Well probably not. At least hopefully not.
As Louis D. Brandeis remarked: “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. ”
And so it remains… With today’s decision from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on network neutrality we are left without a strong regulator or a strong marketplace (at least in fixed line Internet access). And short of congressional action or the classification of broadband under Title II (ISPs consider this the “nuclear” option), publicity remains the only practical remedy for less than favorable consumer practices.
It is precisely this reason I remain optimistic we will not return to the network management practices of 2007. Through constructive technical dialogue, ISPs have largely adopted application agnostic management techniques and certain applications, like ours, have modified the underlying technology. And still the Internet grows and mostly still does not labor under the yoke of North Korean or Chinese-style “network management”. If there is anything that stands between us and the dystopia many predict, it is the empowering effect of the Internet towards increased transparency. A public so armed can be a significant force for change.