The FCC’s Plan to Censor the Internet
December 12, 2008
Washington, D.C.--The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to auction off a portion of the airwaves for Internet use. Under the terms of the auction, the winning bidder would be forced to use a quarter of the auctioned spectrum to provide free wireless Internet service to all Americans.
“If you think free Internet access under this plan would be a good thing, think again,” said Don Watkins, a writer for the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “This ‘free’ access comes at the price of giving government unprecedented control over the Internet.
“Since no ISP can compete with free, omnipresent Internet access, this plan means that virtually all online users will be herded into the government-controlled Internet. And as the history of radio and television has shown, once the government guarantees ‘free’ access to a communications medium, it will inevitably exercise control over its content--i.e., censorship.
“In fact, this plan already comes with censorship strings attached; the FCC has declared that this ‘free’ Internet must filter out pornography and other material deemed unsuitable for children. Not only will this prevent vast numbers of Americans from accessing content the government regards as inappropriate, but it will unavoidably lead to massive self-censorship by websites struggling to avoid government sanitization.
“The FCC should auction off these airwaves without preconditions--not use the prospect of ‘free’ wireless access to lure us into accepting an online censorship regime.”
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Don Watkins is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand—author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
For more articles by Don Watkins, and his bio, click here.