Up to his old tricks

John Markoff interviewed Sir Tim Berners-Lee on his favorite topic, and got the same tired old claims as before. In case you don’t know,

SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE was a software programmer working at the CERN physics research laboratory in Switzerland in the 1980’s when he proposed the idea of a project based on hypertext — linking documents with software pointers.

Berners-Lee claims:

Some people say perhaps we ought to be able to charge more for this very special high-bandwidth connectivity. Of course that’s fine, charge more. Nobody is suggesting that you shouldn’t be able to charge more for a video-capable Internet connection.

But actually they are, and that’s the rub. The Snowe-Dorgan, Markey, and Wyden bills say the ISPs can’t charge more for video- and audio-capable Internet connections:

(5) only prioritize content, applications, or services accessed by a user that is made available via the Internet within the network of such broadband service provider based on the type of content, applications, or services and the level of service purchased by the user, without charge for such prioritization;

So once again, Berners-Lee says he’s in favor of net neutrality at the same time that he declares himself opposed to its central tenet. I guess he’s a pretty busy programmer these days, but after all this time surely he must have been able to read this little bill that he claims to support.

There’s some other stuff in the interview about democracy and the Internet that’s incredibly silly. The Internet can certainly be used to advance democracy, but it can also be used for oppression, crime, and terrorism. In that sense, it’s certainly “neutral”. Is that a good thing?

Look, all I’m asking is that these “figures” like Berners-Lee, Cerf, and the rest of them do a little diligence before popping off. Read the bills, try to learn how the modern Internet works, learn about the requirements of new applications, and develop a reasonable investment model for the ISPs to follow. If you do all that, and do it honestly, you will come to the conclusion that the regulations on the table will do way more harm than good. If we need to protect the Internet from greed and corruption we’re going to need much more specific definitions than we have now.

The argument for regulation because “telcos are bad people” that the lefty blogs make is ridiculous, and Berners-Lee’s claims aren’t much better.

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8 Responses to Up to his old tricks

  1. Mumon says:

    It’s not just the telcos.

    By the way, it looks like the Mark Foley scandal’s about to take the whole Repub Congress down with it. Comments?

    My personal take: this is very very good for my 401(k).

  2. Richard says:

    It proves the only two scandals a pol can’t live down are a live boy or a dead girl. I doubt it will resonate beyond Foley’s district.

    Generally speaking, the Democrats are more closely associated with sexual scandals than the Republicans, but there’s not much effect to it; ask Barney Frank.

  3. Mumon says:

    Umm…the Democrats generally do their sexual scandals somewhat more legally, I’d say, and in a more colorful manner – who was that guy with the strippers decacdes ago?

    But I think this is huge, as Josh Marshall points out.

  4. Richard says:

    Barney Frank’s teen prostitution ring was way beyond this scandal in its illegality, Mumon, and Clinton violated Paula Jones’ civil rights. But we forgave both of them. I suspect the Reeps were already skating on thin ice with their base for all the war-bungling and pork before this thing came out, so to speak, and a lot of them will stay home next month. So yeah, this is just big enough to make a difference in a close election where there’s no good news to put it in perspective.

    There’s even a massive defection away from the GOP on the part of conservative blogs, and that can’t be good. See Baloon Juice for details.

  5. Sigivald says:

    I don’t see this “scandal” affecting anyone much but Foley, and he’s already resigned.

    The people giddy about How Awful It Proves The Republicans To Be… already weren’t going to vote for Republicans.

    I don’t see why people who’d vote Republican in every other district are going to stop because the Democrats are thirsty for any blood they can get. Maybe, perhaps, the if the Republican leadership had covered up a crime, say, but there’s nothing in the evidence I’ve seen that suggests a crime rather than mere “inappropriate” behaviour.

    Josh Marshall’s job, after all, is to think scandals for Republicans are “huge”.

  6. Scandals come, but scandals also go. It’s got to be election week to make a difference.

  7. Richard says:

    Looks like a storm is gathering around Speaker Hastert, as this is the kinda scandal that’s more coming and less going.

  8. stuberman says:

    Yeah, Richard…. or that warm breeze from Kim Jong-il may just see that storm dissipate.

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