March 30, 2005
F2C: Don't kill the Net to save it

The inimitable Susan Crawford warns us against Net regulation tunnel vision. Overreaction to perceived problems can open the door to harms worse than the original problems -- the "solutions" can bite back. If, for example, we want to regulate Internet providers to stop them from blocking Voice-Over-IP, does that mean we have also acknowledged the power to regulate them for other ends, such as to demand that they enable wiretapping? How rapidly does anti-spyware legislation become full-blown software regulation? Instead of asking government to step in with small-fix regulations, we should take a bigger-picture view, looking for how we can re-open the network to resist these threats on our own.

One limited place we might ask for government help is antitrust -- breaking up monopoly control of connectivity resources lets us solve many problems by our own choices by helping ensure the market provides those choices. I'm not sure I share Susan's optimism -- bad regulation comes at us from too many sources and could stop many of our "route-around" opportunities -- but I do think that if we disregard her advice, the situation looks even worse.

Posted by Wendy at 08:58 AM
Freedom to Connect

At David Isenberg's Freedom to Connect (F2C). Live audio feed available. Lee Rainie, Pew Internet & American Life has started us off with some interesting analysis of what Internet connectivity means for social connections. Are we almost ready to update Bowling Alone?

Posted by Wendy at 06:46 AM
Caught in Blogging Action

Declan catches me Grokster blogging from the Supreme Court steps, in a photo, along with Annalee and Gwen.

Click for the full-size version on Declan's blog.

Posted by Wendy at 05:03 AM