obamasmug2Obama Internet plan gives government power to shut down critical websites

Barack Obama’s “net neutrality” rules could allow the federal government to shut down websites that criticize the President, federal court documents argue.

“In its February vote on net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission stated that broadband providers do not have a right to free speech,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“Broadband providers are conduits, not speakers … the rules we adopt today are tailored to the important government interest in maintaining an open Internet as a platform for expression,” the Obama FCC declared.

By ruling that broadband providers are not speakers, the Obama FCC has given the federal government a legal loophole through the First Amendment that it can use to target and shut down the president’s critics.

And with a critical election coming up, the Obama administration has every reason to exercise its new power.

“If rules such as these are not reviewed under the most rigorous scrutiny possible, government favoritism and censorship masquerading as ‘neutrality’ will soon cascade to other forms of mass communication,” the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology argues in a legal brief.

“In addition to compelling speech, the order impermissibly singles out broadband providers without imposing similar requirements on the speech of other Internet entities who also act as gatekeepers,” argues a brief by former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth.

“If the court upholds the FCC’s rules, the agency’s authority over the Internet would extend from one end to the other,” Fred Campbell, president of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, told the Washington Examiner. “Because the same theories the FCC relied on to impose its new regulations on Internet service providers are also applicable to companies like Apple and Netflix, the FCC could extend its regulatory reach much further in the future.”

Liberals have long harangued Obama to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine,” a defunct FCC rule requiring broadcasters to air equal amounts of liberal and conservative views, regardless of what viewers want.

With MSNBC struggling, and liberal talk radio having failed numerous times, liberals are looking to net neutrality to forcibly seize control of news outlets and have the government dictate what views can be expressed.

With the new powers granted by the FCC, the Obama administration may target conservative broadcasters and shut them down, in order to reduce the availability of conservative speech.

The Obama administration has already been doing this through the IRS, stonewalling IRS determination applications by conservatives groups to freeze them out of the 2010 and 2012 elections.

“This possibility raises the risk that Congress or the FCC could impose restrictions on Internet video and other services that have traditionally been imposed on over the air broadcasting and cable television, including the fairness doctrine that once put the government in charge of determining whether broadcasters were fairly representing both sides of an issue,” argues Fred Campbell, president of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology.