Saturday, October 16, 2010

How Much Time Does the Free and Open Internet Have?

By Paul Rosenberg

The power of the state has always rested on two pillars: Force and legitimacy. The Internet subverts them both. As for force, think about encrypted commerce, as for legitimacy (the more important part), think about the following:

It used to be that 98% of all news came out of two zip codes in Manhattan, produced by a more or less homogenous group of people. Now, it comes from everywhere. "Guys in pajamas" brought down the mighty Dan Rather.

When I began to wander among liberty people, not too many decades ago, the people who "got it" were mostly hyper-studious types in the largest American cities. Now they are found almost everywhere.

Events are recorded and can be verified across the globe in moments. The life-span of bad information is collapsing, and plenty of what used to be easy manipulation with it.

People are able to test their wild ideas in anonymous public conversations, shielded from shame. As a result, those ideas are improved, very many of which would never have been exposed without a protected place to speak from.

Collective identities and animosities ("those people are monsters; we must fight!") are collapsing as separated groups of people get to know each other via world-wide, nearly-free communication.

This is all the result of the Internet, and all of it undermines the sanctity and urgency of the state. And since the operators of states are not stupid, they understand the threat and are moving aggressively to conquer the Internet.

Read the rest here.

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