The NYU Journal of Legislation & Public Policy and the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty collaborated in presenting an all-day symposium, “No Strings Attached: U.S. Internet Governance in an Increasingly Global World,” on February 24 at NYU Law.
Ira Rubinstein, a research fellow and adjunct professor at the Law School, moderated “Getting Online: Legislating and Regulating Internet Infrastructure,” the first panel of the day. It began with a primer on the net neutrality debate and the Federal Communication Commission’s role in it by Jon Nuechterlein, the chair of WilmerHale’s Communications, Privacy and Internet Law Practice Group. Vinton Cerf, a vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, offered his own perspective on net neutrality and whether Internet access should be a human right, while Peter Swire, a professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law who has served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, covered government access to communications and data on the Internet.
The second panel, “Being Online: Control of Content on the Internet,” was moderated by Professor Katherine Strandburg, who placed the focus on “freedom, trust, and governance on the Internet.” Chris Hoofnagle, director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology's information privacy programs and senior fellow at the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic there, analyzed the economic issues raised by a communication market that is seemingly largely free but actually funded by advertising stemming from the ability of intermediaries to track online activities. Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, looked at Do Not Track, a regulatory proposal that would allow users to opt out of third-party Web tracking. The last panelist, Michael Sussmann, a partner at Perkins Coie whose practice includes Internet-related crimes and electronic surveillance, discussed the governance of online information flowing through intermediaries, and particularly regulation of government access to such data.
Strandburg also moderated the symposium’s final panel, “Being Online: Mechanisms for Controlling Content and Content Providers,” which explored government Internet regulation and voluntary private regulation, among other topics. Professor Brett Frischmann of Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law discussed ideas from his new book that links Internet infrastructure to the idea of the commons, invoking a host of demand-side problems that need to be confronted. Jason Schultz, the director of Berkeley’s Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, addressed the more mechanical concerns inherent in enforcing regulation as he considered what net neutrality looks like as part of a rights-based discourse. Finally, Ernesto Falcon, director of government affairs at Public Knowledge, talked about the current state of play in D.C., where he deals directly with members of Congress on the political side of Internet regulatory issues—specifically, the proper role that government should play.
Papers from the symposium will be published this summer in the Journal of Law & Liberty.
Watch the video of the first panel, “Getting Online: Legislating and Regulating Internet Infrastructure” (1 hr, 53 min):