My talk at the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group went very well. It was a huge room, seating probably 500 or so, and over half-full. I talked about how some of the crazier ideas about net neutrality are potentially becoming mainstream thanks to the politics in the nation’s capitol and some of the personnel choices made by the Obama Administration. The selection of Susan Crawford for the FCC Transition Team is a cause for alarm. Susan is as nice a person as you’ll ever want to meet, and quite bright and well-intentioned, but her position that ISPs and carriers have no business actively managing packets is poison. I got a healthy round of applause, and several people thanked me for my remarks afterwards. Very few people know how dependent e-mail is on the DNS Blacklists that members of this organization maintain, and that’s a real shame.
Last night I took the short trip up to Mountain View to see Jeff Jarvis’s talk about his book What Would Google Do? The audience, about 25 people more or less, was a lot less impressed with Google than Jeff is, and it occurred to me that Google really is vulnerable on the search front. I can imagine a much more effective search methodology than the one Google employs, but getting the venture capital to build a rival infrastructure isn’t going to happen.
I told Jeff (an old friend of the blog who’s driven a lot of traffic this way over the years) that what he likes about Google isn’t Google as much as it’s inherent qualities of the Internet. He more or less knows that, but the packaging of open networks, distributed computing, and free expression is easier when you concretize it, and that’s what his book does. I read it as a sequel to Cluetrain.