Stealing The Internet

from the why-not-steal-it-back? dept

A painfully pessimistic opinion piece looks at a number of different moves lately by big business to set up artificial barriers online and concludes that big business is “stealing the internet”, by taking away its promise as a free and open platform for anyone to communicate however they want. While I agree that some of the moves by various companies are ridiculous, that doesn’t mean they’ll all succeed. I’m still optimistic enough to think that, perhaps with a bit of education, people can be mobilized to prevent having the internet turn into a metered broadcast medium. And, if it does happen, what’s to stop the rest of us from routing around them and creating the open network we know the world wants?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Stealing The Internet”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

The Barbed Wire of the Wireless World

When America expanded into the great expanses of the Wild West, the response to the open space was to stitch it up with barbed wire.

So it is with our connected world. Some day, human rights activists might show graphic black-and-white photos of children with sad stares being “oppressed” by wireless technology. I remember having a professor in college who was upset by the fact that South Africa (during the Apartheid Era) was the world’s largest importer of barbed wire. (I could think of plenty of legitimate uses of barbed wire for South Africa’s agrarian economy, but I didn’t fight the professor.)

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Neither big business nor the federal government ever promised a free Internet, nor did they ever envision it as a consumer entertainment/information medium accessible by most of the planet at moderate cost.

Heck, 10 years the Internet wasn’t accessible or affordable by most companies much less consumers and the access cost for many businesses was metered (and not cheap by any measure). As for metered service, why shouldn’t heavy users that put the highest demands on hardware and bandwidth pay more? I should pay the same as the kid down the street who is downloading a few gigs of Divx movie files per day? I think not.

At this point the access providers are the gatekeepers and they can and will charge what they want until/unless the government decides that Interest access is a public utility and regulates it.
Will this happen? Yeah, I’m guessing it eventually will in some fashion as the Internet evolves from novelty to necessity. But it’s gonna be a long bumpy ride.

Munich says:

Doubtful of Metered Internet

While I am sure businesses will push for this, the trend I think is in the other direction – IF competition is allowed in the industry.

Look at long distance. There is really no reason that it should be metered, yet most people pay by the minute. However, there are now plans coming on the market for a flat fee long distance plan, allowing you to talk to grandma in (put distant country here) for hours.

Internet will be a part of a bundled package along with your telecom and TV stream. The question will be whether the right regulations (or lack of regulations) let cable, DSL, etc. all compete for this business.

On the other hand, take a look at the taxes (plural) line on your next telephone bill. Any proposal that is adopted will have to give the feds a piece of the action, and I will admit that metered anything brings in more tax revenue than a flat plan.

Richard NC Arsehill says:

No Subject Given

The problem with this article is that it makes the assumption that the internet is
1. definable
It isn’t. When you say the internet is shrinking, are you talking about the www, email, irc, the newsgroups? Be specific man!
2. assuming the internet is definable,
1. it is shrinking. This would mean that it has tangible size to begin with. What? Are you on crack?

There are more internet users and public sites now than ever. Oh, and they have faster connections. Granted there are more commercial than ever, and more gated sites than ever. That is the nature of the internet. It’s been this way as long as I can remember. Even before people started trying to regulate the wind and hold back the tides of change. It was and is inevitable.

Sure, they can watch you if they wanted to, but that is part of the deal. If everything is free an open for you to communicate, then it’s free and open for people to watch you, and check your mail for you, and even send you invasive spyware. It’s their right as much as it is yours to be free and open.

I’m sick of people assuming that the promise of technology is one sided.

aNonMooseCowherd says:

the end of the Internet?

And, if it does happen, what’s to stop the rest of us from routing around them and creating the open network we know the world wants?

You underestimate the power of lobbyists. Just as Sen. Hollings has been trying to outlaw computers so that they can’t be used to listen to copyrighted music without paying a fee, big companies will have no qualms about exerting pressure on Congress to outlaw communications networks that let people bypass them. That will happen when the Baby Bells, the long distance carriers, Microsoft, AOL, and the big studios all merge into one gigantic corporation, which at the current rate may not be too far in the future.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...