- It is unlikely that the free Internet
as we know it, an almost anarchistic arena of free thought exchange, will
vanish or become swallowed up entirely by corporate or government control
anytime soon. Or anytime at all.
- First, there is the simple fact the Internet
is international is scope; an essential part of the larger 'one world'
global village that has given new life and unlimited potential to commerce,
finance, and industry for the coming millenium. Already, the trading and
commerce being done 'on-line' is in the multi-billions of dollars. Most
of that is dependent upon the basic backbone configuration of the net as
it currently exists as an integral part of the free market economy. The
internet is also arguably the most subtle and persuasive agent of U.S.
'democratization' of third world nations ever conceived, many of which
were teetering on the bring of mass poverty and considering Marxism in
the mid '70s as the solution to their national problems. The internet cookie
is simply too big for any one nation to eat, much less control, in terms
of trying to ration it to either its own people or the world at large.
- Owned by no one, and monitored by all
governments, the internet is a world super-consciousness racing at the
speed of light through hotlines and broadlines in the universe of electronic
communication. Radically or even substantially altering its current structure
would cause an economic domino effect that could literally wipe out numerous
older and many new industries dependant upon this free global network information
exchange. In as much as M.A.D. (mutual assured destruction) maintained
the (alleged) "cold-war" nuclear peace, the present anarchistic
modality of the internet maintains and insures its most cherished resource:
uninhibited market economics.
- The idea of the internet mutating into
an "intra-net" corporate monster is likely only if seen in terms
as an ADDITION to the current internet format. We can realistically look
forward to several other new competitive AOL-like corporate nets; we'll
also see big business creating several new mega-nets in the new cable-based
internet field. As big corporations leap to join the coming mega-net,
the general public will follow because the majority are not serious cyber-users.
For them, the net is essentially another form of T.V. and primarily an
entertainment modality. The rest of us will remain here, in the 'basement',
performing experiments and maintaining the 'Don't Tread On Me' status quo
of the existing internet configuration.
- When this transition to the new mega-net
happens, the world will perceive the "old" net to be "arcane",
and it will be in this atmosphere that the hackers and cyber-heads will
truly flourish again, just as they did in the old BBS days, when the internet
was crude and unsophisticated. Naturally, most of the electronic and entertainment
glitz of the new mega-net will rise up from the 'basement' of the existing
net facility, but since the cybercommunity has never been too keen on exposure
or credit for its creations, it won't care. It will go right on being what
it has always been: the true internet 'society'.
- Even if the U.S. were to put restrictions
on the net within its own borders, and begin to regulate it as it does
the airwaves, there would remain "off channel", private access,
and uncontrolled use of the internet by pirates...just as there are off-channel
and independents in the broadcast field.
- And speaking of pirates, let's not forget
there are thousands upon thousands of very capable hackers poised, armed,
and ready to launch the most crippling, disabling cyber-attack on the government's
own databases imaginable, should there ever be any clear attempt to limit
or control the free internet. If you don't think this is possible, check
into the hearings on Capitol Hill last year on this very subject.
- It was made clear that the government
(which started the internet itself for its own purposes) now has NO CONTROL
over the genius of its cyber-citizenry, much less this electronic culture's
power to out-think, out-maneuver, and out-hack the government in every
level of cyber-space. In fact, the U.S. Goverment routinely attempts to
enlist many of these super-hackers into the world of espionage and clandestine
operations, and mundane make-work programming tasks with offers of big
money and high living. This, in hopes of moving them out of their present
free-wheeling positions and to hopefully keep a better eye on them from
WITHIN the system. You know the government power base is frightened and
has recognized a formidable foe when it nervously courts that potential
enemy and invites it into its own camp.
- Should the government or industry attempt
to wrest control of the now free internet, the hacker legion could, and
probably would, wipe out the system as a whole. The government knows this
and recognizes this de facto cold-war between itself and the cyber-community
and will not make a move to upset the uneasy truce that exists. And there
is another reason it won't make a move against the existing internet which,
of course, began with the government and has remained government centered
ever since. The free internet represents a domestic, as well as a global,
method of systems and controls over the people.
- Much the same way as the economic system
is designed to produce neverending varieties of toys and trinkets to dangle
before the eyes of a mesmerized public and therby create the illusion of
freedom, likewise, the internet remains the government's greatest control
weapon against us. Through it, the public can be watched, read, analyzed,
recorded, and monitored about every way imaginable. The net can even be
used to gain 'evidence' to arrest and detain people when felt 'necessary'.
Through the current internet, the government has carte blanche to surveille
the populace, just as Orwell predicted. Because of the free flow of information,
many think they are watching the government, but in reality the government
is really watching them. And it is never going to let that advantage go
without a fight. It represents their greatest 'bugging' device ever and
gives the government a daily yield of ten times the information and knowledge
about its citizenry (and the global community) than it was able to gather
in the 50s.
- Don't worry about the 'free' internet
disappearing. It won't happen. Worry about who is reading your email, watching
yours thoughts, hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets, and what can be done
with that knowledge...with real FBI agents with real guns and real prisons.