Life’s little ironies – Part 1

Some of those who have most vociferously argued for the state to keep out of the internet’s affairs, arguing everything should be left to “the community” to sort things out in a self-regulatory way, are among the most voluble in urging that governments should step in to declare and preserve  (their notion) of “net neutrality”.

Same goes for those who believe the operation of markets is typically/usually/almost always superior to any attempt to constrain behaviour by state sponsored regulation. If the free marketeers were to be given free rein in the internet space “net neutrality” would not make it out of the starting blocks.

Net neutrality advocates are trying to hold back the tide by insisting that the internet as it once was  or as it was originally conceived to be should be preserved in that way in perpetuity.  If only. Net neutrality is a lovely idea. I am quite clear about that but it has finally collided with the real world and my guess is the real world will win. It usually does.

And some of us who are less engaged with these matters may wonder why, when so many other aspects of the original conceptions behind the internet have been trashed or disappeared we should go into battle on this one?

The net neutrality argument is a battle about different business models. Excuse me if that does not float my boat or have me rushing to the e-barricades.


About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International and is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John is now or has formerly been an Adviser to the Council of Europe, the UN (ITU), the EU and UNICEF. John has advised many of the world's largest technology companies on online child safety. John's skill as a writer has also been widely recognised.
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