The internet is threatened. These notes are a summary of related themes that hopefully explain well enough why I am feeling increasingly disturbed about net neutrality and continuing freedom of speech and information.
Firstly, let's talk about Lori Drew:
Lori Drew abused her power as a knowledgeable adult by leveraging her adult knowledge of psychology to humiliate and torment a teen girl. Put another way, Lori Drew engaged in psychological and emotional child abuse. Child abuse includes the psychological or emotional mistreatment of a child. Unfortunately, most legal statutes focus on sexual and physical abuse and neglect because emotional abuse is very hard to substantiate and prosecute. But realistically, she should've been tried with child abuse, not a computer crime.
Here we see an example of how the instruments of public welfare in Western society fail to understand the impact of MySpace bullying as plain and simple bullying, and instead try to squeeze it sidelong into the effusive category of computer crime.
While the New Zealand government isn't taking things quite as far as the Rudd regime, we have our own battle with this same political mentality, best summed up as guilty until proven innocent.
Meanwhile, as the surreality and insanity of the RIAA continues unabated, evidence mounts that we as a society have to overturn our previous ideas about copyright and intellectual property. The traditional model of © was designed to protect individual artists, but it has been co-opted by ravenous corporations who have, for years, monopolized the market and stripped content creators of the gross benefits of their work. With the onrush of remix culture, this 20th century system has broken down so fast that these lumbering beasts are now fighting to stay alive. Yet again, the only real winners in this whole ridiculous saga are the fucking lawyers.
We are at a crossroads in the history of the internet. In the years before the internet achieves total global ubiquity through ambient informatics (which raises another set of quite different problems), there is still huge potential for politicians to tear down what we have built. Increasing monopolization of attention contributes to this environment of fear and restriction.
There are ways for the network to win out. For the more technically inclined, the Phantom protocol is a fascinating read. Things like this may become an essential aspect of internet survival in the not too distant future.