Monday, February 13, 2006

The Pirates of Internet

When Tim Berners-Lee, the "inventor" of WWW, started his blog in December '05, he made a defining statement about the nature of internet as it was/is supposed to be.

He wrote:
"In 1989 one of the main objectives of the WWW was to be a space for sharing information. It seemed evident that it should be a space in which anyone could be creative, to which anyone could contribute... Now in 2005, we have blogs and wikis, and the fact that they are so popular makes me feel I wasn't crazy to think people needed a creative space."

However, in the present era of 'corporatocracy', there is an increasing threat to this free space for "sharing". If anything is part of the "commons" - a shared heritage of human evolution - then, there are a number of "vultures" - read, corporate interests/greed - which try claim a stake in it.

The one that threatens the freedom and connectivity of this virtual realm - where people across the globe can interact and share - is this news item about what the communication giants are trying to do to end the "Net Neutrality":

"The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency....

...To make this pay-to-play vision a reality, phone and cable lobbyists are now engaged in a political campaign to further weaken the nation's communications policy laws.... As Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO of AT&T, told Business Week in November, "Why should they be allowed to use my pipes? The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment, and for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!"...
(Read on!!!)

Of course, the hopeful aspect is that historically, such attempts to invade and pirate what belongs to all were made earlier as well - and had failed. Some would, perhaps, remember (many, of course, would not even know) that at one time British Telecom had claimed a patent for - guess what! Hyperlinks and URL!!!...

...Thankfully, it lost the legal battle then... But then, that may not be the case this time...

No comments: