Saturday, November 15, 2008

Net neutrality? Yes we can!

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I must admit, I've been a bit concerned about the direction Obama's taken since the election -- what with his support for Lieberman and the possibility that Gates will remain at the Pentagon -- but this is certainly a good sign of what we might expect from the Obama presidency:

The Obama-Biden transition team on Friday named two long-time net neutrality advocates to head up its Federal Communications Commission Review team.

Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, and Kevin Werbach, a former FCC staffer, organizer of the annual tech conference Supernova, and a Wharton professor, will lead the Obama-Biden transition team's review of the FCC.

Both are highly-regarded outside-the-Beltway experts in telecom policy, and they've both been pretty harsh critics of the Bush administration's telecom policies in the past year.

Their jobs will be to review the agency and arm the president, vice president and prospective agency leader with all the information needed to make key decisions as they prepare to take over.

The choice of the duo strongly signals an entirely different approach to the incumbent-friendly telecom policymaking that's characterized most of the past eight-years at the FCC.

I've long been a proponent of "net neutrality" -- and these two appointments suggest that Obama will depart from Bush's right-wing, corporatist approach to telecommunications in general and Internet content in particular.

Which would certainly be a victory for individual liberty and American democracy.


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