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Help the Internet stand the test of time

If the Internet stumbles, it will not be because we lack for technology, vision, or motivation. It will be because we cannot set a direction and collectively march into the future - Bob Kahn

The Internet as we know it today has been the basis of one of the most amazing technological revolutions in history. It has brought the world closer together as a boundless platform for human expression, creation and innovation.

The Internet has given us a view of humanity that no generation has experienced before.

All of this was done without a central authority. Since its birth, the Internet has been managed in an open, collaborative and inclusive manner. This is known as the "multi-stakeholder governance model".

The idea is simple, yet powerful: every voice matters in determining how the Internet will evolve. Governments, international organizations, experts and users like you all work together for the collective good.

This also means that we all have a stake in preserving the Internet's founding principles - not only for those who enjoy it today, but for future generations.

Will the Internet as we know it survive the next decade?

The Internet is facing perhaps the greatest challenge in its brief history: the distributed management of the Internet is threatened by regulation, take over and inaction (including our own!).

We have worked hard to create a collaborative, open and accessible Internet – one that is not walled, not censored, not fractured. We must keep it that way!

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Have your say: can the open internet stand the test of time?

Comments

While the digerati lock horns with the telecommunication companies over net neutrality, most people are unaware of this, and see the Open Internet as a marginal issue. This is because society sees the Internet as a place for entertainment and commerce, and not essential for accomplishing everyday tasks in the 21st century. People and organizations with the ability to reach a lot of eyes and ears need to produce literature and messages connecting Internet freedom with the freedom to accomplish everyday tasks. It has been my experience that the content out there talking about the benefits of net neutrality or the evils of SOPA and PIPA is grounded in legal arguments. Or, it is aimed at the thin layer of techies and computer programmers. There is less out there about what network neutrality, SOPA, and PIPA means for the average person. By average person, I mean someone who may not be a programmer or connected in some way to tech centers such as Silicon Valley, New York City, or Austin, TX. The digerati should find ways to talk about, for example, a mother using online education to give her child a headstart in school, or a grandfather speaking with his grandson 1000 miles away, or a college graduate looking to start an online business. The examples are endless. They can talk about community leaders having the ability to start their own websites. They can talk about children's creativity being stifled because they cannot share content as easily online, and so on. Once people get the picture that an open Internet is as important for everyday life as, say, roads or a police force, the narrative of Internet use will change. The Internet will be seen less as a space for fun and games and a province of the educated, young, white, and male towards being understood as a fundamental right for all citizens. When this happens, any attempts to close the Internet will be met with more resistance.

Rod, how about the open, inclusive and collaborative way we manage the Internet, is that also something to be preserved? What do you think?

I see no major change in terms of openness for the internet in the next 10 years. People tent to satanizise SOPA and everything else that takes away their freedom. If SOPA did succedded, and, lets say, Warner, did started legal actions against people that shared the content, people would start an illegal content traffic and categorize them as evil, slowly bringing their content to the irrelevancy, turning the likes to something more open that will eventually use the 'do no evil' slogan to win in the long run. What will change in the next 10 years.. or more like.. add, to the mixture, will be new Technologies and file types (lets guess, 3d printing files), that will again have their own policies, but still, at the end, the least intromisive and 'nice' format will win.

All the recent threats such as SOPA, PIPA and more recently net neutrality can be dealt with (read:thrown out) as long as we all decide to deal with them. Perhaps it's time for unwritten laws of the Internet to be written. Maybe we also need to convince ISPs to cut off others like Comcast who are not adhering to the concept. Isn't that usually the way ISPs police each other?

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