week 8: networks, privacy, isps

Can’t let go of the statement “ideologically-fueled Chicken-Little rhetoric” in the Forbes article “The Nullification Of FCC’s Broadband Privacy Rules: What It Really Means For Consumers”. It’s the rhetoric of this argument that should be in question.

If anything is “bromide”, it’s this Forbes article. It is asking too much of people who use the Internet. I think the word “naive” should be disqualified from any debate about the Internet. There is too much kept inside a black box and seemingly not even the people with the most power know whats inside. Whether or not the FCC did a good job at regulating ISP’s is a question of not how they did but why we need them - at least until some other policies are created.

The process of the FCC becoming classified under the Telecommunications Act of 1934 was put into motion so that just like the telecommunications of that time the price for accessing the Internet and therefore information would be “fair”. Yes, this made the Internet more utility than service and yes I believe this to be a good thing. However, it is obviously problematic to base Internet regulation on a set of rules that were created in the 1930s. Too much has changed. Too many people are at risk due simply to access.

I think there are several arguments being made here. One is in regards to data. Who owns it? Who can sell it? The second one is in regards to access. Who gets to participate in networked technology? How does the price determine that access? Who names the price? Another argument is in regards to regulation. Who gets to make the rules? What models are being used to make them? My point is that each of these deserve closer inspection and I think its dangerous (i.e. the current state of the Internet) when they all get wrapped into one.