Clock May Be Ticking on Net Neutrality

The book “The Future of The Internet and How to Stop It” by Jonathan Zittrain is a decent resource for the digitally connected individual. But after reading, I had one overlying question: just who is Zittrain talking to?

I think this could be argued several different ways, but by the end of the book, his words seem to act more as a warning to the internet-using society than anything else. As his focus at the start of the book was very much explaining the history and the organic and generative nature of the Internet’s development, the second half of the book seemed to warn against the proprietary system of capitalism stepping in and restraining our current open access model.

Even throughout some of the beginning chapters when describing AOL and CompuServe’s attempts at their own proprietary internet ventures, he states that these companies and the like are not defeated, just merely lying in wait until they can find a way to capitalize on this colossal information machine.

Considering the aspect of Net Neutrality and ISPs not restricting users and from the ocean of information within the internet, this may not always be the case. We have already heard of some ISPs proposing tiered pricing systems in which users paying for a lower tier of service would be “locked out” of certain types of websites.

Although not explicitly stated, I consider this book as a warning against the loss of Net Neutrality. I believe Zittrain’s flow of writing – from giving us the history of generative and non-generative devices, informing us that the internet was practically an accident in generative collaboration, and then discussing privacy and Net Neutrality – is his way of showing the ebb and flow of capitalism.

Currently, we have a hugely popular and widely used system of information sharing in which very few are making any money off of. (The system, not the actual sites. It would be hard to argue that Google and Amazon don’t make any money from use of the internet.) Our underlying capitalistic tendencies lead me to believe that this may only last for so long.


~ by dparsonsmedia on April 1, 2010.

One Response to “Clock May Be Ticking on Net Neutrality”

  1. I agree completely with this, especially now that there’s a push to get everyone hooked up to broadband. There’s no way ISPs can or will pay for expanding access without being subsidized by partner websites where they steer all their new subscribers.

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