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Verizon: Freedom of Speech Issues Can Be a "Distraction"

February 13, 2007

If you want to check up on what North American telecom carriers are thinking about these days, the Verizon PoliBlog is a good place to start.

A new piece by Verizon's director of external relations John 'CZ' Czwartacki makes the argument that Internet freedom of speech issues such as withdrawal of videos are not only overwraught, but can serve as a "distraction"- used by Internet regulation proponents as cause for alarm.

One of the arguments proponents of government regulation of the Internet is the hypothetical threat to free speech, as in: the voice's of seventh graders would be interfered with by big ISPs seeking a payday.

Now, anyone who treats customers like that should and would suffer customer and policymaker wrath, but that’s not what this post is about:

It’s about 1st Amendment issues today. Real speech, in the real world.


While it’s extremely healthy for any democracy to be on guard against free speech violations -- both real and imagined -- one it clearly more important.  The real ones.

On blogs in the last few days we’ve seen these postings at IP Democracy and Ars Technica about voices being silenced and videos being banished without warning. 

Getting seventh graders’ passionate about our freedoms is a good thing, but using them to advance a cause best described as “faith-based network engineering”  is a bit over the top. 

Then again, maybe cooler heads and common sense are taking hold -- like in Canada, where the government opposes regulation known as net neutrality.

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