Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Who Invented the Internet?

I know that I can't respond to every piece of right-wing bs that finds its way onto the Internet, but sometimes you have to draw a line. Case in point, this from the Wall Street Journal, where someone named Gordon Crovitz tries to claim that the government didn't have anything to do with the creation of the Internet, and that it was created by Xerox instead.

This piece is such an blatant example of corporatist flummery that it boggles the mind, but I see the point of it from a corporatist perspective: if you are always going to argue for a reduction of democracy in order to expand the powers of the corporations, then it would be convenient if no good things arose from the activities of democracy and all good things arose from the actions of corporations. Take the Internet for example; it would really help the corporatist cause if the Internet had been created by private corporations rather than by the government. And because there are wingnuts and hacks like Gordon Crovitz and the Wall Street Journal around, you can actually find someone to claim that private corporations created the Internet, rather than the US government.

I am sorely tempted to go into a point-by-point rebuttal of Mr. Crovitz's hackery, because internal inconsistencies alone are enough to put his thesis in grave doubt. But life is short, so let me just suggest that you read an actual, serious, history of the Internet. Which one, you ask? Any of them. Any of them at all.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Verizon Might Be On To Something

So Verizon is accusing the FCC of "confiscation without compensation" for trying to impose net neutrality? The easy solution to that problem is to just go ahead and nationalize the Internet ISP networks. Confiscate them, but with compensation. Then we could manage the Internet like we manage the roads, offering access to everyone. Unlike the roads, we should probably charge everyone the average cost of provision, but we'd still come out much better than we are now.

I realize that nationalization has a zero political chance of happening any time soon but, seriously, this is how you settle the whole net neutrality problem. Stop agonizing and squabbling over how to regulate these jerks and just run the Internet as government owned infrastructure. That's the answer, and no matter how unlikely it is that we'll get to the best solution, all of our discussions about net neutrality ought to start with acknowledging what the best solution is.

Inside Verizon’s attack on network neutrality — Tech News and Analysis