Over the Independence Day holiday, some Internet freedom groups sought to remind Americans of the importance of protecting the World Wide Web from overreaching government regulation, a cause that Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have joined wholeheartedly but with a different angle.
The Pauls set forth a plan to keep the Internet in the hands of the private sector, which they posit will shape the online world in a way conducive to freedom, liberty and economic growth in A Technology Revolution: A Campaign For Liberty Manifesto.
While other Internet freedom advocates have focused their efforts against Internet control more on corporate control of the Web, the Paul manifesto decries the “collectivist vision that seeks to regulate ‘fairness’, ‘neutrality’, ‘privacy’ or ‘competition’ through coercive state actions, or that views the Internet and technology as a vast commons that must be freely available to all.”
They say in the statement that corporations should not be heavily scrutinized by the government in their efforts to collect vast sums of online data for advertising purposes, but that government should be barred from using the Internet for warrantless surveillance.
The manifesto says:
Technology revolutionaries succeed because of the decentralized nature of the Internet, which defies government control. As a consequence, decentralization has unlocked individual self-empowerment, entrepreneurialism, creativity, innovation and the creation of new markets in ways never before imagined in human history.
But, ironically, just as decentralization has unleashed the potential for free markets and individual freedom on a global scale, collectivist special interests and governments worldwide are now tirelessly pushing for more centralized control of the Internet and technology.
The manifesto warns that Americans will be tricked into allowing the government to take over new technologies with the use of subversive language and under the guise of protecting Americans from evil corporations.
“Internet collectivists are clever,” the manifesto says. “They are masters at hijacking the language of freedom and liberty to disingenuously push for more centralized control. ‘Openness’ means government control of privately owned infrastructure. ‘Net neutrality’ means government acting as arbiter and enforcer of what it deems to be ‘neutral’.”
According to Buzzfeed, some Republican strategists contend that Internet freedom from government control will be the younger Paul’s go-to issue, similar to his father’s crusade against the Federal Reserve.