Monday, January 2, 2012

Time to Educate Congress on how the Internet Works.

"This weekend I read a post titled "Dear Congress: It Is No Longer OK To Not Know How the Internet Works." The author, Joshua Kopstein, is right: it's not ok to not know about something before legislating or regulating it.

The confessions by members of Congress that they are "not nerds" is frustrating at best because these guys, the guys that are regulating the Internet can't tell a server from a waiter.And so a post is born, sympathetically climbing the charts at Reddit and HackerNews, telling Congress to get a clue.

But the problem is that that post won't do any good. Few if any members of Congress will read it, and those that might certainly won't read it and decide that it's time for them to brush up on understanding how the Internet works as well as a professional that works on the Internet.

The fact is, Congress isn't the only group in this equation that needs to get a clue. The online activists, the free culture crowd, and the pro-open and free Internet crowd needs to get a clue too. See -- it's just as important for us to understand how Congress works as it is for the Congress to understand how the Internet works. In Washington, those who "educate" Congress the best usually end up with the winning legislation.

What you have to understand is that Congress is saying that they don't understand the Internet isn't a failure of Congress. You may think these guys in Washington are foolish -- even too stupid to really understand the "mysteries of the Internet." but look at how our members of Congress talk about the biopharmaceutical industry: I haven't used the word "biosimilar" once in my life, but Congress used it 70+ times in a single month.If Congress is complaining that they don't know about something that you care about, the right answer isn't to tell them to go get educated. The right answer is to educate them.

Congress mentioned the word "biologics" 75 times in a month because a lobbyist spent a long time doing their job: educating members of Congress on the needs of its industry. "

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