From SOPA To Cybersecurity: All About Trying To Control The Internet

from the watch-this dept

Al Jazeera English recently did a very well done episode on its Fault Lines program about attempts by Hollywood and the US government to control the internet. It's about 24 minutes long and includes interviews with a bunch of people who were involved in protecting the internet discussing what happened. The first half is about the SOPA/PIPA fight, and how it was basically about Hollywood trying to hold back the internet:
Halfway through, it shifts to talk about the various cybersecurity bills and attempts to crackdown on Anonymous. Basically, it's about the government completely overreacting to what they believe are "threats" to the internet. Towards the end it also talks about how the government can and does abuse its powers, highlighting the case of Thomas Drake. It's a great video with some fantastic interviews, though it could do without the overly dramatic music. Still, it's good to see more people connecting the dots, and recognizing that much of what we're seeing these days is really just an attempt to "control" a platform that has been so successful because it was so wide open. Many of us believe that it needs to stay that way to remain a powerful tool for speech and for progress.

Filed Under: control, cybersecurity, internet, sopa


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2012 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "That is not the choise here. The choise is between having the same financial models as yesteryear and protect it with all our might or let the internet be a platform for micropayments and other new models on a lower economic scale."

    That's one of those wonderful ideas that sounds great on paper, but is unworkable for the most part in reality.

    Micropayments systems generally fail because the costs per transaction online are just too high. It's one of those "been there, done that, watched it crash and burn" things. Most systems that allow you to pre-load for micro payments tend to end up either failing financially, or fail to offer enough products for you to want to load them up for payments. In order to make it work out for them they have to ask you to load your virtual card with many times more than the micro payment you want to make today, making it a hard sale for most consumers.

    Credit card fees and such make it pretty hard to selling things for pennies. Many merchants face a "cost per transaction plus percentage" situation, either because of their card agreements, or the need for a processing gateway to handle their business. It's hard to sell something for 25 cents, when your gateway fees are 50 cents per transaction!

    The only real bias in these laws was to protect and maintain a business that generates billions of sales every year, employs tens of thousands, and generates millions of direct tax dollars - and trickles down much more in each of these areas. The alternatives offered up are, well, anarchy. We don't have any functional system to replace what is there, just a whole bunch of wishful thinking and sort of a hippie commune business concept. It's nice, we can all move up to Big Sur and grow virtual veggies and weed for each other, but the economic model is a little lacking in roundness, if you know what I mean.

    The real bias at play here is keeping people in jobs and keeping the economy rolling with actual sales and taxable revenue, not with "platform building" or "social interactions". Facebook continues it's faceplant on the stock market as people are coming to realize there isn't all that much there.

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