Originally published: January 5, 2011
Last updated: January 5, 2011 - 7:55pm
[Commentary] The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network - its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation - is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them - that network loses its power to effect change.
The mere fact that lawmakers and lobbyists now control the future of the net should be enough to turn us elsewhere. That's right. I propose we abandon the Internet, or at least accept the fact that it has been surrendered to corporate control like pretty much everything else in Western society. It was bound to happen, and its flawed, centralized architecture made it ripe for conquest.
Shall we use telephony, ham radio, or some other part of the spectrum? Do we organize overlapping meshes of WiMax? Do we ask George Soros for some money? MacArthur Foundation? Do we even need or want them or money at all? How might the funding of our network by a central bank issued currency, or a private foundation, or a public university, bias the very architecture we are trying to build? Who gets the ability to govern or limit what may spread over our network, if anyone? Should there be ways for us to transact? To make the sorts of choices that might actually yield our next and truly decentralized network, we must take a good look at the highly centralized real world in which we live - as well as how it got that way. Only by understanding its principles, reckoning with the forces at play, and accepting the battles we have already lost, might we begin to forge ahead to create new forms that exist beyond any authority's ability to grant them protection.
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- An Analysis of the Net Neutrality Debate of 2006
- MPAA: Net neutrality could hurt anti-piracy tech
- FCC's Genachowski ready to debate Congress on network neutrality
- Neutrality Check
- Net Neutrality Debate Turns Ideological
- Europeans warned that 'Network neutrality' could raise broadband prices
- White House Passing On The Latest Net Neutrality Debate
- Columbia Law's Tim Wu to Advise FTC
- The Net Neutrality Coup
- Today's Quote 09.22.08
- Broadband battles
- Stuck in Neutral
- Thousands Petition Feds on Network Neutrality
- Net Neutrality Opponent Tribe joins Justice Department