NetPolicy.Com, by Leslie David Simon. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2000, 442 pages.
Marjory S. Blumenthal
Public policy about, for, and because of the Internet is hot. The growth of the Internet and its uses and abuses have made it everyday news. Government attention has grown accordingly, and along with it punditry and advocacy aimed at framing the public interest.
Against this busy backdrop, Leslie David Simon’s NetPolicy.Com is an ambitious but flawed undertaking. It combines in one volume an overview of why the Internet has taken hold with a tour of multiple policy arenas, including description, commentary, and recommendations. This is an admirably ambitious agenda for one book, so perhaps we should not be surprised that it is not a complete success. Simon does a good job of providing the big picture, raising most of the questions that policymakers and engaged citizens should ponder about the Internet. But in his analysis and his prescription for the future, Simon is not quite up to date with recent developments and not sufficiently broad in his vision of the options.