Timothy Shiou-Ming Wu
1971/1972 (age 48–49)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||McGill University (BSc)|
Harvard University (JD)
|Occupation||Professor at Columbia Law School|
|Known for||coining of "net neutrality" term; late 2010s revival of antitrust|
Timothy Shiou-Ming Wu (born 1971/1972) is an American attorney, legal scholar, political figure, and government official who served as a professor of law at Columbia University and was a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He is known legally and academically for his enacted "Carterfone" proposal and other significant contributions to antitrust and wireless communications policy, and popularly, for coining the phrase network neutrality in his 2003 law journal article, Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. In the late 2010s, Wu was a leading advocate for an antitrust lawsuit directed at the breakup of Facebook.
Wu is a scholar of the media and technology industries, and his academic specialties include antitrust, copyright, and telecommunications law. Wu was named to The National Law Journal's "America's 100 Most Influential Lawyers" in 2013, as well as to the "Politico 50" in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, Wu was named one of Scientific American's 50 people of the year in 2006, and one of Harvard University's 100 most influential graduates by 02138 magazine in 2007. His book The Master Switch was named among the best books of 2010 by The New Yorker magazine, Fortune magazine, Publishers Weekly, and other publications.
From 2011 to 2012, Wu served as a senior advisor to the Federal Trade Commission, and from 2015–2016 he was senior enforcement counsel at the New York Office of the Attorney General, where he launched a successful lawsuit against Time Warner Cable for falsely advertising their broadband speeds. Wu has served on the National Economic Council in the Obama and Biden administrations to work on competition policy.
Wu was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Basel and Toronto. His father, Alan Ming-ta Wu, was a Taiwanese independence activist and his mother, Gillian Wu (née Edwards), is British-Canadian immunologist. Wu and his younger brother were sent to alternative schools that emphasized creativity, and he became friends with Cory Doctorow.
Wu attended McGill University, where he initially studied biochemistry before switching his major to biophysics, graduating with a BSc in 1995. He then attended Harvard Law School, graduating with J.D. magna cum laude in 1998. At Harvard, he studied under copyright scholar Lawrence Lessig.
After law school, Wu first spent a year at the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel. He then spent two years as a law clerk, first for Judge Richard Posner on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 1998 to 1999, then for Justice Stephen Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court from 1999 to 2000. Following his clerkships, Wu moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, worked at Riverstone Networks, Inc. (2000–02) and then entered academia at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Wu was associate professor of law at the University of Virginia from 2002 to 2004, visiting professor at Columbia Law School in 2004, and, in 2005, visiting professor at both Chicago Law School and at Stanford Law School.
In 2006, he became a full professor at Columbia Law School and started Project Posner, a free database of all of Richard Posner's legal opinions. Wu called Posner "probably America's greatest living jurist."
The Master Switch
Wu's 2010 book, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, described a long "cycle" whereby open information systems become consolidated and closed over time, reopening only after disruptive innovation. The book shows this cycle develop with the rise of the Bell AT&T telephone monopoly, the founding of the Hollywood entertainment industry, broadcast and cable television industries, and finally with the internet industry. He looks at the example of Apple Inc., which began as a company dedicated to openness, that evolved into a more closed system under the leadership of Steve Jobs, demonstrating that the internet industry will follow the historical cycle of the rise of information empires (although Wu discussed Google as an important counterpoint). The book was named one of the best books of 2010 by The New Yorker magazine, Fortune magazine, Amazon.com, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and others.
New York politics
Wu ran for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 2014, campaigning alongside gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout. Wu and Teachout ran against Andrew Cuomo, the incumbent governor, and Kathy Hochul, an upstate Democrat and former Representative in the House. Teachout and Wu ran to the left of Cuomo and Hochul. Hochul won the race for Lieutenant Governor; Wu took 40% of the popular vote.
In a Washington Post interview discussing his candidacy, Wu described his approach to the campaign as one positioned against the concentration of private power: "A hundred years ago, antitrust and merger enforcement was front page news. And we live in another era of enormous private concentration. And for some reason we call all these 'wonky issues.' They're not, really. They affect people more than half a dozen other issues. Day to day, people's lives are affected by concentration and infrastructure... You can expect a progressive-style, trust-busting kind of campaign out of me. And I fully intend to bridge that gap between the kind of typical issues in electoral politics and questions involving private power."
In September 2015, The New York Times reported Wu's appointment to the Office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Wu works on issues involving technology, including protecting consumers and ensuring fair competition among companies that do business online.
Wu is credited with popularizing the concept of network neutrality in his 2003 paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. The paper considered network neutrality in terms of neutrality between applications, as well as neutrality between data and quality of service-sensitive traffic, and he proposed some legislation, potentially, to deal with these issues.
In 2006, Wu wrote "The World Trade Law of Internet Filtering", which analyzed the possibility of the World Trade Organization's treating censorship as a barrier to trade. In June 2007, when Google Inc. lobbied the United States Trade Representative to pursue a complaint against China's censorship at the WTO, Wu's paper was cited as a "likely source" for this idea. In 2006, Wu also was invited by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help draft the first network neutrality rules attached to the AT&T and BellSouth merger.
In 2007, Wu published a paper proposing a "Wireless Carterfone" rule for mobile phone networks; the rule was adopted on July 31, 2007 by the Federal Communications Commission for the United States 2008 wireless spectrum auction, with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps stating: "I find it extremely heartening to see that an academic paper—in this case by Professor Timothy Wu of Columbia Law School—can have such an immediate and forceful influence on policy." In November 2007, BusinessWeek credited Wu with providing "the intellectual framework that inspired Google's mobile phone strategy." In 2011, Wu joined the Federal Trade Commission as an academic in residence and Senior Policy Advisor, a position later held by Paul Ohm in 2012 and Andrea M. Matwyshyn in 2014.
With his Columbia Law School colleagues Scott Hemphill and Clarisa Long, Wu co-directs the Julius Silver Program in Law, Science, and Technology (first established in 1985). In August 2007, in collaboration with the University of Colorado School of Law's Silicon Flatirons Program, the Columbia Law School Program on Law and Technology launched a Beta version of AltLaw, which he produced.
During the 2018 New York Attorney General election, Wu was mentioned as a possible candidate, though he ended up not mounting a bid. Following Joe Biden's election as President of the United States, Wu had been mentioned as a possible appointee to the Federal Trade Commission, a body for which he has previously served as a senior advisor. On March 5, 2021, Wu confirmed a previous report that he would be joining the Biden Administration's National Economic Council as a Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy.
Wu is married to Kate Judge, also a Columbia law professor. They have two daughters.
- Goldsmith, Jack L., and Tim Wu (2006). Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World. New York: Oxford UP (ISBN 0195152662, ISBN 978-0-19-515266-1)
- Wu, Tim (2010). The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. New York: Knopf (ISBN 0307269930, ISBN 978-0-307-26993-5)
- Wu, Tim (2016) The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads. New York: Knopf (ISBN 978-0-385-35201-7)
- Wu, Tim (2018) The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age. Columbia Global Reports (ISBN 978-0-9997454-6-5)
- (2003) "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination", 2 J. on Telecomm. & High Tech. L. 141 (2003).
- "Keeping Secrets: A Simple Prescription for Keeping Google's Records out of Government Hands". Slate, January 23, 2006. Accessed August 24, 2008.
- "Why You Should Care about Network Neutrality: The Future of the Internet Depends On It!". Slate, May 6, 2006. Accessed August 24, 2008.
- (2007) "Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone and Consumer Choice in Mobile Broadband", New America Foundation: Wireless Future Program. Working Paper No. 17, Newamerica.net
- (2013) "How the Legal System Failed Aaron Swartz—And Us", The New Yorker News Desk blog, January 14, 2013.
- "A Historic Decision": Tim Wu, Father of Net Neutrality, Praises FCC Vote to Preserve Open Internet. Democracy Now!, February 27, 2015. Accessed October 20, 2015.
- Vilensky, Mike (July 27, 2014). "Ivy League Power Propels Columbia's Tim Wu in Bid to be New York's Lieutenant Governor". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on November 5, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
- Wu, Tim (2007). "Wireless Carterfone". International Journal of Communication: 389–426. Archived from the original on November 26, 2007. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- Ante, Spencer E. (November 8, 2008). "Tim Wu, Freedom Fighter". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on September 24, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Wu, T. (2003). "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination". Journal of Telecommunications and High Technology Law. 2: 141–179. SSRN 388863.
- "Tim Wu Elected Board Chair At Free Press". Columbia Law School. Archived from the original on 2016-05-10. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
- Lohr, Steve (July 25, 2019). "Chris Hughes Worked to Create Facebook. Now, He Is Working to Break It Up". N.Y. Times. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Tim Wu". OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy, June 2008. Archived from the original on January 18, 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
- "A Year's Reading". December 6, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019 – via www.newyorker.com.
- Wu, T. (December 22, 2010). "America's Original Startup: The Phone Company". Fortune. Archived from the original on September 24, 2019.
- "Professor Tim Wu Named Advisor to Federal Trade Commission on Consumer Protection, Competition". Columbia Law School. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- Lovett, Kenneth. "EXCLUSIVE: Charter/Spectrum Cable agrees to record $174M settlement for misleading customers on internet speed: AG's office - NY Daily News". nydailynews.com. Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "Net neutrality advocate Tim Wu joins White House". POLITICO. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- Kang, Cecilia (March 5, 2021). "A Leading Critic of Big Tech Will Join the White House". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
- "TIM WU". General Assembly. Archived from the original on September 10, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Sommer, Jeff (May 10, 2014). "Defending the Open Internet". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Chen, David W. (31 August 2014). "Inspired by His Father's Activism, Tim Wu Is Running for Lieutenant Governor as an Outsider". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
- Warnica, Richard (September 6, 2014). "Toronto superstar academic who coined 'net-neutrality' could be nominee for N.Y. lieutenant-governor". National Post. Archived from the original on September 10, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Chen, David W. (August 31, 2014). "Inspired by His Father's Activism, Tim Wu Is Running for Lieutenant Governor as an Outsider". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Wu, T. "Tim Wu [faculty page]". Columbia University School of Law. Archived from the original on 2008-12-17.
- Kim, Ryan (January 25, 2008). "Net neutrality guru to speak at USF". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Schneider-Mayerson, Anna (November 20, 2006). "Wu-Hoo! Nutty Professor Is Voice of a Generation". New York Observer. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Lattman, Peter (October 6, 2006). "Law Blog: A Paean to the Opinions of the Prolific Judge Posner". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
- "Ezra Klein - The five best books I read this year". voices.washingtonpost.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Exclusive: Progressive Ticket Will Challenge Andrew Cuomo And His Running Mate In New York Primary". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
- News, WNYC Data. "Election 2014 - WNYC". project.wnyc.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- Fung, Brian (June 16, 2014). "15 questions for Tim Wu, the net neutrality scholar who’s running for N.Y. lieutenant governor Archived 2016-03-10 at the Wayback Machine". Washington Post. washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- "Timothy Wu for Lieutenant Governor" Archived 2016-01-13 at the Wayback Machine, editorial, The New York Times, August 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
- "The Governor’s Primary in New York: Governor Cuomo’s Failure on Ethics Reform Hinders an Endorsement" Archived 2017-05-22 at the Wayback Machine, editorial, The New York Times, August 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-30.
- Kaplan, Thomas (2015-09-13). "Tim Wu, Open Internet Advocate, Joins New York Attorney General's Office". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2015-09-17. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
- Wu, Tim (May 3, 2006). "The World Trade Law of Internet Filtering". doi:10.2139/ssrn.882459. S2CID 159858258. SSRN 882459. Cite journal requires
- Rugaber, Christopher S. (2007-06-25). "Google Fights Internet Censorship". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2017-09-16.
- "Statement of FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps on the 700 MHz Service Rules". Free Press Newsroom (Press release). freepress.net (Free Press). 2007-07-31. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- "Professor Tim Wu Named Advisor to Federal Trade Commission on Consumer Protection, Competition". www.law.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- "Professor Paul Ohm Named Advisor to Federal Trade Commission". Colorado Law. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- "FTC Names Latanya Sweeney as Chief Technologist; Andrea Matwyshyn as Policy Advisor". Federal Trade Commission. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- "Home". Columbia Law School. Archived from the original on 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2019-09-24.
- "About AltLaw". Archived from the original on 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
Written by Stuart Sierra and Paul Ohm, with help from Luis Villa and Dana Powers, and produced by Tim Wu.
- End of Net Neutrality - Tim Wu-The Colbert Report - Video Clip | Comedy Central, archived from the original on 2015-07-04, retrieved 2016-07-18
- "Charlie Rose". Hulu. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- "Society of American Travel Writers Foundation Annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition". SATW Foundation. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Lovett, Kenneth. "Columbia Law professor who coined 'net neutrality' term mulling run for attorney general". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
- Hendel, John. "Media fight hits Supreme Court today". POLITICO. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
- Levine, Alexandra S. (February 23, 2020). "Antitrust crusader Tim Wu likely landing in the White House". Politico. Archived from the original on March 5, 2021.
Further reading and resources
- Futures of the Internet (Viewable and downloadable Web Video clip) (Flash, MP3, MP4, RealVideo, WMV, 3GP, YouTube, etc.). New York Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC–NY). 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-08-24..
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