The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
Architecture and Public Policy
CIS explores how changes in the architecture of computer networks affect the economic environment for innovation and competition on the Internet, and how the law should react to those changes. This work has lead us to analyze the issue of network neutrality, perhaps the Internet's most debated policy issue, which concerns Internet user's ability to access the content and software of their choice without interference from network providers.
On Wednesday, millions of Americans visiting their favorite websites will encounter the same dreaded image: the spinning wheel of death. This is the symbol of the great "Internet Slowdown" -- a coordinated day of action among hundreds of organizers and some of the world's largest tech firms, including Netflix, Twitter, Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Foursquare, Reddit, and WordPress. Together they are showing the American public what most of the Internet would look like in a world without "net neutrality." In a word: slow.
For all the withering criticism leveled at the White House for its botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, that debacle is not the biggest technology-related failure of Barack Obama’s presidency. That inauspicious distinction belongs to his administration’s incompetence in another area: reneging on Obama’s signature pledge to ensure “net neutrality,” the straightforward but powerful idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all traffic that goes through their networks the same. Read more about The Case for Net Neutrality
In December 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the Open Internet Order, which enacted binding network neutrality rules for the first time. Network neutrality rules limit the ability of Internet service providers to interfere with the applications, content and services on their networks; they allow users to decide how they want to use the Internet without interference from Internet service providers. In January of this year, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the core provisions of the Open Internet Order – the rules against blocking and discrimination. Read more about Network Neutrality and Quality of Service: What a Non-Discrimination Rule Should Look Like