Ron and Rand Paul’s New Fight: Internet Freedom

While Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has not yet conceded the race to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the soon-to-be retiring Texas Congressman has teamed up with his son Rand Paul (Senator R-Kentucky) to take on a new crusade: Internet Freedom. Similar to his fight against ending the Federal Reserve, the Paul father and son team are taking the fight to government regulation of the Internet, but their perspective on it is decidedly Libertarian, which means that they do not believe the government should regulate anything related to the Internet.

This new fight is detailed in a document released to Buzzfeed called "The Technology Revolution." It was put together with the support of the Paul-founded group Campaign for Liberty.

While the document serves up plenty of fire for government regulations – including net neutrality rules – it also offers some strong criticism of "progressive groups." In Paul's view the government and advocacy groups may have different goals in their efforts to control the Internet, but the result is the same: less freedom for those who do business online and those ordinary citizens that use it every day.

You can read the entire document on Scribd (PDF), but the core of it is about applying a constitutional litmus test to any future regulations on the Internet:

We do not need to reinvent our principles for the web; we only need apply our core principles to it. When faced with Internet regulation, we should ask these key questions:

1. Is this a core function of the federal government?
2. Does it execute Constitutionally defined duties?
3. Does it protect Constitutionally defined rights?
4. Does it protect property rights?
5. Does it protect individual rights?
6. If the federal government does not do this, will others?
7. Will this policy or regulation allow the market to decide outcomes or will it distort the market for political ends?
8. Is this policy or regulation clear and specific, with defined metrics and limitations?

Yes, there will always be problems and challenges that exist in the online universe. These challenges are sometimes significant and important and other times not. Government, however, will never solve them. Markets will.

As a matter of principle, we oppose any attempt by Government to tax, regulate, monitor or control the Internet, and we oppose the Internet collectivists who collaborate with the government against Internet freedom.

This is our revolution…. Government needs to get out of the way.

Paul will heavily push this new cause after the vote on auditing the Federal Reserve takes place, according to people close to the Texas Congressman.

Source: Buzzfeed

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  1. 0
    MechaCrash says:

    I think the point being made is that ISPs have you by the balls, and the only thing keeping them from squeezing is the government looming behind them and making sure they don't.

  2. 0
    Hevach says:

    It's certainly possible. All the outrage of having policies the rest of Washington won't entertain, and none of the responsibility that comes with actually making your policies work or facing the consequences if they fail. a perfect foundation for an angry loud guy political career. There is a breed of "internet libertarian" who flocks to the Pauls for much the same reason – get to be loud and angry no matter who wins, and always have the "I voted for…" defense.

  3. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Well, the jaded part of me is seeing this as nothing more than lip service, as in he's saying it, but never actually plans to deliver.

  4. 0
    Hevach says:

    Of course he won't. Between much of the public seeing his crazy face or controversial newsletters more than his policies, and even the extreme right decision makers knowing how dangerous some of his ideas actually are, he'll never get enough traction. His entire campaign pitch was to set up for a brokered convention with plan B to make the convention an embarrassment for Romney. He'll never get the support he needs in the position he's in because it's not an electable position in most parts of the country, and will never rise to an office to an office where he can get the support for the same reasons.

    In this case, you better hope he won't. No regulation is in a lot of ways what we already have. And while the regulation we've almost gotten and are likely to get in the future is usually worse than none, no regulation is also what gets us deals between ISPs and media companies to bypass due process and the potential for carriers to levy premium access charges for certain websites or to completely block others.

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