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Sunday, March 5th, 2006, 8:13 am

Will the Internet Ever Be Privatised?

Money on keyboard

Backed by an ambitious contention, one Web site calls for the halt of Web privatisation.

You think the Internet will always be the great freewheeling information superhighway you’ve grown to love? Well, think again. Media giants want to privatize our Internet.

As one among several threats, consider Google Groups. Under the magnifying glass is accumulation of over 20 years worth of forums conversations (full names included). To make matters worse, consider the practice of appending “Copyright Google Groups” to each of these pages. Then comes the contribution (or lack therefore) from those who post from Google Groups without quoting, which merely leads to clutter in UseNet. It sometimes seems as though UseNet has evolved into ‘Google Chat’, which is worrisome.

Another matter to consider is charging for E-mail traffic, as means of crippling spam. It comes to show that corporations can instate and manipulate ‘Net politics’.

Beyond these facts, rumours are formed and echoed as regards a Google Web or even the newly-proposed ‘Chinese Web’. Then, of course, there is the issue of censorship, aimed to better suit the interest of governments– either through blocking of sites or filtering of search results.

The future of the Web looks not bright. Given present trends, the outlook is rather grim.

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