Fears of Tiers

Ben Werdmuller points out the threats posed by a tiered Internet, and is rightly aghast. It’s hardly surprising that telcos are looking for ways to undo the net as we know it, when their century-long dominance of communications is about to be challenged by power companies; ubiquitous alternatives to landlines + VOIP = no more old-style phones. But that very competition might (fingers crossed) be enough to keep the threat at bay. If not, watch out for denial of service attacks on tiered ISPs and the resulting government crackdowns on “cyber-terrorists”. Where are you when we need you, Hiro Protagonist?

So where would the personal web go if these would-be gatekeepers got their way? Onto key drives or DVD-Rs sold like zines at markets and indie music stores? Or would we just have to make do with text and a few images crawling along at modem speeds, while the big boys whispered high-res video nothings into our 100Mbps ears?

If the forces of big media/entertainment/telecommunications do ever succeed in denying us this fabulous creative playground that’s kept so many addicted and diverted these past ten or twenty years, we might put that energy to uses they may not like. What if we didn’t sit down dutifully in front of their fancy new boob tubes? What if we’ve lost that habit for good?

Depends who “we” are, I suppose, and how many of us there are.

3 June 2006 · Net Culture

If we end up with haves & have nots for reliable bandwidth, then it'll be fun to watch the security arms race escalate. How long before we can 'poon passing packets for faster rides? While there are companies like Sony (remember what happened when they outsourced their DRM wheel-clamp code), there'll be exploit points available.

Added by Virge on 4 June 2006.

Hope so. Meanwhile, the DRM on Blu-Ray is depressing:


Added by Rory on 4 June 2006.

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