For many years, I did not believe that a hosting industry organization was necessary. Over time, the critical nature the industry plays in the functioning of the Internet has changed that belief. The i2C was critical in the defeat of PIPA and SOPA. Without our involvement, these two bills really could be law right now. Their defeat and the level of engagement among the hosting community about the bills is why I am involved in i2Coalition.
What I find most inspiring is the level of engagement among hosts that the i2Coalition helped to facilitate. I believe that, as an industry, we are on the brink of transformation. The services provided by our industry are now fundamental to the functioning of our society. As a group, we have the opportunity not only to help shape policy but to help shape the future of the Internet. Why do I think this is the case? Look at what the i2Coalition accomplished in one year:
- One Senator changed her position on SOPA after a face-to-face meeting with hosting executives;
- The “Attack of the Internet Killers” ad created by the i2Coalition was held up by Lamar Smith, author of PIPA, during a House committee hearing on “what was wrong with the Internet;”
- The i2Coalition has developed relationships with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help begin to streamline the process for reporting child pornography; and
- Other organizations, like the Consumer Electronics Association and Engine Advocacy (the advocacy group for the start-up community), have begun to collaborate on an “early warning” system for bills like SOPA and PIPA so that Congress and regulatory agencies understand the effects of possible policy decisions before they are made.
My vision for the i2Coalition is more than a lobbying or policy group. It is that the group will help hosts create better business practices, engage on a fundamental level with their communities, and engage with policymakers who have a fundamental desire, and need, to understand what we are doing.