Patti Waldmeir reviews Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World in the Los Angeles Times today. It reminds me how humankind has managed to corrupt the original, ideal vision of the internet, to have borders and ill-functioning institutions reﬂected online. However, I remain an optimist: the internet is very much its own beast, and there are still more people outside of the controlling, censoring institutions than inside them. Provided we can come together with a vision of an internet that brings freedom to all, the broken institutions of old can be weakened and done away with. And we then need to subconsciously practise that ideal every day.
It all started in the last decade of the last century, when the conventional wisdom was that globalization, fueled by the Internet, would bring democracy to peoples around the world and defeat all the tyrants. The theory was that like-minded people could come together in cyberspace to govern themselves without the help or hindrance of national governments. The existence of such communities would fatally undermine the power of traditional territorial authorities.
It’s still a useful vision, and when one views participatory Web 2·0 sites such as blogs, I believe we are still changing the world. Media have already changed because of citizen power, and the less efﬁcient, more dishonest institutions are next. The only thing preventing us is the lack of education and awareness as to what a righteously motivated human race is capable of.
Del.icio.us tags: internet future world globalization government institutions institutionalization media education Posted by Jack Yan, 14:13
I totally agree. It makes me angry and a little sad when I see the attempts to control information on the internet.
Like you, I still believe in the freedom of the net, and the power it gives to people. It should be a free medium, wherever it is accessed. I have so much respect and admiration for people who blog from war zones and dictatorships, in their own small way they are changing the world by revealing truths the fat controllers would rather keep hidden.
Excellent point there, Kate—those who blog from, say, Zimbabwe or Iran are changing the world, and giving us facts that the mass media overlook. I still believe in this ideal internet, and evidently there are more of us wishing for that than being subject to the controls and censorship of institutions that aren’t exactly coming to the table with clean hands.
Your post inspired a section of mine today. Thank you :-)
"controls and censorship of institutions that aren’t exactly coming to the table with clean hands"
Yes, this is true, when you see someone calling for restrictions you generally find they have something to gain.
It sounds a bit naive I suppose, but I do believe that the internet has changed the way many people look at the world. Borders have come down, at least in a cyber sense, and a growing number of people are realising that when they band together with others their voices can be heard and they can make a difference.
Kate, thank you. I read your post with a lot of interest and agree with your every point. I remain an eternal optimist: I see the blogosphere as being a place where we are still free, exchanging views across borders. While some people are blogging under threat of jail or worse, that was the case, too, with publishing regular web pages 10 years ago. The only difference is that online publishing is an easier task today, and more do it. The human desire for free expression will always outweigh governmental attempts to restrain it.Post a Comment
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