In the heat of a 2000 Presidential debate, former President Bush created a catchphrase that cyber trolls continue to use today.
“I hear there’s rumors, on the uh, Internets.” Internets?
Motivational posters, satirical videos and news pieces critical of the new Bushism raced across the Internet and streamed to millions of users.
In the year 2000, data and information exchange on the Internet was generally free and equally fast (or slow depending on your perceptions or ISP).
Websites featuring information critical of governments and corporations generally went unrestricted and remained data neutral. (Please see Net Neutrality)
That may soon change.
Imagine trying to access a website critical of the telecom industry only to find it loads 5x slower than a telecom PR website. This may be a result of an internet with tiered-pricing schemes.
Already we see motions toward tiered pricing and the restriction of data and information exchange. These steps away from net neutrality have prompted The Economist to call the world wide web a “walled wide web.”
Nations like China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam hold tight reigns over domestic internet service and internet links to foreign websites. China readily controls and blocks users from accessing sites like Facebook and Youtube. (Of course data and information want to be free, so there are continuing efforts to circumvent these internet restrictions. )
Meanwhile, proprietary entities like Apple, Facebook and Google are creating what The Economist calls, “walled gardens.”
Apple acts as a gatekeeper by arbitrarily controlling which Apps may or may not be used and sold on its various mobile devices. Facebook has an internal and closed correspondence system. Google has an array of integrated services like Gmail, Google Voice etc.
Finally, there are growing concerns among Net Neutrality supporters that money hungry Network operators and ISPs might offered preferred services to content providers willing to pay.
Democratic Senator Al Franken, a leader on the front of pro-Net Neutrality, discusses his view: