Yet another interesting blog post by Lauren Weinstein.  It discusses the history of the Internet (ARPANET), in which he was in the middle of, and how the phone companies & governments largely ignored it… until fairly recently.  Here’s an excerpt from his post:

… But with the fullness of time, the phone companies, cable companies, governments, and politicians galore came to most intensely pay attention to the Internet, as did the entertainment industry behemoths and a broad range of other “intellectual property” interests.  …

They want to control the Internet. They want to control it utterly, completely, in every technologically possible detail (and it seems in various technically impossible ways as well).The freedom of communications with which the Internet has empowered ordinary people — especially one-to-many communications that historically have been limited to governments and media empires themselves — is viewed as an existential threat to order, control, and profits — that is, to historical centers of power.

Outside of the “traditional” aspects of government control over their citizenries, another key element of the new attempts to control the Net are desperate longings by some parties to turn back the technological clock to a time when music, movies, plus other works could not so easily be duplicated and disseminated in both “authorized” and “unauthorized” fashions.

The effective fall of copyright in this context was preordained by human nature (we are physical animals, and the concept of non-physical “property” plays against our natures) and there’s been a relentless “march of bits” — with text, music, and movies entering the fray in turn as ever more data could be economically stored and transferred.

In their efforts to control people and protect profits, governments and associated industries (often in league with powerful Internet Service Providers — ISPs — who in some respects are admittedly caught in the middle), seem willing to impose draconian, ultimately fascist censorship, identification, and other controls on the Internet and its users, even extending into the basic hardware in our homes and offices.

I encourage you to read the entire post, as it’ll not only give you a taste of what it was like in the pre-Internet years, but also how it evolved to where we are today.   What worries me now is the government involvement and how they seem to be even MORE joined at the hip with the content industry.  Or, just maybe, might they have an agenda of their own???

The attacks on fundamental freedoms to communicate that are represented by various government repression of the Internet around the world, and in the U.S. by hypocritical legislation like PROTECT IP and SOPA (E-PARASITE), are fundamentally fascist in nature, despite between wrapped in their various flags of national security, anti-piracy profit protection, motherhood, and apple pie.

I’d like to think a bill like SOPA wouldn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but worse things have happened before.  Don’t know if any of you saw the 3-part PBS series on Prohibition a month or so ago,  but my reaction to it was “How could this have happened???”  Prohibition has to be one of the greatest examples of “unintended” consequences ever.  Don’t think our administration isn’t capable of making an even worse mistake with the Internet!

One final excerpt from Lauren’s post:

The Internet is one of the most important tools ever created by mankind. It certainly ranks with the printing press, and arguably in terms of our common futures on this tiny planet perhaps even with fire.

The question is, are we ready and willing to fight for the Net as it should be in the name of civil rights and open communications? Or will we sit back compliantly, happily gobble down the occasional treats tossed in our direction, and watch as the Internet is perverted into a monstrous distortion to control speech and people alike, rather than enabling the spread of freedom.

Words of wisdom.   I’ve become concerned mainly because this administration is so focused on this bill, in spite of everything else that is going on in the world, our economy, our huge debt, etc.  In addition, they have consistently refused to consider the concerns of the tech industry, other key organizations, and basically anyone who isn’t a card-carrying member of the content industry.

We, the public, need to take a stand & let our so-called “representatives” know, as Lauren states above, “that we’re willing to fight for the Net as it should be.”

Please contact your representatives, either by letter or via email  (Demand Progress or Fight for the Future make it easy to send a personalized email).