Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Craigslist founder on "Net Neutrality"

Craig Newmark, founder of, has a good commentary on CNN's site about the net neutrality legislation in Congress:

William L. Smith, the chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., recently told the Washington Post that BellSouth should, for example, be able to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc. or vice versa. "If I go to the airport, I can buy a coach standby ticket or a first-class ticket," Smith said. "In the shipping business, I can get two-day air or six-day ground."

In my view, executives like Smith forget that they get the use of public resources, like the airwaves and public rights of way, on which they have built their businesses and made a lot of money. As such, they shouldn't be able to squeeze out some Web sites in favor of others. This would be a betrayal of the public trust.

The House rejected an amendment proposed by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) last week by a vote of 152-269. The amendment was supported by companies like eBay, Amazon, and Google. It would've prohibited telecom companies from prioritizing sites over one another. Wisconsin Democrats Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Tammy Baldwin, and Dave Obey were joined by Republican Jim Sensenbrenner in supporting the bill. Republicans Tom Petri, Paul Ryan and candidate for governor Mark Green all voted against it.

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) have introduced S.2917, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act. It's currently under consideration in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Josh Marshall is tracking the positions of individual Senators.


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