Marquette Law School Boden Lecture to Address Pressing Internet Policy Issues, September 22 // News Center // Marquette University


September 19, 2022


MILWAUKEE — James B. Speta, Elizabeth Froehling Horner Professor of Law at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, will deliver Marquette University Law School’s annual Boden Lecture, “Can Common Carrier Principles Contribute to a better internet?” Thursday, September 22 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lubar Center at Eckstein Hall.

Proposals abound to “reform” the Internet. Some of these relate directly to concerns that Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms engage in bias and discrimination in the selection of sources, users, news feeds and results. Consensus is elusive on defining this bias, and many of the proposed reforms would almost certainly violate the First Amendment. Is it possible to look to the past of the law to find a way forward? The original American regulatory paradigm – developed for railroads, telephone companies and other “common carriers” – succeeded in prohibiting supplier discrimination among users.

The Speta talk will outline how policymakers could adapt and adopt parts of this most traditional form of regulation to solve more modern policy problems: how to make the Internet platform ecosystem more robust and diverse, ensuring ( for a single example) that alternative platforms such as Talk would not be thwarted. It will also examine whether existing law and policy are capable of the judiciousness that this approach would require.

Speta has been a member of the Northwestern University School of Law since 1998 and has held several administrative positions, including acting dean during the 2020-2021 academic year. His research interests encompass telecommunications and internet policy, antitrust, administrative law and market organization, and his publications include the textbook “Internet and Telecommunications Regulation”. His teaching spanned the programs of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as editor of the law journal, he served as clerk for Judge Harry T. Edwards on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and is an experienced practitioner in appellate, telecommunications, and competition law.

The Annual Boden Lecture honors the late Robert F. Boden, Dean of Marquette Law School from 1965 to 1984.

Tickets are no longer available for this conference. Members of the media interested in participating should contact Chris Stolarski, Associate Director of Academic Communications, at [email protected]


About Christopher Stolarsky

Christopher Stolarsky

Chris is Associate Director of Academic Communications in the Office of Marketing and Communications. Contact Chris at (414) 288-1988 or [email protected]

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