Dave Farber, Net Neutrality, and the Verizon Connection

The anti-network neutrality crowd has been citing the position of well-regarded Internet pioneer Dave Farber as part of its campaign to undermine support for the issue. Farber has been squared off against pro net neutrality scholar Vint Cerf (now a Google exec.). Farber and some of his academic friends wrote a widely circulated missive in early June deriding Net Neutrality. The paper, entitled “Common Sense about Network Neutrality” was part of an effort organized by Wharton professor Gerald Faulhaber to provide, in their words, “unbiased interdisciplinary analysis of network neutrality.” The piece invoked such prestigious institutions as the Wharton School, Carnegie-Mellon, and the University of Pennsylvania.
But Faulhaber should have acknowledged in this piece that he has been a consultant for Verizon (see his CV). (Other academics in the group–Yoo, Katz–have been employed by the cable lobby). Consequently, this academic group cannot be seen as delivering such an “unbiased” opinion. Dave Farber might need to write about this on his interesting people list. Perhaps a piece on the legitimacy of taking corporate consulting money by scholars and not disclosing it in related papers?

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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