One World, One Net

In her blog post titled "Net Neutrality," Vivian Wagner raised the frightening reality that her students did not know about the situation with net neutrality. It seems to me that many today take the internet for granted. People, young and old, don't see the whole picture.

A fragment future is a specter that continues to linger in the corners of the internet. Net neutrality would insure the internet stays as open and as free as it currently is. But that freedom is being limited in ways that most do not know. Many telecoms have started limiting users bandwith if they download too many large files. You pay for the DSL or cable connection, but are prevented from getting the most out of it. And while the internet is global, it isn't always the same internet. Many nations have regimes that strictly control what sites are available to citizens -- China's great firewall is the biggest example. Many large corporations, Yahoo and Cisco, have been involved with this.

Your own company may be restricting the internet. Some firms set up filters that won't allow access to certain sites. And not just pornography that is NSFW, but hobby sites or social networking pages. The internet is the most free form of communication and medium of information sharing that has ever existed. And large organizations, governments or corporations, want to keep their control and find ways to limit that freedom. But the collective internet, as comprised by millions upon millions of users, continue to move toward more freedom. Open standards and user-generated content have become the norm.

The World Wide Web is a wondrous thing, so far removed from the likes of Compuserve, Prodigy and the America On-Line of yesteryear. Any user that benefits from its existence, basically everyone, should keep an eye on the big picture and help keep it free and open. Else in ten years I will post a tirade on how I miss the nineties and the two-thousand-oughts when you could publish sites to a central net and weren't hindered by regulations.

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1 Comments

  • Vivian Wagner

    Great post & message, Kevin. The book We the Media by Dan Gillmor (and his website, wethemedia.oreilly.com) looks at some of these issues in depth, and it's worth reading. Thanks for the comment, and by the way, I love what Fast Company is doing with this site!