Category Archives: Susan_Crawford

net neutrality update

1. National Day of Out(r)age 5/24/2006
Access to communication systems is vital for a functioning democracy. While there has been much activity on the issue in the blogosphere and in academic writing, the net neutrality movement has lacked a general public presence. aims to put an end to that, by organizing the National Day of Out(r)age, Wednesday, May 24. With demonstrations in New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, they are pushing for network neutrality, enforcing privacy of the public’s communication, telco lobby reform, and limits to the telco industry consolidation. If you care about these as we do, make your voice known.
2. What exactly are we arguing for?
On a related topic, Susan Crawford (cyberlaw expert and one of our favorite thinkers on net neutrality) gives a good definition of net neutrality on a recent blog post. Always able to keep the big picture in focus, she notes the problem with defining net neutrality as “treating all VoIP alike, all video alike, and all blogs alike,” is that someone (i.e. broadband providers) still need to look at packets. She prefers a definition where bandwidth is “treated like a utility, unbundled and open to competition, and speeds are much higher and costs are much lower.”
3. Changes to the wireless landscape are coming:
Yesterday, Crawford also linked to an article in Business Week, on the upcoming government auction of more of the wireless spectrum. New comers to wireless such as, Intel, Microsoft, TimeWarner, and News Corp have been rumored to be among the interested parties of the sale of the largest block of the wireless spectrum in history. As well, smaller entities, such as Clearwire (headed by Craig McCaw, who started McCaw Celluar and eventually sold it to AT&T) and Leap Wireless are reported to be involved. A possible result could be a re-direction of the trend of consolidation, by introducing new players with potential new services. The auction is set to start on June 29, 2006, however the effects will only be known much later.

access to the a2k conference 2006

Jesse and I have just arrived at the Yale University to police barricades, blocked of streets, bus loads of demonstrators, and general confusion. I wish I could say that it was in support of protecting open and accessible knowledge, as we are here to attend the Access 2 Knowledge conference. However, the crowds of Falun Gong supporters (with a few Free Tibet activists in the mix) were protesting the arrival of President Hu Jintao from China. Wandering the streets of New Haven to find an unblocked entrance to the law school, Jesse and I reflected a bit on the irony of the difficulty of physically “accessing” the building where we will hear current thinking and planning on the making knowledge accessible.
The conference’s stated goal is to “bring together leading thinkers and activists on access to knowledge policy from North and South, in order to generate concrete research agendas and policy solutions for the next decade…The A2K Conference aims to help build an intellectual framework that will protect access to knowledge both as the basis for sustainable human development and to safeguard human rights.” Sessions will cover peer production, economics of a2k, copyright, access to science and medicine, network neutrality and privacy.
We very excited to be here, as presenters include some of our favorite IP / Copyright / Open Content thinkers: Yochai Benkler, Eric Von Hippel, Susan Crawford, and Terry Fisher. We’re sure that by Sunday, we’ll have more to add to the list.
Stay tuned for more.