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Darrell Issa's Internet Theory: Net Neutrality Will End Porn

Congressman Darrell Issa talks with reporters after a meeting in Washington on Sept. 28, 2013
Congressman Darrell Issa talks with reporters after a meeting in Washington on Sept. 28, 2013Photograph by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The public pressure for strong regulations keeping Internet providers from picking favorites is growing, and House Republicans don’t like it. In a hearing of a House Judiciary subcommittee on Friday, they described net neutrality as a form of government censorship that would prevent technology companies from innovating. Underpinning these arguments was the flawed notion that net neutrality is an idea cooked up by the Federal Communications Commission over the last six weeks, and not the basis of government policy for more than a decade.

“Net neutrality is a seductive slogan,” said Bruce Owen, a fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. While this was a strange way to describe what is often seen as one of the most boring phrases in history, Owen does sort of have a point: 58 percent of respondents to a recent survey by Consumers Union said they were against allowing Internet service providers to charge companies for preferential treatment. Owen argued the phrase has no real meaning, and compared it to a mutating virus that adapts to attack market freedom in whatever way it can. When asked to provide his own definition, he couldn’t come up with one.