In advance of today's House Judiciary Committee hearing on Internet neutrality, 12 politically conservative and Christian conservative groups have begun lobbying to block the agency's move, which is to be backed by the influential Christian Coalition at the hearing.
"We write to you to warn of the dangers of net neutrality," penned the 12 in a letter to members. "Now is not an appropriate time for the FCC to act."
Among those signing are David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; and Larry Cirignano, founder of CatholicVote.org. Their point: Regulations will only stop future innovation, including the types of filters and blocks that parents can use to prevent children from viewing pornography. The groups hope that Internet providers will continue to be allowed to block content from some sites, which could be barred under net neutrality proposals. A recent case involving Comcast's filtering of sites has renewed FCC attention on the issue and led Chairman Kevin Martin to demand greater fairness and transparency by providers.
In their letter to lawmakers today, the 12 wrote: "The Internet has unquestionably changed the way we communicate for the better. However, as you know, the Internet has also made obscenity, child pornography, and other objectionable content readily accessible. Thankfully, research, innovation, and competition have given Internet users tools to block unwanted content from entering their homes. It is critically important for parents and broadband service providers to continue to have these tools available to them because despite what network neutrality proponents may say, all content on the web is not equal and should not be treated equally. Network management is not some insidious method of stifling voices on the Internet; network management is critical to stop pornographers and pedophiles from having unfettered access to consumers' Internet connections."
By Paul Bedard