("Quid coniuratio est?")
THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE INTERNET
In CN 7.72 the "Privatization of the Internet" story was mentioned. According to The 1996 Project Censored Yearbook, the Internet "was essentially sold last year. The federal government has been gradually transferring the backbone of the U.S. portion of the global computer network to companies such as IBM and MCI as part of a larger plan to privatize cyberspace."
Let's see... We pay taxes out of our pockets; the U.S. government uses that money to build the Internet; the government then gives the Internet to big corporations; then finally the big corporations start charging us more and more bucks for them letting us use "their" Internet!
This past week on C-Span they had Ralph Nader speaking to a crowd in an auditorium somewhere. And one thing that Mr. Nader brought up was how we pay taxes that help keep the universities going; the universities conduct research on drugs; the results of the research go to major pharmaceutical giants; then finally the major pharmaceutical giants charge us big bucks to use "their" drugs!
Yesterday, in the local paper, they had an article about how the University of Illinois has developed new software they are calling "Vosaic"; Vosaic, "a name derived from another popular UI product, Mosaic -- makes sending video across the Internet a breeze," says Julie Wurth, News-Gazette staff writer. This new technology is slated to be marketed by Digital Video Communications, based in Chicago and Los Angeles. The question arises: since the American people have helped pay for this already, they're not going to have to pay again, are they??
But the point I have in this is that old concern of, How are they going to shut down free expression on Internet? They are working at it from "liberal" Billy Clinton's angle of his tremendous concern about "indecency." Another attack could be coming from the corporados, closely aligned with the U.S. government if not in fact the actual puppet masters of same. I see in the May 6, 1996 Newsweek (p. 12) that, indeed, "[Internet] Traffic once carried on the backbone has been transferred to private networks owned by companies like MCI and Sprint..." (See also The Nation, 07/03/95, "Keeping On-Line Speech Free: Street Corners in Cyberspace," by Andrew L. Shapiro.)
You know these corporados: first they give America their stunning architecture -- McDonalds, Arbys, K-Mart, etc. now blighting the landscape -- and next they give us the shaft. How soon before they start charging us for what we've already paid for? How soon before "some people" don't get as good of a connection to "their" Internet?
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