Tag: internet

The Internet in the Shadow of Big Tech

I read Cory Doctorow’s interview on the Bioneers site, and I think he hits on something interesting. There has been a growing trend where the larger, established, Internet companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc) have begun to warm to the idea of Internet regulation. The reason for this is simple. It keeps new players out of the Internet space. These large companies entered the marketplace without regulatory limitation and grew so large in part because there was nothing to stop them. Now, they are working with the government to help design regulations that will make it far more difficult for competitors to enter and compete. These companies built their empires on the backbone of a tax funded and government designed public network. They then expanded that network via tax breaks and almost zero regulation. Essentially, the economic system that built our modern conception of the Internet was designed to create these types of monopolies. Now, these same companies will use these new regulations to maintain their power.

There is a further danger. As these companies continue to grow and centralize that power, they become synonymous with the very idea of the Internet. Our concept of the Internet is one in …

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The One Channel Problem

I read Alexis C. Madrigal’s article on the Atlantic: “Google and Facebook Failed Us” and it got me thinking.

There is a structural problem with the Internet, and I think it is something we still haven’t fully come to understand or grasp. It is the only point of distribution and communication for a large portion of our social, economic, and technological existence. We don’t live in a democratized online space, switching back and forth between different communication streams, we live permanently attached to a single, massive, Network 23.

We do everything through Network 23. We watch our news and our entertainment. We order food, talk to our doctors and even arrange our medical care. We do our banking and we work all on Network 23. Our social interactions, our art, our culture, even our government and our forms of activism, have all been migrated to this giant network, and because we see all of these things as separate entities we think that they are part of different communications structures. At a very core level, though, they are not.

The reality is that Google and Facebook are just two shows on this network. They’re the biggest. They …

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