Economy

Dec 20, 2010

The internet vs. the world part 1: gatekeepers lose control as we connect

From WikiLeaks to Underbelly, the common theme of the rise of the internet is that it connects people. And interconnectedness threatens the powerful.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Here are some scenes from the internet in the last decade of the twentieth century and the first of the 21st, in no particular order.

13 comments

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13 thoughts on “The internet vs. the world part 1: gatekeepers lose control as we connect

  1. Gavin Moodie

    Yes, it recalls the period after Gutenberg invented printing in the 15th century when the church and governments tried to control printers. Government control depends on the cooperation of the majority. Since most don’t support the narrow enforcement sought by copyright owners governments will have to moderate their control to something acceptable to most.

  2. Melinda McKenzie

    Agree with most.
    I’d wouldn’t like to be involved in a trial where the jury are getting their information from wikipedia however.

  3. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    Excellent BK. I have a lot to say about many of the issues raised (like @MELINDA M) but mostly supportive and I don’t wish to bore you so I’ll say it again, an excellent and thought provoking piece.

  4. Tamo

    In the digital world, nothing is secure and nothing can claim authenticity.

  5. [email protected]

    “…and the Prime Minister is forced to carefully parse her claim about illegality.”

    Said parsing a bit late outside the political arena, perhaps in the view of Assange’s lawyers, in flagrante delicto in a manner of speaking.

  6. MLF

    @Melinda, @Tamo: Agree.

    Nice read though, BK.

  7. El Tel

    The internet is about two things content and disintermediation (removing intermediaries). The trend is irreversible and will go all the way.

  8. [email protected]

    Very good, and I like Gavin Moodie’s recollection of the Gutenberg point. Elizabeth Eisenstein’s book “The printing press as an agent of change” is very relevant to today’s wrangling about how to control the worldwide web.

  9. gateman

    The government’s strong desire to install internet filtering (under the pretext of stopping child porn) is really an effort to control the internet in a whole number of ways.
    How long would it be before groups such as Wikileaks or file-sharing sites or politically inconvenient sites would appear on blacklist?
    Once filtering mechanisms are in the place, it’s a very slippery slope.

  10. Sean

    Nothing too much wrong with the content of Wikipedia, to be honest, Melinda. In a sense, Wikipedia also sums up the gist of Bernard’s article perfectly — a free encyclopedia written by (mostly) talented individuals without a single editor’s control, that can grow and flourish in any direction, unlike the carefully controlled, printed, dated, and costly production of something like Britannica. Or so Jimmy Wales tells me.

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