The President wants you to see this:
This morning, President Obama asked the FCC to put in place strong rules to protect the Internet.
Every day, the Internet unlocks countless possibilities for creation and innovation. And one reason it’s been so successful is a level playing field: Most service providers have traditionally treated all Internet traffic equally.
That’s the principle of “net neutrality.” It’s an idea that says an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.
As the FCC considers new rules, we simply can’t take that principle for granted.
Yes, beautiful words. Behind the scenes is TSIA, the Trade In Services Agreement, which reportedly contains these provisions:
Strategic role of TISA in WTO and FTAs
…The final package was estimated to cover 95 per cent of international trade in banking, securities, insurance, and information services as measured in revenue…
Note: “information services.” The Internet is currently classified as an “information service” by the FCC.
The crucial provision is Art X.4, which would apply a standstill to a country’s existing financial measures that are inconsistent with the rules. That means governments must bind their existing levels of liberalization for foreign direct investment on financial services, cross-border provision of financial services and transfers of personnel. The current rules will be the most restrictive of financial services that a government would be allowed to use. They would be encouraged to bind in new liberalization beyond their status quo.
TISA is generally considerd to cover the FIRE sector. However, it seem to explicitly include Information Services, and one wonders how much authority over “information services” would be ceded from Nations to the Arbitration Panels in the World Bank under TISA or other treaties.
Could the Investor State Dispute System, in any of TISA, TTIP or TAFTA be use to neutralize the FCC’s governance if profits are threatened?
In other words what seems to be supported on one hand by President Obama, could be removed by the other. Who’s willing to gamble on the best outcome for the users of the internet, and believe there is no hidden agenda?