The Internet is in the eyes of the beholder
In a recent article in Market Watch, John C, Devorak comments on the ruling against the FCC in it's actions against comcast. His premise is interesting: allowing the FCC into internet connection is dangerous, and it's a slippery road leading to government regulating the traffic of the internet.
This is not an unfounded fear, as we see government actions such as the Digital Economy Bill in the UK 1, France, Australia and Ireland.
Government and corporations are still unclear on what the internet is: a medium, a language or a place, as are the pundits.
Technical, the Internet is a lot of copper and fiber wires connected via routers and switches. Dumb pipes, if you will. In those dumb pipes, however, there are a lot of smart bits and bites. Those bits and bites can be put to good use or bad use, but there is still no definition of good and bad, and to make things even more complicated, we are still undecided on the meaning of much of the terminology used. This is most obvious in the media business, not only because this the business most immediately effected, it is also the one most visible, and one of the wealthiest. This pulls in the governments, either via lobby groups or simply because those issues are widely covered established media. Governments are usually (and some cases rightly so) slow to react. This slow reaction is (or should be) due to the fact the governmental decisions impact the lives of millions. It would seem, however, that when dealing with the Internet, governments seem keen to move in fast pace of the technology without having the capacity and capability to do so.
This get more confusion when technology based corporations are pushing for faster adaptations of their products and services. This pulls governments even further into trying to keep control or to protect their citizens (either which might be construed as good or bad).
We do not want governments or corporations to use technology to spy on us or control us. We want corporations to create good products and services. We want to believe that competition will make those good and services reasonably priced and honestly provided. This, sadly is not always the case. This is when we turn to our government.
We want to believe that our governments are here, as out representatives, to protect and provide us with services we see as the basics required to live a reasonable and respectable life. Once more, this is not always the case, and we turn to corporations to provide use for additional services.
I do believe in government regulation, but I do think this should be directed in corporations and their practices, not citizens. Regulations should be set in a way that allows individual to avoid being harmed. The best analogy I can see is traffic lights. There is nothing physically blocking a car from entering into an intersection in a red light. A camera, or a police officer might deter a car from doing so, but as long as all (or most) drivers are in agreement with the "Red is stop and green is go", the system will work. If this system will require a camera or a police officer at each intersection, this will no longer be an effective system.