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the neutrality of the internet


I recently read an article that discussed how filtering might reduce or wipe out the end-to-end neutrality (in other words, the "openness") of the Internet. It's not the first time this argument has been made: that the Internet knows no barriers, that nobody should control it, or the information in it, that this "natural neutrality" is being lost to the control of corporations and governments, and on and on.

What I wonder is, when exactly did this fantasy begin? At the early stages the Internet wasn't owned by a corporation, it was owned by the department of defense! Whatever perception we had of "openness" was clearly a dream. The US military (or that of any other country for that matter) is not precisely in the business of supplying tools to make libertarian utopias a reality. In Capitalism, ownership implies something physical to own, and information doesn't fit that category, so ownership of the network falls on whoever controls the software, the access points, the routers, the cables. Information seemed to "know no boundaries", but it was an illusion. The owners of the infrastructure were only asleep at the switch.

True neutrality on the Internet is not being lost. It never really existed.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on July 24 2002 at 12:37 PM

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