This article was written with Christian Sandvig and published on Huffington Post.
Last month's speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued for a global "right to connect" to the Internet in light of the ongoing Middle Eastern turmoil. Such a speech may now be an annual tradition, as the US Government is now embarked on a concerted offensive to shape the terms on which the Internet business proceeds.
Responses to the speech have been mostly approving by, for example, applauding Clinton's new embrace of complexity. But some voices, like insider Ethan Zuckerman, criticized the lack of attention to US corporations as the actors we are really discussing.
As Tunisian blogger Sami Ben Gharbia put it last year, just as activists are using Facebook and Twitter to organize, "most of the tools used to muzzle our online free expression and monitor our activities on the Internet are [also] being engineered and sold by American and Western corporations." This is what we might call the "platform" or "tool" critique of the right to connect policy. It doesn't go far enough to explain the role of corporations in the genesis of this policy agenda.