The Save the Internet Coalition held a fun panel on the Net
Neutrality campaign, including informative and entertaining comments by Tim Wu of Columbia University, Adam
Green of Moveon.org, Frannie Welling of Free Press, Matt Stoller of
MyDD.com, Scott Goodstein of Catalyst Campaigns and Azlan White,
Here’s some quick notes from Tim Wu’s and Matt Stoler’s comments…
Tim Wu, Columbia University
The Internet is a network where you don’t need anyone’s permission to speak. It’s the other side of the first amendment. You have the right to speak. And now you have the ability to speak.
Cable is a permission-based network. You have to ask someone to get on it. This is in contrast to the permissionless nature of the network of the Internet.
The internet is an innovative network. You can plug in anything in and it works. It’s like the electric network. It’s non discriminatory. That principle has allowed so many companies to get started, i.e. Google, ebay. Neutrality means that there has to be a fair fight between a blog and CNN, Moveon.org and corporations.
We need to defend the internet from gatekeepers who have the power, means, and will to transform the way the network is.
Background on the Issue: Michael Powell saw that this is an outrageous process that the telecoms were engaging in. The FCC fined a local telephone company that blocked access to a VOIP competitor Vonage. Powell saw that this was an interference with the consumers right to access applications, services and content of their choice.
2006 was the year that net neutrality became a mainstream issue. AT&T was going to set up a system so that providers that paid would get better service than those that didn’t. AT&T had a plan to reconfigure itself into the Ma Bell, the empire of american telecom, to take control of the net, and charge companies for better service to the net. It was thwarted by a grassroots network.
Year ended with AT&T trying to merge with Bell South. Because of grassroots pressure, they had to agree to network neutrality for two years. That’s two years for Congress to pass legislation to protect Net Neutrality.
AT&T is waiting for the winds to die down. We can’t let that wind die down. We need to protect our free speech.
Matt Stoller, MyDD.com
The head of AT&T Ed Whitaker for fun clears brush and buldozes trees. I don’t want him in charge of anything.
The Net Neutrality fight is the first pro-regulatory fight that was won in the last 30 years. We had a debate on whether the government should regulate the internet. We convinced the public that the government should regulate something. We won.
We represent the mainstream public opinion. They are the weird elitists.
Through my blog I debated some people, including the former press secretary of Clinton. We got into an argument because I called him a liar. He got frustrated and went on Huffington Post and complained about foul-mouthed bloggers and people weren’t interested in substance.
Here’s some advice: Don’t go on internet and pretend like you know something about network architecture when you don’t because lots of engineers and software developers hang out there. Kind of a rule of thumb.
I’m good at baiting people. I’m a professional little brother.
Do you trust the guy in the Tron outfit who’s a network architect engineeer by day or do you trust the PR flack? I trust the Tron guy.