Is the democratic ethic of the World Wide Web about to end? In a very interesting article about the future of blogging and of the World Wide Web itself, Adam Cohen wrote in The New York Times that if the people at AT&T have their way, the Internet of the future will be completely different from the Internet of today.
“Last year, the chief executive of what is now AT&T sent shock waves through cyberspace when he asked why Web sites should be able to ‘use my pipes free.’ Internet service providers would like to be able to charge Web sites for access to their customers. Web sites that could not pay the new fees would be accessible at a slower speed, or perhaps not be accessible at all.”
“A tiered Internet poses a threat at many levels. Service providers could, for example, shut out Web sites whose politics they dislike. Even if they did not discriminate on the basis of content, access fees would automatically marginalize smaller, poorer Web sites.”
Some of the people who want to impose limitations on the Internet are using misleading information to cover their intentions. According to Cohen,
“The companies fighting net neutrality have been waging a misleading campaign, with the slogan ‘hands off the Internet,’ that tries to look like a grass-roots effort to protect the Internet in its current form. What they actually favor is stopping the government from protecting the Internet, so they can get their own hands on it.”
All of us who blog and use the Internet should be aware of the struggle to preserve the democratic aspect of the Internet and of the World Wide Web. You should read this article.
To read Cohen’s article, click here.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary