From the Inside Flap
In the lexicon of inventions, the Internet is a supernova. In less than two decades, it has transformed the world, changing the way that societies communicate, gather information, and buy and sell goods and services. From something as mundane as finding a long-lost high school classmate to something as momentous as overthrowing a brutal dictatorship, the Internet has fostered sweeping societal change. Its potential is endless.
As an open, unregulated enterprise, the Internet has grown and continues to expand and change at an unprecedented pace, in large part, because it hasn’t been burdened by suffocating regulations or struggles for control. But its future robust growth is anything but assured. The Zelnicks are passionate proponents of letting the Internet thrive and evolve in the same unregulated manner as it has to become what it is today. They advocate that the Internet remain free of Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulations and that the free play of market forces remain the Internet’s modus operandi. The Zelnicks maintain that, if the US government begins imposing restrictions, the rest of the free world will follow its lead.
The many forces currently at play could ruin the Internet as we know it, but the issue is complex. Highly visible individuals and groups from both the private and the public sectors and from both sides of the political ideological divide are advocating that the FCC bring the Internet under its regulatory wing. Supporters of an unregulated Internet are certain that the Internet needs to remain free of regulatory restraints so as to continue its remarkable evolution. In 2002, an FCC ruling stated that Internet access was an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service” and thus not subject to FCC oversight. But outside an internal pressure is building to “rein the Internet in.” The authors offer a clear, compelling argument for why this must not happen.
About the Author
is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor of national and international affairs at Boston University, and, as a former longtime ABC News correspondent, a frequent television analyst. Eva Zelnick
specializes in public policy and Internet-related issues and is a cum laude graduate of the University of Virginia and Boston University’s School of Law.