In a recent article by CNET, The United States of America is considering the internet into an public utility. As the free and openness as it sounds; the past history of the country when it comes to freedoms and the control of freedoms and rights, it makes me wary about the future of the internet from it’s humble origins to a controlled space.
The appeal of the internet in its infancy was the idea of sharing information from anywhere in the world. One person from Britain can talk to someone in Japan, an observatory in Hawaii can compare results with another observatory in Switzerland; a mother sending a video of her child’s first steps to he husband. The internet, much like the telephone, is a communication tool. In it’s essence, voice and digital information is just data; how you interpret the information and if you understand, it is data. Under this argument then yes, the internet should be a utility because it connects our society together; much like power, water, sewage and telephones.
What worries me since this news is coming from the United States is the past attempts to spy upon it’s own citizens and other countries in “the interest of national security”. Every country has it’s own right to be suspicious of itself and others. However in my opinion, there are certain things the government shouldn’t be mandated to monitor. I’m mostly referring to information that was not necessarily consented to the government. Of course, they can place the end user license agreement to include all information you send can be scrutinized. In the best interests, it does sound like an opportunity for all to have access to the internet but at the same time it worries me with regulations, it would dilute the economy of the internet into a corporate melting pot; much like TV networks. The hardest would be keeping the internet open and equal to all without hindering or disrupting service. The past year and decade has proven there are forces at work trying to push back the internet to something more controlled and centralized. It starts with the minorities like pornographic sites.
This is something I hope in the new year, people will continue the fight for an open and free internet. Indeed the internet would benefit as a public utility in many ways in many countries; at the same time, the governments which choose this should not regulate and it’s not the responsibility of the internet or the companies that provide the service.