The Humble Libertarian

Building a small army to take over the world and... leave everybody alone.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Obama Administration: Get the Government to Provide Internet Service (for the poor of course), Then ID Users in a National Database

Worst. Idea. Ever.

If you're worried about SOPA, take a look at this:

In a Monday speech, Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined a draft proposal that would reform the commission’s Lifeline program to include provisions to encourage broadband adoption. The program, currently aimed at providing affordable telephone service to low-income Americans, is supported by the Universal Service Fund.

“The program is outdated, focused on phone service when high-speed Internet has become our vital communications platform,” he said.

In his remarks, Genachowski said the program has been successful, but has also been plagued with problems of accountability and efficiency. Multiple service providers are often supplying Lifeline subsidies to the same households, he said, because there is no centralized system. To address the issue, Genachowski said, the draft proposal creates a national database of Lifeline users to prevent duplicative billing. It also sets a budget for Lifeline aimed at connecting eligible consumers while staying within budget, and requires that participating companies be subject to independent audits every two years.

“The order would make Lifeline reimbursement more transparent and streamlined,” Genachowski said, calling the measure common sense. He said that FCC staff estimate the reforms will save the fund $2 billion over the next two years.

The chairman said the FCC would work with existing broadband adoption programs to establish its own pilot program using savings from its budget reforms. It will also look at how to use Lifeline to encourage adoption among those consumers.

Genachowski said the program will be “modernized to meet the needs of low-income Americans in a broadband world” and is in line with the agency’s other efforts on broadband adoption.

So essentially, we're talking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-- for your Internet. Same concept as housing for low-income Americans. Remember what that did to the housing market (and the entire economy)? Now they want to do the same for our Internet? Use the freaking government to provide more Internet to low-income Americans (with the best intentions of course!) and then keep them all in a national database? It's like two of Washington's worst ideas-- housing intervention via Freddie Mac and increased surveillance via the Patriot Act-- rolled up into one, big, ugly proposal and applied to the one thing that might hold back the tide of tyranny in America: the Internet.

Hey Obama: Hands Off!!

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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