Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Network Neutrality

Several public interest groups are employing digital rhetoric this month to get legislators to commit to the principle of "network neutrality," so that Internet Service Providers won't privilege some sites over others with faster connections and cleaner data streaming. There have been some innovative efforts to educate legislators about consumers' concerns, such as giving senators iPods, but the target audience remains their electorate.

Save the Internet has intellectual property intellectual heavyweight Lawrence Lessig on their side and has switched to an upbeat approach that emphasizes blog citations and myspace friends rather than the depressing scoreboard that shows that as more legislators have made their network neutrality positions public, they are on the losing side.

In contrast, Public Knowledge has made this simple, didactic video about Net Neutrality that actually has a Lessig-style delivery to it.

Mainstream Internet-based liberal political groups have become involved as well, like cyber-leviathan MoveOn.org, which urges those on its giant e-mail list to sign an electronic petition, which unfortunately -- from an information design standpoint -- looks just like all its others. At least MoveOn is now dressing up its petition drive to include a contest to win an iPod nano!

Of course, since I'm interested in strange political bedfellows, I like to see headlines like "Gun owners, librarians unite against Bells" in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, both Democratic and Republican policymakers have been listening to the lobbyists and not the librarians again.



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