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Whose advice would you take on the future of the Internet, McCain’s or Craig’s?

Craig Newmark weighs in on McCain’s scary Net agenda. (Craig says something very nice about me, but I’m linking to him anyway.) Craig’s written about this before. For example: Why a president needs to know tech.

And the cuticle on Harold Feld’s pinky knows more about the Net than all of McCain’s personal IM list does (because McCain doesn’t have one). Harold is, um, not impressed with McCain’s policy statement. To put it mildly. [Later: Part 2 of Harold’s post is more substantive but not as funny.]

And that ol’ AT&T veteran and certified visionary — he was right and AT&T was wrong — David Isenberg is equally aghast.

Matt Stoller runs just the subheads of McCain’s policy statement. Hilarious. As Matt says, “Seriously, this is approaching Chuck Norris-level aggrandizement.”

[Later] Susan Crawford, professor of law and ICANN rep, and one of the most clear-headed policy people arounds thinks McCain’s policy is “wistful.”

It’s not just that McCain’s policy is ludicrously wrong about the source and nature of the Internet’s value. It’s that McCain might win, in which case, the Internet is going to get a whole lot worse for us in the US … and, given that high on McCain’s agenda is exporting US copyright totalitarianism, it’s bad news for the rest of the world, too.

(My take, along with some more links, is here It’s also up at HuffingtonPost.) [Tags: ]


More links at Sascha Meinroth’s place, including his own analysis.

6 Responses to “Whose advice would you take on the future of the Internet, McCain’s or Craig’s?”

  1. I’m far, far more worried about the fact that an Obama victory will almost certainly lead to a revival of the “Fairness Doctrine”, and that a Democratic Congress will, feeling its oats on the issue, try to overreach and extend said doctrine to the net.

    To be brutal, the stuff you’re worried about is trivial and only potential. The stuff I’m worried about cuts to the core of the First Amendment. Please start worrying about actual rights that are in real danger.

  2. James, is there any evidence that Obama favors imposing the fairness doctrine on the Net? If not, how do you see that as in line with what Obama has been saying about the Net?

  3. David,

    Once the government starts down the road of applying the “Fairness Doctrine”, where do you expect it to end? Do you expect the advocates of “fair” speech to leave blogs alone after they’ve silenced critics on AM radio? How do you think they’ll look at political podcasts, for instance? Why would people interested in closing down critical speech stop with radio and TV?

    The base problem is that the Democrats want to savage the first amendment. The fact that they haven’t gotten around to all the specifics yet is hardly the problem.

    I’m not happy with the bipartisan savaging of the 4th amendment that’s happened over the last 30 years with the “war on drugs”. I’ll be equally unhappy at the destruction of the 1st amendment over “fairness”. And yes, I do despise McCain over his sponsoring of McCain-Feingold – that bill is why I consider Feingold to be an utter weasel as well.

  4. David,

    Thanks for the kind words. James here must hang with the same crowd as McDowell, although apparently running from the other hand (believing that the fairness doctrine will be revived for broadcast and then applied to the web). Evidence is not required when fantasies fed by the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world offer such a delightful substitute.

  5. James, so you’re making a slippery slope argument? Since there is no evidence that the Democrats actually plan on applying the FD to the Net, for the slippery slope to succeed we’d need to see some sign of inevitability. And since the FD was designed to provide balance in a _scarce_ medium that the government parcels out, the Internet — as an abundant medium that the gov’t does not parcel out — is unlikely to be subject to the FD.

    So, no one is proposing what you’re railing against, and the cases are blatantly unlike one another. So, the slippery slope argument fails.

    Produce some evidence or please sleep easier.

  6. David,

    You can call it a slippery slope; I call it noticing the obvious. The Democrats don’t like opposition speech very much at all. They are very interested in shutting it down on radio and on TV. That ought to be enough to worry anyone. I don’t buy the “scarce” argument much, given that they’ve already stated that they want to move these ideas to Satellite Radio.

    From there, it’s a pretty obvious next step, unless you’re wearing very large blinders. I’ll come back and give you evidence when they start moving that way post-election. I expect you’ll be stunned by the whole thing.


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