Notes from Uncertain Internet panel

Notes from Uncertain Internet: Core Net Values for the TBD Administration.
Moderated by Jonathan Zittrain, Featuring panelists Susan Crawford (UMich Law), Alec Ross (tech policy advisor to Barack Obama), and Rich Miner (co-founder, Android)
The ventilation was blowing someone’s bad breath in my direction, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable discussion- though how productive, I don’t know, because everyone seemed to agree that the Internet is important and we need to let more people have access to it. (It would have been more fun if there was someone saying, ‘what the * do we need the Internet for?’ or if there were someone from McCain’s campaign. Being in Cambridge, it’s hard to believe that McCain exists at all- as can be seen from donations. (BTW, interesting to see at the top of the donor list, the Abt family is politically torn.)
Some interesting points:
-Internet must be FREE, FAST, FAIR (mentioned in the video)
-Larry Lessig compares broadband to highways in the video. (Maybe, in terms of transportation infrastructure, but highways are owned and operated from top down- do we want that?)
-Susan sayz: Basic fiber should be available nationwide. “It’s a matter of investing a couple hundred billion.” Who should have control over that fiber is important too.
-Alec sayz: Must reform Universal Service ($7 billion a year); current service is limited to telephone.”McCain sees the Internet as a scary place and is a place where he obviously doesn’t spend much time.”
-Rich talks about how open waves enabled development of microwave ovens and WiFi. Points out that more Latinos and blacks use mobile apps for non-telephony purposes than whites. More people will be using phones to access the Internet in the future than PCs.
-Terry Fisher sayz: why can’t we have multiple high-speed Internet providers and let competition settle things? Alec sayz that’s ideal but that “Washington is sooooooooooo far from that.”
-Audience members suggest privacy issues and Internet safety & security as topics of discussion, but by that time, the discussion is over. (With a low broadband penetration rate, Americans clearly have no idea about how serious privacy and Big Brother issues are right now. I suppose you can’t talk about welfare when people are starving. First you have to feed them.)
Garbed in preppy attire, sitting crossed-legged with the Rodin ‘thinking-man pose’ one moment and pattering on his computer the next, JZ was an excellent moderator, asking the right questions, making helpful comments, and plucking out the best questions from the live question tool.

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