Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano branded the principle of net neutrality as “Orwellian” after President Obama spoke out in favor of an open internet for consumers.
On Monday, President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt the “strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality,” emphasizing that "[a]n open internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life."
But according to Fox's legal analyst Napolitano on the November 10 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co, Obama just “wants to take the choice of buyers and sellers out of the market.” After host Stuart Varney accused the president of seeking “to regulate the internet,” Napolitano concluded that the entire principle of net neutrality “is Orwellian.”
Net neutrality -- what Napolitano deemed “Orwellian” -- is the guiding principle that the internet's founders have called fundamental to the internet's success.
Vinton Cerf, a computer scientist often recognized as one of the fathers of today's Internet, has observed that such a system without net neutrality “would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success.” And Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, explained the greater implications of net neutrality (emphasis added):
BERNERS-LEE: We need to be able to find ways of coming to agreements with people in other countries, in other cultures, about what we are going to do with our planet and how we are going to solve global warming. For that, we need a very strong democracy. Democracy involves people being informed, being able to communicate, being able to hold each other accountable. And all that absolutely depends on the neutral internet.
The FCC is currently considering whether to further codify the principle, as Huffington Post explains:
The FCC is currently weighing whether ISPs, such as Verizon and Comcast, can choose to block or prioritize delivering traffic to certain websites. The consideration comes in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling in January that struck down the rules that barred companies from doing so. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FCC was considering a “hybrid” compromise that would empower ISPs to make deals with companies to allow for faster content delivery, while still allowing for oversight.