Monday, September 10, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh’s Internet -- Lawfare

Final paragraphs:
"Again, Kavanaugh was not content with just invoking precedent about what rules the FCC had power to create, which would have simply punted the issue back to Congress.  Instead, he argued that the issue should not be decided by Congress at all, writing that net neutrality violated the constitutional rights of telecommunications and cable companies.  Kavanaugh took the position that the decisions of these companies to throttle the speech of those services they disfavored were comparable to a newspaper editor’s decision about what articles to publish—a choice protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and the press.

In fact, Kavanaugh had it exactly backwards.  If publishers and ordinary people don’t have fair access to the internet, the public square will be subject to censorship by large, often monopolistic companies like Cox, Comcast and Verizon.   Instead of protecting the rights of ordinary people—or even the companies that produce internet content—Kavanaugh used the First Amendment to invent a new corporate “right” to censor speech.

While the digital age is well underway, the justices have only begun to grapple with its implications—for privacy, freedom of speech, and new forms of digital control.  Kavanaugh’s vote will be for an internet based not on openness and freedom, but on surveillance and control."
Brett Kavanaugh’s Internet -- Lawfare

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