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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why the Free and Open Internet Is Never Going to Die

Joshua Krause

It appears that the Internet's Wild West days are coming to an end, much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone who uses it. Last week, the FEC announced their desire to regulate websites like Drudge, and President Obama called for the government to rein in the Internet, and regulate it like a utility. Obviously, these developments have the potential to destroy everything that makes the Internet great.

The masses have spent the last 15 years ditching television, radio, and newspapers, and turning to the Internet for their news, because it offers an almost infinite number of opinions. Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to wallow in lies and propaganda, as they pump a steady stream of bland and sterile entertainment into our homes. If the government has its way, in 20 years your computer will become nothing more than a television with a million channels. How novel?

The Internet has also radically changed commerce for the average person by giving small businesses an affordable way to sell their goods and services to the world, while giving customers an incredibly wide selection that would have never been available to them in brick-and-mortar stores, and shopping magazines. You can say goodbye to that as well. While Obama claims these measures are meant to prevent corporations from monopolizing the Internet, I think we all know better. Governments and corporations work hand in hand, and everything thing they touch turns into a monopoly. Somehow I doubt the mom-and-pop shops of the Internet will survive this regulation.

Oh well. I guess it’s time to pack it up guys. We had a really nice run, but I guess the bad guys won. The Internet as we know it dead. Hammer the last nail and shovel in the dirt. We’ll just have to go back to watching CNN and shopping at Walmart.

I’m kidding of course. Put the noose down and listen up folks. The free Internet isn’t going to disappear. It’s just going underground. Even in countries like China, dissidents and businessmen have found some pretty creative ways to work around their government’s strict censorship of the Internet. And people of Cuba have gone so far as to build their own Internet infrastructure, separate from the government’s overpriced service. Even Mexico’s drug cartels have built a sprawling clandestine communication system that allow them to evade and spy on the authorities.

The ingredients are all there for a new decentralized and secure Internet that is impossible for the government to regulate. It’s only a matter of time before people begin to put it together.

Just a couple of days ago, famed Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom announced his plans to build a new Internet service that will piggyback existing providers, and will likely use cell phones as the infrastructure. It will be anonymized with the same blockchain technology that has made Bitcoin so thoroughly difficult to hack.
This is just the beginning. We already have all the tools at our disposal, it’s just a matter of time. And the more effort the government puts into censoring and dumbing down the Internet, the more they’ll push people into freer alternatives. The new decentralized Internet will grow in size, create more connections, become more user-friendly, and more affordable. It’s just how the world works. Whenever the government tries to restrict something that the people want, the free market will build them an underground alternative.

In short, this technological cat is out of the bag, and there’s no turning back. The people know what they want, and they’re not going back to the pre-Internet days. At least, not without a fight.

Let’s assume for moment that this hypothetical free Internet fails to take hold. Maybe the technology just isn’t there, or the government successfully stamps it out. In the long run, this may be the best thing that could happen to us. The Internet has woken up so many people to the truth. It’s given us the ability to communicate with each other like never before, and has allowed us to share ideas that we would have never heard of otherwise. But it may also be holding us back. It’s keeping us firmly planted in our seats, and in the comfort of our homes. It brings awareness to the problems of the world, but it may also be stifling real-world action.

Though it may be taken away, the truths we’ve learned cannot be removed from our minds. If we lose the freedoms the Internet has given us, then our only choice is to take action in the real world. If the government destroys the Internet as we know it, then free-minded people will have no choice but to voice their concerns in the real world. So, if our controllers succeed in their efforts to regulate the Internet, it may put the fire under our asses and drive us into the streets.

Your move G-man.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .

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