This Trump FCC Transition Official Just Made a Great Accidental Argument for Net Neutrality
Roslyn Layton. Flickr/Klean Denmark
Roslyn Layton, an advisor on Donald Trump's FCC transition team, really doesn't like that Canada is upholding net neutrality while the US is set to dismantle laws that ensure all web traffic is treated equally by providers.
Layton gained notoriety after responding to a recent federal ruling upholding net neutrality by comparing Canada to "backward India" in a tweet. So imagine my surprise when, in an interview with Canadian media on Sunday, she inadvertently made a pretty strong case for why Canada needs net neutrality.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Layton was unapologetic in her belief that companies should be able to decide which content gets preferential treatment with so-called "fast lanes." She said: "Canadian content should have a fast lane."
Every Canadian reading that just shuddered, because Canada already has content regulations that—while beneficial to many—have produced some truly awful stuff that nobody wants pushed on them any more than it already is.
Read More: Canada Just Ruled to Uphold Net Neutrality
Canadian content getting a "fast lane" while Netflix slowly buffers is a nightmare in a country that's been left hungry for American and international TV and movies by the global content licensing regime. For better or for worse, Canadians want media from other countries, and they're willing to go to great lengths to get it. Nobody wants a fast lane for abysmal establishment programming like Mr. D, or Four in the Morning, or any of the other crap that nobody outside of Canada has ever heard of, and for good reason.
That's not to say that rules around Canadian content are bad—it's actually great that we live in a country that funds the arts, even if we're generally corny as hell. One major difference between that and giving Canadian content a "fast lane" is that the former has to do with how content is created, and the latter governs how it's delivered.
What Layton's "Canadian content should have a fast lane" comment made clear is that a "fast lane" necessarily puts other media in a slower lane. And sometimes, it might just be media that you really care about, like the latest season of Orange Is the New Black.
So, thank you Roslyn Layton, for convincing Canadians that we've made the right call when it comes to protecting the internet.
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