Net Neutrality: For some, 'Big Brother' regulation is OK

It's been interesting watching the spin on net neutrality. PC Magazine online offers one of those little-of-this, little-of-that "journalistic" pieces that put me to sleep. Heck, I was even beginning to think, "Neutrality" has a nice ring, reminds of Switzerland during the war, studiously impartial to all and sundry - well, except for safeguarding hoards of Nazi gold and other loot.

Not content with that, PC Magazine also offers an opinion piece, though it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish news from opinion. The title was provocative: “Do We Need FCC's Net Neutrality Order?” It began with the same on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach before getting to the Really Good News:

If there are no consequences for any action companies and ISPs take, then I expect that they will do as they please and rarely act in the public interest. The FCC is, as far as I can tell, trying to act in the public interest. Thanks to the George Orwell novel 1984, the term "Big Brother" invariably carries negative connotations. However, anyone who has an older brother knows that it can also mean someone who protects and looks out for you. How you view the FCC's proposed action, I guess, all depends on your perspective.

Got that, folks? “The FCC is, as far as I can tell, trying to act in the public interest.” And the commission is Big Brother, but Big Bro can be “someone who protects and looks out for you.” Guess I can go to sleep, because I’m in good hands with Chairman Genachowski. Good thing I no longer subscribe to PC Magazine, because I’d have to go to the trouble to cancel.

But don’t worry, because the FCC itself has no idea what the impact of its rules will be:

The regulations prohibit unreasonable network discrimination - a category that FCC officials say would most likely include services that favor traffic from the broadband providers themselves or traffic from business partners that can pay for priority.

Most likely? Most likely? May I translate that for you, Mr. Anonymous FCC Officials? “We have no idea what’s going to happen with these rules. We’ll just commence firing into the crowd and see who drops. We can triage them later.”

But wait, there’s already a casualty, and the rules haven’t even been issued yet: Netflix. Big Brother, I like my Netflix. I’m a happy customer. But I guess you’re just “someone who protects and looks out for me.” Thank you, Chairman Genachowski.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at sign]