New FCC renews calls for net neutrality

net neutrality

Remember net neutrality?


Fans of egalitarian broadband services are getting some new hope in the form of likely changes at the US FCC.


Marguerite Reardon reports at CNet this morning that the Biden administration seems to be serious about pursuing a national regulation for promoting net neutrality, partially under the aegis of new FCC leader Jessica Rosenworcel.


“This next chapter in net neutrality is about reestablishing the FCC’s oversight of our nation’s telecommunications network,” said Harold Feld, a senior vice president of the digital advocacy group Public Knowledge, as quoted in BB’s coverage. “And if the FCC doesn’t establish its authority under Title II, then it doesn’t have authority over any telecommunications anymore.”


In a recent televised interview, Rosenworcel has said she opposed the Trump-era rollback of national rules on net neutrality, where individual states were left to legislate on their own.


“We’re going to need a national policy on this issue,” she said. “Net neutrality should be the law of the land.”


Rosenworcel pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic has shown that adequate broadband is a “need to have” for the population as a whole.


She also responded on questions on cybersecurity, where she said greater protections are necessary.


“Cybersecurity is really an important part of our national security,” Rosenworcel said.


Detailing short-term and long-term goals, she spoke on the need for more scrutiny of online and digital systems.


Rosenworcel’s focus on cybersecurity as a whole dovetails with a lot of recent analysis about the need for proactive security efforts.


“Security threats will likely accelerate in 2022 as cybercriminals refine tried-but-true ransomware methods and look to exploit weaknesses in the software that knits together the internet,” writes Bree Fowler in contemporary CNet analysis. “US elections will also present a tempting target for spreading misinformation. The expectation of a ramp-up in hacks, attacks and data theft comes after a massive jump in ransomware – takeovers of computer systems that remain locked down until a ransom is paid – that spilled into consumers’ lives in 2021. Cyberattacks that shut down oil transporter Colonial Pipeline and meat packer JBS USA contributed to rising gasoline prices and meat shortages in parts of the US.”

Look for more on both net neutrality and cybersec as the administration continues to build its policy legacy.