What is often lost in framing the ongoing Net Neutrality debate as one that pits the Left v. the Right is how both sides are often after the same thing: advancing the corporate agenda. The debate is increasingly eroding the notion of Internet users as citizens instead of just consumers. Sadly, this points to the lack of any real political alternatives or ‘open spaces’ around this issue. But let us examine each side’s position more carefully.
Net Neutrality started as a call from idealist cybernauts to keep the government off the Internet (wait… wasn’t the Internet a government invention to begin with?). The goal was to resist any attempt at censorship, taxes or bureaucratic regulations. Information, after all, wanted to be free! This position was popularized by academics and now, in the Obama age when it is cool to trust the government again, has been transformed into the belief that the real threat comes not from government, but from greedy corporations. Thus, we have the FCC issuing not only a defense of Net Neutrality, but hinting of regulations that would ensure transparency and corporate accountability.