Karen Kornbluh and Ellen P. Goodman for Project Syndicate:
The Digital Democracy Agency would limit the vulnerabilities of the digital system without interfering in content decisions – in the same way that radio, television, cable, and telecommunications providers became more publicly accountable as they developed. Self-regulation played an important role, including through journalism’s own transparency norms. But government regulation – such as common-carrier rules for telecommunications companies, political ad disclosures, restrictions on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast outlets in the same market, and support for non-commercial broadcasting – was essential to prevent abuse.
While the internet is unprecedented the problems facing it – or at least parts of it – aren’t new. We’ve dealt with them in different forms.
The internet is going to be regulated. Now’s the time to reflect and learn from the past to make sure we do it in a way that preserves, and even improves, the things that make it great.