It's Just Like Electricity: High-Speed Internet Access in America.
Friday, February 07, 2014 11:00 AM EST
-- 12:00 PM EST
Speaker: Susan Crawford (bio at scrawford.net/biography)
Providers of high-speed Internet access, including Verizon and the cable industry, are arguing that limitations on their activities raise serious constitutional concerns under the First Amendment. The providers, however, are selling the modern-day version of general-purpose two-way telephone services, economic regulation of which has never been thought in the past to raise constitutional concerns. Today, the providers' arguments would likely fail given Supreme Court precedent. But given the absence of either competition or oversight in this market, providers are poised to have the market power to “edit” digital communications seen by users and to force interconnecting networks and content providers to pay tribute, thus becoming more “like” The New York Times for speech purposes. This is a critical time for courts and the FCC to carefully and deliberately explain why the carriers are wrong.