[discuss] Current drive

Stephanie Perrin stephanie.perrin at mail.utoronto.ca
Mon Apr 7 20:26:03 UTC 2014

I agree with this.  As a Canadian, watching the fight over who was responsible for telecom regulation, I did not wonder when the province of Saskatchewan took the matter to the Supreme Court.  The feds, backing Ma Bell, had let them refuse to serve farmers in rural areas, leaving the provinces to do it and fund it.
We see the same issue being played out with broadband service and other public utilities.  It is a tough country to wire.  
I agree with the concept of enlightened self interest, but I would remind all those who (wonder of wonders) appear to be reaching consensus on this issue, that sometimes there are people out there who identify very strongly with those who don't have a voice, and who choose to devote themselves to fighting for a bit more equity, whether the grist for that mill is food, broadband, water, speech, or privacy.  That does not make those individuals saints, but they are not all elitists either (referring back to an earlier post).  The problem of who speaks for civil society, and how we credential those who purport to do so, remains unsolved.  "By their works ye shall know them", if you will forgive the biblical reference, is not actually going to be decipherable fast enough, I suspect, to rehabilitate the multi-stakeholder model in this fast moving Internet governance discussion. 
On the point raised by John below:  I see a lot of rhetoric in the Netmundial discussion re facilitating innovation.  I am not calling for PTS like regulation of terminal attachment equipment (that would indeed be a step backward) but the fact is, a no-holds barred approach to apps, devices, and personal data snatching is hardly in the public interest.  It throws unwary users onto untrusted platforms, with untrusted players, in a global marketplace.  Suggestions as to how to fix that problem, in the public interest rather than the market interest, without a dinosaur-like return to certification, would be welcome.
Stephanie Perrin
On 2014-04-07, at 3:26 PM, Milton L Mueller wrote:

> If only the people enamoured of the public utility model of regulation would familiarize themselves with the actual history and functioning of public utility regulation. The performance of monopoly regulated telephone companies, for example, in diffusing telephone service to the general population is abysmal. In the 1980s the world embarked on a historic departure from that model, a departure which made the Internet possible, as well as leading to massive lowering of costs and rapid gains in penetration in _both_ the developed and developing world. When folks say they want the public utility model, they are saying they want Ma Bell and PTTs, back to the dinosaurs.
> From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf Of John Curran
> Sent: Friday, April 04, 2014 11:15 AM
> To: michael gurstein
> Cc: discuss at 1net.org
> Subject: Re: [discuss] Current drive
> On Apr 4, 2014, at 10:59 AM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think that as the significance and scope of deployment of the Internet grows and the Internet becomes even more ubiquitous the calls for (and arguments in support of) seeing the Internet as a (global?) public utility operating (i.e. being “governed”) “in the public interest” are growing apace at least outside of circles dominated by a neo-liberal ideology.
> Michael - 
> By that logic, should we not also "govern" the design and functionality of the actual
> devices used to access the Internet?  I am having trouble understanding why we'd
> be so careless in allowing a variety of software and hardware designs, given the 
> need for consistent "utility-like" delivery, and certainly we could make a major impact 
> in areas such as security and spam if the configuration was not left to the vagaries 
> of actual users...    ;-)
> /John
> Disclaimer:  my views alone.
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