The following document will expound upon the role of definitions in the telecommunications regulations arena during the modern technological era of convergent technologies and ideological spheres. The document will overview the importance of defining the object being regulated (in this case, telecommunications services) in order to confer rights, demand the fulfillment of obligations, and limit State intervention.
The document will then look at the classical criteria for definition from Aristotle, as well as the more limiting factors that arise from this definitional approach and other related problems that arise out of terms of loose meaning. What is more, this document will also argue that t technology itself is ever-more challenging to to define and delineate. In today's convergence era, technological services are becoming more and more united, a tendency which counters the pattern of separationalism inherent the regulatory behaviors of the telecommunications industry.
[...] Will this work in the era of convergence, or will it be impossible to define what can be limited in regard to “wired, wireless, and Internet platforms”? Currently, according to pages 15-20 of the report, the agency is “studying” many new digital technologies and services such as: Hulu, YouTube, TiVo, iTunes and the iPhone, iPod and Mp3 players, peer-to-peer networks, wi-fi hot spots, Teen Second Life, and even video game consoles. The FCC has stated that these definitional problems will be resolved through studies involving how to go about “considering measures to encourage or require the use of advanced blocking technologies that are compatible with various communications devices or platforms.” Within this effort, the regulations agency would “consider advanced blocking technologies that may be appropriate across a wide variety of distribution platforms, including wired, wireless, and Internet platforms” that improve or enhance the ability of a parent to protect his or her child from any indecent or objectionable video or audio programming, as determined by such parent.” Finally, the measure states that the novel blocking technologies will “operate independently of ratings pre-assigned by the creator of such video or audio programming.” And while these measures may have the best of intents, it stands to reason that they raise more than several concerns. [...]
[...] This would also remove the tendency for definitions to become blurry in regard to profit-making ventures involving new telecommunications methods (vs. user-enhancement services). Similarly, the convergence age is also bringing into question the realm of private versus public. In an age of Youtube, where we can literally, individually, “broadcast” ourselves from the comfort of our own home, attempts at censorship and regulation seem out-dated, at best. Thierer (2007) further argues that it could be the case that a governing regulation body is not needed at all, citing the findings section of S which states that “There is a compelling government interest in empowering parents to limit their children's exposure to harmful television content.” Thierer argus that this should not be the job of the government, where, “There has never been a time in our nation's history when parents have had more tools and methods at their disposal to help them decide what is acceptable in their homes and in the lives of their children.” In this report, it is interesting to note that there is a problematic specification of an advanced blocking technology that the FCC will “encourage or require.” This tool will be used to “filter language based upon information in closed captioning.” Strangely enough, this tool already exists and is being marketed to families today. [...]
[...] The convergence surrounding media and digital production and distribution has structure-shattering importance for telecommunications regulations bodies, as well as for the up-and-coming change in media policy and regulation. And while in the past, different modes of media required different regulatory bodies, today, telecommunications regulations finds itself in a similar dilemma of convergence. It is up to us to determine how we define both the objects of regulation, as well as the ideological components to be regulated. This, hopefully, will fall more and more, into the hands of the people being regulated, as it stands to reason that a wholly errorless mechanism for defining things is a pipe-dream in the ever-changing era of convergence. [...]
[...] This is the seminal problem of the communications regulations effort, in that concepts themselves are becoming ever more gray. Technologically, this also rings true. In regard to technology, there is one great problem emerging in the convergence era: the tendency amongst any technology provider that wants to survive the current market is to unite services and infra-structure. Companies are currently bundling everything in a package, a clear trend that is going counter to the tendency of how Aristotle defined things through separation. [...]
[...] In this sense, if the regulator wants to give a firm stimulus to the deployment of broadband Internet services, (for example), the regulator can easily claim that the deployment is not a telecommunications object, but only value- added service. In this sense, regulated companies can invest more in services less likely to be controlled by the Government, and thus more profitable. Possible Solutions to Definitional Limitations This leads us to inquire into the realm of solutions. Can anyone truly define things? [...]
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