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Jackson Hts., New York, April 30 2014 - The below excerpt from a commentary in today’s Huffington Post identifies “enabling innovation” as the key component of a successful Net Neutrality policy. While important, we see facilitating public engagement in governance (that process the First Amendment seeks to foster) as the key element of successful Net Neutrality policy. And we see a parallel with city-TLDs: their key benefit arises through facilitating improved governance and a concomitant enhancement to quality of life. Here’s part of the Post’s post:

THE PERFECT AND THE GOOD ON NETWORK NEUTRALITY [SOURCE: Huffington Post, AUTHORS: Kevin Werbach, Phil Weiser]

Network neutrality is in jeopardy — just not in the way you might have heard. In implementing network neutrality, some differentiation of traffic must be allowed on the Internet, even encouraged. The real question is whether Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed rule is so much worse than what came before. Under what we understand the FCC proposal to be, access providers can’t block, can’t degrade, can’t arbitrarily favor certain applications, and can’t favor their own traffic. The major change in the new proposal concerns so-called paid prioritization agreements. In other words, the new rules appear to allow a broadband provider to offer content providers the option of faster or more reliable delivery for a supplemental fee. Under the old rules, the FCC didn’t prohibit such deals, but said it was skeptical they would meet its discrimination test. In the new proposal, the FCC appears to mandate that paid prioritization offerings be “commercially reasonable.” Calling paid prioritization “discrimination” is a matter of semantics. Indeed, the traditional “Title II common carrier” model (which some network neutrality advocates favor) has allowed different levels of service — paid prioritization in other words — as long as the prioritized service level was available to all comers. As for the FCC’s apparent proposal, it does not encourage or require paid prioritization. At most, the proposal would allow some commercial offerings — subject to negotiation between the two firms — to allow for a higher level of service. How to defend and implement network neutrality is not as simple as banning all forms of paid prioritization. What really matters is ensuring that the broadband environment continues to provide space for tomorrow’s innovators to develop new, disruptive offerings. When the FCC releases the proposed rules for comment, we should all focus on that criterion to evaluate whether they are sufficient and effective. [Werbach is Wharton Professor and founder of Supernova Group; Weiser is Dean and Thomson Professor at the University of Colorado Law School]

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

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Jackson Hts., New York, December 26, 2013 - I’ve mixed feelings when I hear the “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” announcement on the subway. At first I’m annoyed because my train of thought has been broken. But then an image like Boston’s tragic marathon will pop into my head and I’ll groan, “OK, it’s necessary.”

IYSSSS acknowledges that the public’s participation in our public system safety is vital. It draws upon our common interest, and it invites and engages the public to help avoid a potentially deadly situation. One can hope for a less intrusive way to deliver the message, but maybe it’s just a commons chore. 

We need a similar campaign to protect our city when the .nyc TLD arrives. But because it’s new, it will require some explanation. Here’s a four layered campaign.

  • First, create a vision message that presents .nyc as a commonly owned resource that benefits us all - like the air, the streets, the schools, the libraries, and the parks.
  • Present examples of the benefits residents receive with a thoughtfully developed .nyc TLD; and of the consequences for cities that neglect to do so.
  • Initiate an education effort that preps residents to identify those using .nyc websites to squat on names that belong to others, that scam and swindle, and that infect computers with malware.
  • Most importantly, we need to create a system that effectively responds to abuses. These may be provided by a neighborhood or community; or by the government’s workforce through 311, the NYPD, the Departments of Consumer Affairs and Finance, the Secret Service, etc.
  • And we need an IYSSSS-like slogan to keep the civicly aware on their toes.

In short, we must create a civic culture that engages residents to report those using .nyc domain names in ways that diminish our city’s social and economic order.

At the same time we need to recognize that this is a very, very sensitive task. And as we scope and develop this culture change we need to avoid creating a Nanny or Orwellian state. (Graphic of subway steps courtesy of CnI.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

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