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Blogs

Free Flow of Information and Profit?

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.

Google v. China: Principled, Brave, or Business As Usual?

This article was written with Christian Sandvig and published on Huffington Post.

Google has made good on its threat to close its China-based search service in response to state censorship and hacker intrusions. The response in the U.S. is predictable. Nicholas D. Kristof set the tone last January, when he wrote that "Google's decision to stand up to Chinese cyberoppression [is] positively breathtaking." "Google's decision to stop censoring its search service in China," declares the New York Times, "was a principled and brave decision."

Does the FCC Want Our Internet Slow?

This article was written with Christian Sandvig and published on Huffington Post.

It looks as though the Obama pledge for evidence-based policy will take a blow on Tuesday, when FCC commissioners will testify in House and Senate hearings about the national broadband plan.

Is YouTube the Successor to Television -- Or to LIFE Magazine?

This article was written with Christian Sandvig and published on Huffington Post.