Net Neutrality and Short Sightedness

Google’s Vincent Cerf testified before Congress on the issue of Net Neutrality. His testimony is well reasoned and insightful. It is available as a PDF file. I recommend that everyone read it and think long and hard about this issue. It affects everyone who uses the Internet. There is a push by companies that own networks to try to determine what content moves over that network. Mr. Cerf makes the argument against this quite eloquently so I won’t try to duplicate it. However, I would like to emphsize a few points that he doesn’t hammer home as much as I would like.

When the network providers (the cable and phone companies) pick what Internet content flows across the network it interferes with free speech. This is really a 1st Amendment issue. The phone company has never been allowed to provide better service to people that say things they agree with or that call the right people. Yes, they own the network, but at the same time there are some public good issues here that trump that.

Network Neutrality is vital to ongoing innovation and invention on the Internet. Giving preferential treatment to content from one place over another as it travels through the network destroys the democratic, free spirit of the Web. The web is currently an open, free marketplace of ideas, information, and services. It should remain that way.

Kevin Hall
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