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The GOP isn’t even pretending to like net neutrality any more

Published Apr 21st, 2018 11:44AM EDT
Net neutrality bill progress
Image: Roger Askew/REX/Shutterstock

It’s not really news that politicians are bad at understanding net neutrality. Between calling it “Obamacare for the internet” or using a hilariously bad parable about a bridge, nothing any representative has said about net neutrality should inspire any sort of confidence.

But at the very least, the GOP has been careful to pay lip service to the concept of net neutrality. The party line is that the principle of net neutrality is good, it’s just that we should leave any kind of rule-making or enforcement up to the telecoms companies themselves.

Whether intentional or not, GOP Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has chipped away another piece of that facade, comparing internet paid prioritization to TSA Precheck, and suggesting that really, letting wealthy incumbent companies pay to prioritize their data wouldn’t be all bad. According to Ars Technica:

Many of you sitting in this room right now paid a line-sitter to get priority access to this hearing. In fact, it is commonplace for the government itself to offer priority access to services. If you have ever used Priority Mail, you know this to be the case. And what about TSA Precheck? It just might have saved you time as you traveled here today. If you define paid prioritization as simply the act of paying to get your own content in front of the consumer faster, prioritized ads or sponsored content are the basis of many business models online, as many of our members pointed out at the Facebook hearing last week.