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  • The early stages of regulatory capture

    Posted by ken on June 1st, 2006 (All posts by )

    It’s just a request for now…

    Leading Internet companies “requested” to keep histories of the activities of Web users for up to two years.

    The interesting thing is that none of this is being dressed up as a way to protect consumers from rapacious vendors. It’s explicitly meant as a way to thwart the possible nefarious designs of the consumers themselves. But it’ll all add up to the raising of barriers to entry, oligopolistic behavior, higher prices, worse service, and all the rest that we’ve come to expect from, well, just about every industry outside of IT where regulatory capture is firmly entrenched.

    Oh yeah, and remember how the Internet was supposed to make the “old media” obsolete and allow ordinary people to route around the old behemoths and get content that they weren’t willing to provide? Get a few laws in concerning who is and isn’t allowed to set up ISP’s and a laundry list of expensive requirements that all ISP’s must follow, and kiss that Internet revolution goodbye. The Old Guard will use those regulations to extend the same stranglehold on Internet media that it has today on other media.

    But it’s supposed to be a great way to combat the gravest threat facing America today. And also to stop radical Muslims from blowing things up.

     

    One Response to “The early stages of regulatory capture”

    1. Lex Says:

      The idea that the Internet was this magic new thing that was not governed by the usual rules of political economy was always a utopian delusion. Every new technology has a “Wild West” phase, that ends with collusion between the small number of major players who use the Government as an ally to insulate themselves from market forces.