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Martin Changes Tune On Broadband Smut-Filter

Opposition leads to revised national broadband proposal

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In his final days as chairman of the FCC, Kevin Martin appears to have done an about face on a proposed content filter for free wireless broadband. After opposition killed the original plan, Martin has placed a new proposal, sans smut-filter, on the table for review at the next and final FCC meeting on January 15.

Perhaps it’s an attempt to end his tenure on a high note by doing something very positive for the nation—auctioning off spectrum to a wireless provider that can serve up wireless broadband to 95 percent of the country.

In a further twist, Martin didn’t call the Wall Street Journal or another paper of record to announce the plan. He called tech website Ars Technica to say he had drafted the new proposal. From the article:

"I’m saying if this is a problem for people, let’s take it away," Martin said. "A lot of public interest advocates have said they would support this, but we’re concerned about the filter. Well, now there’s an item in front of the Commissioners and it no longer has the filter. And I’ve already voted for it without the filter now. So it’s already got one vote."

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Martin admitted he had yet to garner any further Commission votes. The move is surprising given Martin’s history of penalizing broadcast networks for even fleeting, accidental language and images.

Supporters of a public national broadband network had mixed emotions about the original proposal because of First Amendment concerns. The idea of the government deciding what content could and could flow across a two-way communications network didn’t sit well with many. Further, by contracting out the business of censorship, such a proposal would automatically endanger the cause of Net Neutrality by setting a precedent whereby an ISP could block content deemed undesirable.

It’s hard to tell if the proposal will pass before a new Commission takes office, and, given the chairman’s sudden reversal in the last lame duck days of his tenure, it’s hard to trust without seeing the rushed proposal itself. Hopefully, like other maneuvers in the past, this isn’t a mask for political gamesmanship. Three lame duck Republican Commissioners could push through a potentially faulty plan on their way out the door.
 

 

Martin Changes Tune On Broadband Smut-Filter
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  • http://randomplaza.com Richard Mongler

    Censorship is the cancer that is killing the internet.

  • Peter Alcivar

    Once they have the mechanisms in place to censor smut, they can censor anything, say, criticism of the government. Look at China.

  • Guest

    Considering that porn is most probably the most looked at thing on the net and that the industry makes well over a billion dollars a year in america I highly doubt that this kind of censorship will go through.

    Let’s face it money talks especially in washington and i’m sure there are already a number of congressmen who’s hands have been greased excuse me lobbied and I can see this dying a death.But the posts are right whenever someone wants to censor anything it’s always for god’s sake save the children!.

  • http://www.webhostreviewer.org/ Hosting Suggestions

    There is plenty of content on the internet that I don’t care for, but there’s plenty on radio and television (reality shows) programming that I won’t watch or listen to either, because it’s crap.

    We’re sophisticated adults and can make our own decisions.

    I think of the internet as an extension of radio or television, and if I don’t like what’s on, I just change the channel.
    Australia’s new proposal in nothing short of what we call totalitarianism, and let’s hope that ridiculous proposal is sent to the rubbish bin.

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