Technology Beats Law, Part Deux

by on August 3, 2006

A few weeks ago, I blogged on Cato@Liberty about how technology beats law for curtailing video voyeurism. (You may have come across it here in my recent cavalcade of cross-posting.)

Now a TechDirt post shows how technology can beat law for promoting net neutrality. Broadband Reports cites technology to test how neutral a network is, putting users in a position to gauge what they’re getting from their ISP. A watchdog press (inculding folks like TechDirt) stands ready to amplify consumer concerns, adding seasoning to the stew that is a competitive marketplace.

This doesn’t solve the whole problem, but it solves an important part of the problem. As Tim points out, the alternative – public utility regulation of broadband – may address problems in the near-term while tying knots that take decades to unravel.

Alas, Dan Kaminsky, who’s debuting this tool at BlackHat this week, sees it as an adjunct for regulation. But it is just as powerful as a tool for consumers. Take some advice from the people who’ve seen Washington (not) work, people! Stay as far away as you can!

Speaking of which, I have nothing but sympathy for observers like TechDirt Mike, who rarely fails to note the dishonesty, truth-bending, disingenuousness, and astro-turfing that goes on in the net neutrality debate. My first job in politics/policy was advocating against single-payer health care (read socialized medicine) in California. Advocates on each side came to directly opposite conclusions about what the proposed law would do. Each side honestly believed that the other was composed of complete liars.

Repeat: Run as fast as you can from coercive society! (politics) Run toward cooperation. (markets)

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