Who Makes the Rules for the Internet?

Date: 8 Jan 2012 | posted in: MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Our focus tends to be at the most local — how do people in local communities access the Internet? But we do worry about how the Internet itself is governed.

Think it should be totally unregulated? That sounds nice until you type google.com into a browser and it takes you to search.microsoft.com. Or you type microsoft.com and you end up at apple.com.

We need rules and standards. Much like the principle of network neutrality, some are looking to change the way these rules and standards have traditionally developed. Susan Crawford has written a column examining how governments like Russia want to change who makes key decisions.

Though we are believers in the necessity of a strong government role in the provision of essential infrastructure, we share Susan Crawford’s concern that changing who makes decisions about the rules of the Internet could be very damaging to this amazing network of networks.

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Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Netwroks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He runs MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.