is probably not a reasonable hope that Russia and China want this in order to empower citizens. 

When voters vote into power a party that legislates such an outcome, the zealots need not rely on the Internet anyway once the child is in school.

Currently, the pro “net neutrality” side is in the driver’s seat:

The FCC, experts said, will argue that reclassifying the Internet as a public utility, and thus making it eligible for Title II regulation, is a “permissible construction” of the Communications Act.

Many who do not have any idea what is at issue until they cannot use the Internet to communicate an idea that their betters think wrong will applaud and vote for politicians who claim they are going to do something about crime and injustice in general.

No one ever got elected claiming that they planned to do nothng about such matters.

Let us start with first principles. Here is a free, easy primer on what information even is:

…fundamentally relational, not particles or fields. Mass, charge, and spin are pieces of information about material things. If we can’t integrate information into our picture, we don’t have a coherent picture. Note, I did not say a “complete” picture. We may never have that. But perhaps many scientists today would settle for a more coherent one. … Informational relationships are not causal but connective. The phone number does not cause calls; it only connects them. Information, such as the number, is an immaterial reality stored and conveyed in a variety of material media. …

The Internet has laid bare what information really is, because it is a supermedium. Governments do not like that. They will fix it if they can, using their accustomed sources of advice.

Note: In truth, it may not make much difference: In Ontario province in Canada, the new compulsory sex ed curriculum exposes young children to sexualizing images, with strong support from education unions, including religious ones, despite questionable sponsorship (at best).

 

Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...