Christian Coalition Backs Net Neutrality at FCC Hearing

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By Lawrence Jones, Christian Post Reporter
April 20, 2008|12:01 pm

Organizations that don't have "deep pockets" should have the same access to the internet "without snooping or blocking or slowing down" by internet providers, the vice president of a conservative Christian advocacy group said Thursday at a meeting on network management.

Michele Combs of Christian Coalition of America received some of the loudest applause at the Stanford Law School gathering for airing her supportive views of net neutrality – the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally without regard to the source or subject matter, according to Tech Policy Central.

It was the second hearing on network management held by the Federal Communications Commission. In February, the agency held a similar hearing in Cambridge, Mass., to investigate allegations that cable provider Comcast, and other ISPs, were slowing or throttling file-sharing traffic over its network.

Large service providers – Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner – were invited to Thursday's hearing but all were no-shows.

That left the floor open to mainly to advocacy groups that spoke against closed networks and in favor of stronger net neutrality rules, which would prevent internet service providers from filtering Web content in a way they claim manages congested traffic.

In response to arguments espoused by cable companies that net neutrality regulations would prevent them from filtering illegal content like child pornography, Combs said she finds such claims "disingenuous."

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"Let's remember: it was the King James Bible that Comcast blocked that caused the current controversy," said Combs, according to Tech Policy Central.

She had also accused cable companies like Comcast for using the same technology that the Chinese government to suppress Christians in China using the Internet and potentially using it to block online programs from her organization in favor of another Christian-oriented channel, International Data Group News reported.

Michael Copps was one of two FCC commissioners who strongly supported net neutrality.

"The dynamic Internet, perhaps the most expansive and liberating technology since the printing press, is, in fact, under threat," he said, according to IDG News. "We will keep it open, we will keep it free, only if we act forcefully to make that happen."

FCC chairman Kevin Martin said its current net policies are sufficient but only needed to be enforced, reported Information Week.

And Stanford Law professor Larry Lessig said regulation of the platform would hurt investment in technological innovations and consumer choice, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Among the minority who opposed net neutrality at the meeting was songwriter Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America, who said piracy that resulted from the lack of regulation have dealt a huge blow to the music industry, according to IDG News.

Comcast last month agreed to work together with BitTorrent, a company that uses peer-to-peer technology to distribute media files, to address concerns over its network practices. The FCC is still in the process of investigating Comcast network management practices.

 

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