John Perry Barlow on Sun, 7 Jan 96 13:11 MET

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Re: The Disappearance of Public Space on the Net

At 8:17 PM 1/6/96, MediaFilter wrote:
>The Disappearance of Public Space on the Net
>The Internet was started in the 1970's by the U.S. Defense Department
>as a communications tool and is now being bought out by I.B.M., M.C.I. and
>other megaCorporations.  April, 1995 marked the closing of the National
>Science Foundation's part of the internet, and signaled the beginning of
>the end of the publicly funded computer network infrastructure.

This is a misinterpretation of events. IBM, MCI, and Merit created a
not-for-profit consortium called ANS during the waning days of the NSFNet
which essentially ran it under contract to the NSF. They had nothing but
trouble with it and sank about a hundred million into it before getting the
hell out. ANS ceased to exist before NSFNet did.

Since then, the Net has been as it has always been, a wild conglomeration
of public, private, and academic networks, trending slightly toward the
private and small. There are a few larger enterprises involved, like
Alternet and PSI, but both of them got big doing what they're doing now.
And neither could be called a megaCorporation. I know of nothing of that
description which is a major presence in the Net right now. Nothing.

John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident
Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

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