20 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2007
This essay suggests that how "the internet" is understood has substantial legal, social, and cultural consequences. Beginning in the 1940s, Netheads adopted an understanding of man-computer symbiosis that continues to be attractive to internet futurists. Later on, in the 1970s, Engineers addressed the architectural needs of the future in a concrete way, seeking to interconnect diverse networks. In recent years, the Telcos have increasingly taken the position that "the Internet" is no more than the sum of their privately-owned pipes and wires. These three different approaches to "the Internet" are now informing a complex and important public policy debate about "network neutrality."
Keywords: cyberlaw, communications law, internet history, network neutrality
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