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Daily Digest: As the Dust Settles from Net Neutrality's Latest Skirmish...

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, December 15 2008

  • Messiness Over Neutrality: There's a dust-up over network neutrality that we'll do our darnedest to encapsulate in one bullet point. Ready? Let's go. Google, reported the Wall Street Journal's Vishesh Kumar and Christopher Rhoads , has been quietly pushing a plan to create "a fast lane for its own content." It is a program called OpenEdge that co-locates Google servers inside network-provider facilities. That "edge caching," as its known has been done for a while now by companies like Akamai, without much controversy. But those featured in the story are talking back, and they're not pleased. Larry Lessig says that the "really extraordinary" thing the Journal did here is report a long-standing position as new news. Lessig argues that he's always supported tiered services, as long as they're open to everyone. And Google's Richard Whitt says that not only does he not recall giving the kicker quote about Obama's changing stand on neutrality, but that its plan is a service-provision issue that doesn't at all run counter to the neutrality principles Google whole-heartedly supports. The dust-up shines light on two facts that are often ignored in polite company. First, that reporters can sometime get things very wrong. And second, that "net neutrality" is, as an operating principles, not without its messiness at the edges.

  • Google Raises Privacy Concerns: Google is attracting even more interest these days than the already considerable attention the company has long gotten, given that that the Obama transition has embraced not only Google CEO Eric Schmidt but YouTube (a Google product) and Google Moderator on Change.gov. But Google's growing DC footprint is raising some concerns. Activist Jon Pincus is arguing that, as things stand, Change.gov works best "for those Americans who are willing to give away their privacy as the price for interacting with their government."

  • GOP Urged to Choose Life: Republican rank-and-file are urging their leaders to embrace technology or face "suicide", reports CNN.com. Not much new in the fairly hyperbolic piece, but a reminder that the race is on to be the most tech-savvy candidate to next head up the Republican National Committee.

  • Craig on a "Craigslist for Service": Craigslist's Craig Newmark has a look at the Obama campaign's musings about a "Craigslist for Service." And he has some suggestions for both the incoming administration and his fellow citizens about how Americans "can help others out in small or big ways."(And no, there was no way to write that item using fewer "Craigs." We tried.)

  • Cars and the South: A neat interactive infographic up on website of the Clarion Ledger (MS), created by Aaron Spencer, shows the auto plant now populating the American South, from new ones from Toyoto, Hyundai, and Kia plants to the American shops that are persisting in the region. Click on a plant, and see what they're building, how much, and for how long -- a hands-on way to quickly grasp the current American auto landscape.

  • Logos That Didn't Get Past the Primary: As the cloak of secrecy that surrounded the Obama campaign gets pulled back the slightest bit, we're finally learning the truly important stuff: which Obama logo mock-ups didn't make the cut. (Thanks Shaun Dakin) Logo Design Love has insight from designer Sol Sender on the also-rans. A great deal of care went into creating the ascendant sun logo they ended with, and in the end, it seems, the best logo indeed won.

In Case You Missed It...

Our Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry have a great new piece in the Politico detailing the mandates President-elect Obama should give the still-unnamed federal CTO, from being an "Internet evangelist" to studying the economic impact of 'net technologies.

Micah also has a recap of a session at this weekend's Rootscamp featuring Paulette Aniskoff, the Obama campaign's Pennsylvania field director, on the next steps for what's being called "OFA 2.0." Aniskoff's answers to some of the more pressing questions about the new organization were, Micah writes, unsatisfying. In another post, Micah offers kudos to Change.gov's new media team.

Tom Watson looks at what happens when Obama takes over the somewhat convoluted federal apparatus that currently governs the government online.

And Sarah Granger reports that the McCain campaign isn't done making tech-related oopsies, this time selling BlackBerries that haven't been wiped clean. Sarah also highlights a recent Congressional Management Foundation report that says the way that Congress has handled online communications has "hindered the democratic dialogue."