FCC Unintended Consequences Could Lobotomize the Internet

November 11, 2009

George Ou has a great new post — “FCC NPRM ban on paid peering harms new innovators” — that should be humbling and give some serious pause to the FCC and those pushing its proposed Open Internet regulations.

The Internet’s complex ganglia of technologies, networks, agreements, standards, incentives, collaborations, contracts, innovations, relationships, safeguards, protections, economics, etc. — approaches the complexity of a brain.

  • The FCC’s approach of “preserving an Open Internet” with the blunt instruments of FCC regulation is like pre-med student trying to do brain surgery with kitchen utensils and naively confident that he/she can figure it out as they go along.
  • The FCC’s problem is that this is very much like brain surgery, even real experts could mess this up, and if its done wrong it could cause permanent irreparable damage to the current Internet.
  • If the FCC makes a mistake in its Internet regulatory brain surgery — in trying to surgically convert the functioning private Internet into a comparable functioning public Internet — it could be like the functional equivalent of an Internet lobotomy.

What is really scary is apparently how little regulatory humility there is on the subject of the Internet or appreciation that good intentions could easily become serious unintended consequences.

  • The FCC should remember, the wisdom of… first do no harm.



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