Ron Fein

Ron Fein is the Legal Director of Free Speech For People

Recent Articles

Net Neutrality and the Danger of a Corporatized Democracy

The internet is now an ATM for big business. The only people who will suffer are the ones who can’t afford to pay to play in Washington.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
In the eight years since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision opened the door to unlimited corporate political spending, the fight over net neutrality shows how far our democracy has declined. We’ve gotten to the point where every major government decision that affects every American turns on which company is willing to spend more to influence politicians: Verizon or Google. In 2003, law professor Tim Wu proposed the “network neutrality” principle to prevent anti-competitive control of the internet. Under network neutrality, cable and phone companies must treat all lawful, non-harmful internet traffic equally. About 83 percent of Americans—including 75 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats, and 86 percent of independents—support these protections. But despite this bipartisan support , in the early 2000s, network neutrality was not an enforceable legal mandate for internet service providers. As the internet grew, broadband...