Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

The Internet Is Mine

with 4 comments

The Internet does belong to *me* — and all the other self styled Citizens of the Net.

Corporations may own bits of wire and pieces of equipment, but that isn’t The Internet.
Any more than a handful of soil scooped up from the nearest garden is your country.

That pile of dirt may be a fractional portion of your country, and those bits of technology may be segments of Internet infrastructure, but they are neither the sum of your country nor the entity we call The Internet.

Please note: there is but one Internet, which is the sum of a whole mess of interconnection.
Networks.   Computers.   Cell phones.

The Internet is one thing — a network — that exists in many countries spread all over the world.

Apollo 17 full Earth photograph

It is the very connectivity which confers value.

Those of us who contribute to it, use it, work with it, learn from it and share it do have rights.

Because the Internet would not exist without us.

All of us.

It has been suggested that the Internet would exist without me, and further, if I’ve only come online in the last decade, it existed before me, and will exist after me.

That may be true in a very limited sense: as an individual, I am only one small atom of The Internet. Just as an individual citizen of any democracy is simply one small part.

But the point of the Internet is that we are all put together. The Internet is the sum of its parts.

Not just the brilliant folks like Tim Berners Lee who created the World Wide Web who wrote the IP protocol that makes it function, but all the users, whether they can create a website or barely manage to reply to an email.
It wouldn’t BE The Internet if we all pulled up stakes and moved on.
It would simply revert to being a mess of wire and hunks of equipment.

Internet = Interconnected Networks.

Just as the citizens of a country make up the democracy, it is the users who comprise “The Internet.”

It’s been further suggested my opinion about The Internet doesn’t count unless I played a ‘key role’ in DARPA.

Certainly, DARPA’s Internet — an earlier incarnation of the Internet that existed before it was open to the public — was a very different beastie.

But that isn’t The Internet that exists today.

When DARPA controlled the Internet, they wouldn’t have needed to lobby for legislation of Internet Backdoors.

The Internet is not static, but dynamic.

The Internet has evolved.

The Internet of today has evolved enormously precisely because of the interconnection of humans.

It is this international assembly that has so attracted marketers and governments, all of whom seek to co-opt and control the Internet, in order to profit and/or govern the citizens of the Internet.

I certainly didn’t play a key role in DARPA. I had to google DARPA and read about it on Wikipedia to even know what it is. Because I’m nobody. An Internet user. Heck, I’m not even an American.

But the Internet is mine just the same.

Statue - of a broken Spartacus being supported by a young man - standing in Paris

I am Spartacus

Because the thing we all know as The Internet today is a network of parts. Without the people who use it — the citizens of the net — it would not be anything like it has become. Like it is. Because of the things that the Internet makes possible, the world is changing. Ideas are changing. Methods of doing things are changing.

On DARPA’s Internet, the precursor to *my* Internet, it was inconceivable that total strangers from all over the world would come together to produce a free and accessible encyclopedia, much less one that would come to be accepted as reputable.

The point is that Internet is no longer the creature of DARPA.
That may be a key part of the reason the American government
is so testy. Every time the United States filters out a chunk of the Internet, they are building their own “Great Wall” and locking their own citizens behind it. Yet if the United States chooses to gather up its marbles and go home, the rest of us will still be online.

Because the Internet belongs to the whole world —
to everyone who connects to it.

If all of the Citizens of The Internet were to log off, the hollow shell remaining in DARPA’s grasp would hardly be recognizable as anything but a memory of the entity we today recognize as The Internet.

So you see, the Internet is mine. And yours. It’s ours.

And we are Spartacus.

[This is an expansion of my comments on Buzzmachine: Clinton and the freedom to connect]



Image Credit: “Paris – Jardin des Tuileries – Le Serment de Spartacus – Ernest Barrias’ Le Serment de Spartacus (The Oath of Spartacus)” photo by Wally Gobetz wallyg under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) License

Earth from space, Apollo 17 mission. Copyright and Credit NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Scientific Visualization Studio, released under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) License.

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Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

February 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm

4 Responses

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  1. […] doors, on the world. This would have the effect of turning the Internet as we know it inside out. The Internet is Mine, and yours, and theirs. It doesn’t belong to governments, but to all users […]

  2. […] The Internet Is Mine The Internet does belong to *me* — and all the other self styled Citizens of the Net. […]

  3. Whoops. Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. The TCP/IP protocol was invented by Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn.

    –Bob.

    Bob Jonkman

    February 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm


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