Crawford: The open Internet is the basis for democracy flourishing around the world

“Access to the Internet is fundamental,” said Susan Crawford, an American law professor and former White House official, speaking at the The inaugural eG8 forum, held in Paris. These are the most important policies that government should be embracing. We want to make sure that other voices are heard.”

At the eG8, 20th century ideas clashed with the 21st century economy. The forum, held before the G-8 summit of global leaders, showed that online innovation and freedom of expression still need strong defenders.

As Nancy Scola reported at techPresident, at the at the eG8, civil society groups restaked their claim to the ‘Net. I spoke with Crawford about what’s at stake following an impromptu press conference held to highlight their concerns. Our interview is below:

“What’s at risk is the future of the Internet,” she said. It’s “whether it continues to be a distributed, open, platform for innovation, economic growth, democratic discourse, participation by all peoples of the world or whether it becomes a balkanized, taxed, blocked, controlled broadcast medium, which is what many incumbents would like to see.”

How close are we to that happening? “Luckily, we have a long way to go,” said Crawford, “because the people who use the Internet will continue to fight back with everything they’ve got.”

Watch the whole thing to hear what her take on why this matters to citizens, educators, children, and entrepreneurs.