More than 2 billion people are now connected to the Internet. The expansion of digital networks has created a ripple of disruptions across social, political and economic systems that requires a fundamental re-thinking of the political economy of information systems. In the midst of these turbulent times, political leaders have an opportunity to establish a new policy framework for the Internet. But it requires solving backward looking policy debates, cultivating an engaged public constituency for these issues, and creating a bold vision for the Internet as a catalyst of progressive social change.
Ben Scott is a Visiting Fellow at the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin and Senior Adviser to the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation in Washington DC. Previously, he was Policy Advisor for Innovation at the US Department of State, where he worked at the intersection of technology and foreign policy. In a small team of advisors to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he helped to steward the 21st Century Statecraft agenda with a focus on technology policy, social media and development. Prior to joining the State Department, for six years he led the Washington office for Free Press, a non-profit organization in the US focused on public education and public interest advocacy in media and communications policy. At the head of a team of lawyers, researchers, and advocates, he directed a policy agenda to expand affordable access to an open Internet and to foster more public service journalism. He was frequently called as an expert witness before the US Congress. Before joining Free Press, he worked as a legislative aide handling telecommunications policy for then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a PhD in communications from the University of Illinois.