ITIF Denounces Misguided “Internet Slowdown” Demonstration

September 9, 2014

WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2014) – In response to the September 10 “Internet Slowdown” organized by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press, and Engine, Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), releases the following statement:

ITIF is disturbed by yet another scare tactic by techno-ideological advocates, pointing to the imaginary boogie man of “slow lanes,” in their effort to push for utility-style regulation of the Internet.

Most if not all of the claims made by this “Internet Slowdown” movement have no basis in reality. Arguing that “cable companies want to slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, for profit” is completely unfounded and clearly designed to be as inflammatory as possible. Their goal is simple: whip up the masses to storm the FCC with pitchforks to press for Title II regulation of broadband, while trying to suppress the important and necessary policy debate regarding what is the best regulatory framework for the continued growth of the modern Internet ecosystem.

Deliberately confusing the narrow question of how to create the right net neutrality rules with propaganda and rhetoric makes legitimate policy discussion nearly impossible. This “technological McCarthyism” is a dangerous game and has no place in broadband regulation narrowly, or tech policy more broadly. The answers to these important and complex policy questions should be firmly grounded in technical reality and reasoned argumentation, not about who can generate the most form letters filed with the FCC.

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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues. Learn more at www.itif.org.