The Internet's remarkable growth has been fueled by innovation. New applications continually enable new ways of using the Internet, and new physical networking technologies increase the range of networks over which the Internet can run. Questions about the relationship between innovation and the Internet's architecture have shaped the debates over open access to broadband networks, network neutrality, nondiscriminatory network management, and future Internet architecture. In Internet Architecture and Innovation, Barbara van Schewick explores the economic consequences of Internet architecture, offering a detailed analysis of how it affects the economic environment for innovation. Van Schewick describes the design principles on which the Internet's original architecture was based--modularity, layering, and the end-to-end arguments--and shows how they shaped the original architecture of the Internet. She analyzes in detail how the original Internet architecture affected innovation--in particular, the development of new applications--and the how changing the architecture would affect this kind of innovation. Van Schewick concludes that the original architecture of the Internet fostered application innovation. Current changes that deviate from the Internet's original design principles reduce the amount and quality of application innovation, limit users' ability to use the Internet as they see fit, and threaten the Internet's ability to realize its economic, social, cultural, and political potential. If left to themselves, network providers will continue to change the internal structure of the Internet in ways that are good for them but not necessarily for the rest of us. Government intervention may be needed to save the social benefits associated with the Internet's original design principles.
Barbara van Schewick is an Associate Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, an Associate Professor (by courtesy) of Electrical Engineering at Stanford's Department of Electrical Engineering, and the Director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. Her book Internet Architecture and Innovation was published by MIT Press in July 2010.
van Schewick's research on the economic, regulatory, and strategic implications of communication networks has made her a leading expert on the issue of network neutrality, perhaps the Internet's most debated policy issue, which concerns Internet users' ability to access the content and software of their choice without interference from network providers. Her papers on network neutrality have influenced regulatory debates in the United States, Canada and Europe.
In 2007, van Schewick was one of three academics who, together with public interest groups, filed the petition that started the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality inquiry into Comcast's blocking of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer protocols. She has testified before the FCC in en banc hearings and official workshops. She co-authored an amicus brief - along with Professors Jack Balkin, Lawrence Lessig, and Tim Wu, among others - defending the FCC order that ordered Comcast to stop interfering with BitTorrent.
For a longer bio, see http://www.netarchitecture.org/author/.
van Schewick's blog can be found at www.netarchitecture.org/blog. You can follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/vanschewick.