In the end, however, the Internet could still prove Barlow correct – but only if technology’s pursuit of freedom receives a big helping of will, moral support, and good policy.
Use of internet has become a normal day to day activity in the world.
The worry is that the Internet will become fragmented, and its greatest asset – immediate global connectivity – will be sacrificed.
And, again, it’s not just the authoritarian nations, like China, that are talking about their own internets.
Should a nation with tighter controls on speech be able to block speech travelling by Internet from a freer country?
Freedom on the Internet presents thorny policy issues, even for democratic countries.Garton Ash, in a book of nearly 500 pages, struggles to compose a set of guidelines for free speech in an Internet age. In the short term, increased Internet access has led to more attempts at government repression, but, in the long term, there’s reason for optimism. As the economic and cultural benefits of the Internet reach practically all citizens, it will be difficult – impossible, even – to take that connection away or even limit it. For that reason, physical access should be one of the two goals of global Internet policy for the United States. government has championed for the past 20 years: the right to connect as equivalent to the right to assemble and speak freely. and other democracies must use all opportunities to advocate Internet freedom, condemning and undermining attempts to abridge access and speech, including providing training and technology to help people in authoritarian countries navigate around obstacles presented by their governments. The worry is that the Internet will become fragmented, and its greatest asset – immediate global connectivity – will be sacrificed.As the economic and cultural benefits of the Internet reach practically all citizens, it will be difficult – impossible, even – to take that connection away or even limit it. For that reason, physical access should be one of the two goals of global Internet policy for the United States. Cultural differences in the definition of free speech will be difficult to reconcile, but those differences can’t be an excuse for repression. And, again, it’s not just the authoritarian nations, like China, that are talking about their own internets.It is encouraging that the United Nations General Assembly this summer passed a non-binding resolution that declares that people should have the same human rights online as they do off-line. The Snowden revelations and other disclosures about National Security Agency spying on leaders of such countries as Brazil and Germany led to widespread outrage and to calls from some countries to circumvent U.S.-based Internet services -- or, in the case of Chancellor Angela Merkel, to create a separate European Internet.John Perry Barlow, a famous Internet activist of the early days, said in his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” in 1996 that governments “have no moral right to rule us, nor do you possess any methods of enforcement that we have true reason to fear.” This kind of optimism seems quaint.In 2005, just 400 million users lived in the developing world; today, there are more than 2.1 billion, and the regimes that run those countries fear the Internet as a threat to their authority, and they’re doing something about it.By most standards, the Internet is a raging success.There are now more than three billion users, a figure that’s tripled in just 10 years.What it has not brought – despite early predictions – is more global freedom. In the 1990s, the Internet made its critical transition, expanding from a network mainly scholarly to a network mainly commercial and personal. “The first principle,” Magaziner wrote, “is that, in general, the Internet is a medium that has tremendous potential for promoting individual freedom and individual empowerment.The annual Freedom House report, “Freedom in the World,” has found a “10-year slide” in freedom, as defined by factors in two dozen categories. President Bill Clinton’s advisor, Ira Magaziner, established a credo that has guided U. Therefore, where possible, the individual should be left in control of the way in which he or she uses this medium.