KODIAK — The Save the Internet Act passed by House Democrats would actually endanger open access to the internet for all. I trust that Senator Murkowski will do what is right and oppose this faulty legislation while working with her colleagues to pass a real bipartisan solution to the full range of online threats we currently face.
The major flaw of the Save the Internet Act is that it would create more needless government bureaucracy. It would essentially allow the federal government to set prices, decide what services consumers could access, and determine how to invest in the future of the internet.
We should not cede control of the internet to the government. Doing so will sap the investment that has allowed the internet to grow into the social and economic force it is today.
The heavy-handed Title II regulations that the Save the Internet Act would enforce on the internet were written in the 1930s, and have already proven to create uncertainty, drain investment, and impede efforts to improve broadband networks. When the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission first tried to impose these rules, broadband investment dropped as most internet providers reported increased expenses, threatening internet access and deployment most severely in rural states like Alaska. Why would we repeat these mistakes?
Another fundamental weakness of this legislation is that it wouldn’t even apply to huge internet companies like Facebook and Google. Its rules were written far before the internet was even conceived of, and before online tech companies grew into the behemoths they are today. By leaving out these tech giants, the Save the Internet Act ignores one of the largest concerns online users have: the security of their personal data and online privacy.
Presently, companies like Facebook and Google have unbelievable control over what we see and do online. They are the de facto gatekeepers of the internet, and they often use that position to give preferential treatment to themselves, censoring dissenting positions or prioritizing their products and services over their competition. The lack of transparency over how they collect and use our personal information—as well as frequent security breaches—has Americans rightfully concerned. Any solution for a free and open internet must include consistent consumer protections that apply to all the major players.
No one disagrees with the fundamental principles of net neutrality—that no one’s content should be unfairly slowed, blocked, or throttled. However, the Democrats’ restrictive regulations would not only fail to protect open access, they would hinder investments in enhancing high-speed internet networks. The Save the Internet Act threatens competition, innovation, and investment while continuing to leave consumers vulnerable to the bad actions of internet gatekeepers. Congress must scrap this misguided approach and enact bipartisan legislation that protects consumers to keep the internet safe, open, and thriving.
Stephanie Haydn is an Army veteran and an Alaska resident of 20 years. She currently works as an information developer at Computer Task Group (CTG).