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Net Neutrality — Who Owns the Web? Do We Need Two?

Some slangers sling around the words "Internets" or "Interwebs" to be cheeky — who knew how close to true it might be!

A new book by Jonathan Zittrain called The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It posits the notion of separate but equal webs. Two of them! One, a closely guarded content provider that will severely limit hackers and would allow only limited programs — and another one for off-the-grid surfing where anything goes, with the risk that the movie file you um, borrowed, is actually carrying a nasty little virus.

A less vulnerable, more-limited Internet would offer safety with a catch: content regulation. A “safe” Internet, with its policing could end the fast and free Internet we currently enjoy. Who else wants to get their hands on the policing of the webs? Congress. To see who might hijack your Sugar browsing,


Congress is currently debating two bills with different takes on Net Neutrality — the debate between those who want the Internet to be tightly regulated like television and radio with fewer administrators calling the shots and those in favor of the current Wild West sort of forum.

Why care about Net Neutrality? It could mean that content would be prioritized — email could be put in line and sent only after more important messages are delivered. And there's the sticky question of censorship. With an Internet put in the hands of fewer people, material deemed offensive could be cut off from the Internet completely.

The current debate shapes up like this: Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), fears an Internet breach of antitrust regulation saying:

The Internet was designed without centralized control, without gatekeepers for content and services. If we allow companies with monopoly or duopoly power to control how the Internet operates, network providers could have the power to choose what content is available.

However, some like Republican congressman John Upton (R-MI) disagree:

There is no solid evidence of consumers being blocked from any content or application on the web, and the very few times consumers have been troubled with something, the issue has been resolved without imposing regulations or legislation, indicating that market forces indeed work.

Would you be in favor of tighter Internet regulations? Are two Internets the answer to the question of Net Neutrality? Is the Internet really the democratic forum that it appears to be?


Join The Conversation
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
No, no, NO! Terrible idea. Nice ass.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
Stiletta- there are a number of "nanny" programs that exist to help keep children from viewing material inappropriate for them on the internet- so there's no need for a censored internet. Just some parental responsibility and initiative.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Auntie Coosa, if you ever check back on this thread, I'm really curious as to why so many of your posts end up turning the subject around to Islam, even when the original subject has nothing to do with it?
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
FREEDOM OF SPEECH issue. FREEDOM issue. It's the accessibility of the Internet which has spawned freedom movements in other Nations. Two Internets would be divisive and I think we have enough division in the world today as it is. And there are enough "control" programs available to keep the kiddies from accessing "mature" websites. Which TWO Internets? Christian and Non-Christian? Business and Labor? Republican and Democrat? Free World and All Others? Western European and All Others? Islam and All Others? NO NO NO. There are a lot of issues with freedom of speech as it is. Is pornography freedom of speech? Is violence freedom of speech? Is the lunatic fringe allowed freedom of speech? Is the vast right-wing conspiracy allowed freedom of speech? ONE Internet is all we need. Besides, it would make it too hard for the 12th Caliph to control the earth with two Internets.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
I wish I understood how any of this works. As soon as anyone starts talking ISP or IT or URL, my eyes glaze over. That said, I do think pornography is too accessible and that parents should have a choice on the content readily available for their children. I also don't want anyone messing with my ability to shoe shop on the internet.
Meike Meike 9 years
Overall tighter internet regulations? No thanks. Two internets? Sure, for those parents who can't regulate their own kids. They could go with an ISP that restricts their usage as long as I get to keep my internet in Wild West form.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
I think it should stay the way it is. Isn't there quite enough already that's regulated and spoon-fed to us? And there, there, Rac. Don't let them get to you.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
If that's the case, UnDave, I guess you can wear the loincloth.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Hey Racc, that's a pic of me. Be careful out there.. ;)
stephley stephley 9 years
I meant the laptop sweetcheeks.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
:ROTFL: rac
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I am so tired of people objectifying the male form. This sort of sexist photograph encourages women to feel like it's okay to undress me with their ravenous eyes. It's not! I am more than just a hot taught mass of masculinity. I think. I feel. Dammit ... I promised myself I wouldn't do this ... you all sicken me!
stephley stephley 9 years
Raci's right, keep'em away from the net. These ideas never help us. Nice picture though.
kia kia 9 years
Interesting image for this piece.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Oh, here we go. This same argument was made for radio and television. First the government "protects" us and then they auction our public property to corporations for a ridiculously insubstantial price and then, guess what? We have to pay those same companies for the privilege of using what was the ours to begin with.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Honestly, I just want the Net to stay the way it is. I don't need government intervention to protect me from viruses and stuff like that--if I think a file is suspicious, I just won't download it. Anyway, centralized Web browsing experiences always kind of blow. Remember how AOL was?
colleenb colleenb 9 years
If there are two, we'll probably have to stop capitalizing it.
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