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Internet and politics

I received an email from Dave Winer who is fighting a battle for an Internet free from interference from Big Media pointing to a post on Harvard Law School blog*. Here is the message:

I would love to see their candidates [ed. Clarke and Dean campaigns] make an impassioned plea to keep the Internet free of interference from the entertainment industry. I would welcome this for two reasons.

1. First, I’m part of a constituency, like many others, who are looking for a candidate to vote for who supports our primary issue. Nothing unusual about that, easy to understand.

2. But as important, it would signal that the candidate is not beholden to the media companies. I would happily give money to candidates for ads that warn that the media industry is trying to rob us of our future, and explains how important it is to protect the independence of the Internet. Use the media industry channels to undermine their efforts to the control channels they don’t own, yet.

If you agree, pass this idea on to each of the campaigns and to other voters. Let’s use the Internet to keep the Internet free, in a positive way. Make a clear statement, I will only vote for a candidate who supports a free Internet. And it’s a open source idea, Bush, Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, Kucinich, Moseley-Braun, Sharpton, et al are welcome to use it.

“Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet.”

Although I could not give a flying f*** about political campaigns and presidential elections, I am very much concerned about the Internet remaining free from political intereference. Dave Winer is correct in drawing attention to this pointing out how the symbiotic relationship between politicians and the media can spell danger for Internet as we know it today. Quite apart from the argument about the impact of pundit blogs on political discourse in the traditional media, Internet is undeniably changing balance of power in many areas in ways mostly unpalatable to politicians and the established media.

*There is a disclaimer that points out that he is speaking for himself and not on behalf of Harvard Law School or the Berkman Center for the Internet & Society.

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6 comments to Internet and politics

  • Eamon Brennan

    And how exactly would this be achieved?

    Eamon Brennan

  • Eamon Brennan: And what exactly do you refer to?

  • Is there some possibility of Mr. Winer describing what he’s actually talking about? Many of the commenters on his post seemed as confused as I am about what the issue is. Your post doesn’t provide any additional information either. So far this lack of description makes it sound like an anti-globalization rant.

    Turing and Church, your anti-spambot thing is annoying. And I have to type it in again to preview my comment?

  • h0mi

    My guess is that Winer is referring to entertainment media going after internet sites, users, web pages, etc. for a whole host of things related to “intellectual property” and protection of copyright.

    It will be interesting to see what Dean et al say about this matter. I’m mostly concerned about the use of the DMCA in manners like this and do not see any respite in the near future.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “entertainment media going after internet sites, users, web pages, etc. for a whole host of things related to “intellectual property” and protection of copyright. ”

    Yes, that is true, but more importantly those issues – which do at least have some sort of legal argument behind them – provide the lever for the instoduction of “trusted” computing, hardware-supported, and standards-defined, which will cripple our freedoms.

    That is the danger, and it’s real.