Monday, June 14, 2010

4G government, or a trap for the wary?

While members of Congress, the FCC and various public interest groups scurry around frantically trying to find the way to network neutrality following the Comcast decision, Google, Verizon and other leading broadband and high-tech companies have declared independence from the U.S. Government.

The Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group, or "BITAG," includes unelected representatives from AT&T, Cisco Systems, Comcast, DISH Network, Echostar, Google, Intel, Level 3 Communications, Microsoft, Time Warner and Verizon. These powerful dignataries' stated intent is to find common ground with respect to an open Internet, and create a high-tech bureaucracy that's way cooler than the crazy sausage-making we fondly refer to as democracy.

The BITAG will create policies, resolve disputes, issue advisory opinions, establish best practices and encourage staff from federal agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to "observe." Look but don't touch, says the big BITAG.

Ironically these masters of the cyber-sphere want to copy the advertising industry's practice of self-regulation. Most ad agencies, however, would not choose a name like "BITAG" that means "trap" in Filipino.

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