Net Neutrality

Those protesting the decision are going after the wrong targets:

Fifteen years ago, when I started blogging, it was common to hear that “the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” You don’t hear that so often anymore, because it’s not true. China has proven very effective at censoring the internet, and as market power has consolidated in the tech industry, so have private firms.

Meanwhile, our experience of the internet is increasingly controlled by a handful of firms, most especially Google and Facebook. The argument for regulating these companies as public utilities is arguably at least as strong as the argument for thus regulating ISPs, and very possibly much stronger; while cable monopolies may have local dominance, none of them has the ability that Google and Facebook have to unilaterally shape what Americans see, hear, and read.

In other words, we already live in the walled garden that activists worry about, and the walls are getting higher every day. Is this a problem? I think it is.

Yes, it is.

3 comments on this post.
  1. ken anthony:

    The problem is how do we fix it? I don’t see any ‘fix’ that actually does?

  2. MikeR:

    Best not to mix in to a turf war. Let the ISPs and the content providers work it out. The fact that I don’t like Comcast (and Baltimore City leaves me no other option for high-speed internet) doesn’t mean that the federal government needs to handle it. It’s a local issue, and soon enough the number of consumer choices will keep going up.

  3. ken anthony:

    It’s a much broader issue than consumer choice. Does it matter what vendor you choose when they all suck (from the same restricted hose?) The internet doesn’t route around is the point because they’ve figured out how to restrict content (not perfectly because there are tools that work around some, but not all, of the issues.)

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