What about the right to publish?

Still catching up with my blogging from last week. As reported on BoingBoing, FCC Chairman Michael Powell last week articulated four Internet Freedoms that he believes Americans are entitled to:

  1. Freedom to Access Content. First, consumers should have access to their choice of legal content.
  2. Freedom to Use Applications. Second, consumers should be able to run applications of their choice.
  3. Freedom to Attach Personal Devices. Third, consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to the connection in their homes.
  4. Freedom to Obtain Service Plan Information. Fourth, consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their service plans.

Nowhere in this list is anything that indicates that “consumers” (as Powell meaningfully calls Internet users) could be anything but consumers. The reality is that the Internet has always been, to abuse a phrase, a “World of Ends.” Remember, no one owns it, everyone can use it, anyone can improve it. Including “consumers.”

I want to see a fifth right added here: the freedom to publish. Unfortunately, restrictive ISP service agreements that prohibit running servers, plans to “improve” the Internet to prioritize broadcast traffic over that generated by mere “consumers,” and other restrictions on the “two-way Web” promise to keep this “right” off the list for good.