The Bipartisan Case for Modernizing Net Neutrality & Online Privacy Policy

What is the simple key to passing bipartisan net neutrality and online privacy legislation?

Put consumer interests first with a new Federal consumer-centric law, not last like today, where technology interests come first, in technology-centric law which minimizes responsibility to safeguard consumers’ choices, privacy, and security.

The tell for whether someone supports bipartisan Internet legislation to protect consumers and level the playing field or not, is whether they are focused on what is best overall for the online consumer or focused on special treatment for one technology over another. It is that simple.

Only people vote, bleed, or care. Technologies do not.

The Bipartisan Case

The origin of the term “Internet” is “inter-networking” per Robert Khan, co-inventor of TCP/IP, the Internet protocol that essentially enables and thus defines which networks are interoperable parts of the Internet’s overall network of networks, which now effectively encompasses ISPs, Internet services, Intenet platforms, cloud providers, apps, and others.  

If the effective purpose of Inter-networking is universal interoperability, and if the consumer is an end-user that can be an endpoint in net neutrality’s defining end-to-end principle, why can’t, and why shouldn’t, U.S. net neutrality and online privacy policies also apply end-to-end to encompass a consumer’s entire online experience?

All Internet traffic is data, some of which is private.

Net neutrality and online privacy are both about user control of their Internet data traffic, to ensure its treated neutrally and responsibly. They’re two sides of the same legislative coin.

The U.S. Internet is inherently interstate commerce for Internet traffic and data protection, because Internet packet transmission technology unpredictably-routes Internet traffic data packets over state lines.

Federal jurisdiction over the U.S. Internet can optimize consumer protection and a level playing field via administerable Federal rules that apply uniformly across all online services, apps, platforms, and U.S. jurisdictions.

Consumers expect the same basic rules and accountability to protect their chosen Internet experience throughout the Internet ecosystem.

The EU understood the consumer protection benefit of one uniform, consumer-centric, technology-neutral, European GDPR privacy law for its 28-member nations.  

American consumers’ overall online experience today is already a chaotic voluntary patchwork of disparate overwhelming terms-of-service and privacy policies where most everyone, but the consumer, controls users’ Internet data traffic treatment.

50 State net neutrality and privacy laws would only make matters worse by effectively blocking consumers from getting comprehensive, clear, and consistent control over their Internet experience and throttling the seamless interoperability of consumers’ online experience.

The harsh reality today is that U.S. Internet policy in law puts consumer interests dead last.

Consumers should be able to control their Internet experience, i.e. connect any device to a network; know their legal Internet content choices will not be blocked or throttled; and know about, and control, how their private data is used.    


The epicenter of bipartisan network neutrality and online privacy policy consensus in Federal legislation is what best empowers and protects consumers with real control over their legal Internet choices and private online data.

The root cause of all net neutrality and online privacy partisan disagreements over the last decade plus has been prioritizing protection of a technology, industry, or platform over the protection of consumers.

Simply, true consumer-centric legislative solutions could spawn successful and complementary, bipartisan net neutrality and privacy policies, whereas technology-centric solutions predictably would devolve into yet another partisan failure to protect consumers online.  

Beware of opposition to “one-size-fits-all” Internet rules and accountability from those seeking special treatment of, and commercial advantage for, their Internet technology, industry or platform, when the Internet is all about one-size-fits-all Internet protocols and the rule of law is all about no one being above the law or outside the rules.  

Arbitrarily dividing the Internet by type of Internet technology for asymmetric rules and accountability, naturally divides consumers and undermines bipartisanship, because consumers are hurt and bleed the same regardless of the Internet technology that may have harmed them.  

The strong bipartisan techlash over the last 16 months has spotlighted how ineffectual online consumer protection, privacy, and security has become in America and how both sides of the aisle no longer see Internet users as just numbers, products, and data, but as people who can and do vote.

In short, it is telling and ironic that consumers/voters are the only ones to which Congress has granted no Internet safe harbor.


Scott Cleland served as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for International Communications & Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration. He is President of Precursor LLC, an Internet competition and policy consultancy for Fortune 500 companies, some of which are Internet platform competitors, and he is Chairman of NetCompetition, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests. Cleland has testified before the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees on Google. Eight different Congressional subcommittees have sought Cleland's expert testimony and when he worked as an investment analyst, Institutional Investor twice ranked him the #1 independent analyst in his field.


Precursor LLC Research on Asymmetric Accountability Harms:

Part 1:   The Internet Association Proves Extreme U.S. Internet Market Concentration [6-15-17]

Part 2:   Why US Antitrust Non-Enforcement Produces Online Winner-Take-All Platforms [6-22-17]

Part 3:   Why Aren’t Google Amazon & Facebook’s Winner-Take-All Networks Neutral? [7-11-17]

Part 4:   How the Google-Facebook Ad Cartel Harms Advertisers, Publishers & Consumers [7-20-17]

Part 5:   Why Amazon and Google Are Two Peas from the Same Monopolist Pod [7-25-17]

Part 6:   Google-Facebook Ad Cartel’s Collusion Crushing Competition Comprehensively [8-1-17]

Part 7:   How the Internet Cartel Won the Internet and The Internet Competition Myth [8-9-17]

Part 8:   Debunking Edge Competition Myth Predicate in FCC Title II Broadband Order [8-21-17]

Part 9:   The Power of Facebook, Google & Amazon Is an Issue for Left & Right; BuzzFeed Op-Ed[9-7-17]

Part 10: Google Amazon & Facebook’s Section 230 Immunity Destructive Double Standard [9-18-17]

Part 11: Online-Offline Asymmetric Regulation Is Winner-Take-All Government Policy [9-22-17] 

Part 12: CDA Section 230’s Asymmetric Accountability Produces Predictable Problems [10-3-17]

Part 13: Asymmetric Absurdity in Communications Law & Regulation [10-12-17]  

Part 14: Google’s Government Influence Nixed Competition for Winner-Take All Results[10-25-17]

Part 15: Google Amazon & Facebook are Standard Monopoly Distribution Networks [11-10-17]

Part 16: Net Neutrality’s Masters of Misdirection[11-28-17]

Part 17: America’s Antitrust Enforcement Credibility Crisis – White Paper [12-12-17]

Part 18: The U.S. Internet Isn’t a Free Market or Competitive It’s Industrial Policy [1-4-18]

Part 19: Remedy for the Government-Sanctioned Monopolies: Google Facebook & Amazon [1-17-18]

Part 20: America Needs a Consumer-First Internet Policy, Not Tech-First[1-24-18]

Part 21: How U.S. Internet Policy Sabotages America’s National Security [2-9-18]

Part 22: Google’s Chrome Ad Blocker Shows Why the Ungoverned Shouldn’t Govern Others [2-21-18]

Part 23: The Beginning of the End of America’s Bad “No Rules” Internet Policy [3-2-18]

Part 24: Unregulated Google Facebook Amazon Want Their Competitors Utility Regulated [3-7-18]

Part 25: US Internet Policy’s Anticompetitive Asymmetric Accountability - DOJ Filing [3-13-18]

Part 26: Congress Learns Sect 230 Is Linchpin of Internet Platform Unaccountability [3-22-18]

Part 27: Facebook Fiasco Is Exactly What US Internet Law Incents Protects & Produces [3-26-18]

Part 28: How Did Americans Lose Their Right to Privacy? [4-14-18]

Part 29: The Huge Hidden Public Costs (>$1.5T) of U.S. Internet Industrial Policy [4-15-18]

Part 30: Rejecting the Google School of No-Antitrust Fake Consumer WelfareStandard [4-20-18]

Part 31: Why New FTC Will Be a Responsibility Reckoning for Google Facebook Amazon [4-27-18]

Part 32: “How Did Google Get So Big?” Lax Bush & Obama FTC Antitrust Enforcement [5-23-18]

Part 33: Evident Internet Market Failure to Protect Consumer Welfare -- White Paper [5-31-18]

Part 34: What Happened Since FTC Secretly Shut 2012 Google-Android Antitrust Probe? [6-8-18]

Part 35: Buying WhatsApp Tipped Facebook to Monopoly; Why Didn’t FTC Probe Purchase? [6-19-18]

Part 36: The Sea Change Significance of Simons-FTC Privacy and Antitrust Hearings [6-27-18]

Part 37: New U.S. Privacy & Data Protection Law Is Inevitable Like a Pendulum Swing [7-9-18]

Part 38: Why a US v. Google-Android Antitrust Case Is Stronger than US v. Microsoft [7-16-18]

Part 39: Google-Android’s Deceptive Antitrust Defenses Presage a US v. Alphabet Suit [7-20-18]

Part 40: Case Study of Google Serial Over-collection of Private Data for FTC Hearings [7-30-18]

Part 41: The Unfair and Deceptive Online-Offline Playing Field – FTC Hearing Filing [8-7-18]

Part 42: What Most Stunts FTC Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law and Enforcement? [8-21-18]

Part 43: Why New U.S. Privacy Data Protection Law Will Preempt State Privacy Laws [8-27-18]

Part 44: What’s the FTC Hearing before their Hearings on the Unlevel Playing Field? [9-6-18]

Part 45: Google Facebook & Amazon’s Anticompetitive Nontransparent Exchange of Ideas [9-12-18]

Part 46: The Unlevel Playing Field of Asymmetric Competition Expectations [9-17-18]

Part 47: How EU Amazon Antitrust Probe Spotlights Amazon as an Unlevel Playing Field [9-26-18]

Part 48: Google Facebook Amazon’s Non-Neutral, Neutrality Nonsense Harms Competition [10-2-18]

Part 49: FTC-DOJ Signal Privacy Is a New Antitrust Risk for Google Facebook [10-9-18]

Part 50: Google+’s Market Exit Spotlights Google + Facebook Cartel Market Allocation [10-16-18]

Part 51: Google Facebook Amazon’s Civil Liability Immunity = A Culture of Un-Ethics? [10-23-18]

Part 52: Google Facebook & Amazon’s Efficient Vortex Traps [10-31-18]

Part 53: The Bipartisan Politics Case for More Google Facebook Amazon Accountability [11-8-18]