Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A letter to Sen. Hatch on Common Carriers

Mr. Hatch,

I am aware of the Republican sentiment regarding "Net Neutrality", a sentiment I happen to disagree with. This whole notion of "the government taking over the internet" flies in the face of efforts by the NSA to monitor communications. It has been well documented that during the Bush Administration, the Republican Party was insistent (and spent billions) on complete surveillance of American citizens through internet monitoring. If the Republicans desire complete surveillance of communications in the name of "national security" then Net Neutrality should be no problem.

Few people understand the issue, and even fewer are informed of what is at stake here. To help people understand the issue more clearly I offer the following:

If you are a private entity providing internet service and you pass information from the public internet to your customers, you are a common carrier. If you are a private entity and you connect to your customers, but do not connect to the public internet, then you are not a common carrier. To put it more simply, if you are a closed, self-contained network, providing customer access to that network and do not accept or pass through any outside information, you are not a common carrier.

It's that simple. If you provide customer access to a public network, you're a common carrier. If not, you're not a common carrier.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the situation is more complex than that? If so, how do you justify your position?

Scott Dunn