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Last Monday, in his first big speech as President Barack Obama’s new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Julius Genachowski began by singing the Web’s praises, and portraying it as vital to the workings of society. “Today,” he said, “we can’t imagine what our lives would be like without the Internet—any more than we can imagine life without running water or the light bulb.” On this point, nearly everyone can agree.
Unfortunately, Genachowski drew exactly the wrong lessons from his initial insight: Rather than see the Internet’s growth and integration into everyday life as evidence that government intervention isn’t necessary, the Web’s chief regulator took the opposite view—that the Net’s size and scope make government meddling a necessity. The Internet, in other words, is Too Connected to Fail.