Biden Now Backs Net Neutrality, But Appears To Oppose Section 230

LOS ANGELES—Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has long held a murky position when it comes to net neutrality, even though the original, federal regulations were imposed in 2015, during the Obama administration in which Biden was vice president. During the primary campaign, while his chief opponent Bernie Sanders strongly supported net neutrality, Biden’s position remained publicly ambiguous.  But as he gears up for the general election campaign against Donald Trump, Biden has now collaborated directly with Sanders, releasing a policy statement Thursday strongly in favor of net neutrality principles.  In the policy document, Biden pledges to “restore the FCC’s clear authority to take strong enforcement action against broadband providers who violate net neutrality principles through blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or other measures that create artificial scarcity and raise consumer prices for this vital service.” The policy notably stops short of saying that under Biden, a Democratically controlled Federal Communications Commission would reinstate the Obama-era regulations. Those net neutrality rules were repealed in 208 by the Trump administration FCC.  Net neutrality is the principle that ISPs must treat all online data traffic equally, not offering a “fast lane” to any specific sites, or blocking and throttling others. But it also involves classifying the internet as a “telecommunications service,” which means it would be regulated by the FCC. The 2018 net neutrality repeal reclassified the internet as an “information service,” which moves its jurisdiction to the Federal Trade Commission, leaving the FCC with very little power to regulate online services. Though according to his campaign, Biden was “outraged” when the Obama-era net neutrality rules were ditched, his new policy statement makes no mention of whether he favors reclassifying the internet as a “telecommunications service” once again. But Biden has upset internet freedom advocates by supporting repeal of Section 230, the portion of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that has ensured open communication online. Section 230 shields online platforms from legal liability for content posted by third parties. “Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For (Facebook CEO Mark) Zuckerberg and other platforms,” Biden said in a New York Times interview earlier this year.  Many Democrats have supported legislation to weaken Section 230, such as the EARN IT Act which recently advanced out of a senate committee and now awaits a vote by the full Senate. But Biden’s position as stated in the Times interview is stronger even than that of Republicans who have proposed legislation that would render elements of Section 230 ineffective, but would not revoke it altogether. Photo By White House / Wikimedia Common Public Domain 

written by: Lawrence Avery

source: Biden Now Backs Net Neutrality, But Appears To Oppose Section 230 | AVN