‘Dept. of the Internet’ porn parody sends up FCC net neutrality plans
A group called Protect Internet Freedom is hoping to score laughs and support against government regulations of the web with a satirical clip made in a porn movie setting. It comes amid a debate on the planned net neutrality regulations by the FCC.
The video opens with a woman waiting to get her broadband installed by a sexy guy in a jumpsuit, tattoos and tool belt who tells her, “I’m here to install your broadband.” However, the service technician is quickly brushed aside by a group of bureaucrats in business suits from the ‘Department of the Internet’ who want to make sure her “service meets our monitoring requirements.”
The mock officials proceed to document all the woman’s online habits from the type of webcam she uses to how much video and music she streams, even asking, “Does this [toaster] connect to the internet?” They give the confused heroine a telephone-book-size series of documents to sign, with the video closing with the warning “KEEP THE INTERNET OPEN AND FREE.”
The clip perhaps attempts to achieve the same acclaim as political satirist John Oliver’s hugely popular video on net neutrality last year, which led to a record number of people filing comments with the FCC.
Protect Internet Freedom, the group that uploaded the video to YouTube, argue that the Obama Administration’s plans to put the internet under government control by classifying the internet a public utility would take power away from the consumer, website developers and small business owners. They say such a move would drive up costs and slow down innovation.
The group’s statements have sparked media allegations it has ties with the Tea Party or is run by certain Republicans, but the person running the website has denied they are pursuing any party’s agenda.
Republicans are also against net neutrality rules, which would require internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all internet traffic equally. The Republican plan wouldn’t reclassify the internet as a utility under the law and would limit broadband suppliers from being able to discriminate against what content could be delivered to consumers for payment. Their plan would make the FCC only able to regulate against discrimination in service rather than allow it to regulate it as a utility.
On Wednesday this week, FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, unveiled his plans to ask the FCC to accept a proposal that would let data delivered over broadband internet be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act, which will regulate the internet as a utility, and ban fast lanes.
The FCC has been working for nearly a year on new rules governing how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) manage web traffic on their networks. Cable service companies don’t want more regulations or reclassification. Internet users have been pressing for broadband service to be treated like a utility, and for web traffic to remain on somewhat equal footing, disallowing ISPs to prioritize certain content.
The FCC is set to vote on the regulations on February 26.