Jack Jansen on Thu, 11 Jan 96 11:52 MET

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Re: The Disappearance of Public Space on the Net

Recently, Jason Wehling <jason@ee.pdx.edu> said:
> I have a couple questions and comments about this. First, I am currently 
> doing research on a book I'm working on about the Internet as a tool for 
> political activism. Part of the work I have done is looking for control 
> of the Net. And what I've found doesn't look pretty.
> [...]
> It seems to me to be obvious that the Net is moving away from it's 
> somewhat chaotic, but nevertheless centralized and public backbone of NSF 
> to a more decentralized, but nonetheless private backbone of the Regional 
> Bells and Long-distance providers.

Jason, I don't see what it is that doesn't look pretty. The net is
indeed moving to a commercial and more distributed system in the US,
but this is a situation that existed from the start in Europe: the
government-sponsored educational networks only switched to IP in a
rather late state, before that all internet connectivity was provided
by free-market parties (albeit by more-or-less non-profit

While the commercialism may be a Bad Thing, I see little reason to
worry about control: in Holland, for example, there are two companies
with international infrastructure, and attempts by one of them to
exercise control over their part of the net would probably lead other
national providers to setup their own international links in a short

Look at how fast Compuserve reverted their decision to ban the
sex-related newsgroups for an example of how hard a time providers
have if they try to exercise control over content...
Jack Jansen             | ++++ stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal ++++
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