Roberto Verzola on 5 Oct 2000 04:13:51 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Al Gore and the Internet

 >Internet has the capacity to become a primary infrastructure
 >for communication during the 21st century, overtaking the
 >telephone and absorbing the mass media. I wish it could be
 >maintained as a neutral infrastructure - in the sense that
 >any telephone can call any other. Even in the telephone system,
 >there are inconsistencies with that vision (such as blocking
 >of certain numbers in businesses that don't want employees
 >wasting telephone time and money on 900 number services in the 
 >US). The Internet as an infrastructure has to be supported and
 >maintained and that costs money. At present, the best engine
 >for achieving that is to make Internet a commercially supported
 >vehicle. Even national governments around the world could not
 >afford to pour into Internet the level of resources that the
 >private sector has provided and will likely continue to provide.

This is probably the most important debate regarding the future
direction of the Internet: will it be a public commons, maintained by
public funds, or private space? Today it is increasingly private
space, both the hardware infrastructure such as communication lines,
routers and servers, and the software infrastructure such as IP number
assignments and the DNS.

The way Vint Cerf describes it, there is no choice but to make it even
more so. And the way he sounded, the debate has ended before it could
even begin in public.

Civil society is being seduced to move all its manifestations to the
Internet. Take care: we are being pushed/pulled ("there is no
choice"/"the net is great") to move from public to private grounds.
The private owners might seem benevolent, but it is in *their*
property where we are being asked to live our future lives. If we can
be ejected from public spaces like the radio spectrum, how much more
from private spaces like the Internet?

Roberto Verzola

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