In the beginning were proprietary telecommunications networks--the ultimate model for all was, of course, the phone network of AT&T.

To access any of these networks you had to conform to whatever requirements the owner decreed--not only technical but what wouldn't threaten the proprietor. And then the government broke it up in 1984.

It was in this environment that the internet grew up. The idea was to keep the network stupid and the applications, i.e. "the end uses" would be smart. This is also known as e2e.

Just as the postal system is reasonably indifferent to the letters it carries--obviously there are some restrictions on what it can carry, but postal inspectors don't routinely open up letters, and they don't ban letters that carry information concerning ways to replace it, as the phone system did: you could only connect what AT&T permitted, what enduses it permitted.

The original internet, the internet of the information superhighway, permitted those packets to flow over its network, as long as they conformed to TCP/IP. Anonymity, privacy, were values built into the architecture, which is a reflection of the code.

Liberals don't care what you say, more or less. Yes, there are some limited limits, but for the most part, liberals err on the side of too much freedom. And so does the internet.

Or it did. As ecommerce takes over, it is more important for business that it act more like a proprietary network: security, identification, all the innovations that we now hear of, so sellers will know who the buyers are, where they live, and soon enough, how much money they have.

And these are the tools that governments, sure, but also private tyrannies can us to monitor and control us.

The threat to the internet is not the government, its business.

O yes, Everything, I suspect--but how would I know, I'm not a coder, and am ignorant of these these things, not a member of the coding class--is a part of the open source movement (if I'm wrong, someone will correct me).

But the whole Everything copyright problem, is itself a discussion of the commons, or more particularly, the intellectual commons.

The unprecedented growth of the world wide web is a direct consequence of it being, for a short time, the intellectual commons. This could never be allowed to continue. So, the DMCA was created.

Everything, also, within limits, allows most things to be posted. I remember, at the time I started, the agonized discussions about banning one user. There seemed to be 'no kings, no sovereigns, no presidents', but a consensus was reached. Kinda liberal if you ask me.


Cid Highwind:I think I'm speaking not in the sense that liberal has come to mean, Why do Americans persist in misusing the word liberal?, but in a more classic, maybe more correct sense.

No, I'm not a liberal.

But I think I agree with your idea, if not, exactly, with your word.

I disagree, the Internet is libertarian, not liberal. The liberal members of congress went along with the DMCA, and tried to restrict hate speech and bomb recipes on the net; and a liberal president continued the US's harmful restrictions on cryptography. OTOH, the conservatives brought us the CDA (It's for the children!) and bent over for the big corporations by passing the DMCA. So the internet can't be conservative either. (Sorry, dMan) Therefore, it seems to me that the internet community favors the libertarian approach of keeping the government out of the internet-regulation business.

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