Regulatory Transparency – will it change your behavior?

A relatively new policy tool, mandatory disclosure of infromation with a regulatory intent, is being proposed as a means to deal with the net neutrality issue.  In an article announcing Obama’s choice of Leibowitz as FTC chair,  Cnet reports:

On the issue of Net neutrality, Leibowitz stood out from his colleagues in June 2007 when the FTC released a report stating no new laws were necessary. Leibowitz issued an opinion saying existing antitrust laws may not have been “adequate to the task” of Internet broadband regulation.

“Will carriers block, slow or interfere with applications?” Leibowitz asked at a public hearing held by the FTC in November 2006. “If so, will consumers be told about this before they sign up? In my mind, failure to disclose these procedures would be…unfair and deceptive.”

Researchers believe that in order for such transparency to be effective a) the user behavior must be changeable via better information and b) the disclosers’ behavior (i.e. internet access providers AT&T and Comcast) must be changeable in reaction to the users’ choices.  I question whether the users will have a choice even if they possess perfect information to act upon (not even gonna get into the details of whether the information disclosed is comprhensible by the average user)>

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Filed under broadband, Policy, policy tools

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