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The Next Big Battle in Internet Policy

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
October 2, 2012

For two years, network neutrality, the nation’s most high-profile and contentious Internet policy conflict has taken a backseat to other debates—privacy investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, cybersecurity orders from the White House, proposed copyright legislation like SOPA and PIPA, software patents in courts, and censorship abroad. After nearly a decade of (rarely productive) debate, net neutrality—restrictions on Internet service providers to ensure consumers experience freedom online—has rarely been in the news since early 2011.

But that quiet won’t last much longer. We have merely been in an extended intermission, and soon we will watch the third act in this play unfold. At stake is access to the mobile Internet on the handhelds and tablets in our pockets—as well as access by the chips increasingly embedded in our clothes, toasters, and heart monitors.