Craig Newmark, the Founder and Customer Service Rep (that’s his official title!) of Craigslist knows something about creating communities on the web.
And he offers the presidential candidates some wisdom on the relationship between the internet and the federal government that should exist.
— the Internet gives everyone a potentially equal voice, as long as no special privileges are extended to anyone
— listening to the voice of Americans via the Internet is the best way for a President to stay in touch with America
— the Internet is the best way to show Americans what’s happening in Washington by publishing how government works, good and bad, like the influence of big money. That is, government operations should normally be “transparent”
— the Internet should be a level playing field for everyone; no more special privileges for the already privileged. Telecom companies make huge profits using public resources, and we should expect that they treat everyone equally. No real regulation is needed to keep the Net neutral, just a few guidelines to preserve the level playing field.
So, according to Newmark, how do the major candidates compare in terms of their web policies?
Both campaigns have now staked out positions on the democratizing value of the Internet and on American values. Obama embraces the Internet as a means of cleaning Washington up, but McCain/Bush sees it as a threat which might make them accountable.
What do you prefer?
Using the web to make our government more transparent will make it easier for everyone to understand what’s going on behind those closed doors.
Which is exactly why making it happen will be a difficult process no matter who is elected.