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

No One Elected Verizogoogle.

Here's a little something to keep in mind when it comes to the new Google-Verizon "deal" about the future of net neutrality, the principle that all Internet content should be equally available and at the same speed: It's a proposal . The Federal Communications Commission and Congress still have to weigh in on the matter. Just because they've punted thus far doesn't mean that they have to keep punting. Let's back up for a moment. Google and Verizon's meeting of the minds spawned a document, released yesterday, called the "Verizon-Google Legislative Framework Proposal." (There's that word again.) What that document lays out is a pro-neutrality vision nearly entirely negated by its caveats. Three of them, taken together, create a hole so big that you call, well, pretty much drive the entire Internet through them. The first is the one setting off all the alarm bells: an exemption from net-neutrality requirements for wireless Internet -- as in cellphone Internet connections, not Wi-Fi. The...

Why a Google-Verizon Deal's Believable.

Google is now saying that despite what you might have read in The New York Times , it hasn't reached an agreement with Verizon on how the corporate giants will determine the future of the Internet. The Kremlin was, I suspect, easier to read than the telecom policy world. But whatever the truth is here, it remains a useful episode. The rumor floating around is that Internet giant Google and network giant Verizon have been cobbling out a side agreement -- outside the bounds of the ongoing FCC negotiations on network neutrality taking place right at the moment -- that would have kept neutrality principles alive on the wired Internet while opening up the troubling possibility that some content -- say, just for an example, Google's YouTube's videos -- would be faster and more accessible on the huge and growing mobile Internet that includes iPhones, celll phones, and 3G iPads. The subtext for the Google-Verizon agreement report (and, frankly, given how these things work, the rumor could...

McConnell Calls Transparency's Bias.

Nothing conveys a legislator's deep commitment to being a constructive part of the democratic process like accusing your colleagues of being complicit in stealing elections. The DISCLOSE Act, you've probably heard, failed to get past filibuster yesterday, coming in short with 57 votes. DISCLOSE was a Democratic-sponsored response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that aimed to fight big money with transparency. Certain big donors behind ads and other campaign activities would have to be made public. It's a fairly modest response to a troubling situation. But not in the eyes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell . McConnell was on NPR explaining that anyone considering supporting the bill was complicit in a bid to thwart elections themselves. "You talk about transparency," said McConnell. "This is a transparent effort to rig the fall election." First up, it's an interesting admission from McConnell: in his eyes, disclosing certain big donors tilts the political playing...

Master of My Mobile Device.

You've been newly empowered to go ahead and "jailbreak" your iPhone . That's according to a decision by the Library of Congress, which in addition to compiling all the world's books also happens to be home to the U.S. Copyright office. What the decision seems to mean, in practice, is that you no longer are dependent on the Apple App Store for apps. As long as a program has been legally acquired, you are the master of your mobile device, and you can do what you need to do to get the application to run on that unit. Apple's objection to the legitimization of jailbreaking has been, in part at least, that dealing with the problems people are going to cause by tweaking their device takes up valuable customer service time. As the personal computer industry knows well, if something goes wrong, customers are more likely to call Dell or Apple than the makers of the last program they bought and installed. For Apple, that customer service time is better spent explaining to customers that their...

The Trouble With Tech Reporting.

Things have reached such a state that one can't swing a cat on the Internet without hitting a reference to the " Internet Kill Switch" that the Senate is supposedly (but not actually) scheming to hand over to the president of the United States. The meme is a creation of CNET News' Declan McCullagh , and it's a pernicious sort of self-reaffirming idea. There are now 7,340,000 Google hits for the phrase, one more after this post goes live. And the idea is likely with us for good. Frames chosen by tech journalists have proved to have an enormous influence over how the public orients its thinking on tech topics. Thanks to an idea floated by McCullagh 10 years ago when he was at Wired , even Al Gore now seems to think that Al Gore claimed that Al Gore invented the Internet. As I've said before, the actual policy debate underlying the "Internet Kill Switch" myth is important -- and hugely so. Contained within the four corners of the Lieberman-Collins cybersecurity bill up for consideration...

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