Net neutrality champion Tim Wu earns New York Times endorsement in push for elected office

Tim Wu

Tim Wu, a law professor and long-time advocate for an open internet, just got a major boost in his campaign to become New York’s lieutenant governor: an endorsement from the editorial board of the New York Times. Here are the key excerpts from the Times’ choice of Wu in the Democratic primary:

[Wu] wants to use the lieutenant governor’s job as a pulpit, to become the state’s de facto public advocate, particularly in support of consumer issues, Internet access and economic development zones.[…]

Although he lacks time in politics, Mr. Wu has an impressive record in the legal field, particularly in Internet law and policy. Widely known for coining the phrase “net neutrality,” he has been an adviser to the Federal Trade Commission as part of his efforts on behalf of consumers to keep the Internet from “becoming too corporatized.”[…]

Albany needs an independent voice, someone who can bring fresh ideas to a very stale and often corrupt political culture. Timothy Wu is the one who best fits that bill.

The vote of confidence from the Times is good news for Wu, and also further raises the profile of the net neutrality issue at a time when the FCC is deliberating whether to permit so-called internet “fast lanes” and to permit broadband behemoth Comcast to swallow its biggest rival Time Warner Cable.

While the number-two position in New York state office is not exactly the presidency, a victory would increase Wu’s national profile and give him a bigger megaphone to champion internet policy issues. Wu is already well-known in scholarly circles for his work on copyright and antitrust issues, and more broadly for his New Yorker articles and his book The Master Switch.

Wu’s campaign initially appeared to be a long shot given that New York governor Andrew Cuomo had chosen a veteran politico to be his running mate, but recent momentum suggests Wu has a chance. The “digital platform” part of his campaign, which includes calls for “broadband truth in advertising” and “open standards for Health IT,” could win him further support from New York’s burgeoning tech community.

The Democratic primary vote takes place on September 9. If Wu wins, he will very likely win in the general election too since New York is a deeply blue state.

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