By Michael Snyder, on February 11th, 2015
The Federal Election Commission is an example of a federal rule making body that has gotten wildly out of control. Since just about anything that anyone says or does could potentially “influence an election”, it is not difficult for them to come up with excuses to regulate things that they do not like.
And on Wednesday, the FEC held a hearing on whether or not they should regulate political speech on blogs, websites and YouTube videos…
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is holding a hearing today to receive public feedback on whether it should create new rules regulating political speech, including political speech on the Internet that one commissioner warned could affect blogs, YouTube videos and even websites like the Drudge Report.
If you do not think that this could ever happen, you should consider what almost happened at the FEC last October…
In October, then FEC Vice Chairwoman Ann M. Ravel promised that she would renew a push to regulate online political speechfollowing a deadlocked commission vote that would have subjected political videos and blog posts to the reporting and disclosure requirements placed on political advertisers who broadcast on television. On Wednesday, she will begin to make good on that promise.
“Some of my colleagues seem to believe that the same political message that would require disclosure if run on television should be categorically exempt from the same requirements when placed in the Internet alone,” Ravel said in an October statement. “As a matter of policy, this simply does not make sense.”
“In the past, the Commission has specifically exempted certain types of Internet communications from campaign finance regulations,” she lamented. “In doing so, the Commission turned a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena.”
As our nation continues to drift toward totalitarianism, it is only a matter of time before political speech on the Internet is regulated. It is already happening in other countries all around the globe, and control freak politicians such as Ravel will just keep pushing until they get what they want.
The way that they are spinning it this time around is that they desperately need to do something “about money in politics”…
Noting the 32,000 public comments that came into the FEC in advance of the hearing, Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, “75 percent thought that we need to do more about money in politics, particularly in the area of disclosure. And I think that’s something that we can’t ignore.”
And it isn’t just a few control freak Democrats that want these changes.
The Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, the League of Women Voters and Public Citizen were all expected to testify in favor of more government regulation on the Internet at the hearing.
Fortunately, other organizations are doing what they can to warn the general population. For example, the following comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation…
Increased regulation of online speech is not only likely to chill participation in the public debate, but it may also threaten individual speakers’ privacy and right to post anonymously. In so doing, it may undermine two goals of campaign finance reform: protecting freedom of political speech and expanding political participation.
As we stated in our joint comments to the FEC back in 2005[pdf], “the Internet provides a counter-balance to the undue dominance that ‘big money’ has increasingly wielded over the political process in the past half-century.” We believe that heightened regulation of online political speech will hamper the Internet’s ability to level the playing field.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama and the FCC are using net neutrality as an excuse to impose lots of new regulations on Internet activity.
Ajit Pai is an FCC commissioner who is opposed to this plan. He recently sent out a tweet holding what he calls “President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet“…
Ajit Pai’s description of “President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet” sounds Orwellian. He tweeted a picture of himself holding the 332-page plan just below a picture of a smiling Barack Obama with a comment, “I wish the public could see what’s inside.” The implication depicted Obama as George Orwell’s “Big Brother.”
Pai also released a statement: “President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works,” he said. “The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband… These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.”
Here is the photo that he posted with his tweet…
After what we went through with Obamacare, one can only imagine what is inside that monstrosity of a document.
Regulation of the Internet is here, and it is only going to get worse.
But at least we are not like Saudi Arabia just yet. Recently, a Saudi blogger was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam“.
So we should be thankful for the freedoms that we still have. But without a doubt, governments all over the world are slowly but surely cracking down on Internet freedom.
If we do not stand up for our rights now, one day we may wake up and find that our freedom to communicate with one another over the Internet is totally gone.