Today, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announced his intention to resign from the Federal Communications Commission. The following statement may be attributed to TechFreedom President Berin Szoka:
For seven years, Rob McDowell has been the Internet’s best friend in Washington. He has warned against the Trojan Horse of even popular regulations like Net Neutrality and the “ ends-justify-the-means ” extra-legal tactics used to implement them. Having been inside the “sausage factory” of regulation, he knows that even the best-intentioned regulation is all too often captured by powerful corporate interests and “ always spreads .” He has reminded us that encroachments on the Internet at home undermines America’s lofty talk of Internet Freedom around the world, especially suggestions to re-regulate Internet access as a Title II service. McDowell’s hallmark has been humility, both personal and more generally about the ability of regulators to design a better future. But for all his skepticism about the ability of regulators to do so, McDowell has also been a prophet of optimism about technology’s ability to empower the individual everywhere.
Given Minority Leader McConnell’s remarkable recent track record recommending FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and FTC Commissioners Maureen Ohlhausen and Josh Wright—all champions of Internet freedom—we’re confident that McDowell’s successor will be both amply qualified and deeply principled. But there will never be another Rob McDowell.
Who else could so convincingly laud unrestricted mobile connectivity as a means to “propel freedom’s momentum?” Or echo Milton Friedman’s caution about “ The Business Community’s Suicidal Impulse ” in decrying the “Siren Call of ‘Please Regulate My Rival’” as a “Recipe for Regulatory Failure?” Or reaffirm James Madison’s declaration that “We stand alone in our radical commitment to freedom of speech and press”—and add “Thank you, but journalism does not need the government’s ‘help?’”
For more about TechFreedom’s approach to Internet Freedom, read our 2012 Declaration of Internet Freedom . Commissioner McDowell’s landmark addresses defending Internet Freedom include:
- Senate Testimony (Senate testimony, 2013): “[W]e are losing the fight for Internet freedom…. The Internet is no longer at a crossroads – with freedom and prosperity down one avenue, and command and control government domination down the other”
- The Siren Call of “Please Regulate My Rival” : A Recipe for Regulatory Failure (Italy, 2012): “The most common request we receive from industry is, “Please regulate my rival.” Essentially, this request translates into, ‘My rival is running too fast, and I want government to slow him or her down to my level.’”
- Defending the First Among Our Freedoms (Media Institute, 2011): “The most sublime of the first 10 amendments is, of course, the First. Instead of limiting rights, the Framers intended the Bill of Rights to act as a bulwark protecting the sovereignty of the individual from state intrusion.”
- Technology and the Sovereignty of the Individual (Sweden, 2011): “To me, the core mission of the FCC is to promote freedom, especially the freedom of speech or the freedom to communicate. The freedom to communicate has been the singular fundamental right at the heart of every successful democracy over the centuries.”
Szoka is available for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org .