The Progress and Freedom Foundation has just published a white paper I wrote for them titled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Title II Reclassification (NOI Remix).” This is an expanded and revised version of an earlier blog post that looks deeply into the FCC’s pending Notice of Inquiry regarding broadband Internet access. You can download a PDF here.
I point out that beyond the danger of subjecting broadband Internet to extensive new regulations under the so-called “Third Way” approach outlined by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a number of other troubling features in the Notice indicate an even broader agenda for the agency with regard to the Internet.
- Pride: As the FCC attempts to define what services would be subjected to reclassification, the agency runs the risk of both under- and over-inclusion, which could harm consumers, network operators, and content and applications providers.
- Lust: The agency is reaching out for additional powers beyond its reclassification proposals — including an effort to wrest privacy enforcement powers from the Federal Trade Commission and putting itself in charge of cybersecurity for homeland security.
- Anger: The “Third Way” may dramatically expand the scope of federal wiretapping laws, requiring law enforcement “back doors” for a wide range of products and services.
- Gluttony: Reclassifying broadband opens the door to state and local government regulation, which would overwhelm Internet access with a deluge of conflicting, and innovation-killing, laws, rules and new consumer taxes.
- Sloth: As the FCC looks for a legal basis to defend reclassification, basic activities — such as caching, searching, and browsing — may for the first time be included in the category of services subject to “common carrier” regulation.
- Vanity: Though wireless networks face greater challenges from the broadband Internet than wireline networks, the FCC seems poised to impose more, not less, regulation on wireless broadband.
- Greed: Reclassification of broadband services could vastly expand the contribution base for the Universal Service Fund, adding new consumer fees while supersizing this important, but exceedingly wasteful, program.
I’m grateful to PFF, especially Berin Szoka, Adam Marcus, Mike Wendy and Adam Thierer, for their interest and help in publishing the article.