James Governor quotes Tim Berners-Lee:
This has to be the best first sentence to a blog ever:
"When I invented the Web, I didn't have to ask anyone's permission."
Oh to be able to say that. Al Gore eat your heart out. Heck- Dave Winer eat your heart out.
"Democracy depends on freedom of speech. Freedom of connection, with any application, to any party, is the fundamental social basis of the Internet, and, now, the society based on it.
Let's see whether the United States is capable as acting according to its important values, or whether it is, as so many people are saying, run by the misguided short-term interested of large corporations.
I hope that Congress can protect net neutrality, so I can continue to innovate in the internet space. I want to see the explosion of innovations happening out there on the Web, so diverse and so exciting, continue unabated."
He's almost got it, but then misses at the end. Note the call to have Congress protect the net. Hmm. That's worked out so well for radio and tv, hasn't it? You mark my words: If Congress passes a "net neutrality" law, it will turn the US based portion of the net into a "public utility". Once it's a public utility, then there will be a need to "protect" us from various bad things - after all, just like broadcast TV, anyone can see the net. So content regulations "for the children" will pop up - call George Carlin about the 7 forbidden words. The kinds of campaign (political) restrictions you see on radio and tv will hop over too - suddenly, any advocacy for a candidate will be an "in kind" contribution.
You want "net neutrality"? Then don't advocate for Congress to create it.
Update: Lessig gets it wrong too:
One clue to this Net Neutrality debate is to watch what kind of souls are on each side of the debate. The pro-NN contingent is filled with the people who actually built the Net — from Vint Cerf to Google to eBay — and those who profit from the competition enabled by the Net — e.g., Microsoft. The anti-NN contingent is filled with the entities that either never got the Net, or fought like hell to control it — telecom, and cable companies. (The one clear exception to this is Dave Farber, who has been described as the “Grandfather of the Net.” I’ve never understood either what that description could mean, nor have I understood how he gets from the premises in his argument to its conclusions. But to be fair, this is an exception to the rule I’m describing.)
I have no doubt that the backers of net neutrality have their hearts in the right place. What they miss is that things won't stay pure. Once Congress regulates the net in the name of neutrality, we'll shortly end up with an "internet FCC". At which point the backers of neutrality will wail that they didn't have that in mind at all - but it won't matter.