What are the political underpinnings of the internet and can they have an impact on the wider political discourse?
For the past few months, in the United States, a fight has been brewing over how the pipes that control the Internet would be ruled. On one side, activists and large Internet companies felt that access to the Internet should be neutral and that all sites should be accessed in the same fashion. On the other side, large cable and phone companies have been arguing that they should have a chance to charge different rates for different types of services. The whole fight was embodied into a campaign called Net Neutrality and made its way into the American congress. Today’s news that the Net Neutrality bill was defeated may create future problems for American internet businesses but will not kill the Internet, as some have claimed. Instead, it will probably dictate, in the long run, the death of the very proponents of a ban on net neutrality: phone and cable companies which have been trying to overreach in their attempt to fatten up their bottom line. Looking at the stakes At issue in this debate is how bandwidth is distributed and whether it should be metered in any fashion. At the current time, in the US, most people who get…Read More
In yet another change highlighting the Internet influence on politics, the Dean campaign has unveiled a set of Internet principles and named a very impressive slate of net advisers. I hope that this will help the group formulate a set of policies relating to technology and make technology in general and the net in particular an issue during the presidential campaign. I suspect that other groups will follow suit. During the last elections, I put together a list of technology issues and where the candidates stood. I was surprised at the time that no news organization had gone through the trouble of compiling such list. I was also surprised by how little data there was at the time. With the announcement from the Dean campaign, it is now becoming clear that the business of technology is gaining the limelight it should have had then. Reading the statement of Internet principles, it appears the Dean campaign is for open Internet access, and is looking to foster more freedom online. At the current time, it’s very hazy and I hope that more details will emerge in the future as to where this campaign stands on critical issues like cryptography exports, H1B visas,…Read More