Nancy Scola

Nancy Scola is a writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in Science Progress, Politics Magazine, AlterNet, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Recent Articles

You Just Don't Mess with DNS.

Since the dawn of the Internet era, people have condemned the big American entertainment industry players for failing to meet the challenges of the new age with a spirit of innovation. But that ignores the tremendous amount of creative energies that the RIAA (music) and MPAA (movies) have put into crafting new ways to squash the spread of digital content. They try to sell those inventions to lawmakers, and over the years, a symbiosis has developed where the lobbies lob an extreme, if clever, technological scheme into Congress,. The scheme gets a polite hearing -- Hey, maybe we should think about blowing up people's computers -- but is then either forgotten, or seriously toned down. Now, though, the industry groups might have stumbled upon a winning innovation with a new copyright bill, S. 3804, that has the backing of Sen. Patrick Leahy and 15 of 18 members on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's being debated there this week. This one's a real doozy. What makes the Combating Online...

Great White Spaces Now Full of Wireless Win.

This morning, the Federal Communications Commission made a much-anticipated announcement that it was opening up "white spaces" for unlicensed use . "White spaces" are those open portions of the radio spectrum that were freed up last year when the U.S. made the big switch from analog to digital television. Sure, that ancient Sony set in the basement may have stopped being useful, but our common sacrifice made possible the new flowering of wireless innovation today. Innovation like ... what exactly? The really fun part is that nobody knows for sure. We do know, for one thing, that this high-quality TV spectrum is made of sturdy stuff, and it's capable of supporting wireless networking that is faster, longer, and more reliable that current technologies. Connecting rural America to high-speed Internet -- including woefully under-connected tribal lands -- suddenly looks more possible. But beyond that, the attitude is, we'll see. There's precedent here. Back in the mid 1980s, the FCC looked...

The Internet Is Not A Tuna Sandwich

TAP talks to a digital-media expert on net neutrality and policy responses to Internet freedom.

In recent years, law professor Susan Crawford has developed a reputation as one of the foremost thinkers on how technology and digital media, and our public-policy responses to them, help shape our modern lives. After the election of Barack Obama, Crawford went inside the administration, first to co-lead the transition team and help the incoming president understand the Federal Communications Commission, and later to serve as the National Economic Council's coordinator on tech-policy issues. After a year, Crawford returned to teaching and is now at New York City's Cardozo Law School. TAP talked with Crawford about the ongoing policy debate over net neutrality, why broadband Internet matters, and what's gone wrong with the building of a progressive-media reform movement. We've talked before about the idea that there are political values that are implied by the Internet, by a shared networked space, like the idea that when people are given an equal chance to compete they tend to do...

The Neutral Internet's Non-Abandonment Issues.

Julian Sanchez floats a troubling idea . Adamant and stalwart net-neutrality advocates like Free Press and Public Knowledge have come out with great fervor against the Google-Verizon proposal that would exempt from neutrality regulation wireless traffic that is Internet-Protocol-based, or IP-based, along with "differentiated" IP-based services; the latter, explained Google's Eric Schmidt and Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg on a recent press call, might include such innovations as 3D-streaming of the Metropolitan Opera. (Because that's what most people do online. Watch opera .) What if, worries Julian, by limiting the profitability of those two classes of IP-based products, net-neutrality advocates drive attention away from the 'Net altogether, pushing R&D dollars and other investment toward non-IP-based delivery mechanisms like, say, satellite-to-mobile delivery of streaming video content? Julian: Maybe Netflix or Hulu Plus want to be able to offer a deal where your subscription price...

Depending on the Kindness of Google.

The anger at Google over its "compromise" net-neutrality proposal with Verizon is understandable, but it's also a reflection of the fact that what exists of a modern media reform movement in the United States isn't exactly awash with good options. Yesterday's attempt by Google to quell some of the anger made the case that they and Verizon are simply a pair of voices among many in the neutrality discussion: We're not so presumptuous to think that any two businesses could -- or should -- decide the future of this issue. We're simply trying to offer a proposal to help resolve a debate which has [been] largely stagnate after five years. Google, of course, knows full well that media companies are actually imbued with a tremendous ability to shape the media public policy emerging from Washington. That reality, and the fact that Google is as much company as ethos in the public mind, makes it a particularly successful villain. But for the long-term prospects of media reform, the satisfaction...

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