Lessig: The Internet is Dying

The original Tower of Babel fell because the masses who built it
thought they were wise enough to touch God. The Internet?our modern
day Tower of Babel?could fall if we permit the elite to play God,
reports Andrew Orlowski in the irreverent British tech webzine
The Register. In a recent chatroom discussion, cyber
visionary Lawrence Lessig expressed concern that the FCC?s
deregulation of media outlets could lead to a few corporate
conglomerates controlling Internet access and content. ?The
Internet is dying,? Lessig wrote. ?When the content, [and]
the physical [are] all [owned] by a handful of companies, [what]
then?? When an interlocutor by the name of ?Dr. Pangloss? asks
Lessig if unlicensed spectrum could ?guarantee our freedom,? Lessig
answers that only a ?small chunk? of the spectrum will be released
under the FCC?s proposal, and the rest will be sold ?to the same
companies, no doubt.?

From Orlowski?s perspective, it?s not the Internet that?s dying,
but rather the dream that the Information Highway will lead to
?universal liberation.? This notion of ?freedom,? he argues, has
become a ?justification [for] information pollution.? As a result,
spam has rendered email ?all but unusable,? becoming ?the biggest
productivity drain? in corporate America. Furthermore, the cyber
junk of a few ?webloggers and listmakers? has degraded search
engines, creating ?the Web equivalent of TV static.?

Such greed and inconveniences have left Orlowski wondering if
it?s even possible for the Internet to provide freedom ?as an end
in itself.? And if so, freedom from what ?gluttonous corporate
raiders restricting online access for profit? The newest email
virus? Regardless of the concern, Orlowski agrees with Lessig on
the bottom line: for the Internet to thrive, we must not permit the
actions of a few to ruin the opportunity for the masses.
?Erin Ferdinand

Go there>>
is dying – Prof. Lessig

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