Network neutrality; this is something causing a stir about the online community, for-profit content providers (movie studios, record companies, software companies etc) want to pay Internet Service Providers to prioritise their content on the net (meaning it will be delivered to users faster than other content) this disadvantages non-profit content providers such as free/open-source software sites, the Internet Archive, and Wikipedia Not to mention things like small independant blogs (New Zeal for example)
Is this fair? if so, why? and if not, how do we stop it happening?
Also something related, the Internet is regulated mostly by non-profit organisations (with no connection to private business or the state) is this the right way to run it, or would it run better if those organisations were run for profit?
I had to think about this for a long time. I have little technical knowledge of the Internet and certainly stand to be corrected. This answer relies on my understanding of the principles of laissez-faire capitalism.
My understanding of the Internet and cyberspace is that it is thankfully almost impossible to regulate. It is a near perfect example of “laissez-faire“, serving private individuals, businesses, governmental organisations and NGO’s.
I see nothing wrong with certain organisations paying ISPs for certain favours. In the long run however I don’t think it will help them that much.
If certain ISPs are willing to provide better service for more money, all power to them. If people don’t like this approach, other ISPs will spring up to compete with them.
I think the Internet will become more and more business run and I have no problem with this. No business will ever come to dominate the “net“, because the whole thing is so fluid, dymanic and multi-polar that it would be like trying to drain the ocean with an egg cup.
The biggest threat to the “net” comes, as usual from governments and government agencies, either national or supra-national.
China has already bullied Google into restricting its services into that country and the UN would love to control the net if it could.
So there’s my answer Byron. Private interests, unsupported by government power are good for the net.
The power of the state is the real danger, which is probably why such a large proportion of IT experts and net junkies are libertarians or anarchists.