Alaska’s Ted Stevens did a stunning job this week of demonstrating why we need technology leadership in the U.S. Senate.
I had a long conversation with a concerned voter over my Net Neutrality position yesterday. He stated that I was putting too much trust into the corporations and the telcos to do the “right thing”. Through extensive experience, I realize that they’ll usually do the self-serving thing, but this is difficult to do on the Internet. The best example of this is China’s attempt to control the Internet, which yet again, had another method demonstrated this week of how to bypass it. Activists continue to raise the spectres of restricted free-speech, corporate agendas, and toll booths on the Internet, yet I have seen time and time again that the regulatory approach towards resolving problems of the Internet is not effective. I am proud of the role I had in crafting anti-spam and anti-spyware legislation, but I fully realized beforehand that it would have very little effect on the actual problem. Instead of lamenting the lack of laws, I went back to work at my business and worked on real solutions. My opponent applauds the flavor of the week for filtering the Internet, yet I’ve been giving effective solutions to parents for over a decade without the help of my government representatives.
Please understand, I believe incidents like what was attempted against Vonage are wrong. The FCC dealt with that quickly and effectively without additional legislation. The individual who I spoke with yesterday expressed real concern that corporations will block websites that they disagree with. Much like politicians revising their own Wikipedia histories, I think any attempt to do this will generate far more bad press for the censoring corporation than good. Yet, I do support federal action against any entity that attempts to secretly restrict free-speech and interstate commerce, but I support it reactively rather than in response to excessive speculation beforehand.
One reaction that I fully support is to level the playing field and unrestrict commerce inside peering points. I briefly mentioned this problem in my previous blog, yet in spite of it being a hindrance to “net neutrality” since 1994, luminaries such as Moby continue to be ignorant on this issue. This is why we need people inside the Senate who understand the modern complexities of technology and its effect on all facets of our lives.
I had an interesting conversation with a potential voter at Washington County’s homecoming bash for the Triple Deuce on Friday; he was also concerned about technology. When I told him that you founded XMission, he was impressed. Later, I came across a lady he was with. She asked who Pete Ashdown was after seeing my shirt, and he said that you were the person to vote for.
Since I was there handing out water with the Democrats of Southern Utah and didn’t have their shirt, I wore my Pete Ashdown shirt. One lady said, “Cool shirt!”
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