Hi everybody — it’s that time (again). Net neutrality, thought by most to be a settled issue in the United States, is under threat, as the Federal Communications Commission conducts an administrative process to repeal our current protections. But this isn’t an official Mozilla post — for that, check out Tuesday’s post on our contributions to the Day of Action, and follow our policy blog where we will always share the latest on our filings, including next Monday’s initial comments for the FCC.
I’m writing to let off a little steam. Or maybe take a step back and reflect. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about working on this in 2017, to be honest. You see, I’ve been engaged with net neutrality for a very long time. It’s the issue that I built my early career on.
When I graduated from law school in 2007, I didn’t accept the job offer from my 2L law firm (Ropes & Gray in Boston; a great firm that treats its people well and does interesting work). Instead I joined the FCC as an attorney-advisor in the Wireline Competition Bureau. In 2007, Chairman Kevin Martin had opened a “Notice of Inquiry” proceeding to collect the first-ever comments on whether the U.S. should do more to protect net neutrality. So I joined the FCC hoping I’d get to be among the people reading those comments and helping the agency craft a path forward.
I made a lot of great friends at the FCC, and worked on a lot of projects — yes, including net neutrality. I left the next year, though, because I had an opportunity to catapult my career forward as the second ever in-house attorney with the non-profit organization that had filed a complaint against Comcast for blocking BitTorrent, Free Press. After working on a different angle of internet freedom at the Department of State, I’m now chasing the same dream of making the internet better through public policy at Mozilla. I love my job, and I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for net neutrality, and for the work I did and the people I met at the FCC and Free Press.
Mostly for my own amusement — though I’m sure my mother will love it too — I’m compiling a personal ‘best hits’ collection on U.S. net neutrality. Here, in chronological order, are some of the things I’ve done over the past 8.5 years to contribute to taking this issue from the wonkiest most technocratic depths of obscurity, to a worldwide established norm embraced by politicians and celebrities alike:
- Feb. 2009: Video of my Berkman Center talk on the Comcast/BitTorrent case and Network Neutrality
- Mar. 2009: White paper with Ben Scott, and a ton of support from Adam Lynn, entitled “Deep Packet Inspection: The End of the Internet As We Know It?”
- Jan. 2010: My 4-part blog post series on Free Press’s comments, covering nondiscrimination, reasonable network management, wired vs. wireless, and disclosure — Fred von Lohmann, then at EFF, compiled them handily
- Jan. 2014: My first Mozilla blog post on the topic, on the heels of the D.C. Circuit’s decision to strike down the FCC’s rules
- May 2014: My blog post outlining Mozilla’s petition to the FCC calling for a hybrid authority approach — and my favorite article covering it, from Stacey Higginbotham: “Mozilla’s crazy plan to fix net neutrality and turn broadband into a utility — and why it could work”
- Jan. 2015: Video of my Communicators interview on the FCC’s process under Chairman Wheeler
- Dec. 2015-June 2016: My blog post on the D.C. Circuit’s oral arguments on the FCC net neutrality order — and victory post after the court’s decision
Anyway. That’s enough navel-gazing for today. I need to get back to working with my colleague Heather West on Mozilla’s next FCC comments, which you’ll be able to read on Monday. Because, whether we like it or not, it’s time to save the internet (again).