Defending the Open Internet
The future of the Internet — which means the future of communications, culture, free speech and innovation — is up for grabs.
The Federal Communications Commission is making decisions that may determine how open the Internet will be, who will profit most from it and whether start-ups will face new barriers that will make it harder for ideas to flourish.
Tim Wu, 41, a law professor at Columbia University, isn’t a direct participant in the rule making, but he is influencing it. A dozen years ago, building on the work of more senior scholars, Mr. Wu developed a concept that is now a generally accepted norm. Called “net neutrality,” short for network neutrality, it is essentially this: The cable and telephone companies that control important parts of the plumbing of the Internet shouldn’t restrict how the rest of us use it.
Most everyone embraces net neutrality, yet the debate over how to accomplish it is so volatile that more than a million signatures have been filed protesting F.C.C. regulations that haven’t even been proposed yet. (They may be released in draft form on Thursday.)
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