Disrecognized Space

agressi sunt mare tenebrarum, quid in eo esset exploraturi

Internet Control and Internet Democracy: Participation or Abrogation

Each had a vote; they were proud of that;
But they left all else to the Bureaucrat. (Dennis, 1935)

The internet, particularly in its early days, was often promoted as a medium capable of instituting a new golden age of electronically enabled democracy. The situation today is vastly different: governments regularly censor and restrict the internet, many people have no access at all while others who do exert disproportionate influence, and data without meaning is proliferating. The opportunities for communication and forming new social networks have expanded dramatically, but this alone will not usher in a democratic way of existence unless the users themselves choose to drive the internet in such a direction, countering the corresponding pull to regulate and restrict the internet. Continue reading

Bill Gates: Shaping the Internet Age (Topic 2.2 Theorising the Internet I)

Written in 2000, this is Bill Gates’ overview of where the internet was at that time, and where it might go. He highlights some of the prominent features of the internet in his view: it “makes the world smaller (and) brings people together” as well as making the world “simpler”.But despite its impact, today’s Internet is still roughly where the automobile was during the era of Henry Ford’s Model T. We’ve seen a lot of amazing things so far, but there is much more to come. We are only at the dawn of the Internet Age. (Gates, 2000)

While we could well be said to be at the dawn of the Internet Age, the internet has developed far more than the Model T Ford, simply because its rate of development is dependent on how people can utilise information and communication – how they can transform ideas and conceptualise new uses for this medium. It doesn’t take years of research, development, product testing and marketing for example, to come up with an idea such as Facebook or Wikipedia. Gates does, however, acknowledge this to an extent: “[the internet is an information exchange] that is able to grow organically, can operate reliably with little centralized management, and is built entirely on common standards”. (Gates, 2000)

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“The Internet is a product of the U.S. military” Discuss

The internet is a product of the US military only in the sense that the US military contributed to the development of the internet, but so did a lot of other researchers, institutions and forces. Furthermore, the internet we have today is far from what was envisaged in the 1960s. While it is true to say that the US military contributed to some of the elements that would help create the internet, it cannot be said to be a direct product of the military.In determining who (if anyone) was the creator of the internet we first need to ask what the internet is, which is not such an easy question as it appears, particularly as it is an amorphous, changing object. Abbate (1999 p3) considers the internet a “system of interconnected networks”. Peter (2004) supports this definition, but also points out that some people further require that it use TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) before qualifying as an internet. In terms of the early history of the internet Bob Taylor, quoted by Peter (2004), specifically states: “The ARPANet was not an internet. An internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.” The ARPANet was the network developed as a result of US military funding.

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