Today--following housing bubbles, bank collapses, and high unemployment--the Internet remains the most reliable mechanism for fostering innovation and creating new wealth. The Internet's remarkable growth has been fueled by innovation. In this pathbreaking book, Barbara van Schewick argues that this explosion of innovation is not an accident, but a consequence of the Internet's architecture--a consequence of technical choices regarding the Internet's inner structure that were made early in its history. The Internet's original architecture was based on four design principles: modularity, layering, and two versions of the celebrated but often misunderstood end-to-end arguments. But today, the Internet's architecture is changing in ways that deviate from the Internet's original design principles, removing the features that have fostered innovation and threatening the Internet's ability to spur economic growth, to improve democratic discourse, and to provide a decentralized environment for social and cultural interaction in which anyone can participate. If no one intervenes, network providers' interests will drive networks further away from the original design principles. If the Internet's value for society is to be preserved, van Schewick argues, policymakers will have to intervene and protect the features that were at the core of the Internet's success.
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.