Thursday, November 17, 2005

Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle

Doc Searls has a fascinating article about the Internet, and how the carriers are trying to stuff the Internet "genie" back into the "bottle" of their own communication pipelines. If they succeed, the free, wide-open days of the Internet will become a thing of the past. The "suits" will control the highways and the byways of cyberspace.

A quote from Vint Cerf sums it up:
The remarkable social impact and economic success of the Internet is in many ways directly attributable to the architectural characteristics that were part of its design. The Internet was designed with no gatekeepers over new content or services... By placing intelligence at the edges rather than control in the middle of the network, the Internet has created a platform for innovation. This has led to an explosion of offerings— from VOIP to 802.11x wi-fi to blogging— that might never have evolved had central control of the network been required by design...

Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity. Allowing broadband providers to segment their IP offerings and reserve huge amounts of bandwidth for their own services will not give consumers the broadband Internet our country and economy need...

Telephone companies cannot tell consumers who they can call; network operators should not dictate what people can do online.
Doc's article is long, but worth reading in full.



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