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

I Think You're Crazy, But We Can Do Business.

Last night gave Barack Obama a rare uncontested moment in the spotlight, and his task was largely, as Monica said below , to use it to remind American voters just why they voted for him in the first place. For the many Americans who didn't vote for him, he had an opportunity to remind many of them why they once liked the style of his politics, if not the substance. Of course, last night saw recommendations from those like Andrea Mitchell , in her pre-game show, for Obama to indulge in the "bipartisanship" that Americans supposedly so desperately crave after a long and largely miserable 2009. Obama ignored the advice; after all, the ability to find spiritual unity with this set of congressional Republicans was not what got him elected. Instead, there were hints that President Obama was finally going back to the well of creative political thinking that Candidate Obama had drawn from and that people of a wide range of political stripes seemed to once respond to. This section in...

China Not a Fan of "One Internet" Policy.

The Chinese government's reaction to Hillary Clinton 's big "Internet freedom" speech has been strongly negative and fairly pitched. No real surprise there. She did directly call out Beijing for limiting their citizens' access to information. But the particular way in which they're going about their criticism is worth paying attention to -- it demonstrates that when Clinton talks about a "single Internet," she's offering more than just catchy rhetoric. If "single Internet" is policy A, there's a policy B, and that's that the Internet is a useful infrastructure that countries and governments should be able to use the way they see fit -- kind of like the advent of managed electricity. Ben Franklin figured out how to harness it, but that doesn't mean that the U.S. got to tell the rest of the world what to do with it. The emerging Chinese view (which has been longer established as the Castro government's view of the Internet in Cuba) is that while Internet protocol is a useful...

The Internet, Mom, and Apple Pie.

Hillary Clinton just wrapped up an hour-long speech at the Newseum that had been billed by the State Department as a "major address" on "Internet freedom." If people were hoping for Clinton to start putting meat on the bones of her 21st-century statecraft approach that I wrote about for the Prospect here , this speech wasn't exactly the answer. Development, not the merits of some new model of diplomacy, was center-stage for most of the morning. Clinton, for example, seemed most animated when telling a story about a few Haitians who had been rescued from underneath earthquake rubble because they were able to text message their locations to the outside world. That said, Clinton's talk this morning was the strongest articulation we've arguably ever heard from someone high up in the U.S. government that the United States is willing to present itself to the world as a defender of a free, open, accessible and truly global information network. I'm not talking about a generalized articulation...

A China Without Google.

Google's possible pullout from China is, I think, both surprising and not. Filtering out references to Tiananmen Square doesn't really meet anyone's definition of a free and open Internet, and it really didn't seem sustainable for the company to ramp up selling itself at home as the protector of Internet openness (see, for example, a recent post on the Google Policy Blog that laid out what amounts to a manifesto for openness) while at the same time scrubbing search results to Beijing's liking. In many ways, it's satisfying to see the company thinking about telling Beijing to, well, stick it. But it's worth keeping in mind that the Chinese people are, again, the ones stuck with the short end of the stick. Google's argument has always been that a filtered Internet in China was better than an Internet where no one can find anything at all. Over the last several years, Google has seen itself as something of a check on Beijing's ambitions to craft a Chinese Internet in its own image and...

The Internet is Falling! The Internet is Falling!

There's just really very little in the way of actual evidence in Larry Downes' CNET op-ed today that claims that the Obama administration is "clearly backtracking" on a commitment to turning the principle of net neutrality into enforceable policy. Downes' column is of a piece with a new talking point that has popped up in telecom quarters this past week. The Obama administration, the thinking goes, is guilty of sacrificing the practical wiring of America on the altar of its ideological commitment to a neutral Internet. So Downes' op-ed itself is not surprising. But I would have expected that he could have pulled together stronger evidence than the weak brew he's serving up here. Exhibit #1 in Downes' piece is the fact that Susan Crawford left the White House economic council over a dispute with Larry Summers over neutrality. But Crawford, from everything I've heard, always intended to return to her job at Michigan Law School after a year in the White House -- which, if not the whole...

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