Cerf: Nationalize the Internet?

by on June 27, 2008 · 50 comments

Via tenacious-Google-needler Scott Cleland, Vint Cerf apparently mused at a Personal Democracy Forum panel this week about whether the Internet should be nationalized. Erick Schoenfeld of TechCrunch who heard and reported the comment first-hand is not shy with his criticisms:

[N]ationalizing the Internet is bad idea. (I can’t believe I even have to say this). It would set a horrible precedent, would undermine confidence in the American economy, and would be difficult to pull off.

There are more reasons than that, and they include: slowing down decision-making about technical issues by subjecting them to regulatory processes; giving power over the Internet’s functioning to well-heeled interests most experienced and skilled at lobbying; giving power over Internet content to self-interested politicians; and much, much more.

An interesting thing about politics and public policy is that people who are expert in a subject matter are often deemed therefore to be experts in the public policies related to that subject matter. They’re not.

A fine technologist who has made great contributions, Vint Cerf has little awareness of the profound error it would be to make the Internet a public utility. Yet he’s one of the leaders put forward to promote Google’s ‘Internet for Everyone‘ campaign.

Previous post:

Next post: