I’ve been working on the public policy committee, reviewing upcoming legislation from Rep. Loftgren on safeguarding the things about the Internet we value the most: the free flow of information, commerce, of course, and the protection of individual privacy. It’s clear that this legislation is needed, as public policy to date has been largely about restricting information flow. Most of what I have to say about the legislation is that it does not go far enough to ensure its goals are met, though it is a good start.
The public policy of China or Russia with regard to the Internet is mostly about control and restrictions. The USA has not done this (yet), but the actions of RIAA have been about controlling content with legal action. Regardless of how you feel about copyrights, it seems clear that unless we have an informed and insightful body of law to protect the information flow we all enjoy and rely on, the only actors in forming policy will be those that are concerned with denying access to that flow of information.
Or at least making us pay for it, which for a large part of the world means the same thing.
The successful actions against SOPA/PIPA early this year by a few insightful companies and individuals has led to Washington acknowledging a new political reality: the Internet is a critical piece of the economy. Without the free flow of information it enables, much of today’s commerce would stop, and people worldwide would lose access to information that they need to run their lives, make decisions, and stay in touch with family and colleagues.
It is companies like Gandi and the other i2C members who make the Internet work, and we now have a measure of political power in that position. It’s up to us to use that power responsibly, productively, fairly, and for the right causes.
We are doing just that.