What Was the Biggest Tech Policy Story of 2006?

by on December 28, 2006 · 8 comments

There are all sorts of year-end / best-of / Top 10 lists being put together right now, but I haven’t seen anyone offer up a “Most Important Tech Policy Developments of 2006″ list. Geez, isn’t everyone else on the planet as interested in this nerdy stuff as we are?!

Anyway, I’d don’t have a top ten list, but I do have a nomination for the story that I think belongs on the top of such a list. I think the biggest tech policy story of 2006 was the heated political battle over Net Neutrality regulation and the fact that Congress did NOT pass legislation mandating it. It was a hell of a battle, pitting titans of industry against each other. And in intellectual circles it had policy wonks foaming at the mouth. (You can find all our rumblings on the topic here).

I don’t think this debate is over, but I’m not sure it will ever be as heated of an affair as it was this year. I also doubt that Net Neutrality mandates have nearly as good of a chance of passing through Congress this coming session since it is less likely there will be a major communications reform bill to attach it to. And there’s no way Net Neutrality regulation will pass as a stand-alone measure. There’s just too much opposition to it. It would have to be passed as part of some grand communications law reform compromise measure.

Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing what others think was the biggest tech policy story of 2006, or at least belongs on the Top 10 list.

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    It was a pretty big year for patent law, with eBay, RIM and KSR. There you have the presumption of validity, patent trolls, a judge who set precedent for how *not* to let USPTO re-examination take its course and the non-obvious standard. All you need now is to mix in some mystery, seduction and conspiracy to come out with a real life drama.

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    It was a pretty big year for patent law, with eBay, RIM and KSR. There you have the presumption of validity, patent trolls, a judge who set precedent for how *not* to let USPTO re-examination take its course and the non-obvious standard. All you need now is to mix in some mystery, seduction and conspiracy to come out with a real life drama.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    AT&T;’s cave-in on neut netrality (see tomorrow’s WSJ) has to rank pretty high, and so does the story of the Great Asian Spam Blackout caused by the earthquake’s destruction of the Taiwan Tube to the US.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    AT&T’s cave-in on neut netrality (see tomorrow’s WSJ) has to rank pretty high, and so does the story of the Great Asian Spam Blackout caused by the earthquake’s destruction of the Taiwan Tube to the US.

  • eric

    Thanks to the continuing debate and information on this blog, I did write my Congresscritters to protest that Net Neutrality was a solution to a virtually non-existent problem. Hopefully these communications have a little bit of impact, at least.

    The possibility of regulation should be held over the heads of industry for a while, though, so they won’t create a problem that needs regulating. I think we had the best possible outcome, in which legislation was threatened, but not passed.

  • eric

    Thanks to the continuing debate and information on this blog, I did write my Congresscritters to protest that Net Neutrality was a solution to a virtually non-existent problem. Hopefully these communications have a little bit of impact, at least.

    The possibility of regulation should be held over the heads of industry for a while, though, so they won’t create a problem that needs regulating. I think we had the best possible outcome, in which legislation was threatened, but not passed.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the big story was the nearly total discrediting of e-voting, especially e-voting that is not backed up by a paper trail, where the paper trail is the actual vote.

    This happened incrementally though, so it wasn’t ever a big story all at once.

    But, by the end of 2006, e-voting without a verified a legally binding paper trail is DOA…

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/ enigma_foundry

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the big story was the nearly total discrediting of e-voting, especially e-voting that is not backed up by a paper trail, where the paper trail is the actual vote.

    This happened incrementally though, so it wasn’t ever a big story all at once.

    But, by the end of 2006, e-voting without a verified a legally binding paper trail is DOA…

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