Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who Owns Information?

Usually, I attempt to answer questions pertaining to IC in my blog but after reading selections from Transforming Global Information and Communication Markets: The Political Economy of Innovation this week, I find myself questioning the ownership of information. Cowney and Aronson’s focus on the changing political economy of policy in the United States, specifically in the form of net neutrality, has led me to analyze the diverse state and non-state actors involved in the creation, transmission and consumption of media messages.

As is apparent in the mergers between Verizon and MCI and SBC, AT&T and Bell South, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice work to encourage market competition and the expansion of new communication technologies. A goal of the 2004 “Spectrum of Flexibility,” however, was to allow licenses to more liberally monetize holdings. While some argue that relaxed regulations will result in increased investment and growth, I propose that an economic environment with diminished government control could advance unadvised market-driven (as opposed to consumer-centric) decision making by conglomerates.

Cowney and Aronson’s Chapter five not only brings together previous debates about governance and international communication technologies, but it gives further evidence to support net neutrality and global regulatory measures/bodies to avoid the prioritization of messages and security schemes. Modularity in property rights, advertising and personal networks is crucial to ensure that interconnection discrimination does not exist and users’ rights are upheld.

Ultimately, the question debated in this book and in national socio-economic discourse is “Who owns information?” Although the answer is unclear, my hope is that in today’s participatory information society, policy allowing equality in the transmission and reception of messages will be pursued as the United States continues to seek regulations promoting market development.

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