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"
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?