(LibertySons.org) – An explosive opinion piece penned by communications expert Adonis Hoffman for the Hill is reigniting concerns about Democratic Party leadership at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The former legal advisor writes that the commission’s past legal challenges and forecasts may return with the recent push towards net neutrality and digital discrimination rulings.
As Hoffman notes in the article, the FCC has a history of facing legal setbacks in court. Judges have repeatedly overturned its decisions despite the fact that they often play a critical role in regulating America’s communications landscape.
Now, the agency stands at a crossroads. It faces yet another series of vital decisions on contentious topics, including net neutrality and digital discrimination.
The core issue for the communications expert is that the FCC may attempt to revert back to Obama-era regulations. Changes made under the Obama administration reclassified the Internet as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act, subjecting it to stricter regulations. This was reversed in 2017 under Trump, who favored a less regulatory approach by categorizing the internet as an “information service.
Of particular concern is the way the FCC defines “digital discrimination.” Unlike other federal agencies that focus largely on intent, the commission seems inclined to adopt a broader “disparate impact” standard, leaving a significant amount of room for interpretation. Confusing guidelines like these risk upending existing civil rights protections, including those that allow Americans to exercise freedom of speech online.
So, why should this matter to the average American? Changes in 2017 under the Trump administration encouraged competition while simultaneously granting internet service providers the freedom to manage online content as they saw fit. Bringing back Obama-era rules could result in stricter regulations that not only limit market competition but also subject the Internet to governmental influence and bureaucracy.
That’s what makes understanding the FCC’s changing positions and their broader implications on everyday life so important. The internet is now virtually impossible for the average person to totally avoid, and in fact, it often serves as a “town hall” for people to communicate on critical topics. It is important to ensure that essential elements of freedom, such as free speech, limited government, and free-market competition, also thrive online.
~Here’s to Our Liberty!
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