Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt talks about antitrust, Big Tech platforms, the future of the 1996 provision that provided legal protection to social media companies from liability for harmful content, and Facebook.
Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt: “Ever since the Internet exploded into our lives like the big bang, Republicans and Democrats have sometimes disagreed about the role of government with respect to this new global medium. Partisan conflict flared this month when FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a “net-neutrality” rule favored by President Obama. The disagreement goes well beyond the matter of the rule itself. At issue is the meaning of independence for New Deal and progressive-era regulatory agencies such as the FCC.”
Former cable and wireless phone lobbyist Tom Wheeler will take the helm of the FCC as chairman on Nov. 4 following his requisite swearing in. No word yet on his staff, but Diane Cornell, Ruth Milkman and Phil Verveer could play roles. Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt concedes that Wheeler was not his first choice. Out of loyalty, he says, he actively backed former aide Karen Kornbluh.
In a letter to the New York Times, the Clinton-era FCC chairman argues that the federal government’s anti-terrorism Internet surveillance program is a threat to civil liberties. “[A] company or a government that thinks you have no privacy rights has taken a dangerous step to believing you have no other rights either.”
In a Washington Post op-ed, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt calls on broadcasters to join him and others in demanding that the Washington Redskins change their name — a racial epithet that broadcasters would not use in any other context. “If broadcasters follow their own tradition, they will insist that [owner Dan] Snyder no longer put them in the intolerable position of using a derogatory term to describe his team. So, too, should the FCC applaud broadcasters for pursuing the name change.”