“Despite the never-ending debate on the question of the role of government in America, there’s been a strong tradition of protecting our undisputed, important natural treasures, or taking on great common engineering challenges,” Walt Mossberg writes for Recode. “So, in the spirit of this grand American tradition, I’m going to propose here a way we can protect the internet, at least in America, from both political whiplash in D.C. and the constant commercial overreach that threatens it. I say we treat the internet as both a unique resource and a great common engineering project, something that merits government protection.”
“I suggest that Congress pass a broad law setting out the national interest in protecting the internet and the general principles by which that protection would be defined. This wouldn’t be one of those famous 1,200-page bills nobody can read. It would be meant as a sort of statutory manifesto,” Mossberg writes. “Then, in that same bill, Congress creates a special, permanent, nonpartisan independent commission, or even a special, narrowly focused court, to adjudicate disputes about internet issues as they arise, by interpreting the law. ”
“Notice I am not suggesting the writing of any regulations, because this idea aims for the lightest touch possible,” Mossberg writes. “This entity would also remove the politically charged, slow-moving, compromised FCC and FTC from internet regulation.”
Much more in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: We’ve heard worse ideas. At least Mossberg’s has a change of not stifling innovation while eliminating the tug-of-war between parties that alternatively – depending on which is in power – want to put the net under the auspices of the FCC or the FTC.
Thee must be some way to protect the internet without screwing it up or tossing the task back and forth between the FTC and the FCC. At least, pick one and then put curbs in place that guarantee oversight with the lightest touch possible.
We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.
That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.
Make that “the same Take over a decade later.”
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