The days of the Internet as how we know are reaching to an end.
This is not in regards that consumers will cease to use the Internet, quite the contrary, more and more people are accessing the Internet, one way or another. Mobile devices are becoming more popular as the main device to access the Internet, as they are more affordable than a notebook or desktop computer. You might be asking yourself how is the Internet will die if more people are accessing it? If you did, you just answered your own question.
Now take a second to read it twice and think about it… good! lets break it apart to make sense of it…
Every big web destination that I know has an iPhone app. They are making their domain accessible outside of the browser into a branded shell. Mobile usage is increasing, as well as having a “closed network” experience.
Personalized Web Experience
The people you follow, the news you read, the results you get from your search engine, they are all personalized to fit your interests. In this TED Talk and the book The Filter Bubble, Eli Pariser explains it better.
Copyright Infringement Laws
Because artists lose millions and millions of dollars by a 12 year download a song from Bieber, big record label industries and big movie studios spend more millions to fight against illegal downloads. Post-SOPA and PIPA copyright infringement laws will be proposed. Eventually a law will pass, that will swipe away all infringing content available on the Internet and prosecute all those that infringed. If you think about it, a lot of people infringe copyright, most of them unknowingly. The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee said it best:
We mustn’t allow record companies’ fear that their business model isn’t working to upset the openness of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee told Wired.co.uk in a press conference at W3C.
Think of your cable company, you can get the Basic service, which will have all your favorite local channels. But if you are a fan of sports, you can get the “Super Sports Package”, likewise if you are a fan of movies, you can have all the “Premium” movie channels. If Net Neutrality ceases to exists, this business will be implemented to the Internet and you will see Internet packages like “The Super Social Networks” or the “Music and Video Package”. The big network provider companies are lobbying for laws to make Net Neutrality to end.
Freedom of Speech
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
– George Washington
In the times before the Internet existed, information was relatively hard to come by. You just got the information from TV, Radio or Newspapers. Those sources are easily regulated, filtering any opinion that was against of those with high power. Fast forward to modern times and the existence of the Internet. Anyone with the will to express their opinion or point out facts, are offered with the tools to do so. Tools like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube and others are offered, and easy to use and publish content.
Governments fear Freedom of Speech. a few with the will and desire to lead thousands can do so, since we the most accessible soap box in human history; the Internet and Social Networks. Last year, thanks to social network, movements happened. They were able to start a revolution to end the reign of a corrupt leader, or ask for justice for all of those responsible of collapsing our economy. Wikileaks has opened our eyes into how the United States does foreign affairs around the World and how some corporations are committing wrong-doing for some more pocket change.
Governments are suggesting regulations in social media. Sooner or later, laws will pass that will take our given right of Freedom of Speech with the best soapbox we have.
The US government are in the midst of allowing to digitally spy on everyone and shut down websites by proposing CISPA. We should be genuinely concerned about the consequences of this bill. CISPA has a decent list of companies supporting this bill. This video will explain CISPA better than I would do.
Petition to stop CISPA
Putting The Pieces Together
The idea of typing a URL is slowly becoming a habit of the past. Accessing big destination sites is just one tap or click, no typing. There is basically Internet in almost every household in the U.S. Soon the Internet will be delivered as cable television, with their channels and whats available on them. Discovering knowledge will be a challenge, learning about other points of view will be almost impossible, everything that is happening will lead us to live in a Dystopian Internet. We need to fight for our best tool for freedom.
Keeping it Old School
For my generation (born in 1980’s), we come from the old school Internet. The age of message boards, chatrooms, IRC, newsgroups and 56k. The infrastructure of information needs to continue to shine. With laws dimming that light, we need to do whatever is necessary to keep it alive. We will be anonymous. Not the rights group, but being Incognito. We may need to rely on VPN’s to connect from another country and hide our origins. We may need to browse the Internet in complete anonymity using Tor, or we may have to create our own Internet. For those that believe in freedom of knowledge and freedom of speech, we will keep the fight.
TL;DR – More people using the Internet, powerful corporations need to control their access and we need to keep it free.