I read these doom and gloom articles about the demise of the open internet, and all I can usually think is “you had your chance.” I was as big of an advocate of the free internet as anyone, passionately arguing and freaking out every time someone put up a wall. And while articles like this make some good points, I find it curious that they always leave out the other side of the thinking completely.
Here are the stone cold facts: the internet is a fucking monster of spam, bot-nets, hackers, insecurity and fraud. People lose their lives. Whole countries have their security threatened. kiddie porn is still ridiculously rampant. The simple click of an email can cost an unsuspecting senior citizen thousands of dollars.
We’ve talked about these problems for… what? ten? twenty years? And they keep getting worse. And even now, setting aside the “boo hoo the internet is becoming a bunch of walled gardens” arguments, when rational people have conversations about how to make the web actually usable and not 95% piracy, spam and fraud, almost every discussion starts with the proposition that there is no other realistic option but to chuck the whole thing and start over.
So, entering my 20th year on the internet, I say chuck it all. Bring on the walled gardens, bring on the safety nets and XBox Live and Playstation Live and the iTunes Music Store and the App Store and this and that. I’d much rather spend my time annoyed by Apple not approving Google Voice, or kids being mean to one another on XBox Live while playing call of duty, or not being able to get a NES emulator on my iPhone or bitching about HBO’s ridiculous content policies than I would worrying about GOVERNMENTS USING THE INTERNET TO BRING EACH OTHER DOWN or RUSSIAN GANGSTERS STEALING ALL MY MONEY.