On Net Neutrality

Because of a recent court decision, net neutrality has been the topic of conversation on a few of the pages I follow.

My position is that the problem is in the defining of “net neutrality.” While words often have their meanings transformed over time (“liberal” as an example), the phrase “net neutrality” is one that I do not think has ever been pinned down with a very specific meaning.

Here are the two definitions that I see most often used:

  1. No company may impede access to content.
  2. The Internet should be free from all government regulation.

In pondering these two definitions, one can see that they are sometimes contradictory. If I believe in the first, it would be logical that I would need government to intervene if an entity does, in fact, impede access. If I believe in the second, it would be logical that an entity could impede access and that no regulation is needed to stop the practice.

As a libertarian (classical liberal) I think it is the second.

The important point is this – when someone asks, “Do you favor net neutrality?” the only correct reply is “What do you mean by net neutrality?”

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