in an article on Sharable,
takes a dim view of our chances to turn the internet into a really useable commons. It's controlled by the corporations and the debate about "net neutrality" is just an indication of how bad things have become. In his article The Next Net
Rushkoff outlines the situation and points to what we must do to build a free means of communication.
The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network - its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation - is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them - that network loses its power to effect change. The mere fact that lawmakers and lobbyists now control the future of the net should be enough to turn us elsewhere.
Of course the Internet was never truly free, bottom-up, decentralized, or chaotic. Yes, it may have been designed with many nodes and redundancies for it to withstand a nuclear attack, but it has always been absolutely controlled by central authorities. From its Domain Name Servers to its IP addresses, the Internet depends on highly centralized mechanisms to send our packets from one place to another.
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So let's get on it. Shall we use telephony, ham radio, or some other part of the spectrum? Do we organize overlapping meshes of WiMax? Do we ask George Soros for some money? MacArthur Foundation? Do we even need or want them or money at all? How might the funding of our network by a central bank issued currency, or a private foundation, or a public university, bias the very architecture we are trying to build? Who gets the ability to govern or limit what may spread over our network, if anyone? Should there be ways for us to transact?
To make the sorts of choices that might actually yield our next and truly decentralized network, we must take a good look at the highly centralized real world in which we live - as well as how it got that way. Only by understanding its principles, reckoning with the forces at play, and accepting the battles we have already lost, might we begin to forge ahead to create new forms that exist beyond any authority's ability to grant them protection.
Read the full article here: The Next Net
An interesting and in a way intense discussion developed in the comments to that article.