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Monday, January 08, 2018

How Law and Computer Science Can Work Together to Improve the Information Society | January 2018 | Communications of the ACM

How Law and Computer Science Can Work Together to Improve the Information Society | January 2018 | Communications of the ACM: "Net neutrality is a simple term that describes the complicated reality of highly complex engineering task: how to permit sufficient permission-free innovation in the network. The over-politicized doomsayers on both sides fail to mention what is becoming abundantly clear: policy can only partially steer traffic management practices. Net neutrality can do no more than prevent large telecoms companies continuing blocking Skype and WhatsApp or throttling back video traffic their subscribers want to see.

Net neutrality cannot stop innovation by telecoms companies (whose own corporate histories show a somewhat checkered relationship with Internet protocol network deployment). Regulators are simply not that competent, even if they had the resources and will to carry out laws to the letter, which they do not. More scientific exploration of the limited effects of Net neutrality policies would be rather useful. An example of regulators trying to do this in a non-confrontational manner is the extensive work produced by the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications.

 Heroic policy interventions by government often fail, especially when aimed at industry self-regulation.

How can legislators discuss complex laws when they do not know the difference between an Internet access provider (IAP) and an Internet service provider (ISP)? In European law, an access provider (telco) is an 'Electronic Communications Service Provider' (ECSP), distinct from an Information Society Service Provider (ISSP). 'Information Society' was Europe's rhetorical counterpoint to Al Gore's 'Information Superhighway.' Lawyers often fail to master these terms.

Minimal rules made sensibly by technically proficient people are achieving quietly what millions of email messages to regulators and legislators cannot: conduct rules to stop telecoms companies blocking legitimate content while giving them the latitude to experiment where not harmful to the public Internet. Note that common carriage was a rather successful way of delivering public (alongside private and business) communications services in previous technologies." 'via Blog this'

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