A founding father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, attributes its astonishing economic success in no small part to “permissionless innovation,” the freedom of Internet developers to try new business models and offer new services without obtaining prior government approval. The clear signal government sends by not overregulating the market is a reason the Internet today is a staple in our lives. Any calls for Internet regulation should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism, and before acting, the government should ensure that proposed Internet regulation is going to provide more consumer benefit than harm.
In a recent essay, Facebook vice president for global affairs and former U.K. deputy prime minister Nick Clegg claims that U.S. Internet “regulation is overdue” and proposes bipartisan congressional action in four areas. Two of his broad proposals deal with clarifying rules for the removal of illegal content by Internet platforms and enacting federal privacy legislation. These proposals may have some merit but need to be fleshed out.
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