At long last, the FCC has released its 400-page tome of net neutrality regulations. One sentence alone reveals in a nutshell what’s to come.
It’s to be found in the massive document released by the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday, nearly two weeks after three of the five commissioners adopted the plan.
It reclassifies Internet Service Providers as public utilities under Title II of the Communications Act, originally passed to regulate telephone companies, and forbids them from blocking or diminishing access to content online.
But at least one sentence of the regulation is giving many analysts pause.
“A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non- harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management,” reads page seven of the new Internet regulation adopted by the FCC.
Who then, now that these regulations are in effect, will determine which Internet content is lawful and unlawful?
The FCC itself mentions only “unlawful material such as child pornography or copyright-infringing materials,” but leaves the exact interpretation open.
Even the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which pushed and eventually celebrated the FCC’s intervention in the Internet marketplace, labeled this section of the net neutrality regulation as the “worrisome bit.”