Generally, political issues involving the Internet are handled by elites.
Voters don't understand things like the "Brand X" decision, or the ICANN mess. All they care about is that the resource is there when they want it, at some price they can afford.
The practical result for the last decade is that a handful of large corporations have determined Internet policy. This is no longer working, because many of those corporations are engaged in a greed-fest aimed at making temporary advantages (often gained through government lobbying) into permanent taxes on Internet users.
The first hint we got that people were starting to pay attention was a few weeks ago, after BellSouth and AT&T said they should be able to charge those with data available, who were paying ISP charges, for access to "their" customers, who were also paying ISP charges. They wanted to hold you hostage, because your customer relationship to them made you "theirs." They actually said those things.
That fight is far from over, and the latest news should tell every Internet user why they need to get involved in the political side of the resource.. After paying a lot of lip service to the idea of network neutrality, a House subcommittee has passed a bill that says nothing about it, and in so doing endorses the Bells' position.
The ironic thing here is that, on Internet issues, activists on the left and right are in wholehearted agreement, as are activists in the center. The only "people" on the other side are giant corporations, which should not be people at all. It's the corporate control of America's government which makes this kind of nonsense possible, and everyone involved in online politics, no matter their views on the issues (or each other) needs to be up in arms about this.
Unfortunately, it turns out this is not what they're up in arms about.
Today my inbox received an e-mail from Moveon.org, a major left-wing activist group. Moveon was founded on the Internet, and uses the Internet extensively in its organizing.
What was this e-mail about? Was it BellSouth? Was it Verisign? Was it about censorship or Internet snooping?
Nope. It was about AOL's deal with a marketing firm to give e-mail preferences to those marketers who paid it a fee. See, they've got a petition you can sign to urge AOL to back down.
Now on the merits I agree with them. But AOL is vulnerable to a far more direct attack. Just tell Moveon members to boycott AOL and to get other e-mail addresses -- Google Mail addresses are free, and anyone with AOL can get them.. Take away their market share and they'll back off. It's an economic issue with an economic solution.
Moreover, imagine if Moveon got together with some of its right-and-center counterparts on a coordinated campaign against the Bells' hoarding of bandwidth, against the Bells' demands for tribute from big sites, and on behalf of better Internet roads for all?
Imagine the impact of that.
Instead, we get small actions on small issues.